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 issued by Boulder Wave five minutes ago… Lee Merrien Named to UK Olympic Men’s Marathon Team! April 27, 2012 The British Olympic Association has today formally named Lee Merrien to the UK Olympic team in the men’s marathon for this summer’s London Olympic Games. Merrien was at first left off Team GB when …
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 Sunday’s Virgin London Marathon, Lee Merrien (ASICS) took his marathon down another notch, improving from 2:14:27 to 2:13:41, thereby winning the Jim Peters Award (photo above) as the top British finisher for a second consecutive year. Despite now being well clear of the Olympic “A” standard of 2:15:00, Lee was left off the team by UK Athletics in their team announcement on Monday. There has been some commotion in the UK this week over the Federation’s selection standard of 2:12:00 for UK Men; as one knowledgable guest at the Tower Hotel in London pointed out earlier this week, the marathon and race walking events are the only ones for which UK Athletics decided to set qualification standards higher than those set by the IAAF.
The website Ethical Athletics posted strong support for Lee on their site yesterday in an article simply titled, “The Case for Lee Merrien.” Please read the comments and add your support for Lee’s cause.
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.