Always up for a party and a palace, and with more than ten days still until the Olympic women’s marathon, last night four of our Olympic women attended the “Olympians Gala 2012” at St. James Palace. Constantina Dita (ASICS), Diane Nukuri Johnson (ASICS), Irvette van Blerk (Nedbank/adidas), and Rene Kalmer (Nedbank/adidas) got together for the reception, which was hosted by the World Olympians Association with Prince Albert II of Monaco. The WOA is an ‘alumni association’ for some 100,000 athletes worldwide who have achieved Olympic status in their careers.
Olympic Marathon champ Constantina Dita was the featured star of the opening ceremonies at ASICS “Home of True Sport” at the University of East London yesterday afternoon. The Stratford location will be the site of ASICS hospitality for all sports and all guests throughout the Olympic Games. “It was really a great ceremony and I really enjoyed the day with ASICS. I stayed there for 4 or 5 hours with my sister, Irina. Mr. Hijikata, Jacques [Valentin], [Tatusya] Nagoshi-san, Akiko [Nagata] and a lot of my ASICS friends were there. We always have a lot of fun together. This year the Romanian Olympic team uniforms and casual clothing are also from ASICS.”
Constantina is in her tenth year of sponsorship with ASICS. In addition to Constantina, three other Boulder Wave Olympic marathoners this year are sponsored by ASICS: Lidia Simon and Diane Nukuri Johnson on the women’s side, and Lee Merrien for the men.
Press Release: Olympic Marathon Champ Constantina Dita Wraps up Main Training, Flies to London Tonight
July 18, 2012 (For immediate use) Reigning Olympic Marathon champion Constantina Dita completed her final hard training session this morning in her US hometown of Erie, Colorado… a set of repeat 2,000m intervals… and will fly out on this evening’s British Airways Denver/London flight to compete in her third Olympic Games. In Beijing four years …
Boulder Wave released the following press release five minutes ago: Grassroots Support Growing for Lee Merrien to be Named to UK Olympic Men’s Marathon Team April 25, 2012 A fan of British marathon runner Lee Merrien has created an impromptu Facebook page called “Select Lee Merrien” to support the selection of Merrien to the British …
In about 12 hours, the gun will go off for the 9:00 a.m. start of the elite women’s run in the Virgin London Marathon, followed 45 minutes later by the start of the elite men and mass races. Boulder Wave has nine runners from five countries in this year’s race, and interesting stores abound, with an overwhelming focus on Olympic qualification.
John Beattie (UK/adidas): budding star of the Twitter universe and Athleticos whose London prep has been entertainingly documented in a several on-line videos. John learned some valuable lessons in his 2:23 marathon debut in NYC last November, and will run with the 2:11 group with a target to be one of the top two British men AND run under 2:12:00, thereby taking one of the two remaining spots on the UK Olympic men’s marathon team.
Louise Damen (UK/adidas): debuted in 2:30:00 in last year’s Virgin London Marathon and is among 4-5 top British women with the best hopes of gaining the third spot on the British Olympic Marathon team. It is expected that the top British woman tomorrow will also have to be under 2:28:24, which is the recent best of Jo Pavey, who is currently in line for the third spot on the team.
Constantina Dita (ROU/ASICS): the 42 year old reigning Olympic Marathon Champion is aiming to qualify to return to the Olympic Games. It will take a sub-2:37:00 mark to hit the qualifying “A” standard and join Lidia Simon for a third time on Romania’s Olympic team.
Rene Kalmer (RSA/adidas/Nedbank): secured a place on South Africa’s Olympic marathon team with a wonderful 2:29:59 PB in last November’s very hot, very humid Yokohama women’s marathon. Rene is pacing the 2:28 women’s group here, which is expected to include most of the British women fighting for the final spot on their Olympic marathon team, as far as 20 miles. Last month, she paced the 2:23 lead pack of the Nagoya Women’s Marathon for 24 km.
Edna Kiplagat (KEN/Nike): the reigning IAAF Marathon World Champion is aiming to win tomorrow, and also to confirm her spot on Kenya’s Olympic team.
Lee Merrien (UK/ASICS): won the Jim Peters award in the 2011 Virgin Marathon as the top British finisher. Has had a fantastic autumn and winter of training including three stints in Kenya. Two spots remain on the British Olympic men’s marathon team, and Lee will be going out with the 2:11 pacemaking group with a target of sub-2:12 and top two British finish.
Freya Murray (UK/adidas): her maraton debut and she is jumping right into the thick of it by targeting both a fast debut and the final spot on the British Olympic Marathon team.
Louise Damen (UK/adidas): debuted in 2:30:00 in last year’s Virgin London Marathon and is among 4-5 top British women with the best hopes of gaining the third spot on the British Olympic Marathon team. As in Louise Damen’s case, Freya will need to be top British woman and finish under 2:28:24 (which is the recent best of Jo Pavey, who is currently in line for the third spot on the team) to secure that Olympic berth.
Patrick Rizzo (USA/Mizuno): will pace the 2:11 men’s group potentially as far as 20 miles. After improving his marathon PB by over two minutes with his 2:13:42in January’s US Olympic Trails, Pat will also use the race tomorrow as part of his longer-term goal of running under 2:11 in a marathon this autumn.
Irvette van Blerk (RSA/adidas/Nedbank): With a 70:56 half-marathon PB, Irvette has a promising marathon career ahead, with tomorrow’s race being her debut at the distance. A sub-2:37:00 finish to achieve the Olympic “A” standard will put her on South Africa’s Olympic marathon team.
Had dinner last night with Lee Merrien (ASICS), Constantina Dita, and Tokyo Marathon director Tad Hayano. Lee looks ready to roll. Here is a TV interview he did Channel Online TV just before flying over to London. Click here. UK athletes have their press conference at the Tower Hotel later this morning.
3 hours until Osaka start. Heading to stadium soon with Constantina, Kayoko, Kiyoko, Naoko and all. A bit cold, but good day for running: 6C temps, no wind, no humidity, clear skies. Last-minute article on Kayoko Fukushi.
Constantina Dita (ASICS) has done quite a few interviews since arriving in Osaka ten days ago. She had expected Mizuki Noguchi, who also was training in Boulder for the past ten weeks prepping for Osaka, to be back on form for Sunday’s Osaka International Women’s Marathon. That is, until Mizuki suddenly withdraw from the race this week with an inflamed . Brett Larimer of Japan Running News provides a translation of one of the articles that appeared in the January 24th from Sankei Sports newspaper. Click here for Brett’s translation, and click here for the original Japanese-language post, which includes a photo of Constantina opening the Osaka athlete’s village on Monday.