when the lead runners went out with a 4:41 first mile in the hot, 85 degree conditions, they were all-in and weren't holding anything back. the lead pack eventually dwindled down to a two-man race, and when sammy wansiru crossed the finish line 44 seconds ahead of jaouad gharib of Morocco, he had taken 3 minutes off the previous olympic marathon record. he also became the first kenyan to win a gold medal in the olympic marathon! wansiru's 2:06:32 was an even more spectacular accomplishment when viewed against the unrelentingly hot and sunny conditions he faced throughout the race!
dan ritzenhein and ryan hall finished 9th and 10th, respectively, but well out of medal contention. given the tough weather conditions, they had solid performances. that said, hall's 2:12:33 finish was well off the 2:09:02 he ran to win the united states trials last november and his 2:08:24 at the london marathon. the third member of the u.s. team, brian sell, finished in 22nd place with 2:16:07 (well-off the 2:11 he ran at the u.s. trials).
this was the first time in 32 years that 2 americans finished in the top ten at an olympic marathon! not since the 1976 olympic marathon in montreal, when frank shorter took 2nd and don kardong took 4th, have a pair of americans done this well!
check out the ny times coverage.
check out the san francisco chronicle coverage.