One of the "famous" DX how to book author types was heard doing the same thing by my friend.
Consider that Bob actually won
the Marathon several years in a row, so it's hardly surprising that you heard him in the pileups!
JD/M will return again. I don't know if my buddy worked him. On paper you have the advantage on VU7- we'll find out soon. I also know that my buddy worked A5 several times this year. I'm not sure if you are even aware of the A5 activities.
Bhutan, yeah, I got A52SV last month. I'm sure hoping to get Krish on VU7. It's not a tough path for me and I'll certainly be in the hunt, especially if they come up on 10 or 12 where I still need them. The only Marathon point I know I won't have much of a shot at (and also potential ATNO for em) will be Simon in XZ. Low power, PSK31 and a killer path to east coast NA = unlikely. I don't think I'll be serious in the Marathon again after this year; at least not for a few years anyways. I'm after 273 or more, which would be a new personal best-ever.