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  • Paula in Athens

    In case anyone is wondering about the timetable in Athens, and how it might affect Paula Radcliffe's decision, it's favorable for her. The marathon comes first, one Sunday, Aug. 22. The 10,000m is one race (no trials) and it's Friday, Aug. 27. So she can run the marathon, and perhaps win it with less than the all-out effort you'd normally expect from an Olympic marathon gold performance, and then run the 10,000m five days later.

    Given her recent statements, that's what I expect her to do.

    So then what should Deena do?

  • #2
    Re: Paula in Athens

    I'm familiar with several distance runners who have done the 10k/marathon double in the Olys (Shorter, Viren, etc), but the 10k preceded the marathon in those cases. I don't think it's reasonable to expect anyone, including Paula, to be able to recover from a marathon run in the heat of Athens--whether an "all out" effort or no--and come back for a track 10k. She's gonna have to choose one or the other, IMO.

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    • #3
      Re: Paula in Athens

      There's no way Paula can do that double, IMHO. Especially with the brutal conditions in Athens. Even if it's not terribly hot (yeah, right!), the air quality ain't the best.

      Loroupe did such a double in Sydney and didn't fair that well. She was 13th in the marathon (2:29:45, although I believe I remember her saying something about stomach trouble) and came back for 5th in the 10K (30:37.26).

      Dang, now that I think of it, that's a pretty good double! The 10 was only 6 days after the 26-miler!

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      • #4
        Re: Paula in Athens

        You may be right, Tom. But because the marathon is first, she has nothing to lose by trying the 10 if she feels she can then. My point is that if the two were reversed, she probably wouldn't like it one bit.

        I'm guessing that winning two Olympic races, or even two medals, is not her priority. Winning a single gold medal is, or should be. If the 10 were first, she'd run it at the risk of jeopardizing her chances in her best event. The 10 could turn out to be another Sydney, which could harm her both physically and mentally five days before the marathon.

        But with the marathon first, she can focus solely on that and then, with a gold medal in her pocket, she can try the 10 and give it as much as she can, if she feels up to it. No doubt, she will not do as well in the 10 after a marathon as she would do in the 10 if it preceeded the marathon. But I'm sure she'd prefer it the way it is.

        So what about Deena?

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        • #5
          Re: Paula in Athens

          And weren't there heats in the 10 in Sydney?

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          • #6
            Re: Paula in Athens

            "Given her recent statements"? Has she said anything beyond that she's leaning toward the 10K because of Athens' polluted air. I recall that's why Deena said she definitely won't run the marathon in Athens.

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            • #7
              Re: Paula in Athens

              I stand corrected on Deena. Listening to a USATF teleconference with her right now; says she'll make her final decision on Athens event "by the end of the year."

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              • #8
                Re: Paula in Athens

                Bob Hersh's comments about Paula winning the marathon first and then taking whatever she can in the 10k makes sense. But I remember Frank Shorter saying a 10k competition a week before the marathon was ideal preparation for a marathon. I'll bet nobody ever said a marathon less than a week before a 10k is ideal preparation for a 10k.

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                • #9
                  Re: Paula in Athens

                  Let me put Shorter's Munich "ideal preparation" into even sharper focus.

                  He won the Olympic gold in 2:12:20 on 10 September.

                  What did he do the week before that? On 31 August he ran the 10K heats in 27:58.2; on 3 September he finished 5th in the final in 27:51.4. Oh yeah, both of those races were American Records.

                  Today's wussy-assed coaching methods don't even allow for 10K heats, let alone PRing twice.

                  ps--how the mighty have fallen! Imagine being the director of USADA; you're at a party and some gorgeous woman says, "Hi, who are you?" and your response, is "Oh, I'm Frank Shorter; I collect piss for a living."

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                  • #10
                    Re: Paula in Athens

                    "Wussy-assed coaching methods" aren't the reason heats have been dropped. The idea is to avoid yawners like the '92 Trials, where the athletes jogged through two 10K heats to eliminate one or two guys. I think someone dropped out of the second heat, so everyone just had to finish.

                    The last time I remember heats in a champs 10 (95 Worlds), they weren't so wussy-assed. Twelve guys broke 28:00 in the second heat.

                    Maybe "gold-plated" is what you really mean. Athletes want to save themselves for the money races, not waste hard efforts in a heat.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Paula in Athens

                      And who set up the '92 Trials (both in terms of number of qualifiers to begin with, and what the advancement procedure would be)?

                      The same wussy-assed coaches who have spent the last 20 years leaching every bit of competitiveness out of the sport possible.

                      ps--this thread no longer bears any resemblance to its original title!

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                      • #12
                        Re: Paula in Athens

                        Given the expected circumstances, I think it would be very unwise to try and double in Athens. Running the marathon there will be enough - or too much - of a risk at it is.
                        The worst news on that front: sports lost to commerce in the decision to schedule the marathons at night instead of early morning. It will not only be much, much warmer, but the pollution is almost at its highest at the time the runners will compete now.
                        So even if you finish the marathon, it is very well possible you will need enormous amounts of time to recuperate from it - let alone try and run again a few days later. I believe there are several examples of people who never came back to their original level after running another championship marathon Athens (was it WC '97? EC in the eighties?). Also, althought the accomplishments of Loroupe are truly remarkable, she is really not the poster girl for sensible decisions in the amount of races to run...

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                        • #13
                          Re: Deena in Athens

                          Thing is with Deena, she'd still have to do well in the Olympic trials inorder to select the marathon (although I've no doubt she could do so). I personally think she would stand a better chance in the marathon, although this years track season my change my mind. Best of luck to her in whatever she decides.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Paula in Athens

                            Oh no, this is the first... :-p

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                            • #15
                              Re: Paula in Athens

                              >Oh no, this is the first... :-p

                              Right-that I could find but I'm on a dial up and it is difficult.

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