Yesterday, I posted my picks for the elite women running Boston, so I will also share my chocies for the Boston 2014 elite men's field. It could easily be a list of one, but I added a few others for sport.
1. Meb Keflezieghi, my running idol. Man, it would be amazing if he won. He has so much experience, marathons back to 2002! He got the silver in the 04 Olympics and a 4th place finish in the 12 Olympics. One of the most consistent runners in the world. Had a tough race (that I posted about) in NY last year, but he's back and I want him to have an amazing race. Same age as me (so yeah, the oldest in the entire Boston elite field), and a true running machine, but more than that, one of the most amazing, wonderful and inspirational runners on the world stage now or at any time in history. Can you tell I'm a fan? 100% Team Meb! (BTW, his brother Hawi's bday was a few days ago, so a win (or even just a triumphant strong finish) would be extra-nice.) Running in honor of one of the victims (and his foundation gave $10,000 to that foundation).
2. Gebre Gebremariam, mostly because I love his name. Oh yeah, and he has the second fastest qualifying time.
3. Dennis Kimetto has the Kenya thing going and the fastest qualifying time. Trains with Mutai, running in Iten. Lots and lots of marathon experience.
4. Micah Kogo, from Eldorado, Kenya (as with the women, the theme of my elite men picks is the connection to the Running with the Kenyans book).
5. Abdi Abdirahman, the Black Cactus. Picking him because, as with the women, it just feels right to be cheering for a couple Americans (and I'm just not on the Ryan Hall bandwagon, but of course, if he has a great race, it would be just as awesome). Like Ryan, Abdi dropped out in the Olympics, but from what I've read, he's had a solid training build-up.
6. Vitaliy Shafar because I think Ukraine could use a victory right now. He's got a lot of marathon experience, going back to 2006 and including the Rome marathon, which warms my heart. He is engaged to one of the Boston 2014 female elites.
This list was tough. I also like Wilson Chebet (athletic family, solid running, trains in Eldoret), and Frankline Chepkwony (cool name, also trains with Kimetto and Mutai in Iten). Lelisa Desisa could do it, but I think he's still too young -- but it's a name we'll keep seeing I bet, and he might pull it out this year (he was 3d in Boston in 2011 (his wife also ran and had the fastest combined H-W marathon time in the world), and this will be his 4th Boston, so lots of course experience, which will undoubtedly help).
So I'll be mostly rooting for Meb, but if it's not him winning it all, my allegiance goes to Kenya, and if not a Kenyan (or another American), then a strong performance by anyone will make me teary, excited, thrilled, inspired, etc.
I've got my list of friends to track (and came up with a way to track 20 runners simultaneously, thanks to the beauty of the Citrix work environment!), and I'm very excited about marathon Monday. So excited in fact, that I'm toying with the idea of trying to register for 2015 when it opens (and maybe trying for a faster qualifying time before then). Very mixed feelings, and very tentative, but this week, it's definitely a thought.