Monday, October 10, 2011

Curtis Logging Big Miles in Lead Up to NYC Marathon

Bobby Curtis is making his marathon debut at the ING New York City Marathon on November 6th, after a successful half-marathon debut (1:01:52) in Philadelphia last month. His most recent three weeks of training have maxed out at 112, 116, and 131 miles, respectively, and all seems to be going well. Trying to predict how well Curtis will do in New York, however, is no easy thing. For example, the only non-African to run faster (1:01:34) than Curtis at the Philadelphia Half Marathon in September was the Aussie Shawn Forrest, formerly of the University Arkansas. Last weekend Forrest ran the Chicago marathon, hit the wall at 35K, and bonked (44:25) over the final 7 kilometers, finishing in 2:33:30. A similar good-day-gone-bad struck former Providence All American Martin Fagan in Chicago. Fagan was on 2:11 pace at the 40K mark, but collapsed in the final mile and had to be taken off the course. While one cannot predict such occurrences, one can at least assess a runner's potential in other ways. One way to get a clue is to consult a conversion chart for VO2 max and race times. Looking at Curtis's PRs at the mile, 5000 meters, 10,000 meters, and now the half marathon, the conversion chart predicts a marathon time of about 2:11:30. Actually, Bobby's 10,000 meter PR (27:24.67) predicts a 2:08:50-2:09:00 marathon, whereas his half-marathon PR (1:01:52) predicts a 2:11:30 marathon. However, as Forrest and Fagan can confirm, what happens at the back end of a marathon is hard to predict.

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