Saturday, August 16, 2008

There's something about sunsets here that I don't quite understand. For a city where you often can't see the sky or the horizon because of pollution, the sunsets are astonishing. I saw a fiery orange sunset over the mountains last Saturday, a dazzling pink Tuesday night tonight, and as I headed out for a 10-mile run, an electric indigo. The other strange thing about tonight was that I was actually a little cold when I stepped out the door: it was only 22 degrees, making the run actually comfortable.

The weather is good here in Korea and the weather will be good tomorrow for the women's marathon in Beijing, where, so far, no athletes have dissolved in the Venetian heat of that city-planet. You might recall the dire predictions that outdoor exercise in Beijing was a life-threatening undertaking due to the heat, humidity and pollution. Therefore, it's astonishing that all 31 competitors in last night's women's 10,000 metres are, to the best of my knowledge, still technically alive. After all, it's not the case that there had been international competitions held in Beijing in August in the past, never mind competitions with a mortality rate of zero.

Tomorrow's forecast in Beijing is for a starting temperature of 22 degrees at the 7:30 start, rising to 28 degrees by the roughly 10 am finish. Those are horrid conditions for a marathon, to be sure, and they're typical of Beijing in August, but it's nothing that hasn't happened before, not that the anti-China hysteria is concerned with what has and hasn't happened before.

Given my fondness for the obscure, I'm going to root for the Chinese: Zhou Chunxiu has the times (2:19), big city win (London 2007), championship and hot-weather credentials (runner-up at in last year's world championships, which were hotter), and not to mention the home-field advantage, to win this. If Chunxiu wins, she will be accused of coming out of nowhere, you know, by being Chinese and not American. If Chunxiu doesn't win, I pick a Kenyan, any Kenyan. The winning time will be no faster than 2:28.

No comments: