Olympic Trials Marathon Course
Posted Monday, 10 September, 2007
It goes without saying that one of the primary concerns of a marathoner is the nature of the course on which he or she will run. The road surface, turns, and most importantly, hills, determine just how easy or difficult a route will be. Inclement weather and/or wind also greatly affect a route. Some runners excel on straight, flat, fast courses, while others prefer more challenging routes. For the upcoming men’s Olympic Trials Marathon in New York City on November 3, those hoping for a challenging route will be rewarded: few would characterize the route as flat or fast.
According to the New York Road Runners Club, “The race will start in front of New York City’s Rockefeller Center on 50th Street near Fifth Avenue, with St. Patrick’s Cathedral as the backdrop. Athletes will run past famous New York City locations, including Radio City Music Hall, Times Square, and Carnegie Hall, and will enter Central Park at Seventh Avenue. From there, they will begin the course’s criterium loops: one four-mile circuit followed by four identical five-mile circuits, and will finish on the park’s west side at Tavern on the Green.”
Central Park, while far from mountainous, features regular, rolling hills that will favor a strength runner who can power up, over, and down these undulations while sustaining the sub five-minute miles that will undoubtedly be required to finish among the top three and earn a spot on the Olympic team.
The five-mile loop will be familiar to those that have run in the USATF 8-km Championships the past several years, as it will follow that route in a reverse direction. Many very fast times have been run in the 8-km championships, but as everyone knows, a course is much different the third or fourth time around than it is on a single revolution.