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 Monday, August 30, 2004 

Shepparton Marathon Report

Talented distance runner Tim Cochrane yesterday smashed his own race record to win his second Shepparton Marathon in a row.
Cochrane completed the gruelling 42 km event in 2:34.17, almost seven minutes quicker than his previous mark.

Cochrane, a medical student at Melbourne University's School of Rural Health, won his first Shepparton Marathon in 2003 with a then-record time of 2:41.

The super-fit 24-year-old crossed the finish line yesterday more than 20 minutes ahead of his closest rival, Melbourne athlete Jarrod Kanizay.

The half-marathon was won by Tully Lyster, with Chris Armstrong and Anthony Lee rounding out the places in the men's class.

The women's half-marathon was won by Sandra TimmerArrends, with Sandy Allan second and Miah Franzmann third.

The 10 km event was won by Jeffrey Jones, while the first woman over the finish line was Deanne Knobbs.

Complete article at The Shepparton News
Posted at 13:13     [Perma-Link]

Lee Troop finishes 27th in Olympic Marathon

by Len Johnson in Athens

Italy's Stefano Baldini, one of the most consistent marathoners of the past decade, raced into Olympic history when he won the Athens 2004 men's Olympic marathon on Sunday.

Baldini took the lead from Vanderlei Lima of Brazil late in the race and went on to race into the Panathinaiko Stadium, site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, in two hours 10 minutes 55 seconds.

It was the fastest time ever run on the course from Marathon to Athens which inspired the modern marathon. Athens was a traditional marathon until the 1970s when it was overshadowed by the rise of the mass-participation, big-city races.

...Lee Troop was the leading Australian in 27th position while Nicholas Harrison was 45th and Sisay Bezabah was 60th.

Complete article at The Age website
Posted at 09:55     [Perma-Link]

Mottram not disappointed

Craig Mottram went out on to the Olympic stadium track for the final of the 5000 metres on Saturday night "with a glimmer of hope that I could do something great".

For eight laps of the race the flicker stayed alight; for another two, it was still possible that he might finish in the first six; but ultimately Mottram finished eighth. It was the most competitive run by an Australian in a track distance final since the Ron Clarke era, but not quiet what Mottram wanted.

"I'm not going to say I'm disappointed, but I would have loved to come away with a bit better result," he said.

Mottram had the trail on Hicham El Guerrouj and Kenenisa Bekele early, but started to struggle when the surges came in the second half or the race.

He responded to each one with increasing urgency until he was dropped for good with 600 metres to run.

"I thought I could deal with most things that would be thrown at me tonight," Mottram said. "Once again it was that fourth kilometre. You lose contact with El Guerrouj and Bekele, and throw in a couple of other Ethiopians and Kenyans - you can't give them an inch at that pace. It becomes really tough."

Mottram thrust himself into Olympic calculations when he ran under 13 minutes for 5000 metres in London on July 30.

He headed Haile Gebrselassie in the last lap and was narrowly outsprinted in the final straight.

"Wow, that long guy, who was he?" Gebrselassie wanted to know.

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 02:17     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, August 29, 2004 

Popular Australian T&F website in trouble

The Trackstars website (www.trackstars.com.au) appears to be having a number of money difficulties and it looks to have a grim future.

The owner, nationally-ranked 200m runner, Anton Booth, has posted a long note on the website explaining the reasons for making most of the site inaccessible unless a AUS$66 fee is paid as membership.

Some of Anton's comments are as follows but feel free to read the entire text at www.trackstars.com.au/notice.htm:

"I am advising that from Wednesday 18th August 2004, the Trackstars™ website will become user pay (ie member’s only).

Last month, I began a premium member’s area at $66 per year. One of 2 main reasons was to provide more services & coverage to track & field in Australia. The other reason was an attempt to cover some of the considerable costs that I personally incur to run & maintain the Trackstars™ website.

I thank all of the people who signed up, especially those in the 1st week. It is greatly appreciated. However, unfortunately the response has been very poor. So poor in fact that there has been very little financial impact & I am now forced to take more drastic measures to keep the website alive.

Hence, virtually the entire site (except for a couple of areas) will now become user pay. All of the results, rankings records, and news will only be accessible to members. The forum/chatroom will not be public any more & only accessible to members (you won’t even be able to read it if you aren’t a member).

Just in case there is any doubt about why this is being done I will outline the following facts.

There has been no other support, financially or otherwise from any other body. I have approached AA, ATFCA, Athletics Victoria & Athletics NSW at various times (some formally & some informally) who have all declined to be involved with Trackstars™ at any level (except until Simon Allatson from AA agreed to answer questions on the forum recently).

I have done my best to promote the sport & provide services that were not previously present, especially at grass root levels. Why? Because I love this sport. It certainly isn’t for money, if that is what you are thinking.

Running Trackstars™ has been a huge financial burden to me personally. Up until this point I have been willing to bear the costs.

Last financial year, Trackstars™ cost me out of my pocket $16000 (yes, 16 thousand dollars).

How much time does this take?
I conservatively spend 40hours each week adding to the website. On top of the regular job hours, I am not left with much spare time.

There is a pervading reluctance to pay for anything in Australian track & field. There is a strong undercurrent of complaining that also runs deep. I know because despite the time & cost outlined above, I receive more negative emails complaining about minor website details (like delayed results) than I do positive ones."


CoolRunning well understands the trials and hard work associated with an independent website involved with Australia sport, and has made an approach to Trackstars to see if there is a way both sites can work together.

"United we stand divided we fall"

Posted at 16:29     [Perma-Link]

Track & field administration a "basket case"

Senior Olympian Kevan Gosper has joined former track stars Raelene Boyle and Jane Flemming in slamming the state of athletics in Australia, describing the sport's administration as a "basket case" and calling for a far-reaching overhaul of the track and field movement.

Speaking as Australia's Olympic campaign neared its end in Athens, Gosper said the sport had been so poorly run and remained so divided that he could not expect to see any significant improvement in time for Beijing in 2008.

"It dismays me and all my colleagues to have witnessed such magnificent performances from our team and yet where's the black hole? It's in the main stadium," Gosper told The Sun-Herald. "Somehow our track and field has seriously lost its way. It's totally inconsistent with how we've performed elsewhere. There is a certain level of embarrassment and frustration sitting in the stands here. I've been very sad to see how strongly we've fallen in an area where we traditionally had strength, and I have no conscience or qualms in saying the administration must take much of the blame."

The Australian Sports Commission has appointed Herb Elliott to conduct an investigation into Athletics Australia, which recently appointed the Melbourne Football Club's Danny Corcoran to the top job, with blood-letting at board level predicted after Athens. But Gosper has called for even higher scrutiny.

"From the terms of reference I've seen, the investigation must go deeper and wider," he said. "The administration must reshape itself and get united and get more focus. I'm talking about auditing and accountability, improved coaching, funding, better organising of international competition."

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 14:50     [Perma-Link]

Troop's burning goal is laying demons to rest

The road from Marathon to Athens is a difficult place to find redemption.

At 6pm on Sunday (1 o'clock tomorrow morning, Sydney time) it will be even harder. The heat will be bouncing off the freshly relayed road surface, the sun burning brightly and still up for another hour or so. Just as the sun loses its sting, the Pendeli Hills await, 11 kilometres climbing from the 20km to 31km mark, and if your legs survive that, the last 11km is steadily downhill.

Only the tough will survive, let alone thrive. Not ideal conditions to turn your Olympic record around, but that is exactly what Lee Troop will be attempting.

Four years ago in Sydney, Troop talked up his marathon chances, ran with the leaders for more than half the race, tore a stomach muscle and jogged in not far in front of the tail car. It was a demoralising experience which put him off the rails, athletically and personally, for some time.

Troop put a lot into his preparation for the Olympic marathon. He spent 4 weeks in St Moritz, living in a comfortable but tiny flat with his fiancee Freyja Stott, and logged something like 1000km at 1800m above sea level.

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 14:46     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, August 28, 2004 

Runner goes extra mile for charity

Ultramarathon runner Vlastik Skvaril hopes to raise thousands of dollars for charity in a run with a difference.

Skvaril, who celebrates his 65th birthday today, has begun a run from Tasmania to the Melbourne Cricket Ground in an effort to raise $20,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

He left his home in Burnie, in Tasmania's north-east on Friday and ran 47 kilometres to board the Spirit of Tasmania at Devonport.

Skvaril ran laps around the boat and used a treadmill while crossing Bass Strait, before hitting the streets when the ferry berthed at Melbourne's Station Pier today.

After a fundraising barbecue supported by the Richmond AFL Club, Skvaril will run to the MCG and complete a lap of the ground before the Richmond-Sydney AFL match.

He will be joined in his moment of glory by Lachlan, a Make-A-Wish client who wished for an above-ground pool for his house in Melbourne's outer east.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 14:48     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, August 27, 2004 

Lee Troop, His Mum, His Fiance & Mona

Geelong-based marathon runner Lee Troop gave up the sport after injuring himself in the Sydney Games, but in a courageous comeback, has rediscovered a love of running and lifted himself back into the top 20 in the world.

MARY GEARIN: Just three days out from the race of his life, Lee Troop has finally arrived in Greece from his Italian training camp.

LEE TROOP, OLYMPIC MARATHON RUNNER: This is as good as it gets for someone like me, to be here, the birthplace of the Olympic Games and obviously running the original route and a bit of a symbolic thing, sort of flying into Athens and getting in and touching down, because in my mind now the time has come.

MARY GEARIN: At his side is his mentor, Australian marathon champion Steve Moneghetti, the man who's guided him to Marathon, the suburb outside of Athens, and the race that has been Troop's dream.

LEE TROOP: I know that the winner of the Athens Olympics will be remembered for that very event.

I think it's one of the very few Games where it won't be the sprinter or the field event person or the triathlete or the swimmer.

I think the marathon will actually have its place in history at the Athens Games.

STEVE MONEGHETTI, MARATHON CHAMPION: I think he's in better shape than I ever was leading into a marathon.

Now, obviously I've been able to run on the world stage, basically top 10, quite regularly, so I would think he's probably in shape to do that.

MARY GEARIN: Athens offers 31-year-old Troop the ultimate location to live out a dream that's consumed him since he was a skinny young kid stockpiling books on Robert de Castella.

DEBBIE TROOP, MOTHER: It was scary when he wanted to get into marathons.

I think he wanted to do one at 12 or 13 or 15 or something, and everyone said no, and he was just obsessed.

MARY GEARIN: The man who was to become his mentor four years later finished 10th, oblivious to Troop's pain.

STEVE MONEGHETTI: I realised how it was very difficult for him.

Almost because of my success, that was almost highlighting his failure even more.

LEE TROOP: You get a clown at a bar, when you're already depressed as it is, saying, "What's it like to let your country down?"

And that actually did happen.

I just sort of spiralled down and down and down.

MARY GEARIN: Over the next two years, the normally unbreakable Troop battled a run of seven injuries.

And he hit the party circuit in a state of frustration.

LEE TROOP: I hated running, I didn't want to run, and I'd run my whole life, I was a full-time athlete and I didn't know anything else outside of life.

I was terrible with relationships.

You know, the longest I'd ever gone was six months.

MARY GEARIN: That changed when Troop met Freyja Stott, who's now his fiancee.

Their engagement has given him a sense of security.

FREYJA STOTT, FIANCEE: I can see that he has grown from the Sydney Olympics and learnt from that.

More mature.

Learnt from his mistakes, as you all do, and yeah, he's moved on.

MARY GEARIN: Troop gave up the partying and made his way back to running in painful increments.

LEE TROOP: It started off with just things like a minute jog, a 9-minute walk, then a 2-minute jog, an 8-minute walk, a 3-minute jog, a 7-minute walk, all the way up to where I'm pounding 240 kilometres a week.

Complete interview at The ABC
Posted at 23:10     [Perma-Link]

Kerryn McCann home now. Next Step NYC.

After being cooped up on a plane for 24 hours, most of us would want to flop straight into bed.

When Kerryn McCann arrived home at Coledale from Athens yesterday morning, she pulled on her running shoes and hit the road.

Putting her body through a 42km Olympic marathon in sweltering heat obviously didn't leave McCann begging for a break.

If anything, the former Bulli High student said the run along her regular Lawrence Hargrave Drive route helped clear her mind.

"I did an easy 8km jog this morning and the whole time I was thinking about my next marathon," McCann said.

"We (husband Greg and their two children) had a great trip and it's really nice to be home. We had such a good time while we were away, I just wish I ended it better."

"I sat down and had a chat with my coach after the race and I really couldn't have done anything differently".

McCann was noncommittal about whether she would take aim at her fourth Olympics in Beijing.

However, the 2006 Commonwealth Games are firmly in her plans.

"I really don't know what the future holds," she said. "I'll run the New York Marathon in early November and then I'll sit down and talk about what I want to do.

Complete article at the Illawarra Mercury
Posted at 22:57     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, August 26, 2004 

Mottram shows big guns he's a threat

If they didn't know him beforehand, Hicham El Guerrouj and Kenenisa Bekele now know who the big Aussie bloke is.

All of Australia's focus was on Jana Pittman at the main Olympic Stadium tonight but the world's best middle-distance runners were keeping an eye on Craig Mottram, who cruised through the opening round of the 5000 metres, showing he can be a contender in Saturday's final.

The 24-year-old from Geelong stuck to his race tactics and stuck to 1500m gold medallist El Guerrouj, who crossed the finish line one hundredth of a second faster than the Australian.

World record holder and 10,000m gold medallist Bekele was the first to finish in Mottram's heat in a time of 13:21.16, ahead of fellow Ethiopian Gebre Egziabher Gebremariam who crossed in 13:21.20.

Mottram was fourth in 13:21.88, with the first five finishers from each heat advancing to the final, along with the next five fastest.

5000m Results - Heat 1
1000m : 2:41.86 Guenther Weidlinger (Aut)
2000m : 5:22.21 Guenther Weidlinger (Aut)
3000m : 8:07.42 Guenther Weidlinger (Aut)
4000m : 10:53.34 Abraham Chebii (Ken)

1. Kenenisa Bekele (Eth) 13:21.16 - Q
2. Gebre Egziabher Gebremariam (Eth) 13:21.20 - Q
3. Hicham El Guerrouj (Mor) 13:21.87 - Q
4. Craig Mottram (Aus) 13:21.88 - Q
5. Abraham Chebii (Ken) 13:22.30 - Q
6. Hicham Bellani (Mor) 13:22.64 - q
7. Alistair Ian Cragg (Irl) 13:23.01 - q
8. Samir Moussaoui (Alg) 13:24.98 - q
9. Sultan Khamis Zaman (Qat) 13:26.52
10. John Mayock (Gbr) 13:26.81
11. Guenther Weidlinger (Aut) 13:29.32
12. Christian Belz (Swi) 13:29.59
13. Alejandro Suarez (Mex) 13:35.32
14. Jonathon Riley (USA) 13:38.79
15. Mohammed Abdelhak Zakaria (Brn) 13:42.04
16. Monder Rizki (Bel) 14:03.58
17. Sergiy Lebid (Ukr) 14:10.23
- Carlos Garcia (Spa) Did not finish

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 07:04     [Perma-Link]

Jana Pittman 5th in hurdles final

The miraculous recovery from knee surgery just 17 days ago ended in a fifth placing for Australia's golden girl Jana Pittman early this morning in the final of the women's 400 metres hurdles.

The Greek hurdler, Fani Halkia, who has rocketed from 49th in the world and improved her best times by three seconds in 18 months, was the shock victor, powering home to overtake Pittman who led off the final bend.

Pittman just stood in contemplation at the end of the race of what might have been, as she struggled to finish over the final 50m of the race.

Results
1. Fani Halkia (Gre) 52.82
2. Ionela Tirlea-Manolache (Rom) 53.38
3. Tetiana Tereshchuk-Antipova (Ukr) 53.44
4. Sheena Johnson (USA) 53.83
5. Jana Pittman (Aus) 53.92
6. Yekaterina Bikert (Rus) 54.18
7. Brenda Taylor (USA) 54.97
8. Yuliya Pechenkina (Rus) 55.79

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 06:57     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, August 25, 2004 

Criniti takes Mudgee Marathon

Ultra marathon runner David Criniti has taken out this year's Macquarie Valley Juices Mudgee Marathon.

The North Rocks based runner fell short of a new race record by 24 seconds on his way to complete his first Mudgee event in 2:44.52 hours.

Criniti led the runners out and had little trouble moving away from the large field as they made their way up Henry Lawson Drive and onto Eurunderee Lane.

As the race progressed the visiting runner took a further stranglehold over the field, making light work of last year's runner up Ray James (3:11.35) and leaving in his wake a host of experienced competitors and many first-timers.

"It was nice conditions for running in the morning and thought I'd take advantage of the good early morning weather to get ahead in the race," Criniti said.

"I was moving along pretty comfortably for the first half of the race, and that's always good for the confidence. If you're struggling early on it makes the rest of the trip even harder," he said.

Criniti finished ahead of Ray Wareham, Epping Sydney, who ran the marathon in an impressive 2:55.12 and local triathlon identity, and former marathon winner Nick Kastelein.

Kastelein in 3:04.12, made this the fourth time he has finished amongst the top placegetters in the event. The local champion narrowly held off Bathurst's Peter Hodges (3:05.59) to grab third place in the marathon, relegating Hodges back to fourth.

Complete article at The Mudgee Guardian
Posted at 11:46     [Perma-Link]

Mottram's great challenge is at hand

by Len Johnson and Jaquelin Magnay

Craig Mottram, who has pushed himself forward as a medal contender, will run the heats of the 5000 metres on Wednesday night after becoming only the third non-African runner to break 13 minutes for the event.

Mottram ran 12 minutes 55.76 seconds just behind Haile Gebrselassie in London on July 30 and, impressively, took the race up to the Ethiopian great with 480 metres to go.

Since the beginning of the year Mottram has continued to develop as a distance runner of world standing. He was still in the best non-African category at the world cross-country championships but from that point on has started to put himself in the midst of the battle with the Ethiopians, Kenyans and Moroccans who dominate world distance running on track, road and cross-country.

The results of the 1500m on Tuesday night will have a bearing on the make-up of the 5000m field. Hicham El Guerrouj plans to double up after the 1500m. Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, the 10,000m champion, is also determined to attempt to emulate his great countryman Miruts Yifter, who took the Olympic distance double in 1980.

Complete article at The Age website
Posted at 09:12     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, August 24, 2004 

Groundhog day for Aust T&F in Athens

Australian 200m runner Adam Miller's Olympic Games ended 21.31 seconds after they started today in what is becoming Groundhog Day for Australia's track and field athletes in Athens.

He was the 11th Australian from a group of 44 knocked out of competition in his opening round so far.

If it wasn't for the walkers, who have collected two bronze medals, and Jana Pittman's fightback from injury to make the 400m hurdles final, Australia's track and field campaign would be looking dire near halfway through the program.

Fortunately, some of the team's brightest hopes have yet to complete their events.

Injury-hampered Miller, 20, was last in his qualifying heat for the 200m today, his pedestrian time ensuring he had no chance of advancing to the second round.

He joined hammer thrower Stuart Rendell, 400m runners Casey Vincent and Clinton Hill, pole vaulter Kym Howe, 3000m steeplechase runner Peter Nowill, triple jumper Andrew Murphy, 800m runner Tamsyn Lewis and hammer throwers Bronwyn Eagles, Brooke Krueger and Debbie Sosimenko as the Australian athletes who have so far failed to make it past the first round.

Other performances have been miserable too....

Complete article at Fox Sports
Posted at 23:09     [Perma-Link]

Perth City to Surf Opens Registration Store

Race Day is just around the corner for the 30th Anniversary of the Channel Nine City to Surf presented by New Balance and event organiser Activ Foundation have opened the doors to its downtown registration store, located in the heart of Perth, for in-person registrations and race pack pickups.

The City to Surf is to be held this year on Sunday, August 29th and the store, located at the Holiday Inn City Centre Perth, is open from Monday, August 16th until Saturday, August 28th – the day before the race.

In addition to providing an opportunity to register in person right up until the eve of the race, the City to Surf store also offers a convenient, central location for participants who have already registered by post or online to pick up their individual race packs, including a chest number and timing transponder.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 12:48     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, August 23, 2004 

Run for Australia in "Greatest Race On Earth"

Applications are called for athletes who would like to be considered for selection in an Australian marathon team for the Standard Chartered Greatest Race On Earth.

Four athletes will be selected with one each to contest the following four marathons:
- Nairobi, Kenya (24 Oct 04)
- Singapore (5 Dec 04)
- Mumbai, India (15 Jan 05)
- Hong Kong (27 Feb 05)

Standard Chartered will sponsor the four athletes covering flights, accommodation
and entry fees.

In addition the four athletes have the opportunity to share in extensive prizemoney. Applications close on Friday 27th August 2004. Please email to
david.tarbotton@athletics.org.au the following information:
Name, DOB, contact details, marathon personal best, all marathon results in the last
18 months, other significant results in the last 18 months, name of coach and
contacts.

The times of the Australian athletes in all four marathons will be totalled together
in a contest against other countries who have Standard Chartered sponsored teams.

Posted at 17:50     [Perma-Link]

McCann 31st in Olympic Marathon

Kerryn McCann, Australia's sole female competitor in the Marathon finished 31st in a time of 2:41:41. She broke down in tears as she finished and said it was the hardest race of her life. Paula Radcliffe, the favourite and World Record holder, dropped out at the two hour mark.

Australian Kerryn McCann, who finished 15 minutes after Noguchi in 31st place, said she regularly felt like quitting throughout the ordeal.

"It was definitely the hardest marathon I've ever run," the mother of two said. "I really struggled, it was so hard in the heat at first and then the hills. I'm disappointed with the run but I'm so glad I finished. Coming into the stadium was awesome."

Top 3 places
1. Mizuki Noguchi (Jpn) 2h26:20s
2. Catherine Ndereba (Ken) 2h26:32s
3. Deena Kastor (USA) 2h27:20s

SMH Report - Noguchi triumphs, Radcliffe disintegrates

BBC Report - Radcliffe Suffers Marathon Agony

Full Results are available here

Posted at 06:35     [Perma-Link]

Tamsyn goes down fighting

Tamsyn Lewis failed on the opening night of the Olympic track and field - adding fuel to comments that she is more interested in being a pretty face.

But while her 800m run had no spark - she finished fifth in her heat - she fired barbed broadsides at her critics, especially Australia's chairman of selectors, David Culbert.
She said she had been disappointed at comments made by Culbert over her preparation for the Games.

His remarks were a reaction to claims from within the sport that Lewis, 26, was now more renowned for her fashion shoots than her results on the track.

"My season has been interrupted by injury, interrupted by sickness and interrupted by comments the chairman of selectors has made about me," Lewis said after finishing in 2min 02:67sec - more than three seconds outside her best.

Lewis has been the beneficiary of $127,000 in grants from Athletics Australia since the Sydney Olympics. She also has received about $15,000 a year from the Victorian Institute of Sport to help her with travel, accommodation and sports medicine expenses.

Complete article at The Herald Sun
Posted at 06:28     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, August 20, 2004 

Male guinea pigs for RPA Sydney Research

The Woolcock Institute of Medical Research situated at RPA hospital Sydney, is conducting a research study into the effect of body weight on airway responsiveness.

Recent evidence suggests that increased body weight is associated with an increase in the risk of asthma symptoms. We wish to find out whether increased body weight makes the airways behave more like those of people with asthma. To do this, we want to measure airway responsiveness in people of different body weights who do not have asthma, particulary for males over 40 years old with a BMI between 20-25.

Please ring Phillip Munoz on (02) 9515 5163 or email phillipm@woolcock.org.au for more information or if you are interested in volunteering.

Posted at 23:01     [Perma-Link]

Title up for grabs in Mudgee Marathon

With the winner of the past two Macquarie Valley Juices Mudgee Marathons, Guy Doulman, not returning to defend his title, event organisers are waiting with gusto to usher in a new champion for 2004.

Among the growing field of runners taking part in this year's marathon is Ultra Marathon runner David Criniti, who is considered amongst local enthusiasts as the one to beat.

As reported in Tuesday's Guardian, Criniti blitzed the field at this year's The Right Track Jindabyne Marathon setting a new record time of 2:44.40.

President of the Mudgee Retravision Red Devils Triathlon Club, Tony Muller believed Criniti will be hard to catch over the 42.2km race, which will trek through some of Mudgee's scenic routes.

"Criniti's a completely different type of runner than what we've attracted here in the past," Muller said.

"He's an Ultra runner, It's hard to see anybody getting past him."

Criniti's record run at Jindabyne was 31 minutes faster than Doulman's 2003 Mudgee Marathon time of 3:15.42, and 24 seconds outside Doulman's race record of 2:44.28 set in 2002.

While the Mudgee course will provide its own challenges, particularly in the closing kilometres where the runners will have to negotiate some short rises in the road along Tinja Lane, it will not match the Jindabyne course for difficulty, which could see the local race record broken.

The course does not deviate much from previous years, which will probably work in favour of last year's runner up Ray James, and rank outsiders - the locals - Adam Mort, John Harris, Doc Campbell, and Nick Kastelein who took out the first local marathon in 2001.

Complete article at The Mudgee Guardian
Posted at 11:59     [Perma-Link]

Troop eyes top-10 finish

Former Ballarat marathon man Lee Troop has gone to Athens with one goal and one goal only - a top-10 finish.

"Troopy's been to the Olympics before," said coach and four-time Olympian Steve Moneghetti.

"He's over all that hoo-ha and the excitement of the village. He's focussing solely on maximising his performance," he said.

The August 29 event can't come quickly enough for Troop, who is desperate to lay his Sydney demons to rest.

He was left devastated and unable to train after ripping a stomach muscle 23km into the race, eventually finishing a disappointing 66th.

Troop is now in career best training form, and Moneghetti said he was four years better prepared for the Athens marathon than Sydney.

He is currently acclimatising in Varese, Italy, and will not make the move to Greece until just four days before his event.

"We might not get in to the Olympic city at all, which is unusual," said Moneghetti, who flies out to join his charge and best mate on Friday.

Moneghetti said although all marathon races were tough, the Athens course would be something else altogether.

"It's been chosen because it's the traditional 1896 route from Marathon to Athens. But you wouldn't pick it these days. It's quite hilly between the 22-33km mark, which is right when you're getting tired. And of course, it's also very hot," he said.

Complete article at The Ballarat Courier
Posted at 10:24     [Perma-Link]

Running and walking the Ryka Queen of the Lake

While athletes were sizzling in the Athens heat of the opening Olympics weekend, a smaller group of women; athletes and competitors in their own minds, braved the meteorological anomaly that is Melbourne's weather for the annual Ryka Queen of the Lake run/walk.

It may have been the inspiration of watching their Australian heroes that brought some 800 women out to Albert Park Lake despite enduring some of the coldest weather conditions in year. The temperature peaked at 9.8 degrees on the Saturday before the race, the coldest Melbourne day for six years and one of the lowest August temperatures for 26 years.

But fortunately rain did not dampen the actual race, with some much longed for sunshine making it a pleasant if somewhat chilly morning exercise session.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 07:44     [Perma-Link]

Unheralded Mottram ready to mix it with Africa's best

by Len Johnson

Craig Mottram's announcement that he was an Olympic medal contender at 5000 metres could not have been better timed. Even Haile Gebrselassie, the greatest distance runner of all time, was shocked.

"It was a hard race, especially that long guy," Gebrselassie said. "Wow, he was fantastic."

After the Ethiopian champion had just held off Mottram at Crystal Palace, London, on July 30, with the Australian setting a new Oceania record of 12 minutes 55.76 seconds, it was hard to say who was more thrilled.

Gebrselassie took obvious delight at having met, and beaten, a rising star in what was his farewell track race in England. Mottram was exhilarated to have broken through.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 07:42     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, August 19, 2004 

Let's get rid of those silly Olympic events

Coming first in the beach volleyball comp is just not the same as winning the marathon. One belongs in the Hall of Heroes, the other at Club Med, says Richard Castles.

A lot of hoo-ha is made during the Olympics about medal tallies. But exactly how do you compare the relative performance of the United States and Equatorial Guinea? Comparisons tend to be made on a per capita basis, on team size, sports funding, gross domestic product, average rainfall and the local price of a Big Mac.

Australia does well on a per capita basis, but not so well in terms of team size and funding. Kiribati is unlikely to do well in absolute terms, but one bronze at these Athens Games could instantly render it the greatest sporting nation on earth.

...walking continues to be the stupidest event at the Olympic Games. Why don't they just run? As one commentator said during the Sydney Games, a contest to see who can walk the fastest is like a contest to see who can whisper the loudest.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 09:34     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, August 16, 2004 

Election date could depend on Canberra Times fun run

By Ian Warden

If the Prime Minister, John Howard, decides against a September 18 federal election perhaps it will be because he wants to be absolutely sure of still being tenant of The Lodge on September 19. He knows that will enable him to come out and wave to participants in September 19's Canberra Times Fun Run and Walk.

With the run and walk looming, you should by now have shaken the surprised spiders out of the running shoes you've scarcely worn since last year's fun run.

Department of Finance workmates Megan Rhind, Michelle Earle and Vince Barbatano ran together beside Lake Burley Griffin yesterday with the coming fun run in their sights.

Ms Rhind, of Scullin, took one hour and one minute in last year's fun run and has a modest goal of - at the very least - a ''PB'' of an hour this year.

She and workmates run 5km ''a few times a week'' and find working so close to the idyllic running venue of the lakeshore a blessing. As well as the usual 10km run or walk starting from Yamba Drive in Phillip, this year sees the introduction of a separate 5km walk. That walk (based on the Heart Foundation's urgings that it's good for all of us to walk 30 minutes every day) will begin at the inbound ramp leading from Hopetoun Circuit to Adelaide Avenue.

The routes for both events will take participants past The Lodge's front door.

The 10km event will start at 10am and the 5km walk will begin at 10.15am, and both activities will finish at the usual place in Commonwealth Park, where, sweating and gasping but feeling very fulfilled about having taken part, everyone will swap stories about their triumphs.

Everyone who finishes within 90 minutes will go in the draw for lucky draw prizes including $3000 from the Community CPS Credit Union and two $1000 prizes from WalterTurnbull.

The first 200 children aged under 15 will each receive a free child's movie ticket to a Hoyts cinema.

Entry forms may be obtained from www.canberratimes.com.au/funrun or by phoning 62802438, or from the Runners Shop, 76 Dundas Court, Phillip.

The closing date for entries is September 3.

Proceeds will assist the Heart Foundation.

Some of us are already taking part in the Fun Run Training Program. Golden rules we're taught (appropriate to all of you who are in training for the run but who are not elite, gazelle-like runners) include that you should never run or walk so violently that you don't have the puff to keep up a comfortable chat with the people with you, or to cry a cheery greeting to the Prime Minister on the day.

Article from the Canberra Times
Posted at 09:56     [Perma-Link]

Mottram the real deal

"IT was a hard race, especially the big guy. Wow he's fantastic.'' With those few words, Haile Gebrselassie, the smiling Ethiopian superman of distance running, acknowledged the immense talent of Australia's Craig Mottram.

It was two weeks ago in London, and Mottram had just pushed the dual Olympic champion Gebrselassie to the line in a 5000m Olympic warm-up event.

In doing so, Mottram, 24, became the first Australian to break 13 minutes for the event, and propelled himself into Olympic medal contention.

It will be a tough ask, but Mottram's time of 12min 55:76sec is the seventh fastest in the world this year and only bettered by Kenyans and Ethiopians.

While Jana Pittman is the standout medal contender in the Australian athletics team, Mottram is one of a number who are in with a show if they produce their best.

Shot-putter Justin Anlezark has been quietly preparing at home in Queensland, but is ready to take on the world. He has been consistently throwing in the high 20m range for two years and finished fourth at last year's world championships. At that time he was tired and homesick, so better things could come in Athens.

The pole vault can be a lottery, so technical is the event, but Australia's Dmitri Markov will be vying for a medal to go with his 2001 world championship title.

He switched coaches this year and has been training in the US with 2000 Olympic champion Stacy Dragila.

Australian officials also have high hopes for long jumper Bronwyn Thompson, who performed well in Europe during the past month.

Walkers Jane Saville, Nathan Deakes and Luke Adams will also be in the mix in their demanding events.

World cross country champion Benita Johnson has been battling injury but should finish amongst the top group in a high quality 10,000m field.

Article from The Australian
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Point 2 Point Race Cancelled (VIC)

Because of insufficient support, the Point to Point event scheduled for Albert Park Lake on Sunday, 5 September has been cancelled. Start to Finish apologises for any inconvenience this may cause. Entrants will be refunded.

Complete article at Start to Finish website
Posted at 02:33     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, August 14, 2004 

Aussies at Olympics Opening Ceremony

It was not the deafening reception that greeted them four years ago, but when the second largest team to contest this Olympic homecoming strode onto the international stage shortly before 10 pm on Friday, their popularity was audible.

Six-time Olympian Colin Beashel led Australian into the Olympic stadium as the 21st team onto the arena. The Greek alphabet dictated the order and the reception was rousing, although the veteran sailor was a more formal flag bearer than his Sydney predecessor Andrew Gaze.

Australia followed Aruba and was trailed by Austria. This time there was no Prime Minister John Howard, only the Federal Minister for Sport, Rod Kemp. And while an Australian princess stood and cheered for her birthplace, the former Mary Donaldson is here supporting Denmark.

Few would have disputed that the Danes had it all over Australia in a fashion sense, yet nobody could deny the 2000 host country further illuminated the already luminous by the sheer size of the contingent that marched, by the uniforms and by their exuberance.

Mark Philippoussis marched up the front of the Australian team alongside his team mate Todd Woodbridge, archer Simon Fairweather and basketballers Shane Heal and Robin Maher (retired).

And if almost half of the 299 who marched were difficult to distinguish, that was because only 160 athletes out of Australia's 482-strong team were among the contingent who braved the hot August night. There were no hockey players, track or road cyclists, beach volleyballers, women's water polo players or basketballers. Only nine swimmers marched. Most of the team remained in the village watching the ceremony on a screen.

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 10:12     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, August 13, 2004 

Diary: I finshed 41,061st!

What started out as a chance remark in the Cootamundra Herald office about an upcoming concert, somehow escalated into a road trip for five Cootamundra ladies and a very sobering introduction to the legendary City to Surf.

Cootamundra Herald Editor Peita Willmott, Jenny Beath, Carol Grant, Rae Coleman and Lynne Magee made the trek to Sydney to attend the Pete Murray concert.

Somewhere along the line, the decision was arrived at to combine the concert trip with a 'walk' in the City to Surf.

While the ladies undoubtedly enjoyed their weekend, all admit to having their eyes opened just a little by the taxing nature of the annual charity event.

Pre race preparation - Dragged everyone out of bed, took a berocca and we headed for the registration area at Hyde Park.

8.05am - After registering, getting our numbers etc, decided we were all starving and in desperate need of coffee. Headed for a little coffee shop we'd passed earlier.

8.40am - Much debate among team about whether to stay and have another coffee and just join-in the mass of walkers as they passed, or walk all the way back to the starting area and start with the rest of the herd.

8.45am - The group conscience, Peita Willmott wins out and we head for the start line.

10.20am - Still at the start line and we all need a loo! Peita most of all, (serves her right). The crowd is enormous, much bigger than I expected. With my height, all I can see is a mass of shoulder blades and backs.

10.40am -Half a 'k' into the race and thankfully we are heading past our hotel, (Formula 1) a quick vote taken and we head upstairs for a quick 'pit-stop'.

10.55am - Heading into the tunnel and find out the race is already finished, we are yet to walk our first kilometre! Still very difficult to manoeuvre with the all the people. There is everything in the crowd from dinosaurs to fairies to babies and monkeys.

Complete article at The Cootamundra Herald
Posted at 22:48     [Perma-Link]

Successful AFL executive appointed as CEO of Athletics Australia

On the eve of the Athens Olympics, one of Australia’s major sporting bodies – Athletics Australia – is to undergo a change in leadership.

Athletics Australia today announced that Mr Danny Corcoran, currently General Manager – Football Operations of AFL club, Melbourne – has been appointed its new Chief Executive Officer.

Mr Corcoran will take over the CEO reins at Athletics Australia (AA) from Mr Simon Allatson, who has elected not to renew his five year contract when it expires next month.

Mr Corcoran has been in his current position at Melbourne Football Club for the past seven years.

Prior, he was Essendon Football Club’s Football Manager for six years, which included the AFL Premiership in 1993.

"I am delighted Mr Corcoran has accepted the position as AA’s new Chief Executive Officer," Athletics Australia President, Mr Andrew Forrest, said today.

"He has an outstanding record of achievement, and is the right person to pick up the baton from Mr Allatson," Mr Forrest said.

"I am confident Danny will quickly move AA into an era of inclusiveness and consultation with stakeholders of our sport, and bring us all together with a common vision and plan to do what is best for our sport at all levels."

Under Mr Allatson’s leadership, AA increased annual revenues to $36 million in the four years leading up to this weekend’s start of the Athens Games, compared to $20 million available to the organization in the four years leading up to the Sydney Olympics.

Complete article at Athletics Australia
Posted at 22:44     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, August 12, 2004 

Troop to rest after a final stretch

LEE Troop will have his final race near Rome today ahead of the Athens marathon.

The Geelong runner will use the 8.5km race at Amatrice to work on his speed after a month of altitude training, leaving him an 19-day break until the Olympic marathon.

``I've just come down from altitude and I'm hoping for one last hard blowout and then I'll do nothing until the Olympics,'' he said.

Troop said the short run was all part of following a preparation that has worked for him in the past.

``There is nothing I can do between now and the race that will help me run any better but there are things I can do that will make me run badly so I just need to stick to my plan,'' he said.

Troop will base himself at a team camp in Milan before flying into Athens just a few days before the marathon, scheduled to start at 3am AEST on Monday, August 30.

Meanwhile, fellow Geelong runner Mark Tucker hit form at an overnight meet in London, winning the 1500m race in 3mins 42.5secs.

Tucker is not in the Olympics but is gaining valuable experience competing in Europe.

Article from the Geelong Advertiser
Posted at 12:06     [Perma-Link]

Athletics Australia's new boss

Melbourne Football Club football operations manager Danny Corcoran is tipped to be the new chief executive of Athletics Australia, with the announcement expected imminently.

Corcoran, who has had extensive AFL experience with Footscray, Essendon and now Melbourne, is expected to take up the appointment at the end of the football season.

Athletics Australia is in the middle of an extensive review, headed by board member Herb Elliott. The review was expected to lead to changes at board, administrative and high-performance levels.

The chief executive, Simon Allatson, announced early in July that he would not be seeking a renewal of his contract beyond September.

The job was advertised nationally the following day.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 08:26     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, August 11, 2004 

Tan track users short-changed

Joggers around Melbourne's popular Tan track aren't running as far or as fast as they thought.

Council workers have discovered the famed track, used by more than 300,000 fitness fanatics a year, is 20m shorter than sign-posted.

According to the signs, the track is 3.847km but these will soon be changed. The track passes the Botanic Gardens, Kings Domain, the Shrine and Government House.

Athletes often run the Tan track for time trials, including gold-medallist Cathy Freeman and Athens hopeful Craig Mottram.

The Collingwood and Richmond footy teams use it for fitness drills, and hundreds of office workers and others walk, jog or cycle it each day.

Melbourne councillor Kimberley Kitching said the shortfall was discovered during work on an $800,000 facelift.

"We measured the Tan to ensure new distance markers were accurate and we discovered it was shorter than we thought," she said.

"Unfortunately for athletes who use the Tan and take their times seriously, they haven't been running as far or fast as they think."

Weekend power-walkers weren't pleased when told of the distance error yesterday. Daily dual-lapper Sue Nelson said she'd thought the track was 4km long.

"So I'm doing even less than I thought. That's no good," she said.

Serious joggers were even more unhappy. One, who ran off before giving his name, said: "Now I'll have to run up the bloody hill twice to make up for it."

Complete article from the Herald Sun
Posted at 01:31     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, August 09, 2004 

Pittman still has chance to compete

Jana Pittman's chances of competing in the Athens Olympics have increased dramatically after the champion hurdler underwent emergency surgery in London yesterday.

Pittman, 21, was overjoyed and newly confident after doctors said she now had a 60 per cent chance of pulling on her spikes.

"I'm going to Athens and that is a much better situation than it was yesterday. They did the operation and basically they cut the bad bit out and found the rest of it was stable enough for me to run. I can't believe it. It's a miracle."

Only a day earlier, the gold medal hope had tearfully written off the possibility after injuring a knee cartilage during training in Zurich. But her hopes surged after she received a more encouraging second opinion from a leading British orthopedic surgeon.

Before heading into the surgery, a grinning Pittman said: "It means I might be there. Yesterday I had a 1 per cent chance, so you know, if anyone can do it, I can do it."

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 02:35     [Perma-Link]

Moneghetti hails Mottram run

Four-time Olympian Steve Moneghetti has hailed the record-shattering performance of Craig Mottram as one of the greatest runs ever by an Australian athlete and is upbeat about the country's distance stocks heading into Athens.

While world 400m hurdles champion Jana Pittman represents Australia's only realistic prospect of success in the shorter events, a number of middle and long-distance competitors look set to record strong performances in Athens.

Mottram slashed almost eight seconds off the national 5000m record last week when he clocked 12 minutes 55.76 seconds in London last week and was only just overhauled by legendary Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie.

Moneghetti, whose Olympic record includes places of fifth and seventh in the marathon at the 1988 and 1996 Olympics, described Mottram's performance as "phenomenal".

He was also encouraged by the recent world cross country championship win in Brussels of Mottram's training partner Benita Johnson.

"Athletics in this country is probably not looking all that promising at the moment, but you've got to say from a distance running point of view we're actually going pretty well," Moneghetti said.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 02:28     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, August 06, 2004 

Runners test out Mudgee Marathon course

Competitors in the Mudgee Marathon on Sunday August 22 were out in force at the weekend testing the course, many of them for the first time.

With the possibility of a record entry, local hopes Nick Kastelein and Adam Mort were out training on the track last Sunday when they came across a trio from Sydney who are part of the "Mike's First Marathon" contingent.

Lisa King, organiser of "Mike's First Marathon", her training companion Nicola Sparrow and Dan Corbett made a special trip to Mudgee on Saturday to get their first look at the course.

In an exclusive interview with the Mudgee Guardian Lisa King said the trio had run 35 kilometres of the course on Sunday morning.

"This was the first time that any of us had been on the course," King said.

"It is certainly a tough course with many more hills than any of the marathons I have run in.

Complete article at the Mudgee Guardian
Posted at 14:09     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, August 05, 2004 

Our Olympic athletes are scattered around Europe

Eight days to go and the Australians are ready. The nation's Olympic athletes are scattered around Europe plotting their paths to Athens and putting the finishing touches to training.

As the world's thoughts turn to Greece and the Games, most of Australia's track and field athletes are based in Varese, Italy, a tourist mecca known for its silk and leather, but chances are the premier sprinters have had little chance to sample them.

Australia's swimmers are holed away in Sindelfingen, a small German town on the outskirts of Stuttgart that has been their European base for the past three years.

The training camps, in warm, sleepy European locations, enable the athletes to get used to the sort of heat they will encounter in Athens, and to prepare mentally.

In Sindelfingen, where Australia's biggest star Ian Thorpe is being protected from the media gaze that will inevitably settle on him after the swimming team lands in Athens on a chartered plane, the camp is an opportunity for the swimmers to put the finishing touches to their training and gather themselves for the competition.

They will arrive in the Olympic village five days before the opening ceremony, which will mark the Games beginning in their traditional home on August 13.

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 14:55     [Perma-Link]

100 year old to run City to Surf

Since turning 100, "Flying Phil" Rabinowitz admits he has become something of a slow starter, but he's planning to put in a fast finish at this weekend's 14-kilometre City to Surf run from the CBD to Bondi.

"Yes. The last bit I run," he said yesterday, before adding less certainly: "So long as I am feeling good."

A remarkable man is Philip Rabinowitz, or "Rabino Blitz", as he also has been nicknamed. He continues to compete in mini marathons like the City to Surf, recently ran a leg of the Olympic torch relay and last month broke the world 100-metres record for centenarians, the "100 x 100".

It took him two attempts. On the first he was timed at 28.7 seconds, but afterwards it was discovered that a power outage had killed the official electronic clock. Undeterred, he returned a week later and clocked 30.86 seconds, beating the old record by almost six seconds.

"For me, it was not a problem. All my life I play sport - tennis, soccer, parallel bars, running, walking," he said.

On Sunday, more than 30 members of this extended family are expected to join him - and 55,000 other runners, joggers and walkers - on the starting line. They will be wearing special supporters' T-shirts.

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 14:51     [Perma-Link]

Oceania and World XC Selection Criteria released

Athletics Australia High Performance Unit has released two new selection criteria.

They are:

1) Oceania Open and U18 Championships (Townsville 16-18 December 2004)
Visit the Athletics Australia website

2) 33rd IAAF World Cross Country Championships (St Galmier France, 19-20 March 2005)
Visit the Athletics Australia website

An information sheet for both championships and an application form for the Oceania Championships will very soon be available from hpathletics@ausport.gov.au or david.tarbotton@athletics.org.au

Posted at 14:34     [Perma-Link]

It's now or never for pin-up Tamsyn Lewis

Tamsyn Lewis must decide whether she wants to be a pin-up girl or a successful athlete.

That's the view of Australia's track and field hierarchy, with serious concerns about Lewis, who is overweight and out of form less than three weeks before the start of the athletics program in Athens.

As Lewis's latest raunchy photo shoot with Ralph magazine hit the news stands, she was struggling to keep up in a B race of the 800m at a low-key meet in Belgium.

"There are many within the athletics fraternity that are sick of seeing her in fashion shoots and that she needs to make a decision as to whether she is going to be an athlete who is well known for being a performer or just famous for being famous," an insider said.

Complete article at The daily Telegraph
Posted at 14:22     [Perma-Link]

Diamond Valley at Coliban relay

Diamond Valley contested the Athletics Victoria Long Road Relay held in perfect winter conditions between Harcourt and Bendigo on Saturday .

The relay required teams of seven runners to cover 48.8km in the men's Division 1 and 2, with all remaining men's and women's teams required to cover 32.3km with five runners each.

The best result for the Valley was the women's Division 2 team Peta Alexander, Lucy Richerjork, Maryanne Murray, Ruth Reidy and Laura Campbell finishing in second place.

Article from the Diamond Valley News.
Posted at 13:46     [Perma-Link]

Resort is no holiday for Troop

by Len Johnson in St Moritz

Some days when Lee Troop goes for a run around the lake or through the forests of St Moritz he sees Wilson Kipketer.

As a three-time world champion in the 800 metres, Kipketer trains in St Moritz as a guest of the tourist authority. He stays at the Kempinski Hotel housing St Moritz's casino where, nominally, the rooms start at $300 a night.

Those rooms are rarely available, however, and anything up to $5000 is the going rate.

Troop can see the casino from the tiny apartment he shares with his fiancee, Freya Stott. Like Kipketer, he is at the Swiss resort for only one reason. He believes it is the best place to prepare for the Olympic marathon.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 13:43     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, August 04, 2004 

Hayley McGregor on the run to Athens

By Sarah Benic

TWO months ago Richmond runner Haley McGregor could not walk, let alone run, because of a foot infection. But in less than a month she will be representing Australia at the Olympic Games.

McGregor was immobilised by the infection for a week and missed three weeks' training but said the break from running had refreshed her.

Now she is back in full training, clocking up to 170km a week in preparation for her first Olympics.

She will compete in the 10,000m along with her training partner, Benita Johnson, who is considered a good medal chance. A month before her event, McGregor said the fact she had qualified for the Olympics still had not sunk in.

She won the Zatopek 10,000m late last year, beating Johnson and setting a new personal best of 31:43 to meet the Olympic A qualifying time.

McGregor said qualifying for the Olympics had been her greatest achievement so far and she was thrilled when she found out.

``Absolutely ecstatic, it's amazing. I still would never think of myself as an Olympic athlete. It still freaks me out when I think about it,'' she said.

She had her highest finish at the world cross-country championships in Brussells (15th) earlier this year before spending five weeks doing altitude training in America.

``Given I'm only a second under qualifying time everyone is going to have run at least as fast if not faster than me,'' she said. ``The Africans are always hard to beat and Benita's up there with a chance.''

McGregor was a top kayaker but needed a new challenge and started running.

``I've got a fairly short attention span, just sort of got a bit bored with it and wanted to try something new,'' she said.

The Olympic 10,000m is on August 27.

Article from the Melbourne/Yarra Leader.
Posted at 13:18     [Perma-Link]

No athletics medal certainties

NO AUSTRALIAN was good enough to be guaranteed an Olympic track and field medal in Athens, head coach Keith Connor said yesterday.

But if everything goes well Australia should bag three medals.

Connor predicted the most likely medallists were Jana Pittman, Dmitri Markov, Bronwyn Thompson, Nathan Deakes, Justin Anlezark or Craig Mottram.

Other outside chances were walkers Jane Saville and Luke Adams, and 10,000m runner Benita Johnson.

But Connor said no Australian was in a class of their own. ``It's arrogant of us to say this person is going to win a medal,'' he said.

``We don't have that luxury in our sport in the sense that conditions (and) competition changes so rapidly. There are no givens.''

Connor is loath to talk about medal predictions, calling it a pointless exercise. But he said 400m hurdles world champion Pittman had proved she was among the best in the world, as had pole vaulter Markov, fourth at last year's world championships.

``(Long jumper) Bronwyn Thompson has shown in her last three competitions she's scratching on that medal door,'' Connor said.

``Her jumping form right now would put her in the final and the top eight.

``Then outside of that you've got Mottram, who's just made a huge breakthrough. (Walker) Nathan Deakes in the 50K, (shot putter) Justin Anlezark, who finished fifth (at the world championships).''

He said the next tier of potential medallists included Saville -- disqualified from the Sydney Olympics 200m before she would have crossed the line to win gold -- reigning world cross country champion Johnson and 20km walker Adams, who was fifth at the world championships.

``But all these people, they are no different to 50 other people from 50 other countries,'' Connor said.

``Basically we've got about five or six opportunities, people who have shown themselves to have that type of performance level, who if they go to the Games and they all produce their best, we'll see how that pans out.''

To arrive at his three medal prediction, Connor calculated six athletes had shown the form to finish in the top three and he halved that number.

``For instance, Mottram has just put himself in the picture,'' he said. ``But he's got to reproduce that two days after he's run a very hard race in tough conditions, not just a one-off.''

Mottram ran the seventh-fastest time in the world this year with 12:55.76 in the 5000m last week to smash the Australian record and almost upset 13-time world record-holder Haile Gebrselassie.

Pole vaulter Markov and 400m runner Clinton Hill recorded top three finishes in a minor pre-Olympic meeting in Sweden.

Markov cleared 5.61m, well off the mark likely to win an Olympic medal, in the pole vault to finish second. Hill was third in the 400m with an unimpressive time of 45.59sec.

Australia won three athletics medals in Sydney, its most since 1968.

Article from the Herald Sun
Posted at 13:14     [Perma-Link]

Pressure tarnishes Jana's gilt-edged look

For a woman who wears her heart on her sleeve, Jana Pittman's Olympic script has little room for error, writes Richard Hinds.

As she prepares for an important lead-up race in Zurich on Friday, you can't help feeling a bit worried about Jana Pittman, an athlete who has seldom needed any comfort or consolation after a big race.

Here is a woman who has - if you will pardon the excruciating pun - leapt over every physical and psychological hurdle placed before her. Junior and senior world 400-metre hurdles champion. Commonwealth Games 400m hurdles gold medallist. She will travel to Athens expecting to complete the set of gold medals before her 22nd birthday.

Pittman is going to these Olympics, she was reported as saying, "to fulfil the reason I was born". Which is a statement that is bold, emphatic, confident and just slightly worrying for those hoping to hear the words "girt by sea" belted out in the main stadium.

In a Cathy-less Olympics, the spotlight on Pittman was always going to be bright. Even more intense, given how events before the games have conspired to make Pittman an even greater focus of attention than seemed likely when she won her world title in Paris last year.

Predictably, she is the only member of a sub-strength Australian track and field team given any hope of winning gold under the big top. Diminished expectations elsewhere have only heightened the Jana mania.

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 01:06     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, August 03, 2004 

Injury carries silver lining for Johnson

The saying goes that every cloud has a silver lining so when injury sidelined 10,000m runner Benita Johnson in the lead-up to the Olympics she looked for something positive to take from it.

She didn't have to search too far.

Johnson's silver lining was a forced break from a gruelling training schedule and her reward has been the rediscovery of her motivation to win a medal in Athens.

Johnson, 25, had her mind set on winning the World Cross Country Championships in March - which she did - but keeping that focus alive for another five months until the Olympics was always going to be tough.

Complete article at the Sydney Morning Herald
Posted at 13:04     [Perma-Link]

Townsville Half Marathon record broken

by Antony Stewart

DESPITE runners failing to crack a record in the sixth annual Tony Ireland Holden Townsville Marathon, Paul Wilson from Emerald in Victoria smashed the adidas Townsville Half Marathon by more than four minutes yesterday.

Wilson blitzed the field from the opening stages of the race, eventually coming home in 1hr 10mins, three minutes ahead of Steven Page.

Page could probably consider himself unlucky to finish in second position after he too broke the previous course record set by Simon O'Regan in 2001.

In the women's half marathon, Billinda Schipp from New South Wales cruised home to take top spot in a time of 1:19.54, five minutes ahead of Caroline Cooksley and Sandy Strong.

In all, a record 210 competitors turned out for the half marathon, easily eclipsing last year's 186.

However, Townsville Running Festival president Brian Armit said both the marathon and the 10.5km fun run numbers were well under estimated figures.

In total, 443 runners competed in the three events after a prediction of 550 earlier in the week.

``In all we were down a small number in the marathon but were short quite substantially in the fun run,'' he said.

``But overall I'm very pleased because it has been a huge sporting weekend in Townsville, with the Townsville Cup and the Cowboys playing.

``It was still high quality fields in all three races and we attracted runners from all over Australia and

internationally.''

After Alan Mullen won the marathon, Mackay Road Runners Club continued their celebrations when Shawn Claydon finished first in the 10.5km Townsville Podiatry Centre Fun Run.

And in the race within a race, Leading Seaman clearance diver Brenton Walters of Neutral Bay, Sydney led the pack from the Australian Defence Forces in the marathon and finished fourth overall in a time of 2:49.01.

Armit said the large number of junior entries for the 10.5km fun run meant a junior 5km run would be added to the list of races for next year.

Article from the Townsville Bulletin
Posted at 10:27     [Perma-Link]

The rise and rise of Mottram

by SIMON TOWNLEY

THE rise and rise of Geelong star Craig Mottram has drawn wary praise from the all-conquering Africans and given Australia a genuine chance for a medal in the 5000m in Athens next month.
Mottram has sliced nearly 17 seconds from his best time in the past two months in a series of runs which have confirmed his potential and justified his switch to 5000m from the 1500m.

And it has given the traditional powers of distance athletics - Kenya, Ethiopia, Morocco and Algeria - something to think about.

His time of 12:55.76 last Saturday took nearly eight seconds off his previous best and drew praise from Ethiopian legend Haile Gebreselassie.

The Kenyan, Ethiopian, Moroccon and Algerian runners have a stranglehold on distance races and Mottram became just the second non-black to run under 13 minutes this year.

The good news is that only three of the five faster runners this year will be in the event in Athens and Mottram is confident he has plenty of improvement left.

Mottram's campaign in the 5000m began on June 2 after a solid pre-European season training camp near San Diego in California.

Early in his campaign he won races in Ireland and Scotland and the Anniversary Four-Minute Mile in Oxford.

Mottram's time of 13mins 10.47secs in Hengelo, Netherlands bettered his national record set at the Australian titles in 2002 by more than 1.5 seconds and was six seconds quicker than the great Ron Clarke at his peak.

Mottram finished seventh in the race when winner Kenenisa Bekele broke the world record in 12 minutes 37.35.

Then on June 14 Mottram sliced a further seven seconds off his best when he finished fifth in Norway with a time of 13 minutes, 03.37 seconds.

Article from the Geelong Advertiser
Posted at 10:21     [Perma-Link]

Mottram now a hot medal chance

by SARAH BIESKE

GEELONG'S Craig Mottram will arrive in Athens a medal favourite after becoming the first Australian to break the 13 minute mark over 5000m on Friday night in London.

Mottram's race was heralded as one of the greatest by an Australian distance runner with his 12 min 55.76 sec effort making him only the second non-African to record a sub-13 minute time.

The 24-year-old fell an agonising few strides short of victory behind Ethiopian great and two-time Olympic gold medallist Haile Gebrselassie.

But his father, Brian, who spoke to his son after the race, said Mottram was thrilled with his time in his final 5000m hit-out before the Games.

``We didn't talk about the disappointment of coming second because it was such a positive result and he was just elated with that time and you would have to say he is a real chance for a medal after that,'' he said.

``We knew he could break 13 minutes but to do it so comprehensively was fantastic and we know he can now go even faster.''

Former Australian and world record holder Ron Clarke also predicted Mottram's breakthrough, which was the seventh fastest time in the world this year, was only the beginning for the track star.

Clarke broke the 5000m world record in 1966 with a time of 13:16 mins and has been a mentor for Mottram in his rise to the top.

American Bob Kennedy is the only other non-African to have broken 13 minutes, but Clarke believes Mottram's success at breaking the magical mark on Friday would not be his last .

``It's very exciting to see an Australian run a time like that and Craig should certainly be very proud of that effort and I'll be sending him a very big congratulations,'' Clarke said.

``It was an excellent time to do it and you would now have to say he is the best chance outside the high-altitude runners for a medal.''

It was the third time Mottram bettered the 5000m national record this year with Friday's time an eight second improvement on his previous best.

It was enough to turn Gebrselassie's head who admitted he too was impressed by Mottram's finish.

``It was a hard race, especially the big guy -- wow, he was fantastic,'' he said of Mottram.

Mottram will use the 1500m event in Zurich on Friday in a bid to further increase his speed before winding up his training for his first race in Athens on August 25.

Article from the Geelong Advertiser
Posted at 10:20     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, August 02, 2004 

No bridge too far for footsore

Emma Mathison, a 21-year-old Beaudesert girl cajoled by neighbours to do her first fun run, won a $21,000 car.

Six friends trotted the whole way from the Gateway Bridge to New Farm dressed as a caterpillar and diminutive Kenyan Patrick Nyangelo raced to the finish line in 35 minutes, 37.5 seconds – to win the men's 12km event.

By any standard, the eighth Bridge to Brisbane was remarkable – at least in terms of the variety of joggers and walkers who took part.

Red-faced, white-haired gentlemen, overweight middle-aged ladies, wiry athletes, chatty matrons, primary school cross-country runners and young parents pushing babies in prams were there.

At the finish, some looked footsore, some exhausted but most looked relaxed and comfortable.

Complete article at The Brisbane Courier Mail
Posted at 13:08     [Perma-Link]

Townsville Marathon winner from Mackay

Mackay's Alan Mullen stormed home to upset heavy favourite and last year's winner Kevin Hill to win the sixth annual Tony Ireland Holden Townsville Marathon yesterday.

Mullen, competing in only his fourth marathon, crossed the finish line more than four minutes ahead of his closest rival and set a personal best in a time of 2hrs 40mins in the field of 70 runners.

The run was three minutes slower than the course record that was set by Hill last year but after competing in the Gold Coast Marathon four weeks ago Mullen, from the Mackay Road Runners Club, said he had actually considered not entering the BHP Billiton Townsville Running Festival.

Complete article at The Townsville Bulletin
Posted at 11:34     [Perma-Link]

Now all hail potential new king of distance

by SCOTT GULLAN

CRAIG Mottram arrived at Crystal Palace wanting to leave an impression. He left as a 5000m Olympic medal favourite after a performance labelled the greatest by an Australian distance runner.

The former Geelong triathlete not only smashed his own Australian record -- breaking 13 minutes for the first time -- but he served it up to one of the best runners of all time, Ethiopian great Haile Gebrselassie, who finished a couple of strides away in second place.

Mottram made a daring move with 500m remaining and shot to the lead. Gebrselassie had enormous trouble reeling in the big-striding Aussie, a fact he applauded after.

``It was a hard race, especially the big guy. Wow, he's fantastic,'' said the two-time 10,000m Olympic gold medallist.

Gebrselassie was chatting to Mottram's coach Nick Bideau prior to the race and asked whether any of his stable would be running in the 5000m.

``I pointed to Buster (Mottram) and Gebrselassie just looked at him and shrugged his shoulders,'' Bideau said.

``He didn't know who he was but he sure does now.''

It is the third time Mottram has bettered the 5000m national record this year. His 12min 55.76sec at Crystal Palace was an 8sec improvement on his previous best, set in Bergen last month.

When Mottram left Australia earlier in the year, the 24-year-old declared he was ready to run 13 minutes and prove to the world he was a legitimate threat come Athens.

``I wanted to come here and leave on a positive note and have everybody thinking about me in Athens, and we did that tonight,`` Mottram said.

``I had nothing to lose. I knew Gebrselassie was going to run 13 minutes or thereabouts, so I just followed him and with 500m to go I had in my mind Nick saying, `Just win the race; just win the race'.

``So I went for it, went as hard as I could, and I think he found it a bit hard to get past the big Australian.''

It was extra sweet for Mottram to do it at the London Grand Prix because of constant speculation this year about a possible defection to Great Britain.

The crisis in the sport in Australia coupled with the fact Mottram spends most of the year training in London and carries both passports helped fuelled the debate.

Bideau has claimed Mottram would be $1 million better off if he represented Great Britain, such is his marketing potential.

But Mottram proudly declared his allegiance to the green and gold.

``I am Australian, I run for Australia, and it was good to come here and make them all jealous,'' he said. ``They can't have me, I'm an Aussie.''

Article from The Sunday Times
Posted at 10:10     [Perma-Link]

Ambitious Mottram enjoys 13 minutes of fame

by Nicole Jeffery

HAILE GEBRSELASSIE did not know who Craig Mottram was before they met for the first time in the 5000metres race at the London Super Grand Prix. But he does now.

Mottram, 24, is the man who nearly ruined the great Ethiopian's farewell track race in Britain, and in the process became the first Australian to break 13 minutes for the distance.

Australia has waited more than 30 years -- since the days of world record-breaker Ron Clarke -- for a distance runner capable of duelling with the likes of Gebrselassie, who has won two Olympic gold medals and a record 11 world titles at distance events from 1500m to half-marathon.

Now Mottram joins world 400m hurdles champion Jana Pittman as a genuine medal contender in Athens.

Before this race, Gebrselassie asked Mottram's coach Nic Bideau which athlete he had in the field. After it, Mottram had the undivided attention of the 31-year-old champion, who will strive for a third consecutive 10,000m gold medal in Athens before switching his attentions to the marathon.

``It was a hard race, especially with that big guy,'' Gebrselassie said. ``Wow, he was fantastic.''

At 188cm tall, Mottram is like Gulliver among the Lilliputians in almost any 5000m field, but he stood tall in a more impressive way on Friday night.

The significance was not in losing to Gebrselassie but in his courage and confidence to take on arguably the greatest distance runner of all time and believe he could beat him.

And until the last 50m, it seemed he just might.

Mottram ran comfortably in Gebrselassie's shadow for 11 laps, then shocked him by jumping to the lead 450m from the finish and driving fearlessly for home. An athlete of Gebrselassie's distinction never panics or submits, but he had to use every fibre to get past the Australian.

There was only 50m left when he drew level and he managed to grab a metre on the challenger before the finish line, crossing in 12min55.51sec, a British all-comers record.

Mottram followed him in 12:55.76. His time is the seventh fastest this year and only bettered by Kenyans and Ethiopians. But his training partner Benita Johnson showed at the world cross-country championships in March that even they can be overcome given the right combination of talent and will.

Mottram ran almost eight seconds faster than his previous Australian record of 13:03.37, set just six weeks ago at Bergen.

``I wanted to leave here with everyone thinking about me for Athens,'' Mottram said.

With dual nationality and a house just outside London, Mottram has been the subject of speculation that he would switch his allegiance to Britain, but he moved to quash that in the wake of his performance.

``I wanted to run under 13 minutes here, especially with all the drama about me running for Australia. (It was like saying:) `I am Australian, you can't have me','' he said.

This was the most thrilling clash of the meet, no mean feat on a night when young Jamaican Asafa Powell (9.91sec) upset Olympic champion Maurice Greene (9.97sec) in the 100m.

Johnson was less impressive in the women's 5000m, finishing fifth in 15:16.61, 18 seconds behind Kenyan winner Edith Masai (14:58.96) but she is confident about her Olympic prospects.

Johnson battled tendonitis in her leg for six weeks in May-June but believes she still has time to find medal-winning form in Athens, where she will run the 10,000m.

The news was not so upbeat for national 200m champion Adam Miller, who pulled up with a hamstring injury midway through the 200m.

However, his coach Michael Khmel said yesterday that the injury did not threaten Miller's Olympic campaign. It has been diagnosed as a low-grade tear which would take less than two weeks to heal.

Article from The Australian
Posted at 10:07     [Perma-Link]

Mottram breaks 13 minute barrier in awesome style

Victoria’s Craig Mottram smashed his own Australian 5000m record at the Norwich Union London Grand Prix meet overnight (Friday 30th July), becoming the first Australian to break the 13 minute barrier, clocking 12:55.76.

Mottram’s performance was nothing short of amazing, the 24 year old taking the lead with one lap to go, from Olympic champion and former world record-holder, the great Haile Gebrselassie.

In a similar win to that over Tergat in the Sydney Olympic 10,000m, Gebrselassie was right on Mottram’s heels down the home straight, overtaking the Australian in the final stages of the race, to win the event in a new stadium record of 12:55.51.

Mottram's time was the 7th fastest time in the world for 2004 (ranked behind 5 Ethiopians and I Kenyan). He is now ranked No. 26 on the World All-Time list.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 10:05     [Perma-Link]

Troop ready to fight for redemption

by James MacSmith

Four weeks from today Australia's leading marathoner Lee Troop plans to put years of abuse and pain behind him and seek redemption.

Troop was one of Australia's great hopes at the Sydney Olympics and he played the part, talking up his chances to anyone who would listen.

After sitting in fourth spot at the halfway mark he suffered a torn stomach muscle and vomited blood, before slumping to 66th and learning that pride comes before a fall.

"After that I'd walk into the pub back home and people would abuse me and say 'What does it feel like to let your country down?'," the 31-year-old Victorian told The Sun-Herald yesterday from his high-altitude training camp in St Moritz, Switzerland.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 10:03     [Perma-Link]

Hail to the big guy: Mottram's a chance

By LEN JOHNSON LONDON

AT the start of the Olympic year, Craig Mottram believed in his own ability. His coach Nic Bideau believed, too. Now the world does.

At Crystal Palace on Friday night, Mottram put the world on notice that he is an athlete of sufficient ability to challenge for a medal in the 5000 metres in Athens this month.

Mottram frightened the life out of one of the greatest distance runners of all time, Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia, and delighted his many supporters among the Crystal Palace crowd with a superb national record of 12 minutes 55.76 seconds.

Gebrselassie edged the Australian to win in a British all-comers record 12:55.51, a finish redolent of the epic come-from-behind sprint that took him to his Sydney Olympics 10,000m win over Paul Tergat of Kenya.

Complete article at The Age website
Posted at 09:56     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, August 01, 2004 

Athletes tunic up for 'real' Olympics

Hundreds of people have gathered in bare feet and tunics to compete in what the organisers claim are the 'real' Olympic Games at Nemea in Greece.

Men and women from at least 36 countries, aged between 10 and 93, took part in a 100 metre race and one over 7.5 kilometres at the ancient site, 120 kilometres outside Athens.

Anyone can participate, regardless of talent, so long as they run in bare feet wearing a traditional tunic. There are no sponsors and no medals.

Archaeologist and organiser Steven Miller says the Games aim to capture the true spirit of the original Olympics.

"The Nemea Games are not designed to be in opposition to the modern Olympic Games in Athens this summer which will be terrific but the link [with the ancient Games] is stronger," Mr Miller said.

"The fact that the runners take off their shoes and touch with their feet the ancient site is very important."

The BBC reports that runners can also rub themselves in olive oil before donning white tunics for their race.

Complete article at The ABC
Posted at 15:06     [Perma-Link]

Melbourne Marathon will make 100 for 71 year old

Although he has more than half a century of athletics behind him, Port Campbell's 71 year old Col Silcock-Delaney expects an event in October will be one of his fondest memories.

When Silcock-Delaney lines up at the start of the Melbourne marathon, it will not only be the 25th time he has competed in the event, it will be his 100th marathon.

"It's my 100th coming up and I think it will be a nice way to go out, when you're on top," he said. "I did my first marathon in 1978 - it was the Geelong cross-country - and did that in two hours and 51 minutes.Now it takes me five hours. My knee's gone now. I can't run like I used to. My brain says: `Yes, you can do it', but my body can't put up with it now."

Silcock-Delaney was in Warrnambool yesterday to accept a federal government award for achievement in sport.

The spritely 71-year-old still trains 10-15km per day as he prepares for his final long run.

Complete article at the Warrnambool Standard
Posted at 11:58     [Perma-Link]

Warrnambool athlete wins award from Pat Farmer

After addressing a school assembly at Brauer College, Pat Farmer took time out to chat with Warrnambool athlete Tommy Bertrand who completed a 100km run from Portland to Warrnambool for charity last year.

Seventeen-year-old Tommy said meeting the ultra-marathon runner had given him inspiration to pursue goals to participate in endurance events, such as the Colac six-day race, in the future.

Mr Farmer was late to present Commonwealth Sport Achievement Awards in Warrnambool because foggy conditions postponed his flight from Tullamarine for more than an hour.

Mr Farmer, who raised more than $3 million for charity during his running career, has now embarked on a career in politics and is the federal member for the NSW seat of Macarthur.

Complete article at the Warrnambool Standard
Posted at 11:50     [Perma-Link]


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