Monday, April 20, 2009

Close Marathon Finishes

The American press, from ESPN to CNN, colorfully reported on the very close finish at today's Boston Marathon where Kenya's Salina Kosgei out-ran Ethopia's Dire Tune in a time of 2:32:16 to 2:32:17.

Down-to-the-wire marathon runs are, frankly, rare.

In contrast, exciting down-to-the-wire finishes are the norm in marathon swimming. Rarely in the sport of marathon swimming is there a clear-cut victory.

Exciting...nail-biting...neck-and-neck...mano-a-mano...stroke-for-stroke...inseparable...too-close-to-call...photo-finish...these are words that most often appropriately the finishes at pro marathon swims and many open water swims around the world (see the men's 2007 world 10K championship finish on left).


While today's Boston Marathon was an exciting battle, can people outside of our open water swimming community imagine the physical toughness and mental strength it takes to constantly battle for over 8 hours in the water?

Above is a typical finish at a pro race and below is one video that shows Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria outswims Stéphane Gomez of France in a 57K (35.4 miles!) river race in Argentina (the 2008 Maratón Acuática Santa Fe - Coronda).

8 hours and 20 minutes of a neck-and-neck swim...enjoy the finish few minutes of the race.

2 comments:

Mike Solberg said...

Wow.

Anonymous said...

cool, that is amazing. after 35+ miles they are cranking!

reminds me a little of the photos I've seen of the '89 Ironman race between Dave Scott and Mark Allen. The finish wasn't that close, Mark Allen ended up winning by about a minute, but there are loads of pictures of the two of them literally inches from each other throughout the day on the swim, bike, transitions, and especially the run.

It's incomprehensible to me to think of *racing* with that intensity and focus for that long!