Welcome back to another edition of my weekly mailbag column. This week’s mailbag was a little delayed due to some other commitments and also helping Isaac Wood launch The Wood Report on CITIUS MAG. It’s thrilling to bring Isaac on-board with his insight and expertise into cross country and so if I don’t know the answer or think that he can provide better insight into cross country-related questions, I will relay them onto him. This week’s mailbag was a little light but that’s OK. Track and field season is pretty much over after the HOKA Long Island Mile and we’re about to quickly move right into XC and marathon season.
For next week, you can feel free to tweet at me: @ChrisChavez or @CitiusMag with any questions that you think would be great for next week’s mailbag. Slide into the DMs if you want the question to be a little more discreet. Hop in our emails: [email protected].
Let’s get right to it.
Blake emailed us and want to know: “Of all three fall World Marathon Majors, how would you rank the elite fields?”
Thanks for the question, Blake.
3. New York City Marathon
I love the New York City Marathon and I’ve run it two of the past three years and will run it again this year. I’ll have some pretty extensive coverage of the race but will have to catch up on the results and broadcast of it on race day after I cross the finish line and then celebrate. This year’s American field on the men’s side is a little less shiny than years past. Meb Keflezighi is the top guy on paper but we all know that this will serve as a final farewell and so I can’t really see him being in the conversation for the win. Then again, those are the moments in which he thrives the most. Abdi Abdirahman is the next best but even he’s 40! We need some younger faces from the U.S. side in the Big Apple. I like Shalane Flanagan battling for a podium spot but she’ll definitely have her hands full with Mary Keitany, who has won each of the past three years. It’s getting old, Mary! Go win somewhere else other than London and New York. Keitany just set the women’s-only marathon world record in April so I guess it’ll be excited to see if she can tear up a course record in New York City while also being challenged by Edna Kiplagat, Mare Dibaba, Tigist Tufa and Flanagan.
2. Chicago Marathon
The intrigue here is that Galen Rupp has a good chance of winning the men’s race because it’s not as strong as year’s past. Feyisa Lilesa, who finished ahead of him in Boston, could be his biggest challenge because I don’t really trust Dennis Kimetto to put together a great performance after a long string of letdowns and DNS. It’s kind of like he made a pact with the devil that he’d get the world record and then afterward maybe have one good performance (London 2015) and then get injured for a long time. Dennis Kimetto is the Kenyan Ryan Hall. There, I said it. Pops his fastest time ever, puts together one more very good performance and then it got ugly. Rupp winning would be a historic moment. The crowd will be behind him. Nike will be super happy because they sponsor him and the race. We can sorta envision it now. On the women’s side, Tirunesh Dibaba could get her first marathon majors victory. It’s also super weird that Florence Kiplagat’s name is on this start list with a 2:19 personal best but Dibaba’s name is almost two minutes faster because of that bonkers race in London.
1!! Berlin Marathon
It’s only almost two weeks away! Nothing is more exciting than seeing Eliud Kipchoge vs. Wilson Kipsang and Kenenisa Bekele battle for the world record. I was super excited for Bekele to be added to the field but less than excited to hear from a little birdie that he may have been a little banged up. Regardless, the Breaking2 attempt showed me that Kipchoge is more than capable of breaking the marathon world record. I’m curious to see how Kipsang responds and how much he can push Kipchoge under. This is such a great race that I won’t be watching it and instead I’ll be pushing myself along the course trying to get to the finish line as quick as possible to watch highlights and read splits like a nerd.
Austin tweeted at me and asked: “Do you think the world record will be broken at the Berlin marathon and by who?”
Me. Just kidding. The goal is to throw down a big personal best in Berlin. Sub-3:53. But way ahead of me, yes. As I kind of hinted at before, I think Kipchoge gets the world record in something like 2:01:54. Still no sub-two marathon on a regulation course but it’s hella impressive. I think from there, the question becomes: What else does Kipchoge do after that? At that point, he has the world record. He’s won Berlin. He’s won Chicago. He’s run 2:00:25 in the Breaking2 attempt to show what could be humanly possible. He’s won gold in Rio. Why keep going? Training for a marathon takes a lot of time. He’s won plenty of prize money. Go out on top.
Damian tweeted at me and asked: “What does this say about Nike and the Oregon Project that the biggest fish in the bowl just signed with Skechers?”
I don’t think it says anything about the Oregon Project. They’ve been able to attract top talent like Clayton Murphy and Craig Engels. They’ll be totally fine for the near future with their young core of stars. I certainly believe Nike was in the running for Edward Cheserek to sign with but he’s is in a tough spot because he’s not an American citizen yet and he’s not competing for Kenya internationally. Nike wants to drop top dollar on people who they think can make an Olympic team. If Cheserek can’t make a U.S. Olympic team in 2020, there’s part of reason to hold back some money so the offer may not be as lucrative as maybe he hoped for. This probably allowed for a company like Skechers or maybe even Under Armour to enter the picture and take a gamble on a popular young star. Skechers’ current stars, Meb and Kara Goucher, don’t have many marathons left in them. It’s time to turn the attention to the next generation. I’m just super excited for the Cheserek and Kim Kardashian commercials for Shape Ups.
Rubis tweeted at me and asked: “Who are your picks for winning the 5th Ave Mile?
Well, I was wrong with both of my picks for the Long Island Mile so take anything that I’ll say here with a grain of salt.
I’ll take Jenny Simpson because she won a silver medal at the world championships and she seems to be pretty good at 5th Ave with five previous victories. On the men’s side, I’ll take a dark horse pick and snag Filip Ingebrigtsen.
That’s all we’ve got for now. We want more questions for sure. Cross country is here. Winter is coming. Let’s do it.
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