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 Tuesday, December 30, 2003 

Olympic hopefuls hit resort for a good time

Falls Cr has once again attracted a crop of elite athletes keen to push themselves against the clock at high altitude in the lead-up to the Athens Olympics.

South Australia Sports Institute head rowing coach Adrian David said eight of the nations best lightweight rowers, including five women who won either a silver or bronze medal at the World Championships in Milan, Italy, were training at Falls Creek.

The eight, who include Australian double scull titleholders, Amber Halliday and Sally Causby, will be joined next week by a second squad of 11 women rowers, plus coaches and support staff. “This is an important time for the athletes,” David said. “There is only one spot for a double scull at next years Olympic Games in Athens. While we had a good result in the quad class at last years world titles, it is a non-Olympic class in the line-up of rowing events at the 2004 summer Games. The five very good athletes from South Australia, who have trained at the mountain resort in the past, will be joined by one rower from Queensland, Tasmania and NSW. The eight are vying with the other rowers from throughout Australia, for the two seats in the double scull. Falls Creek is a good environment, it is important for us to row as much as possible in the lead-up to the races held in Penrith, in late January. The reason we run these camps at Falls Creek is to be well prepared for the crunch time ahead. The fight for the two spots will be quite intense. The two who qualify for Athens will be announced after the selection events in February.”

Lee Troop, the distance runner trained by Steve Moneghetti, who won last years 10,000m Zatopek Classic in Melbourne has also arrived at Falls Creek. Troop ran his best marathon this year in Paris in a qualifying time for the Olympic marathon.

Also planning to use Falls Creek to enhance their Olympic qualifying chances are Craig Mottram, who won the 40th Zatopek 10,000m this year, Steve Moneghetti and Commonwealth Games marathon gold medallist Kerynn McCann.

Article originally appeared in The Border Mail, by Nick Higgins
Posted at 23:30     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, December 28, 2003 

Athletics heavyweights face off

Two of Australia's most high profile sporting leaders, Australian Sports Commission (ASC) chief Mark Peters and Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) president John Coates, have traded barbs over Australia's sporting future.

The arguments from both men touched on issues including child obesity and finances.

Last week Peters told a conference that Australian sport is facing its biggest crisis in 30 years based on obesity levels and the difficulty of getting children to play sport. Coates has now hit back claiming Peters was simply wrong.

"I don't see that you can necessarily say that if there's an obesity problem in schools that's going to affect our talent pool of athletes available for future games and our performances," he said.

The ASC's stated purpose is to encourage sport and physical activity for all Australians, however Coates says after commission chief's comments on obesity, he is not so sure anymore. Peters however stands by his comments which he says are backed up by concerns at a government level about obesity among school children, and he is shocked by Coates's response.

"I think John's comments are less than helpful," he said. "The AOC were invited to attend the sporting insiders function last week and chose not to come. So we're a little dumbfounded by his comments, but certainly we want sport working together into the future because it's such an important part of our culture."

Peters' role is to oversee the development of all sports in Australia, and Coates, as AOC president, ensures Australia selects and properly prepares its best possible team for the winter and summer Olympics.

Peters says the AOC fails to understand the long-term outlook which sports development must apply. "It's about looking 10, 15, 20 years ahead to ensure that we have a strong sport system," he said.

When their paths crossed over finances both again disputed each others logic. Peters was annoyed when Mr Coates knocked back an offer of $4 million from the Federal Government to help prepare athletes for Athens. To access the funds the AOC had to put in $4 million of its own, and Mr Coates refused to do so, saying the Government should provide the money without strings attached. Now, eight months out from the Athens Olympics they are at it again. Peters says it is the difference between taking a long or short-term view of sport.

"We're strategists. We need to look at what's happening in the future, not the immediacy," he said. "So he's chosen to, I guess, interpret these facts in one way, but they have little expertise in the area of participation or sport development, and that's our area and one that we believe we do very well."

Coates sees sunshine ahead for Australia's athletes so long as the Olympic team is effectively resourced. "We'll be a leading nation if the Government, through the Sports Commission, continues to properly resource the team."

Posted at 00:38     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, December 24, 2003 

Liability crisis hits volunteers

Darwin's community and volunteer groups are among the hardest hit by the public liability insurance crisis, it has been revealed.

Darwin City Council corporate services director Frank Crawley said the council had been inundated with calls from struggling organisations.

``We are getting a lot more requests from community organisations saying that they are having difficulty finding insurance,'' he said.

``They have been asking if council can adopt their public events and cover activities under our insurance.''

But Mr Crawley said since the crisis the council's insurance providers had tightened the eligibility requirements for ``council events''.

``They have said to the council that if you want community organisations to come under the umbrella of your insurance we have to take over the complete running of the event or the activity.

``Basically the level that we would organise events at is, in most cases, higher than if it is on a volunteer basis. So we have had to reject requests.''

A recent example was an Australia Day Council NT proposal for the Darwin City Council to adopt its annual Australia Day Fun Run Walk.

The volunteer event -- traditionally held over a street course starting at Darwin High School -- came under pressure from insurers.

The proposal was to move the race to the city and have it covered by council insurance.

But the council rejected the proposal because it could not provide cover without taking over the running of the event.

Despite this the event, which attracts more than 500 people, will continue next year. It will be run from Mindil Beach on January 26.

Article from the Northern Territory News.
Posted at 14:49     [Perma-Link]

Early start for runners

IT'S an early start to a day that usually has a late end, but Geelong's 7am Dawnbuster Fun Run on December 31 remains one of the city's most popular runs.

The event raises money for charity organisation United Way and is popular with families as well as serious runners.

The 5km event starts at Market Square (Little Malop St entrance) and loops Eastern Gardens before finishing at Eastern Beach.

Donated spot prizes, including digital cameras, watches and clothing, will be given away throughout the run.

Entry costs $5 and runners should register by 6.30am.

Article from the Geelong News.
Posted at 14:48     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, December 23, 2003 

Mona's team ends tribute run in style

The Cliff Young tribute run from Bendigo to Ballarat Town Hall finished shortly before 7 o'clock last night with four tired but elated runners, led by Olympian Steve Moneghetti.

About 60 supporters and well-wishers braved torrential rain to greet the hardy runners who are the first to run between the cities via the newly-completed Great Dividing Trail.

Yesterday, the runners experienced "four seasons in one" from the Daylesford section of the trail.
They sang verses of Crowded House's Four Seasons In One Day as their running theme song for the fourth and final day.

Complete article at The Ballarat Courier
Posted at 14:20     [Perma-Link]

All Expenses Trip to NZ for Middle-Distance Runners

We are looking for 3 runners in the realm of sub 3m47s 1500m, sub 1m51s 800m to race against some Kiwi's at a series of five races held during the dinner break of One-Day Cricket Internationals (NZ v Pakistan) in January 2004. Prize money (NZD$4500 up for grabs) and product prizes for each.

1. Mile, Eden Park, Auckland Jan 3
2. 1000m, Queenstown Jan 7
3. Mile, Christchurch Jan 10
4. Mile, Napier Jan 14
5. 1/2 Mile, Wellington Jan 17

If someone was keen they could run all five if they wished, but can arrange things for someone to either run the first three events (arrive Jan 2, leave Jan 11), or the last two events (arrive Jan 13, leave Jan 18).

The events are in the form of NZ v Australia (3 runners per nation).

As an example, the NZ runners in Auckland will be Nick Willis (3m36 this year), Paul Hamblyn (3m42), Tom Osborne (3m45) + a local athlete who will set the pace.

This is the third year of these events here and they are always well received by the usually large crowds (35,000+ for Auckland) so is great atmosphere.

Anyone that is interested contact Jason Cameron at jason@victorypromotions.co.nz as soon as possible as the runners will be confirmed in the next couple of days.
Posted at 14:09     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, December 22, 2003 

New Board member appointed

Athletics Australia advises the appointment of Jane Hansen, of Boston Consulting Group, to the Board of Athletics Australia, replacing Elaine Canty, who did not stand for re-appointment at the 2003 AGM.

Hansen’s professional experience includes working in investment banking in London, New York and Australia, and is currently on the boards of MCC and State Sport Centres Trust (which covers MSAC and Royal Park, Hockey and Netball centre).

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 13:06     [Perma-Link]

Giant run for research

by Steve Pogonowski

CANCER patients and doctors at the Austin Research Institute have many reasons to be thankful to Northcote long-distance runner Isak Ketsakidis.

Darebin residents and onlookers present during Ketsakidis' fundraising run from Colac to Melbourne all pitched in to help the institute.

Austin spokeswoman Melinda Button said support for the fundraiser had been welcome after Ketsakidis completed the run at the Darebin Festival on November 30.

Ketsakidis completed his three-day run to raise funds for cancer research, pushing on through blistering heat and suffering dehydration and weight loss along the way.

His driver, Tom Samaridis, kept the champion runner's spirits up during the 150km journey.

Ketsakidis said the support he received along the way helped keep him focused on getting to the finish line.

``People were very encouraging. When they realised we were doing it for charity they tended to take notice,'' he said.

``I was dehydrated after the second day, lost a few kilograms and I'm slowly recovering.

``I'm very thankful to the City of Darebin and all the traders who helped me out.''

Ketsakidis said he also had to thank Thornbury woman Keti, who encouraged him to return to fundraising runs.

He is keeping his next goal, another fundraising journey, under wraps but said it was something that had never been done before.

Austin Research Associate Professor Vasso Apostolopoulos said the money raised would help researchers working toward a vaccine for cancer.

Ketsakidis raised $20,000 for the institute in 1997 by running from Brisbane to Melbourne. His Colac to Melbourne run raised almost $500, with more donations welcome by phoning 9287 0666.

Article from the Northcote Leader.
Posted at 13:04     [Perma-Link]

Running coach cleared

by MIKE HURST

MOROCCAN Olympic 5000m champion Said Aouita, who is Australia's national distance running coach, has been cleared of inappropriate behaviour allegations.

The Australian Institute of Sport and Athletics Australia jointly issued a statement yesterday, which paves the way for the former 1500m world record-holder to continue preparing Australians for the Athens Olympic season.

The statement reads: ``An independent investigation into allegations made against national distance coach Said Aouita has found that he committed no breaches of the coaches' codes of conduct nor other relevant codes of either Athletics Australia (AA) or the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).

``The report by the independent investigators, international legal firm Minter Ellison, followed a four-week investigation based on allegations received by the Australian Sports Commission.

``We are of the view that Aouita has not breached the anti-doping policies or the Coaches' Code of Conduct.''

Article from The Daily Telegraph.
Posted at 13:02     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, December 18, 2003 

Hate mail on schedule for selectors

The hate mail outnumbers the Christmas cards received by Athletics Australia's chairman of selectors, David Culbert, since the Olympic selection criteria was tightened earlier this month.

Culbert, an Olympic and world championship finalist in the long jump, understands that championship athletics is about producing a performance on demand - on the appointed day and time of the championship event.

Complete article at Fox Sports
Posted at 11:42     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, December 16, 2003 

Pittman star attraction at carnival

by JOHN BRIGGS

CLASS, glamour and all the other cliches will be in vogue when the women again dominate the publicity stakes for this year's Devonport Carnival.

Cathy Freeman put the carnival on the map a decade ago ahead of her world title and Olympic triumphs.

Jana Pittman has slipped into that role and will be the star attraction at Devonport on December 29 and 30.

Joining Pittman at Devonport will be the ``born again'' Georgie Clarke and distance running star Hayley McGregor.

Clarke has been through a bad patch with injury and growing pains which made her development difficult but the former child star is back in good form with a 1500m win at the recent Zatopek meet.

Clarke is going to have a crack at the state mile (1609m) record of 4min35.28s, which fellow Victorian Susie Power set in 1993.

McGregor is in white hot form with victories this year in the Burnie Ten and the Zatopek 10,000m in which she ran an Olympic A qualifying time.

But the star of the show is undoubtedly Pittman, who will dominate the scene from scratch in both the 200m handicap and 400m Devonport Gift.

* * *

LATROBE has put the big money on the line again for running events this year to lure athletes.

In past years, the Latrobe Gift and 1600m race have been the poor relation to richer events at Devonport and Burnie.

But an injection of funds should be changing some attitudes -- the Latrobe Gift is worth $16,000 and the 1600m prizemoney has been increased to $5000, where it once was less then $1000.

Former Burnie Mile winner Grant Page is among those with an eye on the increased prize at Latrobe.

Latrobe also will be the opening showcase for a week of top class cycling.

The Boxing Day program will have three members of the world 4000m pursuit winning team in action -- Graeme Brown, Peter Dawson and Brett Lancaster.

There are a handful of internationals, including American Jame Carney, Italian Roberto Chiappa, Britain's Chris Hoy and Belgian Wouther van Mechlan.

* * *

THE annual Reunion Day meet finishes the year in Hobart on Saturday at the Domain Athletic Centre.

Former athletes and officials are invited back to see the action.

The main events are between 2.15pm and 3.30pm and this year the state 5000m titles are part of the program.

It's believed Kylie Risk may be making an appearance in the Noel Ruddock 5000m in pursuit of a state title and a fast time ahead of next year's Olympics.

Article from The Mercury
Posted at 12:53     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, December 15, 2003 

AA Releases Program Charter for Prime Minister's Team

Athletics Australia today (10 December) released the Program Charter and Mission Statement for the Prime Minister's Team: Running For A Future, run in conjunction with the Flora Sydney Marathon.

THE PRIME MINISTER'S TEAM: RUNNING FOR A FUTURE
(an Australian marathon running development initiative)

MISSION STATEMENT

"To identify and foster Australia's marathon stars of the future by:

mentoring athletes with marathon greats and business leaders

thereby contributing to Australian athletics and business excellence."

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 13:22     [Perma-Link]

Runner's World Portsea Twilight - 10th January 2004

With a nineteen percent increase in registrations already and four weeks left until the starting gun goes off, organisers are confident that the 2004 Runner's World Portsea Twilight will sellout before race day.

To be held on January 10th 2004 at 6.30 pm, the annual Runner's World Portsea Twilight is a 2.8 km and 6.75 km run and walk through the Mornington Peninsula National Park and is a highlight of the Victorian running and walking calendar.

Numbers for the event are restricted to 2000 participants and last year's event was at full capacity with the final placings sold on race day. An early positive response from entrants has confirmed that the popularity of the event is always increasing.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 13:20     [Perma-Link]

Dubious twist in the route to Athens

A statistic-driven change to Olympic nomination rules is cause for concern, writes Len Johnson.

The amended Olympic nomination criteria announced by Athletics Australia seek to pursue a laudable objective - trying to get more athletes to perform best when it matters most - by way of the dubious means of making it tougher for every athlete to qualify for the team.

Moreover, the justification for the changes is based on dubious statistics.

The main thrust of the change concerns the conditions under which athletes can earn automatic nomination to the Athens team (which is selected by the Australian Olympic Committee). Previously, athletes who had achieved the Olympic A-standard were to be an automatic nomination if they won at the national championships in Sydney next February. Second place would be automatic, too, provided both first and second had the A-standard.

Complete article at The Age website
Posted at 13:18     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, December 11, 2003 

Mona's tribute to Cliff

Olympian Steve Moneghetti and two other runners will run a tribute race over four days from Bendigo to Ballarat to recognise the life of ultra distance runner Cliff Young.

Moneghetti, running teammate John Walsh and endurance runner Wallace Martin, all of Ballarat, will run in stages covering more than 50km a day. They will become the first runners to traverse the newly-opened Great Dividing Trail which links Bendigo and Ballarat.
The running trio will start off from the Bendigo Town Hall at 3pm on Thursday, December 18, and finish at the Ballarat Town Hall about 7pm on Sunday, December 2. Moneghetti is also treating the run as a sabbatical in the bush away from his public life.

He told The Courier yesterday the 179km run through the forests and undulating terrain of the Great Dividing Trail was not for charity, or any other reason, except to recognise the passing of the popular ultra distance "shuffler" of Colac.

Young, who moved to the Queensland Sunshine Coast for health reasons, died last month from natural causes.
Moneghetti said the run would also likely be a first for the Great Dividing Trail since the final leg of it was only opened on November 21 to link Ballarat and Bendigo.

The Australia Day ambassador also scotched rumours that he was coming out of retirement to compete at next year's Olympics in Athens.

Article from the Ballarat Courier
Posted at 23:27     [Perma-Link]

No Half Measures for Canberra Marathon

The New Balance Canberra Marathon is not only Australia's oldest city marathon but one of only two city marathons in Australia that hasn't gone down the path of short options.

Over the past 10 years most of Australia's marathons have incorporated shorter options, particularly half marathons, to help maintain or increase their participant numbers.

The organisers of the Canberra Marathon have continually resisted moves to follow the other Australian marathons, taking great pride in maintaining Canberra as a true marathon.

Following this year's event in April, the participants in the Canberra Marathon were surveyed and, in response to a question about a half marathon, an overwhelming number said to continue without any short options.

Typical survey responses were "keep the same format"; "don't dilute it with side events, keep the focus on the marathon" and "don't change anything".

Race director Dave Cundy confirmed this week that the Canberra Marathon would retain its current format for the foreseeable future.

Cundy said, "Our survey revealed that we have a popular format with a 5 and 10km fun run on the Saturday afternoon prior to the marathon and the marathon, with no short options, on Sunday. We do have a 50km option on Sunday but this doesn't take any focus away from the marathoner. Everybody who finishes on Sunday has run at least 42.195km with their amazing efforts being recognised in the appropriate way."

The number of participants in the marathon has doubled since 1997 with 800 taking part in the 2003 event. The aim is for further growth in 2004 with numbers climbing towards 1000.

The 2004 New Balance Canberra Marathon will be held on Sunday 18 April. Full details are at www.canberramarathon.com.au. The event is supported by New Balance and the Australian Capital Tourism Corporation.

Dave Cundy
RACE DIRECTOR
28 October 2003
Posted at 17:43     [Perma-Link]

37 Aussies in world top 50

According to the latest IAAF World rankings, released on 3rd December 2003, Australia has 37 athletes ranked in the top 50 in the world.

Australia’s highest ranked athlete is Jana Pittman, 2nd in the 400m Hurdles, with Dmitri Markov ranked 3rd in the Pole vault. Other top 10 athletes are Justin Anlezark (7th in the shot put), Benita Johnson (8th in the 5000m-10000m (3000m-Cross Country) category) and Bronwyn Thompson (10th in the Long Jump).

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 13:09     [Perma-Link]

Tucker has eyes set on Athens

by JAY CLARK

for the record

I'm in the best form of my life . . . it's the perfect start to the summer season and hopefully it can only get better.

-- MARK TUCKER

GEELONG distance runners Georgie Clark and Mark Tucker set Olympic Park alight on Tuesday night when they both smashed their personal best times in a 3km state league race.

Tucker won the event in a lightning fast 7m55.45s to crack the eight-minute mark for the first time and shave almost six seconds off his previous personal best.

``I'm in the best form of my life,'' Tucker said from his Falls Creek training base last night.

``It's the perfect start to the summer season and hopefully it can only get better.''

Tucker led from the half-way mark to cross the line two positions and eight seconds ahead of fellow Geelong runner and training partner Richard Jeremiah.

The win follows Tucker's fourth placing in the prestigious Zatopek Classic last week, which was won by Geelong star Craig Mottram.

The 24-year-old has his sights firmly set on competing in the 5km race at the 2004 Athens Olympics, but first he must shave a further 12 seconds off his personal best to qualify.

He is an outside chance but Tucker remains hopeful.

``I know I've got the 13.21 time that I need in me. It will be tough but I've got some solid altitude training before the Olympic trials in February so I'll be putting everything I've got into it,'' he said.

A resurgent Clarke also had a night to remember, finishing the same 3km race in 8m56.63s.

It was the first time Clarke had completed the distance in less than nine minutes, beating her personal best time by five seconds.

``I've been training solidly since April now and I feel like I'm starting to see the results of my hard work,'' Clarke said.

The 19-year-old raced against men to cross the line in 26th position.

Had she raced in the women's event, she would have blitzed the field by just under a minute.

Clarke has recently returned from training camps in London, the US and St Moritz in an effort to qualify for the 1.5km race at the upcoming Olympics.

``I'm feeling really good, my knees are starting to settle down now and everything seems to be on track,'' she said.

Article from the Geelong Advertiser.
Posted at 13:07     [Perma-Link]

Illawarra runners right up on pace

By MIKE GANDON

ILLAWARRA distance runners Barry Keem and Russell Dessaix-Chin both performed admirably in the Zatopek Classic 10,000m track race in Melbourne last Thursday night.
In a top-class field, which included marathon legend Steve Moneghetti and Australian 3000m record holder Craig Mottram, Dessaix-Chin and Keem both ran strong races to achieve their highest positions in Australia's most prestigious track race.

Keem lapped consistently to finish two places up from last year's race in seventh position, with a time of 30min 09.57secs.

Dessaix-Chin came home strongly after dropping off the pace mid-race, to record a personal best time of 30:13.03, and placed eighth.

Wollongong's Lachlan Chisholm led all the way to win the 800m race in 1:49.30, with Michael Barwick, also of NSW, second in 1:50.76.

Chisholm expects tougher competition in the Perth Grand Prix on January 10 and will have a series of races in New Zealand early next year.

Wollongong teenager Jaimee-Lee Hoebergen ran a time of 54.54 to finish second in the women's 400m behind Victorian Renee Robson, whose time was 54.00.

Melbourne turned on excellent running conditions last Thursday night, after the predicted severe storms stayed away, leaving a cool and dry evening for Australia's distance running elite to attempt achieving that elusive Olympic qualifier in the 10,000m race.

Melbourne's Mottram took the lead early in the race after the pacemakers dropped out, and never looked under threat, recording an Olympic ``B'' qualifier of 27:50, as he won his second Zatopek in as many attempts.

Another Victorian, Lee Troop, held on to second place, whilst the evergreen Moneghetti overtook emerging talent Mark Tucker in the closing kilometres to take third.

Keem and Dessaix-Chin ran together in the chase pack early in the race, but one too many surges from Dessaix-Chin caused an onset of tiredness, which led to him dropping off the pace.

Keem continued to match the pace up the front of this second pack, gradually working his way through the field as more runners fell victim to the relentless speed of the race.

After the 5km mark, Dessaix-Chin recovered from his early slump and started to make his way back to Keem, who was now about 150m ahead.

Surging up to the runners ahead of him, and then sitting on them to recover for a bit, and then moving on to the next runner when he felt ready, Dessaix-Chin began to make inroads into the break Keem had established.

But despite running a remarkable sub-three-minute final kilometre in a last desperate attempt to catch his training partner, Dessaix-Chin was unable to pass Keem, who finished just four seconds ahead.

Despite missing out on running under 30 minutes, Keem was pleased with his race. ``I was pretty happy in the end," Keem said.

``This result shows that my running is definitely improving and that my training is going well.

``And I am really happy with the position I got, another top 10 in the Zatopek will sit well with the various selectors, because in the end most of them look at your final position and where you finished in relation to others in the race, rather than going off your time."

Dessaix-Chin was also disappointed to miss out on a sub-30 minute run.

``I was really hoping to break 30 minutes on Thursday night,'' Dessaix-Chin said.

``I know that I have done the training to do it, but I think there seems to be some sort of mental barrier or something holding me back.

``But I reckon that all in all the result of this race for me is positive, I ran a 33-second personal best for 10,000m on the track, and my second-fastest 10k, on any surface, ever.

``The sub-30 (minutes) is only a matter of time.''

Both Keem and Dessaix-Chin will now settle into two months of solid training to prepare for the upcoming Telstra A-Series and National Championships.

Article from the Illawarra Mercury.
Posted at 13:05     [Perma-Link]

The champs have had their run

by BRETT STUBBS
TASMANIA'S long-distance running crowns could be up for grabs at next month's Cadbury Marathon.

Reigning king Colin Oliver and queen Janet Upcher are unlikely to take part in the 42km race at Claremont on January 11.

Oliver, 33, a four-time Cadbury's winner and the course record-holder with a time of 2hr 23min 59sec, has recently returned from the world 100km championship in Taiwan and is still trying to recover from that race.

``I didn't complete the course,'' Oliver said.

``I only got to 50km and I wasn't that fit before I went to the race. It has just taken me a while to pull up from that.

``I got injured about a month out and I couldn't train too much for it. I will leave that one [the Cadbury Marathon] undecided.

``I will have to see how I pull up and how I am recovering from that event [the 100km].''

Upcher, 57, has entered the race seven times for five wins and two seconds but believes enough is enough.

``I think I have done far too many,'' she said.

``I won't be lining up for the full marathon but I am hoping I will be fit enough for the half marathon.

``If not, I will be there on the drinks station to do my bit to help those other people who have done so in the past for me.''

The Hutchins and Hobart College English teacher said it was not a case of wanting to make the most of Christmas celebrations.

``It doesn't stop you,'' she said. ``You don't cut down, you just run harder the next day.

``I like the atmosphere, I like the course and I love the friendly competition among the competitors.

``There is always a lot of encouragement from people along the route, and it is a wonderful event because of the time of the year and the relaxed holiday spirit and often people are here from interstate and international countries as well.''

Upcher said the event had already attracted 12 entrants from interstate.

Article from The Mercury
Posted at 13:03     [Perma-Link]

Irish distance runner wants to compete for Australia

By Len Johnson

Champion Irish distance runner Sonia O'Sullivan wants to run for Australia in the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

The Sydney 2000 Olympic silver medallist, who was ranked in the world top 10 in two events this year, will not abandon her native country. Indeed, she intends to compete for Ireland later in 2006 at the European championships.

But if a way can be found to let O'Sullivan run for Australia in Melbourne 2006, she wants to take it. "I compete and train (in Australia) daily to prepare for the summer season in Europe," O'Sullivan told the Irish edition of The News of the World, "and my training runs take me past the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Complete article at The Age website
Posted at 13:00     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, December 10, 2003 

Five pairs of shoes to get to Murray Bridge

It took five pairs of shoes, one blister and 210 litres of water, but Deborah De Williams finally reached the Murraylands on her quest to be the first woman to walk around Australia.

She said "Ever since I read about Nobby Young’s 1993 achievement of being the first person to walk around Australia, I have long dreamt of being the first female to walk around Australia and whilst achieving this dream help a children’s charity."

Mrs De Williams is making the trek to raise money for Kids Help Line and said she was given numerous donations throughout the Murraylands by passers-by. She said passing through the region brought back childhood memories of holidays at the Coorong.

During her time in the region Mrs De Williams gave numerous public talks and visited the Salt Creek Area School where she said she was impressed by the students' response. "I'm hoping to inspire people along the way ... the Salt Creek kids seemed to appreciate it," she said.
While passing through Murray Bridge on Friday Mrs De Williams met with Murray Bridge mayor Allan Arbon, where he picked up a few pointers for his leg in the Relay For Life.

Mrs De Williams started her journey in Melbourne on Friday October 17 and it will take her about a year to walk clockwise around Australia.

She has a website at www.walkaroundoz.org.au

Posted at 00:13     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, December 09, 2003 

21 sports events cancelled in wake of Le Race conviction

Sporting event organisers are running scared, with 21 events cancelled in the last two months following the conviction on a charge of criminal nuisance of Christchurch (NZ) cycle race organiser Astrid Andersen in August.

Coast to Coast organiser Robin Judkins said in the last two months he has counted 21 cancelled or postponed sporting events from Otago to Dargaville because of the conviction. Two Otago events on his list were the Mountain to Mountain multisport event in Wanaka, which has been cancelled, and the Queenstown Marathon, which has shifted from November to next April to give organisers time to come up with a new traffic management plan.

"People really are scared about being involved as an official at a sporting event. They are scared of facing criminal or Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) prosecution or civil litigation," Judkins said.

Earlier this year Astrid Andersen was convicted of criminal nuisance and fined $10,000 for her part in the death of a cyclist, a rider in the 2001 Le Race from Akaroa to Christchurch which she organised. The court found Andersen had deficient safety procedures which contributed to the cyclist's death following a head-on collision with a car. She is appealing the court's decision. Judkins said insurance was available to organisers to cover legal defence costs but not against OSH or criminal penalties. "The best insurance of all is to be very good at what you do," he said.

He has re-checked all the safety and compliance measures for February's Speights Coast to Coast. "The bizarre side of all of this is I would be better off shaking each competitor's hands at Kumara Beach at the start of the race, wishing them well, providing them with nothing and seeing them at Sumner the end," he said

John Hare said he cancelled the Mountain to Mountain event in Wanaka in August because of the way the court interpreted Andersen's pre-race briefing, even though Hare said it was clear the road was open all the time. "I wasn't prepared to take the risk," he said.

He has organised the race for three years, where up to 150 competitors ski, mountain bike, road bike, kayak and run from Cardrona Skifield to Treble Cone Skifield. But it was fraught with risk as interpretations lumped all responsibility and liability on organisers. Previously that risk was shared evenly with competitors and Hare said he would not organise another event until he saw a change in interpretation.

"People are running scared because individuals are not prepared to take responsibility on themselves. The court sees it as organisers taking total responsibility."

Judkins said he was part of a committee convened by Sport and Recreation New Zealand looking at issues of liability and compliance and ways that organisers could be helped.

Posted at 02:04     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, December 06, 2003 

Moneghetti urges parents to "get off their bums"

Steve Moneghetti has urged parents to "get off their bums" in the wake of warnings about falling sports participation and soaring child obesity.

Australian Sports Commission chief executive Mark Peters this week said schools neglecting physical education had helped create the biggest crisis in Australian sport in almost 30 years.
Mr Peters said the nation's international performances could plummet within 10 years.

Health authorities estimate as many as one in three Australian children is overweight or obese.

Mr Peters said state governments who refused to enforce physical education and sport in schools must shoulder much of the blame.

Moneghetti wrote a report that led to compulsory school sport and PE being adopted in Victoria in the mid-1990s.

Complete article at The Herald Sun
Posted at 10:19     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, December 05, 2003 

McGregor Queen of Zatopek

Victoria's Haley McGregor showed impressive form at the 40th annual Telstra Zatopek Classic, easily taking out the women's 10,000 metres.

McGregor clocked 31:43.14, beating home Queenslanders Krishna Stanton (33:19.20) and Jenny Young (34:32.55). Powerful from the outset, McGregor had plenty left in the tank at the end, storming home - running an amazing 70 seconds for the last lap.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 11:51     [Perma-Link]

Mottram back to his best at Zatopek

In the feature event of the evening at the 40th annual Telstra Zatopek Classic, the men's 10,000m, it was Geelong's Craig Mottram who claimed the top honour.

Dominating from early in the race, Mottram crossed the line in a new personal best time of 27:50.56, well within the Olympic B qualifying standard, but JUST outside the Olympic A qualifyer of 27:49.00.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 11:50     [Perma-Link]

Hewitt hits out at selection policy switch

Sprinter Lauren Hewitt hit out at a change in Australia's Olympic selection policy last night, saying that it was unfair to make a significant modification to the criteria once the qualifying period had started.

Hewitt won the women's 100 metres at the annual Zatopek Classic at Olympic Park, clocking 11.92 seconds into a strong headwind of 2.2 metres a second.

No matter what she does for the rest of the season, Hewitt will not be a confirmed nomination for next year's Olympic team should she strike similar conditions at the national championships in Sydney at the end of February.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 11:16     [Perma-Link]

Win has McGregor closer to Athens

By Len Johnson

Haley McGregor rarely cries, but she went close after she won the women's Zatopek 10,000 metres last night in an Olympic qualifying time.

"I don't know how to describe it, but I was close to tears of joy tonight."

In sight of the qualifying time for Athens with a lap to go, McGregor let the crowd lift her through the last lap to cross the line in 31 minutes 43.14 seconds, almost two precious seconds under the Olympic A-standard.

Complete article at The Age website
Posted at 08:55     [Perma-Link]

Paving way to Athens

by RUSSELL GOULD

Lee Troop has been pounding the cold and lonely road of the mountains, counting down the days to the Olympics in a bid to make up for 2000. RUSSELL GOULD reports.

The echo of his feet pounding the desolate roads around Falls Creek is music to the ears of marathon runner Lee Troop.

Isolation and loneliness are the lot of the long distance soldier and Troop welcomes them like an invigorating tonic.

His off-season training consists of running up to 200km a week in the high altitude area and because he weighs only 59kg there isn't a lot of insulation to keep him warm.

It has to be done though, for Troop, 30, is a man on a mission and there is only one goal.

"There are some days when I get out there and love the tranquillity and peacefulness, and I'm probably one of the rare people who can go up there by themselves and enjoy it because there is nothing to do," he said.

"But it is one of those things, that if you are not enjoying your running, maybe you need someone to run with you to provide some motivation and enjoyment.

"But I am so pumped for the Olympics next year. I know that from Sunday that just went passed there are 39 weeks until the marathon in Athens.

"I had a tough time getting back from the Sydney Olympics when I got injured, and once I did, for me, every day is a countdown.

"I don't need anyone to keep me motivated or to make me enjoy it. August 29th next year is redemption day. I'm working towards a goal, and every day is going by pretty fast."

Troop had a devastating Sydney Olympics, damaging a stomach muscle while part of the leading pack, and battled to the finish in 66th place.

"I've never been beaten by anything, but I can honestly say on that day, the marathon crushed me," he said.

He took some time to recover, but has bounced back, and results including a 17th at this year's world championships have him well placed ahead of next year's Olympics.

Before Athens though is a race of undoubted prestige among the distance-loving fraternity of Aussie athletes, the Zatopek Classic.

It is a 10,000m "sprint" named after the great Emil Zatopek, a Czech runner who in 1952 became the only man to win the 5000m, 10,000m and the marathon - at his first attempt - in the one Olympics, and in doing so forever etched his name in athletics folklore.

Troop won the race last year, and could have said that was enough, but it has a stature that demands he attend, and winning it again is high on his agenda.

"The Zatopek is by far our biggest distance race that we runners strive for," he said.

"You look down the winners list and see names like Steve Moneghetti and Rob DeCastella and it has had such a rich history that it is something all aspiring distance athletes like to be a part of."

This year he will face off against Craig Mottram, who won the event in 2001 and gets Troop's nod as the best track athlete in the land.

Troop doesn't believe any records will be broken, but memories of another win would be just the thing to

keep him company on those long, lonely runs in the mountains.

"I have a rivalry with everyone and I always thrive on competitive races as well and what better way than having two Aussies go head to head," he said.

"Despite the fact I am not in as good shape as I would like to be, I am in as good shape as I can be, and every time I have a run, I've always put in 100 per cent.

"Whether I win the race, or come in fifth, I really want to have a good Zatopek, to make sure I end the year on as good a note as it started.

"If it doesn't happen, it doesn't change too much of where I'm going though, because the marathon is a different event again, and this isn't Athens after all."

Article from MX.
Posted at 08:46     [Perma-Link]

Mottram - 'I was running on empty'

by JESPER FJELDSTAD

It's a stinking hot Tuesday morning and Craig Mottram is beaming like the hot summer sun on his back.

He has just completed a training session at Olympic Park and walks into the Richmond townhouse he and a couple of flatmates rent off coach Nick Bideau.

No wonder he has a glint in his eye: for the first seven months of this year, his career was dangerously close to falling over a cliff when he couldn't get his knee right.

Mottram first noticed tightness in his leg after a friendly game of basketball and didn't think much of it. The injury cost him

seven months of one of Australia's most promising athletics careers.

The Geelong-born distance runner had developed ilio-tibial band friction syndrome, in which the muscle along the outside of the leg flicks the outside of the knee and causes swelling.

At its worst, Mottram could run no more than two minutes before he had to stop.

It put a massive dent in Mottram's confidence, but he realises it could be a career booster.

"It took a while to get over it," Mottram said.

"It was the first serious injury I'd had and it gave me other things to think about.

"Once I had the seven months off I had to get stuck into my uni studies (public relations at Deakin) and think about things that maybe I didn't like to.

"It made me realise that the body is fickle sometimes and can't stand up to everything you want, and sometimes you have to have other avenues to focus on."

Mottram battled desperately to recover. First, a local surgeon made an incision. It did not work. Nor did cortisone injections.

After treatment in Ireland, the knee was so sore he could neither walk nor roll over in bed.

He flew home and promptly booked in for surgery. Then something happened. As he touched down in Australia, the pain subsided to the point that he went for a couple of runs, still waiting for surgery.

He made a later appointment with the knife, only to have to cancel again.

He still hasn't had the operation. Mottram reckons his knee was bashed around, initially reacted poorly but then flushed itself out.

The seven-month ordeal stays with Mottram, in his thoughts and approach to his running.

And it has taught him a more balanced approach.

"It's always in the back of my mind, because nobody knows really what brings it on and nobody knows what gets rid of it," Mottram said. "It could come back, you just don't know, touch wood.

"It taught me not to be too intense with my running. Before that, I couldn't miss an afternoon run. I always felt like I had to be doing the training exactly the same time every day and everything had to be perfect.

"It you're sick and miss an evening run it actually lets your body heal."

Article from MX.
Posted at 08:46     [Perma-Link]

`Peak on the day' selection rule for Games

by Jenny McAsey

PATRICK JOHNSON didn't finish among the top 16 sprinters at the world championships in Paris but the records will show he was the fastest man in the world in 2003.

Johnson ran 9.93sec at a low-key meet in Mito, Japan, in May on a track surrounded by rice paddies. But when it came to the sport's biggest stage in Paris three months later, Johnson couldn't reproduce his best. His fastest time in the French capital was 10.27sec.

He is not alone. Hammer thrower Bronwyn Eagles was brilliant in Adelaide in February with a 71.12m hurl that broke the national record, then abysmal in Paris in August.

It is a familiar story and one that frustrates Athletics Australia's chairman of selectors, David Culbert. He believes Australians are good enough to win medals at the major world championships but have trouble performing at their peak when it matters.

After Paris, Culbert sat down to nut out a way to get better results at the Olympic Games in Athens next year.

The result is new selection criteria that make it tougher for athletes to qualify for the Olympic team.

In a letter to athletes and coaches this week, Culbert said automatic team selection would only be granted to athletes who achieved the A-qualifying standard in Paris or at the selection trials in February 2004, combined with a first place at the trials. Athletes who fail to meet the criteria can still make the team but leave themselves at the discretion of selectors.

``By making this change, only those athletes who demonstrate the ability to produce `on the day' will be rewarded with automatic nomination,'' Culbert said. ``When I looked back at the performances during the domestic season it showed a number of athletes were capable of making the world top eight but the results at major championships are letting us down.''

For example, if Eagles had repeated her Adelaide throw in Paris she would have claimed a bronze medal. If long jumper Bronwyn Thompson had matched her best domestic form she would also have finished with bronze.

As it was, champion 400m hurdler Jana Pittman was the only Australian to win a medal and one of only three team members to achieve a personal best in Paris.

Culbert said Australia would have won two more medals and had six more finalists if athletes had just equalled their domestic season best.

``The ability to peak at a particular time is a deficiency for Australian coaches and athletes,'' said Culbert, a dual Olympian in the long jump.

``There is absolutely no question we have athletes who are capable of being in finals and winning medals but at the moment they're not capable of producing that performance on the day when the medals are handed out.''

The new system means athletes have to peak at the trials in February and then again at the Olympics in August.

The new selection criteria are part of a wide-ranging shake-up designed to lift international results.

AA head coach Keith Connor has already announced funding changes so more is directed to athletes who did well in Paris.

Senior coaches yesterday derided the new Olympic selection rules, saying they would drive more athletes out of the sport.

Johnson's coach, Esa Peltola, said Culbert needed to do a coaching course.

``Someone who has never coached an athlete and knows only their own experience is in a very weak position to talk about peaking,'' Peltola said.

``The selectors just want to limit the number of people who are automatically selected so they have more say. This is about power, not about peaking.''

Nic Bideau, the coach of talented distance runners Benita Johnson and Craig Mottram, said the new criteria would discourage young athletes.

``They're trying hard to pick fewer and fewer people on teams,'' Bideau said. ``There seems to be a policy at AA to chase people out of the sport rather than nurturing them.''

Article from The Australian
Posted at 08:44     [Perma-Link]

Clarke battles Sydney legacy

by Damian Barrett

THE Sydney Olympics were scheduled at the wrong time for Georgie Clarke.

She was just 16, but had earned the right to run in the 1500m, and so she did.

The decision to compete was neither right nor wrong, but the pressures associated with it clearly set her back.

The three years since have been poor ones for her athletic progress, as her body failed to cope with the workload she had asked of it.

But, last night, she produced a performance at Olympic Park at the Zatopek meeting that suggested she might be on the way back.

In blustery conditions, Clarke did all the work in front and won the 1500m from Sarah Jamieson in 4min 13.57sec, her fastest time in two years.

After the race, Clarke, without prompting, conceded the Olympics experience of 2000 had been detrimental to her body.

``You are not supposed to train so hard at 15 and 16, but you have to take up opportunities when they come, and Sydney was a real opportunity, and I just happened to be so young,'' she said.

``It's up here that matters (pointing to her head) and that's still in one piece.

``I have been working hard because I had had a few problems at the last nationals where I wasn't fit and I got terribly spiked and after that I went over to Europe for four months and it was really tough over there.

``I trained with Benita Johnson and Sonia O`Sullivan and I didn't keep up one day in anything, so it was hard work mentally and physically.

``I came back and came second in the cross-country nationals and I won the state and I am moving forward now.''

Clarke said she felt as though she was nearing a solid patch of form and was confident of achieving a 1500m A-qualifying time in the national championships in Sydney in February.

Clarke, 19, said despite injuries and general growing problems, she had never lost her love of running.

``I have always enjoyed it, it's just that I was so young and it was a lot of pressure to go through and what happened to me was unfortunately always going to happen; it's happened to every other junior,'' he said.

``It was going to happen to most young girls. We have our problems and everyone knows that at 16, 17, 18, it is tough years, but I am coming through now and working really hard and hopefully can get to Athens.''

Clarke will soon head to Falls Creek for altitude training with her trainer Nic Bideau and stablemates Craig Mottram and Johnson.

``Then, I need to be back on the track and getting my speed up,'' she said.

``I have had a few little niggles recently, but I have got over them.''

Early in the Zatopek meeting, Kyle Vander Kuyp withdrew from the 110m hurdles after feeling sore following a training session.

David Baxter won the 100m in 10.75sec, ahead of fellow Victorians Tim Williams (10.79sec) and Michael Budlender (10.99sec).

Article from the Herald Sun
Posted at 08:43     [Perma-Link]

McGregor zeros in on Athens

HALEY McGregor upstaged her better-known training partner Craig Mottram by winning the women's 10,000m at the Zatopek Classic last night and taking a giant step towards a berth in the Athens Olympics team.

McGregor won in 31min 43.14sec as she lapped the field and finished more than 90sec ahead of second-placed Krishna Stanton.

The time also moved her up to fourth place on the Australian all-time 10,000m list and bettered the Olympic A qualifying standard of 31min 45sec.

Mottram won the men's 10,000m convincingly in 27min 50.55sec in only his second competitive attempt at the distance.

He will now shift his track focus back to 5000m -- the event he is targeting for Athens.

For McGregor, the run could well set up what would be a first-ever Olympic campaign.

Though Athletics Australia has tightened the selection criteria, a top-two finish in the Olympic trials in February would probably see her join national record-holder Benita Johnson in the 10,000m in Athens.

Mottram proved he was back to full fitness after a serious calf injury, breaking clear of Lee Troop at the halfway mark and striding away to win in a time less than two seconds outside the Olympic A standard.

Troop was second in 28min 13.96sec, with evergreen Steve Moneghetti third in 28min 42.93sec.

Georgie Clarke ran from the front to win the women's 1500m in 4min 13.57sec -- her fastest time in two years.

Clarke soared to prominence three years ago as a 16-year-old when she was Australia's second youngest-ever track and field Olympian.

She has since endured serious knee injuries but is finally back to full fitness and targeting Athens.

``I've got to get back into racing tough,'' she said.

Dual Olympian Lauren Hewitt won the women's 100m in 11.92sec into a stiff 2.2m headwind, while David Baxter won the men's 100m in 10.75sec.

Article from The Mercury.
Posted at 08:40     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, December 04, 2003 

Important alteration to Olympic Nomination Criteria

IMPORTANT NOTICE

From the chairman of selectors, Dave Culbert.

The purpose of this communication is to outline an important alteration to the Olympic nomination criteria and confirm Athletics Australia’s qualifying standards following the IAAF’s surprise revision of the minimum entry standards for next year’s Olympic Games.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 13:39     [Perma-Link]

Thousands hit

By Natalie Robertson

DODGY weather didn't dampen the spirits of competitors in the Whitehorse Mega Mile Fun Run/Walk on Sunday.

Organiser Matthew Scholes said he could not have asked for a better day.

``Everything went as planned,'' Mr Scholes said.

``There were no complaints and the weather held out just long enough, although it looked like it would storm.''

The event attracted 2241 competitors who walked or ran 3.2km along the Mega Mile on Whitehorse Rd, starting at 8am.

Governor John Landy was the official starter of the event, a fundraiser for Victoria's Commonwealth Games athletes.

Competitors had until 9am to cross the finish line, after which they celebrated at Whitehorse Civic Centre in Nunawading.

``I think people liked that the event was non-competitive,'' Mr Scholes said.

``They were chatting to each other along the way and cheered on the athletes as they passed.''

Olympic marathon runner Rod De Highden was first to cross the line in eight minutes, 45 seconds.

Despite the early Sunday start, the event attracted an array of competitors even Australian Idol star Rob Mills took part, completing the run in 14 minutes, 38 seconds.

``He was looking pretty fresh,'' Mr Scholes said.

``I think he must have had an early night.

``He signed about 500 autographs as well and drew some of the prizes.''

One of the prizes, a spa, was won by a farmer who decided there was no place for it on his dairy farm and gave it to his daughter.

The main prize, the Toyota Echo donated by Nunawading Toyota and drawn by Olympic marathoner Steve Moneghetti, was won by a mother of five from Whitehorse who has been driving a 1971 Toyota Corolla.

``Two of the kids are on their Ls so they were all very excited,'' Mr Scholes said.

``The whole day was fantastic.

``We want to do it again next year.''

Leader Community Newspapers was a sponsor of the event.

Article from the Whitehorse Gazette.

Posted at 13:28     [Perma-Link]

Mott to be taken lightly

by Jesper Fjeldstad

QUIETLY CONFIDENT

Craig Mottram has devised a plan to sneak under his rivals' noses to raid the prestigious 10km Zatopek at Olympic Park on Thursday night.

Mottram, the winner two years ago, is a late inclusion to the field, having considered the weather and his form until the 11th hour.

The 23-year-old Olympic hopeful is not there for a casual jog: Mottram believes his seven-month lay-off because of knee injury this year will allow him to race as an outsider.

But those in his camp are privately confident and Mottram is even considering wearing spikes instead of running with flats as he did when winning the event in 2001.

``He's just too good an athlete,'' coach Nick Bideau said today. ``He competes with the Africans - everybody else is afraid of them.''

Mottram was unafraid to declare himself a threat in the race, in spite of his youth and interrupted year.

The field also includes last year's winner Lee Troop and Steve Moneghetti.

``On Thursday night I'm not going out to run second,'' Mottram said.

``I'm running against more experienced guys but that can work to my advantage as well.

``I missed this year with injury and didn't go to the world championship, so I didn't get any of the criticism that the others got.

``I'm probably in the best shape I've ever been for this time of year but without anybody knowing about it.''

Mottram is fully aware others have written him off.

Not only has he been a no-show for much of the year, he is also a 5000m specialist and has not raced on Australian tracks since last winter.

``That's been to my advantage. I've been able to get down and do the work without anybody really expecting anything.''

Article from MX.
Posted at 13:26     [Perma-Link]

Who needs Kenyans when you have the big Mazungo

by Jon Anderson

TO THE endless conveyor belt of African distance runners, Craig Mottram is the ``big Mazungo''.

Translated, it means big white man; put in context, it means they respect the pale skin from Geelong who is making inroads on the world scene.

Mottram is a star, make no bones about it, and in the eyes of some as talented as we've had over 5000-10,000m since the halcyon days of Ron Clarke in the 1960s.

Standing 188cm (6'2'' in the old) Mottram makes an unusual sight as he dwarfs the Kenyans who dominate his sport.

He is currently in career-best shape, having smashed the Tan record recently when he flew over the course in 10min 12sec.

That form should ensure he smashes his personal best for 10,000m when he runs as the headline act in the Emil Zatopek at Olympic Park tonight.

His previous best for the distance is 28min 19sec, well outside Shaun Creighton's Australian record of 27:31.

``I'll rectify my PB tomorrow night and hopefully run somewhere between 27:20 and 27:40,'' Mottram, 23, said.

Articulate and confident, Mottram knows what he has to do to succeed against greats of the sport such as Kenenisa Bekele, Hicham El Guerrouj and Haile Gebreselassie.

``Too many runners get intimidated when they line up next to the Africans,'' Mottram said.

``I firmly believe I can beat them because they are no different to me. I just need to do the work and it will come.''

The plan is for it to come in Athens in August at the 2004 Olympics. Mottram and his team, headed by Nick Bideau, will target the 5000m (PB of 13:12) in the belief that he doesn't have the speed for the 1500m (PB 3:35).

Tonight's run will be followed by a break at his parents' Bannockburn farm near Geelong at Christmas, before altitude training at Falls Creek in January and the national championships in Sydney in February.

Then he'll be off to the World Cross Country Championships in Brussels in March (he finished fifth in 2002, eighth in 2001), then more altitude training in the United States before Athens.

All this from a teenager who, in 1994, at the age of 14, finished 28th in a 28.6km run at Geelong Grammar's Timbertop campus near Mansfield.

``My problem was we got to the 15km mark and there were all these sweets available, so my mates and I got into them,'' Mottram laughed.

That means there are 27 young men running around this country saying they once flogged Craig ``Buster'' Mottram in a distance race.

The way Mottram is heading, it's a claim that will gain greater status, hopefully after Athens next year.

His coach Bideau, who masterminded the career of Cathy Freeman, has no doubt where Mottram is heading.

``He is a star, it's just that most Australians don't know it yet because they don't follow the sport that closely,'' Bideau said. ``But just wait, they'll all know about him soon.''

Article from the Herald Sun.
Posted at 13:23     [Perma-Link]

Marathon road beckons Lee

LEE Troop will have a crack at Shaun Creighton's national 10,000m record in Melbourne tonight before moving fully into marathon mode for the Athens Olympics.

Several months ago, Troop targeted the Zatopek Classic at Olympic Park and requested a pacemaker to improve his chances of bettering Creighton's 1996 mark of 27min 31.92sec.

After recovering from his impressive 17th place in the world championships marathon in late August, the 30-year-old Troop has only been able to fit in five weeks of quality training.

``As I told `Mona' [coach Steve Moneghetti] today, I'm in good shape but not as good a shape as I want to be,'' said the defending Zatopek champion.

``I still think I can run under 28 minutes if things don't go right, but I could also go close to the national record if things come together on the night.''

The Zatopek field has traditionally included several well-credentialled African runners.

They will be noticeably absent tonight, but that doesn't worry Troop.

``Ever since I was a teenager my record shows I've always gone hard, whether there were Kenyans in the race or not,'' he said.

``Now we've got guys like Mark Tucker, Craig Mottram and Michael Power who show no fear, so I don't think the race suffers at all for the absence of African runners.''

After the letdown of the Sydney Olympics, where Troop finished 66th in the marathon after suffering a torn abdominal muscle, he is desperate to atone in Athens.

He may run in the Melbourne leg of the A-Series in February and the 10,000m at the national titles in Sydney later that month.

But that will be strictly to enhance his build-up to the London and Olympic marathons later in the year.

``From last Sunday there were 39 weeks to the Olympic marathon -- that's what I'm consumed by after the disappointments of Sydney,'' he said.

``I need to be marathon-ready.''

Mottram, who will be running competitively over 10,000m for only the second time after winning the 2001 Zatopek, has also not ruled out a shot at the national record.

The favourite for the wom en's 10,000m is Commonwealth Games marathon silver medallist Krishna Stanton, with Victorians Haley McGregor and Anna Thompson expected to figure in the placings.

Other highlights of the program include Lauren Hewitt in the women's 100m, Kyle Vander Kuyp in the 110m hurdles and Georgie Clarke in the women's 1500m.

Article from The Mercury.
Posted at 13:21     [Perma-Link]

Mottram sets up intriguing Zatopek clash

by Len Johnson

Craig Mottram's late decision to confirm his entry into the men's Zatopek 10,000 metres tonight sets up an intriguing battle between Australia's best male track distance athlete and its best male marathoner, Lee Troop.

Newcomers such as in-form Mark Tucker and Michael Power will be determined that the traditional year-end track 10,000 at Olympic Park does not become a race in two between Mottram, who won the race in 2001 in his only attempt at the distance, and defending champion Troop.

Mottram's and Troop's performance charts have traced opposing curves. Mottram spent most of the year on a disastrous down-curve with injury robbing him of his chance to run the world championships in Paris.

Complete article at The Age website
Posted at 13:19     [Perma-Link]

The fabulous Gilfillans

A FATHER of four has sacrificed a lucrative job to support his daughters' burgeoning sporting careers.

Dr Rob Gilfillan resigned from his senior lecturing position at Southern Cross University at Lismore and is now renting a home on the Gold Coast to give his three girls and son the best sporting chance.

Hailing from The Channon, near Nightcap National Park in the Border Ranges, the Gilfillan girls are among a rare breed in that they hold multiple national and state titles across a variety of disciplines in their respective age groups.

Dr Gilfillan, who coaches junior athletes and does casual relief teaching at AB Paterson College, said it was hard to leave their 'paradise' at Tuntable Creek at The Channon.

"We lived in paradise but we were isolated," said Dr Gilfillan, a former steeplechase champion, athletics coach and Athletics Australia team manager.

"We lived in a rainforest but we wanted to be closer to everything - swimming pools and all the other facilities that the Gold Coast offers.

"The move was deliberate but we still go back home regularly."

Youngest daughter, 11-year-old Jessica, recently rewrote the record books by running one of the fastest 3000m times in the world by an 11-year-old. The unheralded country girl stunned fellow athletes and officials when she set an amazing time of 9 minutes 47 seconds at a low-key athletics meet at Brisbane's QEII on November 14.

To put the time in perspective, it would win the 17-years and open girls title at the national championships and is the 15th fastest open women's time in the 3000m on current Australian rankings.

The time is remarkable given that it was only Jessica's second race over 3000m and, according to her coach and mother Karen, a teacher at Jessica's school, she did it 'so easy'.

Jessica recently competed at the Queensland primary school championships for soccer and has relied on natural ability and stamina to compete at state or national level in touch, swimming, duathlon (run-swim-run) and cross country.

Jessica's sisters are also setting slick standards, holding state and national titles in middle distance running, triathlon, steeplechase and cross country.

Courtney, 14, recently won the Queensland state sprint triathlon title, only her third triathlon, while Ashlea, 15, won silver at the same state titles in only her first triathlon.

Ashlea holds national age titles over 1500m, 3000m, 2000m steeplechase and cross country and is ranked No.4 in Australia in the women's open 2000m steeplechase despite being a decade younger than many of her rivals.

Ashlea has been accepted into the Australian Institute of Sport national junior development squad and Queensland Academy of Sport, spending most school holidays at the AIS in Canberra.

Yet Ashlea's best time for the 3000m (10:01) is 14 seconds slower than Jessica's 9:47. The Gilfillan girls do not have to look far for inspiration and guidance.

Their mother Karen is ranked No.4 in Australia for triathlon in the 35-39 age group and will compete at the world triathlon championships in Queenstown, New Zealand, this weekend.

Their father also has an impressive track record, winning silver in the Australian open men's steeplechase and achieving an Olympic qualifying time before the boycotted Moscow Olympics.

Dr Gilfillan said his key area of interest was helping elite junior athletes reach their full potential and he and Karen do their bit by conducting running camps every two to three weeks at their rainforest property.

He described his lifestyle and relationship with his children as 'very holistic'.

"It's also very open, very honest - nearly perfect," he said.

Contrary to what some may think, the Gilfillan girls are not subjected to pushy parenting.

"The girls have never had injuries," he said.

"They are the ones that get me out of bed at five in the morning. But there are days when I don't let them train. Recovery is important and when you have talent you have to nurture it."

Article from the Gold Coast Bulletin.
Posted at 13:16     [Perma-Link]

Mottram to go the distance

IT might not resonate loudly in the wider sporting community, but success at the world cross-country championships counts for plenty with the athletics cognoscenti.

So when young Australian Craig Mottram finished fifth two years ago in an event traditionally dominated by African runners, people in the know took notice.

``For a non-African runner to go over there and finish fourth and fifth like Benita [Johnson] and I did two years ago is fantastic for distance running in Australia,'' said Mottram, 23, who is now back to full fitness after overcoming a serious calf injury.

``I raced there in Dublin and finished fifth and then had guys coming up to me during the European season and saying `you ran awesome at world cross'.

As such, for Mottram the world cross-country titles in Brussels next year will rank behind only the Athens Olympics, where he is targeting the 5000m.

But tomorrow night at the Zatopek Classic in Sydney, he will make a rare step up to 10,000m to take on the likes of defending champion Lee Troop, veteran Steve Moneghetti and Mark Tucker.

With Troop having requested a pacemaker, Shaun Creighton's seven-year-old national record of 27min 31.92sec could also come under threat.

``The national record is 27.31 and I think if everything is perfect I can run pretty close to that,'' Mottram said after training yesterday.

``But there's a few other guys who think they can run close to that as well.

``The first half of the race will dictate what it's going to be. I know there are pacemakers -- they're not mine but Troopy has got some pacemakers in the field to run 13.45 through halfway, which is 27.30 pace.

``If they can hit that, everyone is together and the conditions are good, then the national record is definitely a possibility.''

Article from The Mercury.
Posted at 13:15     [Perma-Link]

Keem, Dessaix-Chin tackle the Zatopek

by By MIKE GANDON

ILLAWARRA distance runners Barry Keem and Russell Dessaix-Chin leave for Melbourne today to contest tomorrow night's annual Emil Zatopek 10,000m track race.
The 25-lap race is one of Australia's most recognised and prestigious distance events, with many athletes looking to kick off their track season racing against a world-class field.

The 2003 race will field one of the strongest line-ups in years as Australian athletes begin their push for the selector's notice in what will be the last domestic track season before next year's Olympics in Athens.

The results of tomorrow's race will be looked at closely by the selectors, who have also named it as a major selection criterion for the World Cross Country Championships in Belgium in March.

Dessaix-Chin has already pushed his claim for a spot in the cross-country team with a top-10 performance at the national titles in Melbourne in August.

``I'll be lining up as part of the new guard of Aussie distance running I guess,'' Dessaix-Chin said.

``There are some really good juniors coming through into the senior ranks now, but we are still being kept in our place by some of the legends of our sport such as Steve Moneghetti and Lee Troop, who will also be racing on Thursday night.

``Then there is Craig Mottram who is by far the next shining light for Aussie distance running.

``I am hoping to run around 29 minutes, which should get me some attention from the world cross (country) selectors.''

Keem is also feeling good about his chances of a personal best performance tomorrow night.

After a disappointing fifth placing at the NSW 10,000m championships last month, Keem has put together an encouraging three weeks of solid training.

``I am hoping to repeat my race at last year's Zatopek, where I ran a personal best time of 29:33 and got myself a top-10 placing,'' Keem said.

``A time of 29:30 or lower, maybe closer to 29 minutes, would be a pleasing result."

This year's Zatopek will be the first of many track races for Keem, as he has planned a busy schedule of racing over the summer, including various NSW championships and the nationwide Telstra a-Series leading up to the London Marathon.

Article from the Illawarra Mercury.
Posted at 13:13     [Perma-Link]

Mottram returns to full strength

LESS than a year from the Athens Olympics, the sport in Australia is riven by financial problems and internal divisions. But as the domestic season starts tonight, one of the few bright sparks will be on show.

When distance running prodigy Craig Mottram takes to Melbourne's Olympic Park for the Zatopek Classic, it will be a chance for the athletics fraternity to focus on the positives.

Mottram, 23, has not raced in Australia since early 2002 after an injury-marred 2003 forced him to miss the world championships in August.

Now he is back to full strength and will make an assault on the national 10,000-metre record. He already holds the Australian 3000m and 5000m records and such is his talent that the treble is not beyond him, even though he favours shorter distances.

His coach, Nic Bideau, said Mottram wanted to remind Australians he was a world-class athlete. He said Mottram's ability to perform over a range of distances highlighted his talent.

``It just shows how good he is,'' Bideau said. ``It's like Cathy Freeman at her peak. When she ran a 100m race here she was a good chance to win and it is the same with Craig.''

Mottram will be up against defending champion Lee Troop as well as veteran Steve Moneghetti, who is expected to come close to the world over-40 record.

Meanwhile, the talk at Olympic Park will be about the controversy surrounding Athletics Australia's national distance running coach, Said Aouita.

Aouita is under investigation over allegations of improper behaviour made by rising 1500m runner Mark Fountain, who abruptly left the program two weeks ago.

AA head coach Keith Connor and Australian Institute of Sport director Michael Scott have handed over the formal investigation process to a San Francisco-based law firm, which is expected to report on the matter by next week.

The Aouita investigation is just one of a myriad of problems facing AA administrators as the three-month domestic season gets under way.

AA last week confirmed a $1.3m loss and the sport is divided over how to move forward in the wake of sub-standard performances at the world championships in Paris. Brilliant 21-year-old hurdler Jana Pittman was the only medallist there.

Article from The Australian.
Posted at 13:12     [Perma-Link]

Moneghetti urged to return

Australia's top young distance runner Craig Mottram believes veteran Steve Moneghetti should make an Olympic comeback.

Moneghetti, now 41, officially retired at the Sydney Olympics after placing a creditable 10th.

However he has actually never stopped running, or competing, and he will turn out tonight at Melbourne's Olympic Park to race in the Zatopek 10,000m.

Complete article at Fox Sports
Posted at 10:00     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, December 03, 2003 

Athletics Australia tightens screws

Athletics Australia has tightened the screws on funding for athletes not ranked in the world's top eight. Only six who placed in the top eight at the world track and field championships in Paris in August will receive the maximum amount for next year's Athens Olympics.

The maximum amount for athletes is $20,000 and for their coaches $10,000.

WA's former pole vault world champion Dmitri Markov is among those who will receive the funding. The rest are Luke Adams (NSW) in the walk, Justin Anlezark (Queensland) shot put, Benita Johnson (Queensland) 10,000m, Bronwyn Thompson (Queensland) long jump and Jana Pittman (NSW) 400m hurdles. Markov's WAIS training partners, Paul Burgess and Kym Howe, are among those who have lost funding.

Burgess will have to clear the men's Olympic qualifying height of 5.70m to be considered while Howe will have to do better than the women's qualifying mark of 4.40m. Howe must achieve 4.45m, the same as her personal best, twice this season to qualify for a funding review after the national championships in Sydney in February.

She said: "I could end up representing Australia at the Olympics without receiving any direct funding from Athletics Australia.
"WAIS has helped out getting me to the Telstra Zatopec Classic in Melbourne on Thursday to provide me with the opportunity to meet the necessary qualifying standards this season. I received a letter from Athletics Australia about a month ago to inform me my funding of $10,000 had been cut. There is nothing I can do about it. My only goal now is to get the jumps on the board to meet the Olympic qualifying height."

National coach Keith Connor said it was no longer good enough for athletes to aim only for the Olympic qualifying mark.

"We will be putting our resources behind athletes who have demonstrated they can qualify for the finals, and possibly a medal, at Olympic and world championship level," Connor said.

Posted at 17:36     [Perma-Link]

Nankervis out of Zatopek

International marathon runner Shane Nankervis yesterday withdrew from the Zatopek 10,000-metre Classic to be run at Olympic Park in Melbourne tomorrow night as a precautionary measure as he recovers from a troublesome left shin.

The Zatopek was to have been the Ballarat athlete's first major event since contesting the World Marathon Championship in Paris in August.

Nankervis has decided to "play it safe" and wait until the new year before making his return to big time athletics.
Nankervis said he was close to being fully recovered from the left shin injury - a hangover from Paris - but with a hectic program mapped out for next year he was not prepared to take any risks.

Complete article at The Ballarat Courier
Posted at 17:30     [Perma-Link]

Rebirth of Seaside Fun Run, NSW

Good news! The Times Seaside Fun Run set down for March 7th 2004 is now on, despite previously being cancelled

Barry Hewish (02 44545678) the new Race Director has managed to obtain road closure for the race which I am sure will allow our insurance company to insure the event. The event will now be just one lap of the course an accurately measured 5.5km ( measured by Athletics Australia).

So to all our friends out there (both of them) please broadcast the fact to all your members so that we can show everyone that this event is worth saving by having a record number of entries.

We am now in the process of redesigning the entry form and home page (http://www.geocities.com/colosseum/park/6745/) and will
get the entry form out to you all as soon as possible.

All the best,

Ken Saunders
Race Director

Feel free to add or read comments here

Posted at 15:28     [Perma-Link]

Beach 'boot camps' under fire

Fitness instructors who run military-style "boot camps" on Sydney beaches are under attack from councils who want them to retreat off the sand.

Personal trainers who use public areas will be required to seek a permit and pay a fee under proposals being considered by at least one council.
Large groups of fitness fanatics could be banned from congregating in popular areas or at certain times of the day.

Manly and Waverley Councils are formulating policies regarding personal trainers after receiving complaints from the public.

Complete article at news.com.au
Posted at 13:44     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, December 02, 2003 

Aussie men solid at Ekiden Relays

The Australian men’s team performed solidly at the 15th Annual International Chiba Ekiden relays, held in Chiba City, Japan last weekend (November 24th 2003).

Finishing sixth overall, Simon Field ran 28:36 for the first 10-kilometre leg, David Byrne 14:28 for the second leg of five kilometres, David Ruschena 29:28 for the third leg (also 10 kilometres), Michael Shelley 14.04 for the fourth (5) and Sisay Bezabeh 37:11 for the last leg.

For the women's team, performances included a 34:54 opening leg by Ruth Barton, 15:39 (second-fastest on the day) by Eloise Poppett on the second leg and 35:32 by Kate Smyth on the third leg. The Australian women’s team finished 12th.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website.
Posted at 12:59     [Perma-Link]

Sosimenko returns

The annual Athletics NSW Relay Championships were held in warm weather last weekend (November 29-30) at Homebush.

The relay championships are a great club and teams event and are often the opening competition of the season by the stars as the club sends out an SOS for team members. Often you will witness the appearance of a semi-retired athlete, driven by club spirit. The 2003/04 Championships were no exception with Paris World Championship competitors Bronwyn Eagles, John Steffenson and Clinton Hill out for their season opener, while the UTS and Sydney Uni clubs coaxed former sub-3:41 1500m runners, Holt Hardy and Graham Glassford to run on there veteran 4x800 and 4x1500m teams.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website.
Posted at 12:56     [Perma-Link]

Zatopek to kick start 2004 athletics season

Thursday 4th December 2003 (6pm) sees some of Australia’s best distance running talent on show at Melbourne’s Olympic Park, for the Telstra Zatopek Classic - the event which marks the start of the 2004 Australian domestic season.

In the feature event, the men’s 10,000m, Geelong’s Lee Troop returns to defend his title - and the big question on every ones lips is "will 2001 Zatopek winner Craig Mottram compete and make this a duel to remember?"

In 2002, Troop won his first Zatopek 10,000metres in a personal best time (28:03.01), and this year is a serious chance to break the Australian record of 27.31.92, set by Shaun Creighton in Melbourne in 1996.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website.
Posted at 12:54     [Perma-Link]

Eliza's well on track for world titles

RUNNING long distances across rugged terrain is Eliza Stewart's idea of fun.

The Pacific Hills Christian School, Dural, student is a passionate cross-country runner and recently received two gold medals at the National Cross Country championships in Brisbane.

In Year 11, Stewart was selected in the NSW team which placed first in the 10km relay and 4km cross country, earning her the gold medals and a personal placing of fourth in her age division.

Since this event Stewart has gone on to win first in senior girls at the recent CSSA (Christian Schools Sport Association) triathlon and will again represent NSW in the 3km track event in the athletics nationals at Brisbane in December.

The athletics side of long distance running is new to Stewart, but she has excelled since focusing on the track side of the sport this year.

Stewart's goal is to compete in the World Junior Athletics Championships in Italy next year.

``Hopefully I will go well at the nationals in December,'' she said.

``I came first for NSW and they usually have the best runners at the event. So it looks good for me.''

To help achieve her aspirations, Stewart has chosen to do her HSC via the Pathways option.

This allows Stewart to complete her HSC over a few years while still pursuing athletics at a professional level.

While she would ideally love to be a professional athlete, her medium term plan is to become a professional trainer and fitness instructor.

``I love anything and everything that is sporting orientated, from soccer to long distance running,'' she said.

``I don't know where I get it from because neither mum or dad are particularly sporty, but they both try to take the credit."

Almost every weekend, Stewart participates in a fun run of some kind.

A few weekends ago, she ran fifth overall in the Sussan's Women's Breast Cancer Run and first in her age group.

Article from the Hornsby Advocate.
Posted at 12:53     [Perma-Link]

Partners test their limits to reach Athens

by Len Johnson

Tensions are almost inevitable when ambitious partners are both pursuing their own careers. Advancement for one can often mean painful compromise for the other.

Haley McGregor and Simon Field are fortunate. Their mutual passion is running, their immediate target this Thursday's Zatopek Classic meeting. The only issue that could upset the harmony will be post-race, if one has met or exceeded expectations and the other has not.

McGregor, this year's national cross-country champion and winner of Sydney's City to Surf, will be one of the favourites for the women's Zatopek 10,000 metres at Olympic Park on Thursday night.

Complete article at The Age website.
Posted at 12:48     [Perma-Link]

Mottram to toe Zatopek line

A primed Craig Mottram will aim to add another Australian record to his tally when he toes the line as a late entrant in Thursday's Zatopek Classic 10,000m at Olympic Park in Melbourne.

Mottram holds the national records for 3000m and 5000m, and wants to claim the 10,000m mantle by beating Shaun Creighton's mark of 27min 31sec set in 1996.

The Zatopek was not initially on Mottram's schedule, but the 23-year-old decided this week to add his name to an impressive field that includes last year's winner Lee Troop and Steve Moneghetti.

Complete article at the Herald Sun (scroll down past pole vaulting section!)
Posted at 03:38     [Perma-Link]

Spreading Christmas cheer with sneakers on

More than 1000 runners, walkers, and members of work and social groups will use their feet to spread some Christmas cheer this December as part of the Sporting Chance Christmas Run.

The Sporting Chance Christmas Run is a 5 and 10 km twilight run and walk around Albert Park Lake on Wednesday 10 December 2003. The event supports the Sporting Chance Cancer Foundation(SCCF) raise money to fund scholarships for young doctors to spend a year training with the nation’s top cancer researchers. The scholarships are named after Raelene Boyle and the recipients are selected by the Royal Australian College of Surgeons.

The Sporting Chance Cancer Foundation was established by high profile patrons such as cricketer Mark Taylor and footballer Bob Skilton as a way to fill the void in medical research and encourage creative ideas in the fight against cancer.

So far more than $40,000 has been raised through the SCCF’s relationship with Start to Finish running and walking events, and a $300 New Balance prize pack will be awarded to the highest fundraiser this year.

The fun run and walk is a twilight event beginning at 6.30 pm, and is an ideal way for employees and club members to end the year in a healthy and positive way.

There will be a special appearance by Santa and participants will receive a free T-shirt and showbag with entry.

For entry details please visit www.ausrun.com.au or call Start to Finish on (03) 9819-9225 for an entry form. Entires will be accepted on race day from 5:30 pm at the Palms Picnic area in Albert Park.
Posted at 02:46     [Perma-Link]


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