April 19, 2009

Boston Marathon

For the first time in years, an American is the top seed in the Boston Marathon: Ryan Hall.

Hall was born and raised in Big Bear Lake, a Southern California ski resort town set at an altitude of 6,750 feet, similar to that of the home regions of many of his Kenyan competitors. (Some Ethiopian runners are from even higher altitudes.)

The Washington Post reports:
Hall's task will be formidable, with three-time defending champion and four-time Boston winner Robert Cheruiyot competing, along with Evans Cheruiyot, who won the Chicago Marathon last fall in 2:06:25, and Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, who ran 2:07:21 to win the 2008 Frankfurt Marathon in his debut.

Yes, many of the top Kenyan runners are related (they mostly come from the Kalenjin tribe that only makes up about one-tenth of the population of Kenya), but the ridiculous similarity of names among Kenyan runners is, I think, mostly intentional: teenage boys pick out running names for themselves to compete under as tributes to their heroes. Presumably, taking a phony name also helps in qualifying for the World Junior Cross-Country championships when overage by muddying the waters.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Reticent Man said...

Hall may be the top seed because his qualifying time was better, but he's not the favorite. Hall's betting odds are +500 ($100 returns $600 total $500 profit), while the favorite by far is Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot at +137 (i.e. only slightly worse than 50-50).


dearieme said...

"Hall's betting odds are +500 ($100 returns $600 total $500 profit)": we used to say that the odds were 5 to 1 against. Has that habit changed? It had the disadvantage that ignorant journalists (is there a redundancy there?) would often misreport it as the odds "on" something being 5 to 1.

Anonymous said...

Here's a comment I left on WBZ's website after the end of the race:

"1. You should never interview our top American female racer seconds before the start of her marathon race. I was appalled that you would do that. Let her focus and concentrate.

2. Why on earth would you break away for a commercial less than two miles from the finish of the women's race with Goucher in the lead? Ridiculous.

3. Your focus on Tune after she collapsed was intrusive and upsetting. You completely ignored the winner, Biktimirova, and even worse, you ignored Goucher crossing the finish in 3rd place, and her emotion afterwards. Why on earth would you not show Goucher at that truly historic moment? As an American man who has followed the Boston Marathon for years,and was truly excited to see two Americans racing so well, I was enraged and appalled that you denied so many viewers the chance to watch Goucher cross the finish line in historic fashion. All because you were more focused on sensationalism, and so eager to stick a camera into the face of a racer in serious medical need. You showed me a side of your station that disgusts me.

Beyond this, I know that your staff was doing the best that they could do, and this marathon was truly historic."

Mike said...

You forgot the biggest reason for the similarity in names-passport fraud.

Reticent Man said...

quote: Has that habit changed? It had the disadvantage that ignorant journalists (is there a redundancy there?) would often misreport it as the odds "on" something being 5 to 1.

I'm not an industry expert but I think the answer is that it's largely changed. I think live horse racing still uses x to y odds. The big advantage of +500 is no decimals when you get more detailed odds. For example a typical NFL spread on an online site might be -104 for each side, and the vig is built in to the line. I think that's better than listing it as "1 to 1.04" dont you? Another moneyline might be -114 and +105.

Confusing ignorant journalists is just a happy side effect in this case.

The euros have yet another way of doing it which I'm not totally familiar with.

Hall finished 3rd, the favorite Robert C. dropped out at about 22 miles and went to the hospital. Another Kenyan won.