Saturday, October 31, 2009

Your five mile marker's in a Brooklyn basement

If you're at all interested in running, you should watch the New York Marathon here on Sunday. It was originally a great race, but then the runners started to get worn out before the race even started. Two of the fastest men, Martin Lel and Patrick Makau, balked at the thought of running the race, as did five of the women. That still leaves a very good collection of runners, but it could have been much better.

Odds make this much more fun, so let's see what they are, courtesy of Oddschecker.

Jaouad Gharib - 5/2
James Kwambai - 9/2
Patrick Makau - 5/1
Ryan Hall - 5/1
Marilson Gomes dos Santos - 6/1
Robert Cheruiyot - 9/1

The rest of the guys won't win. The temptation is to go for Gharib or Kwambai, since they've run a 2:05 and a 2:04 this year. Gharib is very reliable, but almost never wins, except of course for the consecutive world championships he won. I won't pick Kwambai just because the guy with the fastest PB never wins, it's just too simple.

Patrick Makau debuted with a 2:06 in his first marathon this year, and I'd bet on him if he's running, which he's not according to a Kenyan newspaper.

Robert Cheruiyot at the bottom ran well enough to finish 5th at the World Championships, but I see no compelling reason for him to win.

That leaves Ryan Hall, who is white and has blonde hair, and Marilson Gomes dos Santos, who has only won two of the last three New York Marathons, but nobody thinks he's all that good.

If Makau isn't running, then Kwambai (second at Boston in '07, second at Berlin in '08, second at Rotterdam in '09) will finally win something.

On the women's side, we have the following odds:

Paula Radcliffe - 1/3
Salina Kosgei - 9/2
Yuri Kano - 9/1
Ludmila Petrova - 9/1

Radcliffe, unless she's sick or is running at the Olympics, always wins. Kosgei won Boston this year, so she's the better payoff. Kano will only be a factor if the pace is slow and something weird happens. Petrova is 41 years old, though she was second last year.

Speaking of gambling, here's an interesting article about how this Sunday's football games ruined Las Vegas.

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