CU alum Dathan Ritzenhein headlines the field at this weekend's Rock 'n' Roll Denver Marathon and Half Marathon. Nobody knows how he'll do...but you can guess, and win a great prize if you guess well.
The Competitor Group, organizer of the Rock 'n' Roll series of races across the country, has partnered with RunColo to build anticipation for this Sunday's race. Readers can predict Dathan Ritzenhein's half marathon finish time and the closest prediction wins two entries to the 2011 Rock 'n' Roll Denver Marathon or Half Marathon, a VIP package, and swag bag!
The 2011 race is a long ways away, but the 2010 race sold out and it's apparent that this is already one of the "must run" events in Colorado. Whether in the marathon, half marathon, or just checking out what promises to be a great post-race concert, you know that you'll want to be a part of this race year after year, so go ahead and enter and try for a chance at two free entries.
Ritz grew up in Michigan and competed collegiately for CU where he won an individual NCAA cross country title. He ran, albeit injuried, in the 10,000 meters at the 2004 Olympics and was the top American finisher at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where he finished 9th in 2:11:59. In 2009, he ran a then American record 12:56 in the 5,000 meters and ran 60:00 for a bronze medal at the World Half Marathon Championships. Just a month ago at the Great North Run in the UK he ran 1:02:35. His post-race blog expresses some disappointment in that performance. He's currently training for the NYC Marathon and has recently trained at altitude in New Mexico.
Learn more about Dathan at his blog.
What can he run for the half marathon distance in Denver then? The state half marathon record is Alan Culpepper's 1:04:52 from the 2006 Denver Marathon half marathon, a race he won by a significant margin. The Competitor video that announced that Ritz would be racing indicated that he planned to challenge that record. Other than a slight nod to Culpepper in the marathon, Ritz generally has PRs faster than Culpepper. Coming from altitude in New Mexico and with, I presume, an altitude tent at home in Portland, it's doubtful that the altitude will be much of a shock to his system. With the altitude, the Denver course surely is slower than the Great North Run course and it's likely that he'll race all 13.1 miles solo in Denver (versus racing a competitive international field in the UK). All that considered, I think something between the 1:02:35 that he ran at the Great North Run and the 1:04:52 that Alan Culpepper ran in 2006 is likely.
To participate in the contest, simply comment below with your expected finish time. Either register with RunColo or even easier, for Facebook members, just log in using the Facebook Connect function at the top of the browser. We can't accept anonymous entrants. With the race on Sunday, October 17th, we'll close voting at 9 AM on Saturday.
Tie breaker - predict the winning time in the full marathon event. It Ritz runs 1:04:00 and the closest predictions are 1:03:58 and 1:04:02, the contest will fall to a tie breaker, so please make sure to include your prediction for the winning marathon time.
Everyone is of course encouraged to come out and line the streets of Denver on Sunday. Ritz will face a challenge against the clock, and perhaps against one of Colorado's fastest runners and potentially against other elites. Show some support and help spur him onto a successful race and a strong final few weeks leading up to the NYC Marathon. The race starts at 6:55 AM downtown.
Good luck to Ritz and contest entrants, and thanks to the Competitor Group for their contribution to the contest and the Colorado running community.