Thursday, March 27, 2008

Familiar Faces in Fedinburgh

Ever since the Marathon Trials, Ben has been saying Out-With-The-Old. Naturally, I tried to remind him how strong someone like Adam Goucher looked as recently as Outdoor Nationals in 2007. You see, I believe that select old farts may still have a trick or two up their collective sleeves. I'm just hoping that trick is not one of my grandpa's personal favorites: namely an old fart, itself... released only after beckoning me over as if he had a juicy secret to tell and had a firm grip on my arm so I couldn't run away from the stink.

Now, my counterpart will gladly say that in any contemporary race, he'd take an Andrew Carlson over an Alan Culpepper... a James Carney over a Dan Browne... a Ryan Bak over a re-animated Glenn Cunningham. I would point out that he also takes no-reach-around over a reach-around as proof that his judgment is often less than sound... but no matter. The bottom line is that the US squad traveling to Edinburgh this weekend is the team that could ultimately show whether there's any weight to the much-trumpeted US distance running resurgence.

This year's group is essentially a team of our Tier 2 guys, at least in terms of track PRs. Consider their lack of world-level accomplishments and I think we can safely call it Tier 2b. The successes Hall and Webb have had the past 12 months will be remembered as nothing but singular talents heating up, unless this new era of ballyhooed depth eventually puts up and shows that the US, as a whole, is in a better place than it was over the past two decades. And thus, Edinburgh is proving grounds #1 as a pair of domestically-brewed NCAA Cross champs with limited international cachet lead a troupe of athletes that the Euros and East Africans could easily mistake for a bunch of guys who bought US kits on Ebay and snuck onto the starting line.

Come Sunday, in addition to seeing whether 2008 is, indeed, Year Zero in American Distance Running Post African Dominance... when you're scanning the results this weekend, here are some other familiar names to look for after the cadre of East Africans up front:
  • Craig Mottram - AUS (Maybe you've heard of him)
  • Andrew Letherby - AUS - (fixture on US scene)
  • Andrew Ledwith - Rep of Ire (cum Iona)
  • Alistair Cragg - Rep of Ire (Arkansas)
  • Keith Kelly - Rep of Ire (Providence)
  • Vinny Mulvey - Rep of Ire (Iona)
  • Marilson dos Santos - BRA (2006 NYC Champ)
  • Dylan Wykes - CAN (Providence)
  • Tom Lancashire - Mediocre Britain (FSU)
  • Andrew Lemoncello - Mediocre Britain (FSU)
  • Cleveland Ford - Guyana (Just 'cause)
Will the US guys be distracted by this Guyanese runner who I'm absolutely certain must look exactly like the same-named character from Family Guy? We shall see. Ultimately, Edinburgh is the perfect chance for us 'Mericans to lose the bally and just start hooing.

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