I've just posted my latest article at The Runner's Tribe, where I take a look at the amazing races run at the Chicago Marathon last weekend. In particular, I take a look at Desiree Davila's 2:26:20 performance for 4th place, which also made her the 4th fastest American ever. Here's a snippet:
I think this performance by Davila is remarkable for a few reasons. It's not the 2:26 time in and of itself, as it puts her roughly in the top 500 performances ever. But she's just 30 seconds behind Kara Goucher's personal best of 2:25:53, and she has done it by slowly and steadily improving over the course of the past four years.
Desiree Davila ran in high school in Chula Vista, California and never won a state championship race. She never won a Pac-10 title at Arizona State either, much less an NCAA title. She was a very good runner in a conference known for its great runners. She did earn an All-American at 5000m in 2003 and still ranks 10th all-time at ASU for the distance, running 16:17.45, but she never projected to be a future Olympian. Suddenly she is as good a bet to make the Olympics as any other woman out there.
A couple years after graduating she ran her first marathon in 2:44:56 at the Boston Marathon 2007. She then ran 2:37:50 at the Olympic Trials in April, 2008, and 2:31:33 at the Chicago Marathon in October of that year. Ten months later she ran 2:27:53 at the World Championships to finish one spot behind Goucher. And now her 5th marathon is yet another PR. She's like a 5'2" Latina Brian Sell, with leg speed...
To read the rest of the article, click here.