The Olympic Marathons are just awe inspiring. I watched the 2004 Athens marathons from the comfort of my sofa, which led to my first half in late 2004 and my first full in 2005, and I've never looked back.
I watched tonight's men's marathon, again amazed at how fast these guys cover the miles. Knowing now what goes on during a race and how difficult it can be, I felt for 4th place finisher Deriba Merga who looked to kick in another gear at the end and found the well dry. Definitely been there.
While I'm glad NBC covered the race live and in full, the more I think back, the more I feel they could have done a much better job. I thought they spent way too much time on the lead pack, and lost out on all the plots and sub-plots brewing behind. Here's what I would have done, asked, and covered more:
- Where's Stefano Baldini, 2004 gold medalist? What's he doing back there? How did he end up in 12th place?
- How did Ryan Hall pick off runners, moving from the 20's to finish in 10th place?
- What's up with Dathan Ritz running ahead of Ryan for the entire race?
- How did Hendrick Ramaala, 2004 NYC winner, go from lead pack to finish in 44th?
- How did Martin Lel, 2007 London and NYC winner, drop off the lead pack in the 2nd half, and then come back to almost beat a wiped-out Merga at the finish, settling for 5th place.
- Show the view from the chase pack looking ahead at the lead pack. Are they gaining or fading? I think the chase pack is where there's more tension, more heartache. It's where the fight is, the mind games, the struggle to close the gap.
- Despite their overwhelming coverage of the lead pack, when Wanjiru made his move to break away of the lead pack for good, NBC missed it, and we saw Ritz and Hall running through a water stop instead. Their lead pack camera crew should be given an automatic pass to cut back in anytime they see someone making a move.
- Now that I think about it, the NBC commentators told us precious little about the 3 eventual winners. It's like they hardly knew who they were.
What else do you think they should have done?
And London - you can do better!