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 Tuesday, November 30, 2004 

Tucker ready to grab his chance at Zatopek

Geelong middle-distance runner Mark Tucker will go into Saturday's prestigious 10,000m Zatopek Classic a favourite after last year's winner Craig Mottram ruled out defending his crown.
Mottram's absence, along with Geelong marathon runner Lee Troop who placed second last year, has left the door wide open for Tucker who finished fourth.

The race will double as a national championship and is the perfect opportunity for the 25-year-old to put his name in front of national selectors for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

"I just got back from Japan so I'm feeling fit and really looking forward to Saturday," Tucker said. "Of all the races on the Australian calender this is the number one for distance runners and with Mottram and Troop out it's definitely improved my chances."

Tucker is training up to 140km a week in preparation for the event which he also hopes will throw him into contention for a spot in the Australian squad for the World Cross Country Championships in France next March.

Complete article at Geelong Info
Posted at 08:01     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, November 29, 2004 

Robinson wins Queanbeyan Gift

Cobar sprinter Brett Robinson picked up the winner's cheque in yesterday's Queanbeyan Gift with a run of 12.17 seconds.

The $7,000 footrace featured top-ranked sprinter Joshua Ross, Nigerian Olympian Ambrose Ezenwa and Daniel Batman, on the comeback trail after a falling out with Athletics Australia.

In the women's event, Romona Casey from Narrabeen claimed first place, in a time of 14.13 seconds.

Posted at 10:30     [Perma-Link]

Life membership at Newstead Harrier Club

A Life Membership presentation to club stalwart Robbie Lee was the highlight of the Newstead Harrier Clubís annual dinner at the Sunnyhill Country Club function room on Friday 19th November.

Lee, 47, is a former state cross country representative, past president of the club and current committee member.

Several of the clubís high achievers in the track and field season were honoured on the night with athlete of the year awards presented to some of the clubís national medallists in Todd Hodgetts, Gavin Mace, James Guest, Libby Clarke, and Ebony Hately.

Best first year performers were national high jump medallist Toby Campain and northern junior sprints and throws champion Abby Seaton.

Joe McCullagh won the clubís major winter season points award, picking up a cash prize, with state representatives Alastair Mitchelson and Hannah Geelan the top junior point scorers.

Hayden Butt and Charles Gunn tied in the clubís version of the Brownlow medal, while Oscar Phillips won the junior category.

State All Schools cross country champion Katharine Parish won the top Under 16 winter season performance award.

Over 70 people attended the dinner.

Posted at 10:00     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, November 27, 2004 

First time competitor beats race favourite in Point to Pinnacle

First time race entrant Emma Weitnauer has won the women's race in the 10th annual Point to Pinnacle run in Hobart (on 21st November 2004).

Weitnauer was trailing Jessica Rosevear and race favourite, Lousie Fairfax, until making her break about half way up Mount Wellington. She finished in a time of 1 hour, 58 seconds, just 30 seconds ahead of Rosevear in second place.

Hobart runner, Mark Guy has taken out the men's section in a time of 1:29:24. Guy says he is pleased with the result. "I had to keep digging deep and I'm glad it's finished," he said.

Organisers say 1,200 people competed in the race from the sea to mountain top. This half-marathon race is one of Australia's most scenic, although it is the spectators who are far more likely to admire the views than the competitors! Commencing at Wrest Point by the water, the finishing line is 21.3 kilometres later at 1450 metres, on the top of Mount Wellington.
Posted at 13:52     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, November 25, 2004 

Tributes for Don Macmillan

Old Scotch Old Boys will be saddened to learn of the death on Thursday 18th November of DON MACMILLAN former teacher, Head of School House and of Hill, coach of rowing, athletics and an international athlete in his own right. Don entered hospital two weeks ago suffering from septicaemia. Are condolances are extended to Donís wife, Meg, his son, Angus (í83) and daughters Mary (former teacher at Scotch), Elizabeth and Catherine.

It is well known to the distance running fraternity that Don's greatness as a coach followed a stellar career as an athlete. At Geelong College, Don was captain of athletics, captain of boats and, in 1946, captain of the school. He was the APS mile record holder, following in the footsteps of his father, Wilfred, who had also held the same record.

After school, Don continued as a runner, becoming Australian mile champion in 1950, 51, 52 and 55, and half mile champion in 1950, 52 and 55. He represented Australia in the 1950 and 1954 Empire (now Commonwealth) Games and the 1952 and 1956 Olympics. While in England in the early 1950's, Don played an active role in the pursuit of the four minute mile, racing against or acting as a pacemaker for Roger Bannister.

In 2002, Old Geelong Collegians Athletic Club appropriately dedicated the Macmillan trophy for presentation each year to the winning men's team at the APSOC Geelong Relay.

Complete article at Old Scotch Collegians Associatin website
Posted at 22:16     [Perma-Link]

Batman set to fly

Queanbeyan's Sydney 2000 Olympic sprinter Matt Beckenham has tipped controversial New South Welshman and former Australian Schoolboy rugby player Daniel Batman to take out tomorrow's Country Energy Queanbeyan Gift at Queanbeyan Town Park.

Batman, who sparked a national media frenzy after he publicly criticized an Athletics Australia head coach last year, is back on the track after a short spell from running.

"He's in very good form," said Beckenham. "All reports from Sydney is that he is training the house down."

Posted at 16:03     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, November 23, 2004 

Shirley Strickland immortalised in bronze

Track and field legend Shirley Strickland de la Hunty was honoured today with the unveiling of a bronze statue at the MCG, the scene of some of her most treasured victories.

Before her performance at the MCG in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics many felt Strickland de la Hunty, who was 30 years old and had one child, had seen her best days on the track and should be retiring gracefully.
She proved them wrong, winning gold in the 80m hurdles and as part of the 4X100m relay team, with her three-year-old son Phillip looking on from the stands.

Phillip and his brother and sister, Matthew and Barbara de la Hunty, together pulled the white cloth off the larger-than-life bronze statue

Complete article at The Herald Sun
Posted at 01:47     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, November 22, 2004 

Funding needed to boost A-series

Athletics Australia has gone cap in hand to the Melbourne Commonwealth Games organisers and the Victorian Government for assistance to revive its flagging domestic competition.

The new AA administration is struggling to overcome the legacy of a $1.4 million debt incurred during the past two years and needs an urgent funding injection to bolster the five-meet Telstra A-series, which begins in Perth in January.

AA argues a vibrant series will lift interest in the struggling sport in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games in March 2006, when organisers will be trying to fill 100,000 seats at the MCG for the track and field competition.

AA chief executive Danny Corcoran, appointed in October to overhaul the organisation, met Victorian Sports minister Justin Madden and executives from Commonwealth Games 2006 last week.

"We would like to put on a top-class A series a year out from the Commonwealth Games and introduce the public to some of the Australian athletes and also to some of the international athletes who are likely to come for the Games," Corcoran said.

AA wants to invite international talent, in particular Caribbean sprinters such as 2004 Olympic 100m finalist Asafa Powell and 2003 world 100m champion Kim Collins, to race the best Australians this summer and raise the standard of competition.

Complete article at The Australian
Posted at 09:33     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, November 21, 2004 

Commonwealth Games 2006 - Marathon course announcement

In 1956, Melbourne's Olympic marathon went out of the MCG and virtually straight into Melbourne's suburban sprawl, with the runners heading along St Kilda and Dandenong roads to Clayton before returning to the MCG.

Suburbs were pretty well all Melbourne had to offer in those days. Fifty years later, the course for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games will be a vastly different affair. It will be an inner-city route and will showcase a very different city, taking in the oldest and newest of the Garden State's parks, precincts and landmark buildings.

Starting and finishing on the track at the MCG, the athletes will run past or through some of Melbourne's best parks - the Fitzroy and Exhibition gardens, Albert Park, the Botanic Gardens and Birrarung Marr - and landmarks old and new, such as the Exhibition Building and Melbourne Museum, Lygon Street, Melbourne University, Docklands, Flinders Street Station, Southbank and Federation Square.

Justin Madden, Minister for Melbourne 2006, said the course was chosen to show off the best of Melbourne to the runners and to an estimated global television audience of 1 billion viewers.

The marathon and other road events in the triathlon, the road walks and the cycling road races, would also be open to all Victorians to watch free of charge. "All Victorians will have the opportunity to glimpse these world athletes first-hand," Mr Madden said, "and it will highlight to the rest of the world the most picturesque aspects of Melbourne."

It will be the first time such an inner-city route has been used. The 1956 Olympic marathon went pretty much to the city limits. Monash University had not even been built.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 14:15     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, November 20, 2004 

Pittman engaged to fellow hurdler Rawlinson

Champion athletes Jana Pittman and Chris Rawlinson have decided they want to face all of life's hurdles together. Pittman, 22, announced her engagement to the Briton, 32, on Friday.

After winning the 400m hurdles at the World Championships in 2003, Pittman, hampered by a knee injury, finished fifth in the Olympic final in Athens. She may have missed out on gold, but Pittman is now shopping for a diamond.

"I'd say Chris is the probably the best thing that's every happened to me so I'm a pretty lucky lady," Pittman told the Nine network. "I can't really say much more than that, can I?" said Rawlinson, Britain's leading 400m hurdler.

Pittman said Rawlinson had painted her nails green and gold for her in Athens and calmed her when she was nervous.

"To see the soft side of such a hard, mentally strong person, it was really beautiful," she told Nine.

The couple are likely to marry in Sydney after the 2006 Commonwealth Games and may have their reception at Taronga Zoo.

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 17:34     [Perma-Link]

AA High-performance position Melbourne-Based

Athletics Australia has made its new high-performance position of national performance director Melbourne-based as it begins the search for a person to fill the important role.

The abolition of the head coach's role, currently held by Keith Connor, and its replacement by a national performance director was a key recommendation of the wide-ranging review of the sport conducted for the Australian Sports Commission by Athletics Australia board member Herb Elliott.

When the review was handed down, Elliott and Athletics Australia chief executive Danny Corcoran said Connor would be a strong candidate for the role.

Corcoran said yesterday that it was "very important" that the new position be based in Melbourne as the sport sought to rebuild. He said that it was "unthinkable" that the AFL chief executive, despite the AFL being a national competition, would countenance its football operations manager living outside Melbourne.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 01:19     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, November 19, 2004 

Lee Troop tops the class in a new subject

Lee Troop is the first to admit he may not have been given such a welcome reception had he returned to his old school 10 years ago. The former Newcomb Secondary College student confessed he was not academically-minded and reckons he spent more time in detention than the classroom.

But the one subject the Geelong marathon runner did get a glowing report in was sport.

Two Olympic and Commonwealth games appearances later, anyone would have thought he was the model student when he returned to the school yesterday - even his old teachers were happy to see him.

Troop was there to launch IGA's Star program, designed to help students reach full potential.

The program, run by IGA and Athletics Australia, is designed to help identify Australia's future track and field stars and is a one-stop resource for secondary school teachers not familiar with teaching athletics.

Complete article at Geelong Info
Posted at 11:48     [Perma-Link]

McCann lifted by Big Apple run

Fresh and focused: After a forgettable Athens Games which left Coledale's Kerryn McCann questioning her future in marathon, the three-time Olympian has a new lease of life after an encouraging performance in last week's New York Marathon. Feelings of self-doubt have given way to renewed faith for Coledale endurance athlete Kerryn McCann.

Yesterday McCann openly admitted finishing 31st in the marathon at the Athens Olympics had left her second-guessing herself.

But a 10th-placing in last week's New York Marathon gave her all the inspiration she needed to make a bid for back-to-back Commonwealth Games gold medals.

Despite finishing nine minutes behind winner Paula Radcliffe, the 36-year-old is convinced she is not past her prime.

"I was really worried after Athens. I was lacking a bit of motivation and I was wondering if I could do it anymore," McCann said. "I just never really felt good from the start over there. I really struggled and felt unfit, but I think the heat played a big part in that. I knew New York was coming up, and I actually jumped up so much after Athens and started training a lot better and a lot more consistently. Things just changed and I was more focused. I started off well (in New York). I ran under 73 minutes for the first half of the race and felt great, but I cramped up around 30km and lost a lot of ground and really faded in that last 10 kms. I was disappointed to run 2.32, but at least I know I can do it now. I got a lot of reassurance out of it to know that I can get back to what I was. It was really promising and I think next year will be a lot better."

McCann has already taken aim at a marathon in March or April.

Complete article at The Illawarra Mercury
Posted at 11:33     [Perma-Link]

Commonwealth Games boss won't lower standards

Commonwealth Games chief Perry Crosswhite admits he is uneasy about the prospect of too many mediocre Australian track and field athletes lining up at the MCG when the big event arrives in 16 months' time.

It was on the agenda when he and Athletics Australia's new chief executive, Danny Corcoran, and high performance manager Tudor Bidder crossed paths at an elite performance forum hosted by the Sports Commission in Canberra yesterday.
The athletics people and the Games organisers must decide where to pitch the qualifying standards so that as many Australians as possible, especially new young talent, will be in action at their own Games, but without compromising the quality of the event.

As the Herald Sun revealed exclusively last month, the team could number 100 or more. Given the modest results the sport has achieved since the Sydney Olympics and the political turbulence that has engulfed it over the past year, many would regard this as a laughable, inflated figure.

There are nowhere near that many world-class athletes in Australia, and Crosswhite says selection will be "a big issue".

Complete article at The Herald Sun
Posted at 11:30     [Perma-Link]

Stark choice: bad athletes or empty G

Athletics Australia and the Australian Commonwealth Games Association are looking at lowering the qualification standards for track and field so that more home athletes will take part in the Melbourne Games in 2006.

Event organisers and the ACGA want a full athletics representation to help sell tickets, which go on sale next Monday, for the 100,000-seat, redeveloped MCG.

"Australians like to see Australians compete," said ACGA chief executive Perry Crosswhite.

Such is the parlous nature of athletics in this country, a broad interpretation of the current selection policy would enable about 50 to 60 athletes to make the team. But with a limit of three athletes per country in each event, Australia could fill 142 spots.

Such a move to downgrade standards would go against the recent efforts of Athletics Australia to make qualification more difficult - usually a world top-12 ranking to make the national team - to reduce the likelihood of the team carrying passengers.

But Crosswhite said organisers didn't want a situation like the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games where Australia had no male participant in the blue-ribbon 100 metres.

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 11:27     [Perma-Link]

Don't leave your Olympic Dream Run too late

The title is up for grabs, the defending champion has declared.

Long-distance specialist Craig Mottram -- who won last year's Herald Sun Olympic Dream Run -- will compete in the race on Sunday, but has ruled himself out of winning.

Mottram's gruelling training schedule will demand that he takes it relatively easy, but the Richmond athlete is unperturbed about taking a back seat.

"There's no chance I'll try to win. I'll run around and enjoy a day with several thousand other people -- it's a nice scenic course," Mottram said.

The course is centred on the Royal Botanic Gardens and takes in Melbourne sights including Birrarung Marr, the Shrine of Remembrance, Alexandra Gardens and Federation Square. Participants can choose between 6km and 10km courses.

Complete article at The Herald Sun
Posted at 11:23     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, November 18, 2004 

Changes to dates for Telstra A Series

Athletics Australia has today announced changes to the dates for the 2005 A series

The New Dates will be:

Perth: Sat 22nd Jan - 3pm start
Canberra Sat 5th Feb - 3 pm start
Melbourne Thur 17th Feb - 6pm start
Adelaide Sat 19th Feb 3 pm start

Posted at 07:44     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, November 14, 2004 

Anti Doping - Prohibited list & changes

Athletics Australia's Doctor, Tim Barbour has prepared a summary of changes to the WADA Prohibited Substances List Ė effective 1 January 2005.

This document titled Ď2005 Prohibited List Ė Summary of Modificationsí can be viewed on the Athletics Australia website

The following is a dot point of more critical things :

- Narcotics etc are banned In Competition testing. There has been a recent case in Britain where an athlete tested positive for cannabis after attending a party a few days before competing. The athlete is adamant he did not smoke a joint, but was around people who were. Athletes should be very careful to avoid such situations.

- Beta-2 agonists Ė these are now prohibited in- AND out-of-competition. As in the 2004 policy, the four beta-2 agonists (formoterol, salbutamol, salmeterol and terbutaline) can be used with an abbreviated TUE as per the asthma policy.

- Several masking agents have been added, including Finasteride Ė a medication used to treat male pattern baldness.

- Dermatological glucocorticosteroids (i.e. cortisone creams) FROM 1ST JANUARY 2005 no longer require any notification via an Abbreviated TUE form. Otherwise the policy on glucocorticosteroids ("cortisone" preparations) remains the same.

Posted at 15:11     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, November 12, 2004 

North Qld athletes to shine at Oceania Track & Field Championships

Townsville crowds will have plenty of local hopefuls to cheer on at next month's Oceania Track and Field Championships.

Twenty-seven athletes from the North Queensland region have been selected in a 61-member Australian team for the December 16-18 championships at the Townsville Sports Reserve.

More than 15 nations including New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tahiti will be represented at the open and under-18 championships.

Athletics North Queensland president Yvonne Mullins was pleased with the region's representation on what she rated a strong Australian team.

Mullins said Athletics Australia had enforced tougher qualifying standards than for the previous Oceania Championships in New Zealand in 2002.

Complete article at the Townsville Bulletin
Posted at 09:18     [Perma-Link]

Cathy Freeman comeback remote

Cathy Freeman's manager says it's extremely unlikely the Sydney Olympics gold medallist will make a dramatic return for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

Freeman's former relay team-mates have noted how fit Australia's former track queen is looking and that a comeback could be in the pipeline.

But IMG's Chris Giannopoulis said the chances of a Commonwealth Games comeback in her home city are "very remote".

"I joked with Cathy about how fit she looks just two weeks ago and I asked her, 'Are you sure?"' Giannopoulis told the newspaper.

"But she just said, 'Don't start. I'm enjoying the freedom I have in my life without training and competing.'

Complete article at the Daily Telegraph
Posted at 09:06     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, November 11, 2004 

Fun run in Epping

FITNESS and good health have never been more aligned. Proceeds from money raised at a fun run and walk in Epping this weekend will go to The Northern Hospital.

Hospital general manager Robert Burnham said people of all ages could join the Meadowglen and YMCA Fun Run and Walk and support the hospital at the same time.

Money raised will go towards an infant warmer for the hospital's neo-natal unit.

Mr Burnham said the equipment provided a ``warm, safe environment for babies who need some extra care after birth''.

A YMCA aerobics team will run a pre-race warm up at the event this Sunday and show bags and certificates are on offer for all participants.

People can register for the run or walk from 9am, or receive a discount for registering before the day at the Mill Park Leisure and Services Centre or the Thomastown Recreation and Aquatic Centre.

Information on 9404 4811 or 8405 8042.

Article from the Whittlesea Leader.
Posted at 17:00     [Perma-Link]

Ron Reed on Paula Radcliffe


Only victory in Beijing will provide full redemption

TWO days after Paula Radcliffe's triumphant return to marathon running in New York, the sense of relief was still almost tangible in the British media.

The nightmare was over at last. And if this did not quite constitute full redemption, it will certainly do as a launching pad into the future, with the Beijing Olympics waiting over the horizon as the venue for full and final forgiveness.

And along the way, the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006 is likely to have an important part to play.

Presuming that she does contest either the road race or the 10,000m on the track, she is likely to be the biggest name to grace those Games, certainly among the females.

Even her British colleague Kelly Holmes, who achieved superstar status when she won the 800m and 1500m double at the Athens Olympics, is not in the same class as Radcliffe as fodder for the media.

There were few bigger stories anywhere in Athens -- and none for the Brits, desperately searching as they always are for a sporting hero on whom they can rely to keep the flag flying high -- than Radcliffe's shock failure to finish either the marathon or the longest race there is on the track.

That she couldn't offer any clear explanation for it only compounded the disbelief.

Had she, as they say in London, just ``bottled it''? Was she, when it mattered most, just a quitter?

These confronting questions were still very much on the agenda when she lined up in the Big Apple on Monday, 77 days later. And the tone of the massive coverage the event generated in the London press suggested that no one wanted to believe the answer was then, or would be again, yes.

With this as the backdrop, it was almost as if Radcliffe was being willed to win, which she duly did, showing considerable courage to push herself over the line just four seconds clear of her friend and rival, Kenyan Susan Chepkemei.

There was something faintly Freemanesque about it. As with Cathy in Sydney four years ago, the overwhelming emotion at the end was relief. In each case, the central figure had done it.

Freeman and Radcliffe are very different people, and there is no comparing the Sydney Olympics with a glorified fun run far from home. But the runners have one thing in common -- the ability to galvanise the people who watch them perform.

In Manchester two years ago, Radcliffe brilliantly won the Commonwealth Games 10,000m and ran the last couple of laps alone to a standing ovation from the stadium.

Thousands of Union Jacks were waved in unison and the crowd sang Land of Hope and Glory -- it was a very moving moment, regardless of where you were from.

To remember that momentous night is to be reminded of what Radcliffe means in the often downbeat world of British sport.

In the wash-up this week, the question has changed. Now, it's no longer a matter of can she do it. It's what she will do. Will she concentrate on marathons from now on, or tackle the 10,000m -- an event she has yet to win in a full international field -- at the world championships in Helsinki in August?

Meanwhile, the Athens meltdowns remain a mystery.

Radcliffe's biography, My Story So Far, has been published this week to coincide with her reappearance.

It is being serialised in The Times, with two pages devoted on Tuesday to the disaster.

She says that in the lead-up, she had a vague sense that something was wrong with her body, but didn't know what it was, except that her food wasn't being digested properly.

This translated to stomach pains during the race, which forced her to empty her bowels while she ran.

Eventually, her legs refused to keep going and she made the agonising decision to stop. It was a shattering experience.

``Although I had done it, I couldn't believe I had. What have I done here?'' she wrote.

Then she cried her eyes out.

Medical examinations showed that her spleen was slightly swollen and her stomach ``pretty battered'', but her pulse and blood pressure were normal, indicating that it wasn't the heat that had got to her, as many assumed.

Whatever it was, it's behind her now and the long run to Beijing stretches ahead.

Article from the Herald Sun
Posted at 16:42     [Perma-Link]

Shane Gould featured on Olympic Dream medal

by Emily Power

SHANE Gould's courageous comeback at this year's national swimming titles, after 30 years away from the sport, embodied the elusive qualities of a champion.

While age had sapped her of the blistering pace that set 11 world records, there was no doubt Gould had lost none of the determination or spirit that took her to three gold, one silver and one bronze medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Immediately after blitzing Munich and establishing herself as a sporting immortal, the girl from Sydney retired -- at just 16 -- and retreated to the Margaret River region of WA to indulge in her love of horses and surfing.

Gould, now 47, is the only swimmer to hold all freestyle world records, from the 100m to the 1500m, at the same time. She has now given her name to a commemorative medal to be awarded to all runners who finish the 14th annual Herald Sun Olympic Dream run.

Organisers hope to attract 10,000 participants for Victoria's premier community fun run, which winds around the city's landmarks on Sunday, November 21.

This year, for the first time, the Olympic Dream will be part of the world-wide Olympic Day Run, commemorating the formation of the International Olympic Committee 20 years ago.

It will be part of a global celebration of the Olympic principles of participation and a healthy lifestyle.

All profits from the Olympic Dream will go to Australia's Olympic team in Beijing in 2008, when they will try to emulate the record medal haul achieved in Athens this year.

As always, Olympic Dream participants have the chance to pit themselves against the country's elite athletes and run alongside Olympians from other disciplines, including rower Drew Ginn, sprinter Adam Basil and shooter Adam Vella.

Seasoned competitors will have the challenge of keeping up with Olympic 5000m runner Craig Mottram, and men's race record holder Steve Moneghetti in the 10km or 6km runs.

And there is no excuse for couch-dwellers, either. Even those who just prefer a leisurely stroll around the city circuit can enjoy a 10km or 6km non-competitive walk.

The Olympic Dream is also the hotly contested final leg of the Australian Wheelchair Grand Prix circuit.

There will be a changing of the guard in this year's women's division, with last year's winner and women's race record-holder, Olympian Benita Johnson, bypassing the Dream to make her marathon debut in New York.


" My daughter Jessica first enticed me to run it. I jog and walk 6km. The Olympic Dream is my favourite fun run because I have been doing it for so long, and It's the first fun run I ever went in."

- Ruth Warner-Bishop, 81, who will run in her 15th Olympic Dream

Article from the Herald Sun
Posted at 16:34     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, November 09, 2004 

Mona runs last Noosa Bolt


STEVE Moneghetti may have run his last 5km along Noosa Parade.
The former Olympian yesterday finished sixth in the New Balance Bolt and said at age 42 it would probably be the last time he would test himself against the elite middle-distance runners at the Multi-Sport Festival.

Moneghetti was happy with his time of 14 minutes 24 seconds, 19 seconds behind the winner Mark Tucker of Geelong, but disappointed he couldnít finish off with another podium placing.

He kept up with the leading pack until the final lap of the 1km circuit when his "old legsíí couldnít find the kick he needed to challenge.

"Hopefully this wonít be the last time Iíll come to Noosa, but I think this will be the last time Iíll run in the Bolt,íí Moneghetti said.

"Itís probably time to move on and I donít want to deny someone younger a spot by keeping on going.

"Iíve just lost that next gear and sprint in my legs. When you get to 42 that happens, I think.

Complete article at the Sunshine Coast Daily
Posted at 16:03     [Perma-Link]

Track Athletes triumph at Noosa

Several of Australiaís top track athletes competed in Noosa at the weekend, with Craig Mottram, Mark Tucker and Eloise Wellings (formerly Poppett) all taking the honours in their events.

Olympian Craig Mottram won the open section of the 2004 Noosa Triathlon after six years out of the sport. Mottram clocked one hour, 53 minutes and 54 seconds to finish 19th overall in what is the world's second-largest triathlon, attracting about 5000 competitors.
Mottram was forced to compete in the Open category, rather than the elite, after he was unable to secure a professional license. The 24-year-old was disappointed with not competing in his category of choice, yet satisfied with the result.

"If I was racing in the elites, I reckon I might have come in the top 10 - it's hard to compare,'' Mottram said. "I enjoyed it, I was out there having a crack and relaxed a bit for the last 10km of the bike so I could get into the run and make sure I had a little bit of steam left. I felt good. It was a good challenge, I had a lot of support from the crowd and it was good fun.''

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 15:57     [Perma-Link]

McCann leads Aussies in Big Apple

Commonwealth Marathon Champion Kerryn McCann was Australiaís top finisher in the 2004 New York Marathon (held on 7th November), crossing the line in 10th place, while Benita Johnson in her marathon debut finished 14th and Andrew Letherby came 12th in the Menís event.

In her first marathon following the Olympic event in August, McCann clocked 2:32:06, more than nine minutes quicker than she ran in Athens, and just nine minutes behind the winner, current world record holder Paula Radcliffe (2:23:10).

This was the 30-year-old Australianís third attempt at the NY marathon, last challenging herself herself over the course in 2002, where she crossed the line seventh in 2:27:51, and prior to that in 2000, where she finished eighth in 2:30:39.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website
Posted at 15:54     [Perma-Link]

Mark Tucker wins New Balance Bolt

NEWCOMB athlete Mark Tucker won the New Balance Bolt in Noosa on Saturday, ensuring Geelong keeps a firm grip on the prestigious title.

The 25-year-old runner continued his fine form with a comfortable win in the 5km race in humid conditions.

Highton's Olympic 5000m finalist Craig Mottram previously had a stranglehold on the event, winning the past three times.

But Mottram this year opted to compete in the Noosa triathlon yesterday where he won the open section.

``I was glad he wasn't racing,'' Tucker said with a laugh.

Tucker said it was the first time he had competed in the event and he felt good, despite the humidity.

``I was relaxed and sat there and with one kilometre to go, I made my move,'' he said.

``It was a solid time, it was a tight course and I'm not used to the heat, being from Geelong.''

Tucker, who last month won the 10km Nike You're the Run That I Want Melbourne fun run, will represent Australia this month in Japan in the famous Chiba International Ekiden relay.

The Ekiden is a teams' road relay held over the classic marathon distance and Tucker is one of five in the men's team to compete on November 23.

Australia has contested 12 men's and 10 women's races since 1988.

Article from the Geelong Advertiser
Posted at 15:47     [Perma-Link]

Last chance to enter Olympic Dream

THIS week is your last chance to enter Victoria's greatest fun run -- the Herald Sun Olympic Dream.

Now in its 15th year, the Olympic Dream gives competitive and fun runners the chance to test their fitness over a 10km or 6km course later this month.

Up to 10,000 competitors will take off from Batman Avenue on Sunday, November 21 and wind their way around a scenic course that takes in many of Melbourne's major attractions.

Proceeds from the run go towards supporting Australia's 2008 Olympic team in Beijing.

All participants receive the Shane Gould Olympic Dream Medal as they cross the finish line on the Lower Terrace in Birrarung Marr.

High-profile Olympians set to compete this year include marathon runner Lee Troop.

Other Olympians will sign autographs after the race.

More information about the Olympic Dream can be obtained by ringing (03) 9381 4666 or visit

Article from the Herald Sun
Posted at 15:40     [Perma-Link]

Gisborne Fitness Classic

SCEPTICAL about the torrential rain for the inaugural Gisborne Fitness Classic last year, many of this year's 123 competitors signed up for the fun run on the day.

The course for the second annual classic, held on October 31, was designed to test the runners' fitness as it led them around Gisborne, with entrants given a choice of a 10km or 6km run or the 6km walk, with fruit buns donated by Bakers Delight waiting at the finish line.

There were 48 more competitors taking part in this year, with most choosing the 6km option.

Coburg Harriers Athletics Club member Jeremy Grey was first home in the 10km run, in 35.47 mins, followed by the first woman, Robyn Millard, in 36 mins flat, one second faster than Mario Muscara (36.01), and Charles Chambers (36.20) next home.

Maree Gourley (40.59) and Su Pretto (44.33) were second and third respectively for the women.

Rory Donegan, third fastest for the men in the 6km run, also won the junior 6km event.


10km run: Men - 1 Jeremy Grey 35.47, 2 Mario Muscara 36.01, 3 Charles Chambers 36.20; Women - 1 Robyn Millard 36.00, 2 Maree Gourley 40.59, 3 Su Pretto 44.33

6km run: Men - 1 Darran Hill 20.55, 2 Tim Byrne 21.27, 3 Rory Donegan 22.43; Women - 1 Tanya Cooper 24.54, 2 Christine Woolley 25.34, 3 Samantha Lock 26.00

Junior 6km: 1 Rory Donegan 22.43

Article from the Sunbury Leader.
Posted at 15:31     [Perma-Link]

Dessaix-Chin 7th in Noosa Bolt 5km

WOLLONGONG runner Russell Dessaix-Chin finished a creditable seventh in the Noosa Bolt 5km road race on Saturday.
Victorian Mark Tucker won the race on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, which hardly lived up to its name as it rained nearly all weekend.

The race was brought forward on Saturday after electrical storms were predicted for later that afternoon.

Tucker finished third on the previous Sunday behind fellow Victorians Craig Mottram and Steve Monaghetti in the final leg of the Nike 10km road race series at Sydney Olympic Park and Dessaix-Chin was fourth.

At Noosa on Saturday in the 5km race, Monaghetti finished in sixth place just ahead of Dessaix-Chin.

"I went pretty well, considering the cream of distance running in Australia were competing," Dessaix-Chin said.

"It was a really close race. Everyone was was pretty much together until the last lap."

The race consisted of four laps up and down the street, bunching up then sprinting out of the corners.

"The atmosphere was awesome," Dessaix-Chin said.

Article from the Illawarra Mercury.
Posted at 15:27     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, November 08, 2004 

Michellie Jones wins Florida Ironman

Michellie Jones made a spectacular entry into long-distance racing with an all-the-way victory in the Florida Ironman triathlon.

Australia's dual Olympic-distance world titleholder battled through the pain barrier to win the torturous 4km swim, 180km cycle and marathon 42.2km run in nine hours, 28 minutes and 54 seconds at Panama City Beach, Florida.

Jones's brilliant debut in cold and windy conditions relegated Scotland's two-time defending champion Bella Comerford (9:34.54) to second place - exactly six minutes behind. Argentine Barbara Buenahora (9:36.27) was third.

Jones's win earned her a start in next year's world ironman championships in Hawaii.

"I'm excited. To win in my first-ever ironman and get my Hawaii spot, it's great," she said."I've won over all distances now."

The 34-year-old won't race again until next March and plans to contest about 10 Olympic-distance and half-ironman events between now and Hawaii next October.

"I'm going to have at least a month off. My legs are really hurting now," Jones said from Florida.

Preliminary results here

Complete article at the SMH
Posted at 08:21     [Perma-Link]

The two of us - Moneghetti & Troop

Steve Moneghetti, 42, has had an admirable marathon career - fifth in the Olympic marathon in 1988, Commonwealth Games gold in 1994 and winner of the Berlin and Tokyo marathons among the highlights. Now he is passing on his knowledge to Lee Troop, 31, who in his nascent marathon career finished 28th at the Athens Olympics and eighth in the London marathon this year.

Steve Moneghetti
'He'd been in America in college and he came back wanting to be a marathon runner, so he rang me and left a few messages on my answering machine, saying he wanted to come to Ballarat and train with me.

I was a bit surprised initially and I thought (he would be) another person to sort of bother me and I ignored a few phone calls. But then... we had a good chat and set some ground rules - that he be reliable and a good help to me and we help each other out. Since then, we have become best mates.

Lee Troop
"As a young kid of about 16, 17, 18 years old, I used to travel up to Ballarat from Geelong with a group of athletes and train with Monna and his training group on a Saturday morning.

I went to America in 1993 and seeing how big the world was, I thought that if I wanted to be a good runner, I should probably relocate from Geelong and the two choices I had were the Institute (of Sport) in Canberra or Ballarat. I basically just rang Monna up and just said I wanted to move to Ballarat and train there and, 'Can you help me out?'

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 06:31     [Perma-Link]

76 year old Frank jumps to it

Veteran athlete Frank Pieters is determined not to retire while he's still flying high.

"I won't retire until someone gets the shovel out," said Mr Pieters, who will celebrate his 76th birthday at the end of the Pan Pacific Masters Games, which began this weekend on the Gold Coast.

He said sometimes when he injured himself training his wife Amparo suggested he should bring a coffin home with him.

"But if you don't keep training, you will be six feet under in no time."

With 254 medals won in the past decade, Mr Pieters is one of Australia's most successful veteran track athletes.

His breathtaking schedule requires him to compete in the pole vault, hammer throw, shot put and discus in quick succession.

Gold Coast Events Management general manager Cameron Hart is confident a record 10,000 athletes will compete this year, with competitors from 30 countries in 45 sports.

Official website at

Complete article at The Sunday Mail
Posted at 06:21     [Perma-Link]

Mottram's old itch worth scratching

Craig Mottram was sure he would encounter a few difficulties in his first serious tilt at a triathlon since his junior days, but the Olympic 5000 metres finalist was more than a little surprised to hit his first hurdle before the race had even started.

When Mottram turned up to the Noosa triathlon yesterday, he was told by officials that as he did not have an elite triathlete's licence, he would have to compete in the open section of the race, starting two minutes apart from the elite men's section. Instead of testing himself against Craig Walton, who won the Sunshine Coast event for the third year in a row, and the rest of the top men, Mottram went around in the third category of competition. One hour 53 minutes 40 seconds later, he had won his section by almost two minutes.

He said the way the elite men's race had panned out - Walton establishing a lead out of the water and the rest racing in a bunch on the bike leg - would have suited, putting him in contention for a good finish on the 10-kilometre run leg.

Mottram, a national schoolboy champion at triathlon before focusing on running, said the technical aspects had come back to him readily. "I was pretty smooth with the transitions." He also admitted that the result had engendered "a hankering to do another. I'm a glutton for this sort of punishment."

Having pushed into the upper ranks of world distance running this year with three national records at 5000 metres, the last taking him into Kenyan and Ethiopian sub-13 minute club, and eighth place in the Olympic final, Mottram is not about to lose sight of the main game. "I've got unfinished business on the track," he said.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 06:12     [Perma-Link]

Noosa Triathlon competitor dies

A 37-year-old Sunshine Coast competitor died at the Noosa triathlon after suffering a heart attack near the finish.

Peter Semos was pronounced dead on arrival at Noosa Hospital, according to a statement from race medical director Richard Heath.

He was competing in the 35-39 age category of the 1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run triathlon and was apparently near the end of the run when he collapsed.

Event staff reached Semos soon after the incident, but could not revive him.

It is understood Semos' wife was a spectator at the race.

Complete article at the SMH
Posted at 06:08     [Perma-Link]

Walton & Snowsill crowned King & Queen of Noosa

Defending champion Craig Walton today claimed his third successive Noosa Triathlon win and fourth title while his partner Emma Snowsill made it two in a row for triathlonís golden couple.

This now makes Walton the most capped performer at Noosa surpassing Miles Stewartís three wins here overcoming a quality field along the way.

At the end of the 1.5km swim Walton had already set himself up with a 50sec lead over the next bunch of 19 that all exited together including Athens Olympian Simon Thompson, Jonathon Grady from Leumeah, Stephen Hackett, Luke McKenzie, Alan Moran , Craig Alexander and Matt Hopper leading them through.

Even with the slippery conditions Walton extended his lead on the 40km bike leg, heading into transition for the second time with a 2:50min lead over the chase pack.

Walton, one of the most powerful non-drafting cyclist in the world not surprisingly recorded the fastest bike split.

The same group of 19 had managed to stay together for the entire bike leg and all stampeded into transition together but would be racing for second and third place today.

After the showers early in the race the humid conditions would be a factor in the run for some.

Alexander was one of the first out and after his phenomenal US season where he twice beat Walton, first in Chicago and then LA looked to have the goods. Alexander was quietly confident going into todayís race

"I was a bit frustrated on the bike being stuck in that bunch and only a couple of guys wanting to work. You just canít expect to catch a bloke like Waldo once heís out of sight if you donít work and we were just bleeding time," said Alexander after the event.

Alexander produced the fastest run split in the elite field to grab second spot with a surprised Simon Thompson also securing a podium finish.

Thompson was amazed at his own performance coming off a three week training stint. ďIím quite blown away by that performance, because Iíve been swimming badly and put on 5kg in 5 weeks.

Thompson was happy to be out with the pack and find his rhythm in the early stages of the run but started to suffer at the 7km mark.

Walton was happy to end his season on a winning note and will now take a well earned break with partner Snowsill.

In the womenís event Snowsill and Hackett were out of the water together with the next group already a minute behind. As they filed out it was the Gold Coastís Nikki Egyed, Leesa White, Vanessa Hentschel and Erin Densham.

The pair stayed together on the bike until the top of the hill where Hackett had some mechanical problems with her wheel buckling and the death wobbles setting in she decided to pull over and rectify the problem.

"Iím a mother now and didnít fancy myself laid up for weeks with injuries so decided to play it safe," said Hackett after the race.

This gave Snowsill the chance to move away on the bike and give herself a 2min 30sec buffer heading out onto the run. Despite the big lead she had Snowsill put in a powerful run to clock a formidable time just missing the race record by 33 seconds.

Boyfriend Walton was at the finish line to greet a delighted Snowsill in claiming her second Noosa win.

"I am just so pleased that Iím on holidays now, I think thatís what got us both to the line today," said and emphatic Snowsill. "I have to admit that I was nervous coming down that hill but remembered that Craig to told me to just keep my weight as low as possible." Not easy for someone as tiny as Snowsill. "Craig and I do most of our training together but different programs, heís taught me a lot on the bike but and I know that Iím a much stronger athlete than 12 months ago."

The former World Champion put in a solid performance today to take second place and was pleased with how her return to the sport is unfolding. She has podiumed at every event she has started in. Hackett will head to Thailand to compete now and will wait to see what husband and coach Keiran Barry has planned for her domestic season.

Hackett celebrated her win by carrying 14 month old son Joel across the finish line.

Craig Mottram made a successful return to triathlon today winning the open menís category. Mottram was unable to compete in the elite category as he doesnít hold a professional license.

On only a limited preparation Mottram was 7th out in the swim and rode a reasonable time to put him in the ideal position going into the run.

"I had a great time out there today and while my swimming needs a bit of work Iím keen to do a few more," said Mottram. Mottram found his rhythm 3km into the run and never looked back clocking 32:09 for the 10km run. He will not be making any permanent switch to triathlon at the moment, as he still has unfinished business on the track he will continue to do some triathlon training in his off season to keep up his fitness.

The 2004 Noosa Triathlon was the biggest ever field with 5,000 competitors. A massive field joined the elite today with 5000 people competing in this years' 2004 Noosa Triathlon. It was the 22nd running of the event and is the second largest triathlon in the world and biggest multi sport festival in Australia. The triathlon concludes a week of world class sport and entertainment with preparations already underway for 2005.


1. Craig Walton Bundall 1:47:05
2. Craig Alexander Cronulla 1:48:01
3. Simon Thompson Watson 1:48:23
4. Clark Ellice New Plymouth 1:48:37
5. Richie cuningham Bonnet Bay 1:48:46
6. Matt Hopper Banyo 1:48:47
7. Leon Griffin Parkville 1:49:04
8. Nathan Campbell Mermaid Water 1:50:07
9. Matthew Murphy Berkley Vale 1:50:27
10. Alan Moran Ashgrove 1:51:02

1. Emma Snowsill Benowa Waters 1:54:55
2. Nicole Hackett Long Jetty 2:01:16
3. Nikki Egyed Brisbane 2:03:39
4. Lisa Norden Randwick 2:05:08
5. Rebecca Preston Mountain Creek 2:05:31
6. Fiona Docherty Taupo 2:06:01
7. Amelia Cox Ulverstone 2:07:58
8. Vanessa Hentschel Croydon 2:08:32
9. Kate OíKeefe Elwood 2:08:48
10. Tameka Day Seabrook 2:09:00

For further information or to arrange interviews or photographs contact Lisa Pringle on 0417 005 743,,

Posted at 05:59     [Perma-Link]

Paula Radcliffe Wins NYC Marathon

Paula Radcliffe made a triumphant return to competitive running with victory in the New York Marathon.
The Briton, running for the first time since dropping out of the Olympic marathon and 10,000m, held off Kenyan Susan Chepkemei in a thrilling finish.

The pair were locked together for the last few miles before Radcliffe finally sprinted clear to win in two hours, 23 minutes and 10 seconds.

"It's a good way to end the year," she said. "I'm ready for a good rest now."

Radcliffe decided only recently to run in the race and many had doubted whether she had sufficiently recovered from her Olympic ordeal just 11 weeks ago.

But the world record-holder was prominent at the head of the field for the whole race as her rivals slowly dropped off the pace.

Just Chepkemei and Radcliffe were left in contention as the race came into the final few miles.

The Kenyan put in several bursts of speed to throw off Radcliffe but the Briton managed to hang in.

Both runners looked to be suffering as they reached the final mile in Central Park.

But it was Radcliffe who managed to dredge up a final sprint to see off Chepkemei in the closest finish in the race's history and in the process make a huge step in erasing the disappointment she suffered in Athens.

South Africa's Hendrik Ramaala won the men's race in two hours, nine minutes and 24 seconds.

Complete article at The BBC

By the minute race description

Race Photos

Official Race Website

Leading Females
1 Paula Radcliffe 2:23:10 ENGLAND
2 Susan Chepkemei 2:23:14 KENYA
3 Lyubov Denisova 2:25:18 RUSSIA
4 Margaret Okayo 2:26:31 KENYA
5 Jelena Prokopcuka 2:26:51 LATIVA
6 Luminita Zaituc 2:28:15 GERMANY
7 Lornah Kiplagat 2:28:21 KENYA
8 Larisa Zousko 2:29:32 RUSSIA
9 Madai Perez 2:29:57 MEXICO
10 Kerryn McCann 2:32:06 AUSTRALIA
11 Tegla Loroupe 2:33:11 KENYA
12 Lidiya Grigoryeva 2:34:39 RUSSIA
13 Asha Gigi 2:36:31 ETHOPIA
14 Benita Johnson 2:38:03 AUSTRALIA

Leading Males
1 Hendrik Ramaala 2:09:28 SOUTH AFRICA
2 Meb Keflezighi 2:09:53 USA
3 Timothy Cherigat 2:10:00 KENYA
4 Patrick Tambwe 2:10:11 FRANCE
5 Benson Cherono 2:11:23 KENYA
6 Christopher Cheboiboch 2:12:34 KENYA
7 John Kagwe 2:12:35 KENYA
8 Paul Kirui 2:14:04 KENYA
9 Ryan Shay 2:14:08 USA
10 Ottavio Andriani 2:14:51 ITALY
11 El Arbi Khattabi 2:15:22 MOROCCO
12 Andrew Letherby 2:15:48 AUSTRALIA
Posted at 05:38     [Perma-Link]

Emma Carney has heart pacemaker fitted

Two-time world champion Emma Carney is determined to continue her triathlon career despite suffering from a life-threatening heart condition.

Carney is recovering at home in Melbourne after having a defibrillator fitted following a series of episodes of ventricular tachycardia, which elevates the heart rate to abnormally high levels Ė more than 250 beats a minute.

The 33-year-old realised something was horribly wrong after experiencing her first episode after a light swim session before the Edmonton World Cup event in July.

"It was a fairly easy session but I felt very fatigued and I felt my heart rate shoot up," said Carney today.

"I finished the session, but when I got out of the pool I struggled for breath, felt faint, dizzy and nauseous.

Minutes later, Carney received "shock treatment" from medics and was rushed to hospital, where the winner of a record 21 World Cup races remained for the next 10 days until being given the all-clear to fly back to Australia.

"You know when someone really fit drops dead. Well, I was a candidate for that," said Carney.

"I got the shock treatment on the spot to steady my heart rate. Normally they wait until you pass out, so it wasn't a nice feeling."

Carney had a second episode a month later and specialists have since used cardiac MRS's, echocardiograms, coronary angiograms Ė including heart biopsy Ė electrophysiology study (EPS) and radiofrequency ablation (RFA) to try to uncover the cause of her problem.

Complete article at Fox Sports
Posted at 05:30     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, November 04, 2004 

Dessaix-Chin 4th in Sydney Nike Run

Wollongong athlete Russell Dessaix-Chin produced an excellent run to finish fourth in the final leg of the Nike 10km road race series.

Dessaix-Chin was the first NSW runner home behind Victorian trio Craig Mottram, Steve Moneghetti and Mark Tucker at Homebush Bay Olympic Park complex last Sunday.

A top-class field assembled for the race, with Athens Olympic 5000m finalist Mottram starting as a clear favourite over multiple Olympic marathoner Moneghetti, and many up-and-coming distance runners all eager to finish somewhere in sight of such big names.

In blustery conditions, which kept the overall times down, Mottram showed the rest of the field a clean pair of heels to win by 37 seconds in a time of 29min38sec from Moneghetti (30:15), who once again demonstrated to the distance running fraternity that his days at the pointy end of athletics are far from over.

Complete article at The illawarra Mercury
Posted at 14:12     [Perma-Link]

New York marathon eases Benita Johnson's Athens pain

Two months ago she was getting lapped at the Olympic Games, yet on Sunday Benita Johnson is confident she can win her marathon debut in New York.

Such a stunning form reversal would be in keeping with the bizarre year Australia's distance star has experienced. "This year I have had the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows," Johnson said yesterday. "I've had all the variables, but that's the life of an elite athlete."

In April Johnson announced herself on the world stage by winning the world cross-country title.

A month later she was battling to even get out of a shuffle because of tendinitis in her left shin which threw her Athens preparations into turmoil.

While she did get to the start line for the Olympic 10,000m final, the stress on mind and body in her race against time took its toll and she finished a disappointing 24th.

After some serious soul searching, Johnson went out and won the world's biggest half-marathon, the Great North Run in Gateshead, England last month and then promptly declared that she would make her marathon debut in New York.

Johnson, 25, has been clocking up to 190km per week in the lead-up and has not missed a beat since rectifying her health problems after the Games.

She faces a very strong field in New York with the shock inclusion of British star Paula Radcliffe, another who endured a horror Olympics.

Fellow Australian Kerryn McCann, who has finished in the top 10 twice previously in New York, will again line up with Johnson's main dangers including defending New York champion and course record-holder Margaret Okayo from Kenya and America's Olympic bronze medallist Deena Kastor.

Complete article at The Herald Sun
Posted at 14:00     [Perma-Link]

Runner aims for Earth's ultimate lap of honour

By Megan Doherty

One of the advantages of running a lap of the Earth is being able to eat a kilo of chocolate every day.

Danish ultra-runner Jesper Olsen is just past the half-way mark of his 26,000km epic run and yesterday completed the longest leg yet of his trip - about 90km from Goulburn to Parliament House in Canberra.

The 33-year-old international political-science lecturer from Copenhagen was getting updates on the United States presidential election as he ran yesterday - and making sure he fitted in his daily chocolate consumption at the end.

"It's kind of embarrassing because everyone expects I eat something healthy, but that's the point when I try to relax," he said.

He hopes to be the first person to run a lap of the world, a feat defined by crossing at least four continents and running at least 25,000km.

Olsen left London on January 1 this year and hopes to be back there on New Year's Eve 2005.

He left Sydney on Sunday and plans to be in Perth by February 10, having already crossed Europe, Russia and Japan.

An elite marathon runner at home, Olsen has loved the outdoors since he was a young child who would "run all day" through the forests of Denmark, snow or shine.

"For me it's an interesting way to see the world because usually when you travel, you see the countries in a kind of snapshot, almost like you see on TV," he said. "That is interesting but it often makes for very strong contrasts and I'm interested in seeing the slow change of cultures, the slow change of nature."

Olsen encountered a typhoon and earthquake in Japan and had a close encounter with a bear in the Siberian wilderness, lying still inside a tent holding a small pocketknife while the hulking beast sniffed about outside.

"After about 10 minutes he just left. Perhaps my tent smelt too much, I don't know," he said.

Yes, well, the shoes could be a bit whiffy. Olsen has so far been through 11 pairs and expects to expire another nine.

To pass the time on the road, Olsen likes to contemplate the big questions.

"In my spare time back home, I very much like philosophy, so there's plenty of questions to chew on so I just grab one and go with it," he said.

Usually running 50km a day, Olsen is covering about 80km a day in Australia. He is looking forward to seeing "the hugeness of nature in Australia".

"But also I've heard about Australian friendliness and I would have to say, quite honestly, I've been taken by surprise. The people I've met so far have been even friendlier than I could have imagined," he said.

And has he had any words of encouragement yet from our own Aussie-Danish Royal, Princess Mary?

"I've been told from Denmark there might be some message when I get further down to Melbourne," he said, with a smile.

Article from the Canberra Times
Posted at 11:05     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, November 01, 2004 

Geoff Moulday wins Portland Three Bays Marathon

Bendigo runner Geoff Moulday continued his impressive form with a win in yesterday's 22nd annual Portland Three Bays Marathon.

The 40-year-old said he was delighted to claim another win in the tough conditions after finishing second last year.

Moulday clocked two hours 49.03 minutes around the undulating course which was swept by a warm northerly wind. "I'm rapt," he said after the win. It was pretty tough conditions. I've been in good form. I finished 10th in the Melbourne Marathon and ran a personal best of 2:43.

Moulday has now completed 11 marathons, including four Portland events. "It is the toughest course I've run but I really enjoy the scenery," he said.

Complete article at the Warrnambool Standard
Posted at 13:22     [Perma-Link]

Lofty golden goals for Commonwealth Games

Track and field, labelled a lame dog of Australian sport, is set to have huge presence at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

The athletics team could number 100 or more, which would be 25 per cent of the entire contingent of 400 competitors from 16 sports.

And it will be expected to win 37 medals, more than any other nation, despite a disappointing three-medal return at the Athens Olympics.

These ambitious targets were confirmed this week despite the results of an investigation headed by former Olympic champion Herb Elliott, which painted a gloomy picture of athletics' status at the end of a year of unprecedented turmoil.

The Elliott report listed 128 recommendations for reforming the sport, which was found to be facing a financial crisis and labouring under an inadequate coaching system and unsatisfactory high-performance and development programs.

But with the Games now looming on the distant horizon -- they start on March 15, 2006, which is 500 days from Sunday -- all sports are being reminded of what is expected of them, and athletics is no exception.

Complete article at The Herald Sun
Posted at 06:47     [Perma-Link]

Australian Sports Drug Agency Chief Resigns

The face of Australian drug-testing, John Mendoza, has quit to pursue a career in health.

Mendoza, who announced his resignation yesterday, is adamant he was not pushed but industry sources contacted by The Weekend Australian said the relationship between Mendoza, the chief executive of the Australian Sports Drug Agency, and ASDA had become "frosty" due to a perception the latter was "empire building".

"He was a great advocate for ASDA having much more power and becoming the independent investigator of doping breaches as well as the testing agency," one source said.

"That rattled a lot of people. It appeared to be a conflict of interest - you can't be the police and the judge and jury."

When a positive doping test is confirmed by ASDA, the sports organisation concerned normally sets up an inquiry or investigation under the auspices of the Australian Sports Commission - the national administration and advisory body for sport and the funding arm of the federal Government.

Another source, while recognising both Mendoza's and ASDA's achievements during his nine-year tenure, criticised his tendency to play politics to get what he wanted.

"He was a bit of a loose cannon and spent a lot of time trying to develop an international reputation while he should have been spending more time understanding the problems sports were having here at home in fighting the drugs threat," the source said.

Mendoza, who will finish with ASDA on January 21 to take up the CEO job with the Mental Health Council of Australia, said his relationship with both the federal Government and the ASC had been "oustanding". He said he was not leaving because he felt any pressure.

"Not at all - I have no sense of that at all. There's no substance to that," he said. "Planning cycles for ASDA are hinged around Olympic Games and we're about to go into our next cycle. It has always been my aim to be in a position to move on from the agency at this time.

Complete article at Fox Sports
Posted at 04:50     [Perma-Link]

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