News Simon Bairu misses Olympic Standard
January 20th, 2012

A distraught Simon Bairu struggled to explain what went wrong on Sunday morning. The Regina marathoner, who trains with the Nike Project in Portland, Oregon, was sixth in the Houston Marathon in 2:19:52 — nowhere near the Canadian Olympic standard of 2:11:29.

“I’m crushed right now,” the 29-year-old Bairu said with tears streaming down his face. “I pictured myself at the Olympics in the marathon. I’m not giving up on this. Eventually I’m going to get it.”

Near perfect conditions of around 9 C and calm winds provided a sense of hope. But some erratic pacing in the early stages may have cost the runner a berth on the Olympic team.

He split the half-marathon in 1:05:11, but Bairu was already fading by that point. The first of his pacers, Tim Nelson, didn’t last long, dropping out before 15K. Bairu’s other pacer, Andrew Bumbalough, took him to 25K, where they remained on pace for the 2:11:29 standard.

Bumbalough stuck with the pace-making duties for 10K longer than expected, but after he was gone, Bairu had no others around him and couldn’t regain the tempo of the early miles.

“For someone who has never finished a marathon coming into this, expecting to run the last 10 miles at 5-minute pace by myself, wasn’t going to happen. I tried my best but it was just too tough. I just couldn’t do it,” Bairu said.

“I’m not good enough right now to do the last 10 miles by myself right now. That just killed me.”

Bairu will now take a couple of weeks off, before regrouping for a run at the 10,000m standard of 27:45 at the Payton Jordan meet in California in April. At the same event in 2010, Bairu set the Canadian record for the distance in 27:23.68.

Bairu still plans a return to the marathon, saying he wants to be a marathoner for the next six to eight years.


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