I swipe at my alarm clock, knocking it over into my half-eaten bowl of generic-brand Frosted Flakes from the night before, only to realize it was my damn phone ringing. I pick up.
Unknown Caller: *muffled voice* Is this Stephen Kersh?
Me: Who else would be answering this phone? My wife left me 12-years ago, and my dog sure as hell can’t speak. Who is this?
Unknown Caller: We are looking for an idiot pundit who has run some marathons and wants to give their unilaterally-uninformed opinion on the 2017 Boston Marathon men’s elite field.
Me: What do you pay?
Unknown Caller: Nothing.
I hang up, knock the dust off my iPad, stick my 25-year old stogie in my pie hole, and get to punching numbers and letters into the following document. I’m not sure why I wrote it like a newspaper article, and also not sure how this is a future version of myself writing about a present day event. Time is something we will never grasp, I suppose.
Ranking the Big One, and how I would pull off a victory in Beantown if I was not divorced and crippled by debt.
Stephen Kersh, Citius Staff & Former Winner of the New Brighton Mini Marathon
Fri Apr 14, 2017
DORCHESTER – The 2017 running of the Boston Marathon is sure to be like all the others because it has been on the same damn course for at LEAST 15 years. A few years ago I would have won it, but my estranged wife locked me in my house and I never made it to the start. I was in SHAPE, too. Pounding out 50-70 mile weeks depending on my motivation, all while holding down a gig as the neighborhood’s dog-sitter. Those were the Golden Years of distance running. It was when Bill Rodgers would routinely ignore me at Eliot’s, and guys like Dick Beardsley would never let me run with them. Truly awesome times. Anyways, let’s dive into this year’s pile of talentless hacks.
The buried lede in this is, of course, who will cross the finish line in first place on Patriot’s Day in Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America. Well, here’s my take: LOTS. I think a lot of different guys could pull off the victory. Plain and simple. Black and white. You heard it here first. Straight from the catbag. They don’t call it winning, they call it racing. And I think the following five men will do their best Billy Boston impression come Monday.
I read on a LetsRun message board the other day that Galen went home “DEVASTATED” after a not-so-fast half marathon in Prague a few weeks back. Well, buddy, I don’t think Galen, his knock-off Hokas, and that darn nasal strip will be going home devastated from Boylston Street come Monday. As much as the old-school in me wants to drag Galen back-and-forth to school which is uphill bothways, I respect the hell out of his racing. My sources tell me his hoof is slightly banged up, but I would not count on Galen even starting the race unless he’s ready to run for the win. If he’s on the start line: AlSal knows.
Lemi Berhanu Hayle
If this name sounds familiar, GOOD! You’ve been paying attention. Lemi won the 2016 Boston Marathon, and has won five of his eight marathon starts. Honestly, that is pretty good. His personal-best in the event is 2:04:33 which is faster than I ever ran. I’m not sure if Boston has ever had back-to-back winners, but I’m going out on a limb to say Lemi pulls off the double.
My favorite name in this field by a long shot, and here is why: “Si” means “yes” in Spanish, “say” means “say” in English, and his last name is his last name. Putting all that together, you got “Yes! Say LEMMA!” Which seems like a cheer people could chant as Sisay sprints to the finish line. To back up his name, he has run 2:05:16 and has won five marathons in his career – which is five more than I ever won (unless you count the New Brighton Mini Marathon, which you shouldn’t). I like Sisay’s panache, his name, and think he could pull off a surprise victory in his first marathon on American soil.
This guy. He was third in 2016, and second in 2015. If he continues that trend, he will be fourth in 2017. My guess is he bucks the trend and finishes first! I know I have already predicted a few others to win the race this year, so may as well toss Yemane’s cap in the pile too. His 2:04:48 Personal Best is one of the fastest in the field and, frankly, it’s hard to imagine a situation where he fails to win this race. Hey, Yemane, if you’re reading this for some reason, let’s meet up for some post-race injera. It’s on me!
Time to eat some crow. I’ve also gone ahead and predicted the finishes for all elites in the field.
- Yeman Tsegay
- Lemi Berhanu Hayle
- Galen Rupp
- Sisay Lema
- Sammy Kitwara
- Dino Sefir
- Jared Ward
- Wilson Chebet
- Geoffrey Kirui
- Daniel Salel
- Wesley Korir
- Shadrack Biwott
- Emmanuel Mutai
- Abdi Abdirahman
- Meb Keflezighi
- Suguru Osako
- Cutbert Nysansago
- Luke Puskedra
- Yared Asmerom
- Lou Serafini