BOSTON -- After Kara Goucher last ran the Boston Marathon, she was so fresh -- and frustrated -- at the finish that she begged her coach to let her run another 26.2 miles a week later in London.
Goucher insists she has calmed down, helped in part by the perspective she gained after giving birth, in the two years since she finished third in 2009 and missed the olive wreath by nine seconds. But when she lines up in Hopkinton for the 115th Boston Marathon today, her goal remains the same.
"I have run that race again about 1,000 times in my head," she said this week after arriving in Boston. "I just want to win this thing."
After giving birth in September to a son, Colt, Goucher thinks she has figured out how to balance motherhood with her attempt to make the 2012 Olympics in London. In her first race back after childbirth, she finished second in the Arizona Half Marathon but her time of 1 hour, 14 minutes, 2 seconds showed her that she wasn't really ready for the race.
"I need to make a choice: Am I going to keep using Colt as an excuse?" she said. "I decided, 'No more excuses.' I want to be the best. I don't want to be the best who has a baby. I want to be the best."
Though Colt is getting teeth and beginning to crawl, his 32-year-old mother said having a baby around the house has helped her training. Now, she knows she doesn't have time to dawdle with half-measures, and when she trains she is more focused and effective.
To win it, Goucher will have to contend with Ethiopia's Teyba Erkesso, who is back to defend her women's title, and Dire Tune, who won in '08 and finished second in '09 -- just ahead of Goucher. Four-time Boston winner Catherine Ndereba is also back in the field, along with U.S. Olympian Blake Russell.
Kenyan Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot returns a year after breaking the course record by 82 seconds with his run of 2:05:52. Monday's forecast calls for temperatures in the low 50s with a wind of 16 mph from the west-southwest -- a tailwind that could help put his course record in jeopardy after just one year.
American Ryan Hall, who finished third in '09 and last year broke the American record in Boston, is also back for another try.
Mutai wins in London race
LONDON -- Emmanuel Mutai ran a course record at the London Marathon in leading Kenyans to the top three places Sunday, and compatriot Mary Keitany captured the women's race in her first attempt at the distance.
Mutai broke away at the 21-mile mark and finished the 26.2 miles in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 40 seconds -- the fourth-fastest marathon ever. He shattered the course record of 2:05:10 that Olympic champion Sammy Wanjiru set in 2009.