Meb Keflezighi outlines New York City Marathon goals

AP
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NEW YORK — Meb Keflezighi would be satisfied with a top-10 finish in his 10th New York City Marathon.

“Goal No. 1 is to try to win,” he said. “Goal No. 2 is to be top three, then top five, then top six. If I can’t do that, top 10.”

The 40-year-old is the last American to win the five-borough race, in 2009, and has finished in the top 10 seven out of his nine starts dating to 2002.

“If I can land any of those [top-10s], it would be awesome,” said Keflezighi, the only men’s or women’s winner from the U.S. since Alberto Salazar in 1982. “Obviously, the closer to No. 1, the better.”

A top-10 should be no problem for Keflezighi, if his recent form holds up. Last year, he won the Boston Marathon in a personal-best 2:08:37, then finished fourth in New York in blustery conditions in 2:13:18 and in April returned to Boston with an eighth-place 2:12:42.

Ten men in the field other than Keflezighi have ever run faster than 2:13:18 over 26.2 miles, and New York is not a course conducive to personal bests.

Keflezighi will also race Sunday with the Olympic trials in 104 days in Los Angeles (live on NBC) resting in the back of his mind.

His biggest remaining goal in marathon running is to make a fourth Olympic team in 2016, and he has successful experience with short turnarounds to know he can perform well in November and February.

The biggest gauge for Keflezighi’s chances to finish in the top three in the Olympic trials will be how he performs Sunday.

The race includes one other top contender for the U.S. Olympic team, Nick Arciniaga, who is ranked No. 7 in the nation in marathon times since the 2012 Olympics.

Obviously, if Keflezighi is slower than Arciniaga, who famously finished 10th in New York last year with bloody nipples, then his trials hopes will take a major hit.

The 2004 Olympic silver medalist Keflezighi has the second-fastest marathon by an American since the 2012 Olympics, behind Dathan Ritzenhein.

In 2016, Keflezighi will be older than any previous U.S. Olympic runner. He plans to run beyond Rio, which would be his 24th time competing over 26.2 miles.

“And then maybe one Boston, and then finish up in New York [with a 26th marathon] would be huge,” he said.

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Asher Hong leads U.S. men’s gymnastics world team selection camp after first day

Asher Hong
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Asher Hong, 18, posted the highest all-around score on the first of two days of competition at the U.S. men’s gymnastics selection camp to determine the last three spots on the team for the world championships that start in three weeks.

Hong, bidding to become the youngest U.S. man to compete at worlds since Danell Leyva in 2009, totaled 84.6 points in Colorado Springs. He edged Colt Walker by one tenth. Tokyo Olympians Shane Wiskus (84.15) and Yul Moldauer (83.95) were next. Full apparatus-by-apparatus scores are here.

Brody Malone, who repeated as U.S. all-around champion at August’s national championships, and runner-up Donnell Whittenburg already clinched spots on the five-man team for worlds in Liverpool, Great Britain. They did not compete Monday, though their results from the first day of nationals are shown in the official scores.

The three remaining team spots will not necessarily go to the top three all-arounders at this week’s camp, which is supposed to be weighed equally with results from August’s nationals. Hong was third at nationals, but if excluding difficulty bonus points from that meet that will not be considered by the committee, would have finished behind Walker and Moldauer in August.

A selection committee is expected to announce the team soon after the second and final day of selection camp competition on Wednesday evening. The committee will look at overall scoring potential for the world team final, where three men go per apparatus, and medal potential in individual events.

Stephen Nedoroscik, who last year became the first American to win a world title on the pommel horse, is trying to make the team solely on that apparatus. He wasn’t at his best at nationals and struggled again on Monday, hurting his chances of displacing an all-arounder for one of the last three spots.

The U.S. has reason to emphasize the team event over individual medals at this year’s worlds. It will clinch an Olympic berth by finishing in the top three, and its medal hopes are boosted by the absence of the Russians who won the Olympic team title. All gymnasts from Belarus and Russia are banned indefinitely from international competition due to the war in Ukraine.

In recent years, the U.S. has been among the nations in the second tier behind China, Japan and Russia, including in Tokyo, where the Americans were fifth.

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Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship
Ironman
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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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