Last weekend was a big weekend of racing, and this weekend, well there’s more. The Toronto Yonge Street 10k is going down on Sunday, and of course there will be lots of Canadians acing on the track in California, too.
Last weekend was big for the marathon. Dylan Wykes made the Olympic standard! Rob Watson didn’t but boy did he try. Lanni Marchant and Krista Duchene destroyed the IAAF standard, and despite initial reports from the Brantford Expositor, that won’t be enough to send them to London. I’m sure much will be made of this, but the standards won’t change. If we focus our energy on a different question though, we may make progress: why are the standards the way they are? According to the criteria, the reason is to send athletes who will finish in the top 12. So just making it is not enough. You can agree or disagree with this philosophy (and you can certainly question the reasoning: a cynic would say there’s a financial motivation in there somewhere), but it is hardly unique. The Dutch and French men’s marathon standards are 2:10–tougher than ours. So it’s not like we are the only country with a high bar for entry into the Olympics. I am anxiously awaiting the next blog post from Graydon Snider who mentioned to me the other day that data on Olympic medal counts indicates that after a certain threshold, a direct relationship between the number of bodies sent and medals won. I wonder how that relates to track and field specifically, though, since, while we can agree that Marchant and Duchene would not be out of place at the London Games, they do not consitute medal threats in the way Armstrong or Lopes-Schliep now do. Then again, the hurdler is an example of a surprise happening. I do think sprinting is a bit of a different game, however, and Lopes-Schliep had the 12th fastest time in 2008 going into the Olympics. Marchant and Duchene are ranked around 150. Even with a shrunken field, they are long-shots to medal at best. The question is, is that what matters?
All this to say, let’s move on, for now. I will link to Graydon’s Olympics blog when he posts it. (he did post something on the Olympics, just not with that data yet)
Meanwhile on the streets of Toronto, Reid Coolsaet, Kip Kangogo, and our own Ryan Noel-Hodge will go toe-to-toe on a fast road 10k. Well, Ryan probably won’t be with Kip and Reid as they chase a sub-28 10k, but he will be shooting for his first sub-30, and Yonge Street is the place to do it. Toe-to-toe is appropriate as well as Ryan’s been nursing a little blister on his big toe. Funny how it’s always the toe with him. Not a bad weak spot to have, I guess. Better than a mushy hamstring. He should be fine on Sunday.
There are less than 100 days to the Olympics, and almost all of them will be packed with running!