by Robert Johnson, April 13, 2013Boston, MA – Its 7:18 pm on Saturday night and I haven’t written our Boston marathon preview yet. That’s a problem. Getting the Boston marathon preview correct is by far the most important act we at do all year.Why?Because the race is always on during the day on a Monday. Assuming you aren’t in HS or college (or unemployed), you the loyal letsrun reader will be watching it or following it live at work on Monday.And you are known as the “running nerd expert” at work and your co-workers will likely come by your cubicle and ask you what’s going on and what they can expect to see. Get this wrong, and your promotion from your “newly into running” boss is out the window. Is there a little office romance brewing? Well, if you’re exposed as just a “running nerd” and not “running expert,” you can kiss that good-bye as well. Women (and for the moment I’m assuming you’re male), love guys with a passion, they don’t love running nerds.Let that serve as my apology for skipping the cocktail social being put on at 7:30 by the guys at Global Athletics and here we go.The men’s race at the 2013 Boston Marathon will be won by one of the following people.Lelisa Desisa BentiEthiopia2:04:45 (Dubai, 2013)2Gebregziabher GebremariamEthiopia2:04:53 (Boston, 2011)3Markos GenetiEthiopia2:04:54 (Dubai, 2012)4Levy MateboKenya2:05:16 (Frankfurt, 2011)6Dickson ChumbaKenya2:05:46 (Eindhoven, 2012) CR8Robert Kiprono CheruiyotKenya2:05:52 (Boston, 2010)9Wesley KorirKenya2:06:13 (Chicago, 2012)1Raji AssefaEthiopia2:06:24 (Paris, 2012)10Deriba MergaEthiopia2:06:38 (London, 2008)5Micah KogoKenyaDebut19Now, some of your co-workers will say, “How do you know? What about the Americans? You’re not giving them a chance.”This is the fallacy the average non-runner has. For some reason, they think that if people just try hard, that anyone can win. People don’t really think that with other sports but for some reason they think it’s true about running.Now no matter what, make sure you don’t respond to your co-worker with the following: “Look if we went oustside and raced, we all know I’d kick your fat-butt 1000 times out of 1000.” Make sure you phrase your response properly.How about:“(Laugh). I wish that was the case. Did you watch the NCAA basketball tournament? Well what happens when a #16 seed plays a #1? They always lose. That’s what we’ve got here – a huge mis-match.”Now, that should quiet them down but if they are a real sports nut – they may say, “But the Harvard women – a 16 seed – once won. So it’s got to happen eventually on the men’s side.”Well, that’s true. Harvard did win once.But think of it this way. The American men are a #16 seed and even if they pull off one upset, the problem is there is a total of 10 Ethiopians/Kenyas that could win on my list. So the odds of pulling off ten straight #16 versus #1 seeds? Zero.Of the ten men on my list, nine of them have all run a marathon before at 2:06:38 or faster – tell your co-worker that’s 4:49.8 per mile or faster. The top American man in terms of time, Jason Hartmann, has run 2:11:06 – that’s 5:00.0 per mile. So he’s more than 10 seconds per mile slower. That’s 2.5 seconds per lap for 105.48 laps. Not happening.In terms of the Kenyans/Ethiopains, there are five elites from each country. In terms of who is likely to win, well there are three people in the field who have broken 2:05 and all are from Ethiopia. I therefore think we’ll have an Ethiopian winner on Monday.The EthiopiansIn terms of the Ethiopians, who is the best? Well the good news is they all train together so you think they’d know who has been looking the best. And the one with the fastest pr of the bunch, Lelisa Desisa, is also the youngest at age 23 and guess what? I did a long interview with him yesterday and he told me flat out that he’s the best in practice.Lelisa Desisa (r.), with translator Gemedu Dedefo, was full of smiles and confidence at the pre-race press conference