Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Friday, August 3, 2012

Fierce Competition Expected In ‘Best Women’s Marathon Ever Assembled’

From left: Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan, Amy Hastings and Desiree Davila compete in the U.S. Olympic women’s marathon trials in January in Houston. (AP)


I’m always up early but that will definitely the case Sunday morning when the women’s Olympic marathon is contested in London. I was in Houston in January when Shalane Flanagan, Desiree Davila and Kara Goucher made the U.S. team and it will be great to see them in this race, although there is some question about whether Davila will be able to run because of an injury. There hasn’t been an American winner in the women’s Olympic marathon since Joan Benoit Samuelson won the first one in Los Angeles in 1984, and to be realistic, the chances for a U.S. win Sunday are slim,  but as they say, that’s why they run the races.

‘Unbelievable’ Competition

“The competition is unbelievable,” said Amby Burfoot, editor-at-large for Runner’s World. “It’s the best women’s marathon ever assembled. There are seven women in the field who have run under 2 hours and 20 minutes.”

One of them is Kenyan Mary Keitany, who ran 2:18:37 when she won the London Marathon earlier this year, but that race was staged on an entirely different course. The Olympic marathon course is a made-for-TV route which includes cobblestones and passes all the London landmarks. It also features more than 100 sharp turns.

Shalane Flanagan’s Chances

“It’s not fastest course in the world and that is good for Shalane,” said Burfoot. “But she is going to have to gut it out.” Flanagan’s fastest marathon time is over 2:25 so she will have to run the race of her life to compete with Keitany and other sub-2:20 marathoners like Kenya’s Edna Kipligat and Russia’s Liliya Shobukova.

The men’s marathon is Sunday, August 12, the final day of the London Olympics.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

October 8 129 Comments

Michael Bloomberg Takes Climate Fight To Cities

New York's former mayor and Vancouver's mayor Gregor Robertson are pushing for climate change policies at the city level.

October 8 4 Comments

John Fogerty Talks Creedence, And Life After

He was the creative force behind one of the biggest bands in the world, Creedence Clearwater Revival.

October 7 235 Comments

Lawsuit Challenges Transgender Locker Room Access At Planet Fitness

We hear a counterargument to our conversation earlier this week about how to accommodate transgender people in gyms.

October 7 12 Comments

‘I Drive Your Truck’ Songwriter Now Drives Her Brother’s Truck

Like the real-life story that inspired her hit song, Connie Harrington now drives a pickup truck to remember a loved one who died.