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 Saturday, April 30, 2005 

Trans-Australia runner reaches Adelaide

Some would say there is a fine line between greatness and insanity. Others would say Achim Heukemes has already crossed it.

However, for the 54-year-old German that is just talk, and he's a man of action.

Heukemes arrived in Adelaide yesterday 2700km into a 4605km run from Perth to Sydney – which he aims to finish in a record 44 days – to raise money for Oxfam and its Tsunami appeal.

His credo is "Never give up and push the limit – be first" which goes part of the way to explain why the friendly German chose to run a course many would refuse to even drive.

"I was excited about seeing this country with my own two feet," Heukemes said. "I wanted to show the people that I was prepared to suffer for 44 days to raise awareness for the Tsunami appeal. I have the ability to experience Australia and see it like nobody else has done before."

Anyone who sees the German on his travels can purchase a wristband for $6 to raise money for Oxfam. Or visit the website

Complete article at The Adelaide Advertiser
Posted at 09:03     [Perma-Link]

Great Ocean Road Marathon entries close

Entries close this weekend for the inaugural Great Ocean Road International Marathon, to be held in May.

The event offers a choice of four races on May 14 and 15: a 6.5-kilometre event, 14km and 23km runs, as well as the marathon from Lorne to Apollo Bay.

About 2000 athletes are expected to compete for the $32,000 prizemoney.

Semi-retired Olympian Steve Moneghetti is among the leading athletes. "It's a fantastic opportunity to run one of the world's great coastlines, traffic-free," Moneghetti said.

Five Kenyan runner will also compete, including Joseph Maina, who has a personal best marathon time of two hours, 11 minutes and 53 seconds.

There is also a $50,000 bonus for any runner who can break Robert de Castella's Australian record of 2.07:51.
Posted at 08:55     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, April 29, 2005 

Benita Johnson moving to Melbourne (to beat Paula)

Australian distance running star Benita Johnson has made a flying visit from her European training base to her new Australian home in Melbourne.

Johnson has bought a house in Richmond close to the MCG, main venue for the Commonwealth Games. "We love Melbourne and, from October, this will be our new home after packing up and selling our place in Canberra," Johnson said.

It's a move aimed at making life off the track as easy as possible heading into next year's Games, which Queensland-born Johnson rates a higher priority than the August world championships in Helsinki.

"I went to the Anzac Day football clash at the MCG on Monday and thought, 'Wow, the Games will be massive' and to me competing in front of 85,000 fans next March really excites me," Johnson said.

Johnson's coach Nic Bideau and training partner Craig Mottram will also be based in Melbourne during the Australian summer and heading into the Games.

She believes she can beat the fancied Africans and English superstar Paula Radcliffe in the 10,000m next March.

"If Paula decides to compete at the Games, I think it would be great for the event and I truly believe I can beat her," Johnson said.

Complete article at The Herald Sun
Posted at 06:40     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, April 27, 2005 

Games athletes taxed on grants

Up to 300 athletes training for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games may have to pay tax on nearly $7 million of Federal Government grants given to them to prepare for the Games.

This follows a High Court ruling in favour of the Tax Office that the earnings of the javelin thrower Joanna Stone as a professional athlete are taxable.

The chief executive of the Australian Commonwealth Games Association, Perry Crosswhite, said the decision was "of extreme concern" and "a major blow" to athletes preparing for Melbourne.

He said: "Nearly 300 athletes receive this money - $6.8 million from the Government - and most of these athletes, who are considered potential medal prospects, are struggling and young. They are not living in Monte Carlo; they are striving to represent their country."

Stone was bankrolled by the Australian Olympic Committee in taking on the Tax Office. She argued she should not have to pay tax on $136,000 in prizemoney and grants she received before the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Her lawyer, Richard Gelski, said budding athletes would now have to think twice about accepting sponsorship money.

The court ruled that once Stone accepted $12,500 in sponsorship she had "turned her athletic talent to account for money". The court drew a distinction between athletes who did sport for reward and those who did not.

Stone was one of 1226 athletes and coaches who received a total of $18.2 million from the committee's medal incentive scheme from 1997 to 2000. The scheme paid athletes according to their world ranking. One athlete received $489,000. Another, a swimmer, received $379,000.

If the High Court had upheld an earlier Federal Court decision not to treat prizemoney and grants as income, most athletes who paid tax on that money after a 1999 Tax Office ruling would have been eligible for refunds.

The court ruled that Stone's prizemoney of $93,429, grants from the committee and the Queensland Academy of Sport worth $27,000 and appearance fees of $2700 was all income from her sport and therefore assessable.

The court said it was irrelevant she had a full-time job as a policewoman and had not set out to pursue her sport for money.

The office of the Minister for Sport, Rod Kemp, is receiving legal advice on the ruling and its Commonwealth Direct Athlete Support scheme. These are one-off payments for athletes earning less than $50,000 a year, to help offset training and competition costs. Between 280 and 300 athletes receive payments from the scheme.

The High Court left open whether a payment from the medal incentive scheme alone would have led to Stone being treated as a professional.

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 07:11     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, April 25, 2005 

Paul Arthur blitzes East Met field

Paul Arthur ran yet another solid race to blitz a strong field in the East Metropolitan 7km road race on Saturday.

Chris Truscott ensured there was a fast early pace and took Arthur through the 2.5km mark in 7.29. The hot conditions began to take their toll on Truscott by the 3.5km turn-a-round point, where Arthur maintained a solid tempo. By the 4.5km mark Arthur had opened up a 50m lead on his pursuers and was able to cruise to victory in 21.47 with his trademark economical style.

Up and comer Sergio Carvalho ran a controlled race to make it a 1-2 sweep for the St George Dragons, demonstrating a fine sprint over the final 150m to record 22.11. Former NSW 10km bronze medallist Andrew Knox showed a fine return to form to come 3rd in 22.37. Knox commented, “I am keen on having yet another battle with Paul and Sergio in a couple of weeks at the state 10km at Holsworthy”.

Seventeen year old Vlad Kravchenko sustained a mighty workrate throughout the race to brush past Truscott at the 5km mark., finishing 4th in 22.51, with Truscott 5th in 23.30. Kravchenko was happy with his rare road appearance and is looking forward to the winter season in the junior events, predominantly in cross-country.

Twenty one year old Skye Mullins continued on her rapid path to fitness with a narrow victory over Greta Auricht. Auricht gradually whittled away at the 100m lead that Mullins had built up by the halfway mark, finshing in 26.39 behing Mullins’ 26.32. Supervet Lyn Jackson wasn’t too far behind with an impressive 3rd place.

The next two races on the NSW calendar are the Novice cross country championships this weekend at Scarborough Park followed by the state road championships next weekend at Holsworthy.

For runners wishing to prepare for the arduous Nowra course for the state cross country in June, the next East Met race will be most helpful, being over the hilly Sydney Park course on May 14.

Prizemoney will be on offer at the East Met 6km cross country race at Mutch Park, Pagewood, on June 25.
Posted at 23:04     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, April 24, 2005 

Blind in one eye jogger, shot in other

A Santa Fe man who was already blind in his right eye was shot with a pellet gun in his left eye.

Kevin Bankens, 35, was shot several times with a pellet gun Tuesday afternoon. He was jogging near the intersection of Calle Atajo and Avenida Linda.

Bankens, who was already blind in his right eye because of a fireworks accident, was hit in the left eye by one of the pellets. He was able to make it to a nearby park, where city workers called an ambulance.

Police are looking for a suspect or suspects. They said Bankens didn’t recall seeing anyone or any vehicles just before the attack. His condition has not been released.

Anybody with information is asked to call Santa Fe police.

From KOBTV, Santa Fe, USA
Posted at 18:49     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, April 23, 2005 

Mark Tucker on Great Ocean Road, Beijing

Geelong middle distance star Mark Tucker will be looking forward to the Great Ocean Road half marathon, even if it's just for the air. The clean, bracing air around Apollo Bay will be a far cry from the pollution he encountered on his last international race a month ago in Beijing.

Tucker and some Australian teammates competed in an international middle distance relay race in the Chinese capital on the way home from the world cross country championships in France.

The team did well, finishing fourth and Tucker had a good 10km leg but the lasting impression was the smog.

"We got there on the Wednesday for the race on Sunday and you couldn't train because of the smog. They closed factories down so we could train and they could run the race," he said. "It was good to be checking it out ahead of the Olympics and there were a couple of Athletics Australia officials there with us. I think we'll arrive there pretty late for the Olympics."

Complete article at Geelong Info
Posted at 09:46     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, April 20, 2005 

China trip prepares Aussies for Commonwealth Games

Ben Offereins, the West Australian teenager who won the senior men's 400 metres title at this year's national championships, is one of 14 track and field athletes selected for a ground-breaking tour of China next month.

Offereins, who is not available for this year's world championships in Helsinki, will compete in two meetings of China's national grand prix series. It is believed to be the first time foreign athletes have been invited to compete in the series.

The 12-day tour is funded by the Australian Commonwealth Games Association as part of the preparation for Melbourne 2006. Tour members are regarded for the most part as not yet up to world championships standard but likely members of the team for Melbourne.

There is a mix of youngsters such as Offereins and Caitlin Willis, younger sister of Benita Johnson. Willis is a good chance to make the Commonwealth women's 4 x 400 metres relay. As well, there are more experienced athletes such as Fiona Cullen of Queensland, who is a likely contender for the 100 metres hurdles and flat.

Tour details were finalised by Athletics Australia chief Danny Corcoran and national performance director Max Binnington when they accompanied a road relay team to Beijing two weeks ago. It is hoped to lead to a series of China-Australia exchanges.

The two meetings are to be held in Chongqing, a two-and-a-half hour flight west of Shanghai, on May 14-15, and Jiangshu, two hours away from Shanghai by plane, on May 21-23. The Chinese domestic meetings incorporate heats and finals in all events, giving athletes experience of progressing through rounds. An Asian Open track and field meeting is being held on the first day of the Jiangshu meeting.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 01:14     [Perma-Link]

Coburg 24 Hour on Video & DVD

The organisers of the Coburg 24 hour events have just announced that they have over 2 hours of footage of the start, the end of the 6, 12 and 24 hour events and some great footage of the athletes that made the
100 mile mark in the last hour and a half. In addition to the 2 hours they will be cutting a few tracks with some music.

These are available for purchase at $15 each DVD and $20 for video (or $30 for both), including postage. The video is dearer as we need to pay to copy these off a master tape, whereas the DVD's we don't. Please email if you are interested. There should also be an order form up on the Coburg Harriers website shortly.

Any money left after cost of production will be donated back to the Coburg Athletics club and pleased be warned the video operator was not a professional, so please don't expect professional quality.

What a great way to remember your Coburg 24 Hour Carnival experience and the Coburg Harriers Club is indebted to club member Rohan King for suggesting and setting the whole thing up.
Posted at 01:05     [Perma-Link]

Agile septuagenarian walking to help children

At 79, Peter Tripovich reckons he's a bit older than potato farmer Cliff Young when he launched into the limelight as a gumbooted runner.

"And I'm not running in gumboots," said the fit and agile septuagenarian as he strode into Taree yesterday.

Nevertheless, the two share something in common – they both embarked on their athletic 'careers' when others of their age would be content to sit back and smell the roses. Not Peter, however.

He's walking around Australia – a feat which he expects will take him 18 months to two years - to raise money for orphaned children overseas.

He expects to reach the milestone of his 80th birthday "somewhere out beyond the Black Stump", midway through his marathon.

Wherever he happens to be for that momentous day, his son has promised to find him and organise a celebration.

Peter set out from Melbourne on February 28 to walk 20,000kms around the country, via mostly the coastal route, to raise funds for orphans supported by International Children's Care Australia. So far he's meeting his target of 40 to 45kms a day and has collected $4000 on the road. He can't be sure just how much the feat has so far raised overall, as many people are choosing to mail their donations or email their pledges directly to International Children's Care.

Some of the money doesn't come easily, either.

"The other day, as I was walking along the highway, a car tooted at me and I thought I saw something thrown out the window. Just as I got to where I thought it had landed, a car went past and it went fluttering up in the air. Then a truck went past in the opposite direction and it went flying away again. But eventually I found it after chasing in the bushes – a five dollar note!"

Peter is a lean and tanned former sheep, beef, rice and wheat farmer. It was after he ‘retired' to a small 50 acre property at Bamawn, near Echuca in Victoria that he decided there was more to life than sitting around waiting to die.

"I was still active on the farm... walking all day, up and down the paddocks. I'd often think "I wonder how far I've walked today", and that planted the seed in my mind."

He has been a longtime supporter of International Children's Care, which provides family-style care for orphaned, abandoned and destitute children in 23 countries. He gained the organisation's whole-hearted support when he discussed his idea with the charity's officials.

Peter went into training for nine months, walking many kilometres a day. He set out from Melbourne and has been pleased with the support he has received so far.

Peter is accompanied by his "roadie". Ray Price, a former Laurieton resident, who drives a vehicle towing a van which is the pair's overnight accommodation.

So far, after 38 days on the road, they have averaged 44.7kms a day.

Peter is looking forward to the next stage of his journey up the North Coast and into Queensland, where he'll be able to meet up with wife Jan who is staying with her son in Calliope, near Gladstone "while I get this out of my system". Anyone wanting to support Peter can contribute to the ‘Peter Tripovich Fund' by sending donations to International Children's Care, PO Box 1296, Warragul, Victoria, 3820, or via the web site Sponsorship inquiries: call ICC on 03 5622 0703.
Posted at 00:59     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, April 19, 2005 

Sonia O'Sullivan's Games bid a non-starter

Sonia O'Sullivan spends six months of the year in Australia Ireland's Sonia O'Sullivan will not be permitted to compete for her adopted Australia at the 2006 Commonwealth Games next March in Melbourne. A new IAAF rule now prevents athletes from switching allegiances through countries of convenience.

It states that athletes cannot compete for their adopted land until three years after permission is granted.

This can be reduced to one year if both countries concerned agree, but this would now be too late for O'Sullivan.

The Cobh-born athlete is hoping that a recent application for residency will lead to Australian citizenship.

The 35-year-old had hoped that dual nationality would enable her to still compete for Ireland in other competitions.

However, even prior to the new rule which was put on the statute book last weekend, O'Sullivan would have been unlikely to be granted permission by the Games Executive committee.

"There is no way that I would allow an athlete to compete for a country for the Commonwealth Games alone and then go back to their old country," said board member Louise Martin.

Complete article at The BBC
Posted at 20:51     [Perma-Link]

A brief chat with Andrew Letherby

by Toby Tanser

Andrew Letherby of Australia comes to the 2005 Boston Marathon in sterling shape. In Boston in 2004, he struggled timewise, as the majority of the field did, under the scorching weather to his slowest lifetime marathon performance of 2:19:31--albeit good for a solid eighth place. Over the past winter, Letherby ran some outstanding cross country races, mixing it in the mud with some of the world's best dirt specialists. "My best performance," he explained, "was at IAAF San Sebastian 10K meet at the end of January." There "Letherballs" (as he was known in Albuquerque training circles) was ninth, and only half a minute from the first place. In March, Letherby ran a new personal best of 28:09 for 10,000 meters at the Stanford Invitational. The 31-year-old grabbed seventh place (47:52, first non-Kenyan) at Cherry Blossom 10-miler two weeks ago, certainly suggesting that a sub-2:12 in Boston is in the cards. Letherby, the 2002 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist, was 12th in the ING New York City Marathon in November in 2:15:48. He loves Boston, and comes to attack his 2:12:45 PR, set in Japan at the 2003 Fukuoka Marathon, and hopes to represent Australia in the marathon at the World Championships in Helsinki this summer.

Runner's World Daily: To what do you attribute your fine results over the cross country terrain this past season?

Andrew Letherby: I have to credit most of the success to my coach, Nic Bideau. He gave me a more specific training program that seemed to work very well for cross country. Training and traveling with two of Nic's other athletes, Benita Johnson (the 2004 World 8K Cross Country Champion) and Craig Mottram, was also a great influence.

Complete article at Runner's World
Posted at 11:09     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, April 18, 2005 

Paula Radcliffe wins London, Benita PB

Paula Radcliffe crowned her return to form just outside Buckingham Palace when she won the London marathon yesterday in two hours 17 minutes 41 seconds.

It was a world record for a women's-only race, netting the 31-year-old Englishwoman a reported $1.3 million in appearance, prize and time-bonus money in the 25th edition of the race.

More importantly, it was a reassertion of her pre-eminence at the marathon distance after the twin disasters of failing to finish the marathon and then the 10,000 metres at last year's Olympic Games in Athens.

Only Radcliffe herself has run faster - first 2:17:18 in Chicago in 2002 and then 2:15:25 in London two years ago.

Australian Benita Johnson finished sixth in 2:26:32, almost 12 minutes quicker than she ran in an illness-marred debut in New York last November.
Johnson said she had had a tough run, but a lot better than her first marathon in New York. Then, an untimely bout of diarrhoea wrecked her race and she almost pulled out.

"I ran pretty well the whole way," she said. "It was a 'pb' by over 10 minutes and I know I can run faster."

Lisa Ondieki, who holds the women's Australian marathon record at 2:23:51, Nickey Carroll and Commonwealth champion Kerryn McCann are the only three Australians to have run faster than Johnson.

Sonia O'Sullivan, who wants to run for Australia at next year's Commonwealth Games, was eighth in 2:29.01, also a personal best.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 07:12     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, April 17, 2005 

Putting his feet up after 38 years

After 38 years of running every day, Bob Ray gets a fresh start on his daily routine.

Ray's remarkable day began on a humdrum note. He did the laundry and changed the litter box. He folded clothes and fed the fish. He washed the dishes and shopped for groceries.

So it went, from morn 'til night.

What made the day distinct wasn't what Ray did, but what the Perry Hall resident didn't do for the first time in 13,885 days.

He didn't run a lick.

Last Friday, Ray left his ASICS shoes in the closet and ended his streak of having run at least 2 miles a day for 38 years -- an American record. Instead, he found himself doing routine stuff, like cleaning the charcoal grill, servicing the lawn mower and playing with Daisy, the family's 17-pound cat.

"She needs the exercise more than I do," said Ray.

He had run every day since April 4, 1967. That Tuesday, Dr. Martin Luther King publicly condemned the war in Vietnam. The film A Man For All Seasons opened at The Charles Theatre. And in Northwood, a 29-year-old mail carrier jogged 4 miles after work, on a whim, in cutoffs and high-top tennis shoes, along Belvedere Avenue.

For Ray, it was the start of a streak that would cover 8 U.S. presidencies and 3 American wars. He ran in every state but Hawaii. He ran on days so hot the road blistered, and on days so cold his beard froze. He ran far enough to have lapped the Earth four times.

But last week, one day after his 68th birthday, Bob Ray put his foot down -- and held it there

"The monkey is off of my back," he said.

In the next breath, however, he spoke of the streak as if it were a favorite possession:

"I feel like I've just given away an old car.

"I'm in strange territory here; this is the first day of the rest of my life. You forget what it's like to take a day off. My body says I should be out running; my mind says all of that ended yesterday.

"But if I have the discipline to run all of those days, I can sure have enough discipline not to run for one day."

It's not easy, scrapping an obsession that you've nurtured for parts of five decades. On Friday, Ray sat in his living room, flanked by scrapbooks and photo albums and a knot of balloons sent by well-wishers. He thumbed through the last of seven thick hardbound ledgers that logged all of the 100,000 miles he ran during that span. Each entry lists weather conditions, time of day, distance and location.

Ray also kept a running tab of his mileage. It's no fluke that he bowed out on a nice round number.

"As you get older, what's easier to remember than a '1' with five zeroes behind it?" he said.

Signing out

The final entry: a 4-mile run on his birthday that took Ray from home to Perry Hall High School, around the track a few times and back. As he neared the house, Ray stopped, removed his shoes, tied the laces together and hung them from the lamppost.

"The race is over," he said.

Then he stepped across the finish line, a green stripe that he'd scrawled in chalk at the foot of the driveway before setting out.

The streak was "an addiction, but a positive one," said Ray. "It kept me alert, in shape, disciplined.

"It's a selfish thing to do. Your whole world revolves around the streak. It's always on your mind -- you finish running one day and you're already thinking of the next."

And now?

"I'm relieved, knowing it's over," he said. "Now I can run because I want to, not because I have to."

It was time to walk away, said Ray: "The other day, I was jogging [to cool down after running] and got passed by a woman who was power walking.

"People used to call me 'Speedy.' Now it's 'Snail.' You know what? Even snails get there eventually."

Ray was getting slower. He also wasn't getting any younger.

"Better I should end it on my terms than to be carried off on a stretcher," he said.

That's exactly what his wife, Cindy, feared.

"I'm glad he stopped [the streak] because of all the road rage," she said. "Drivers have swerved into gutters to make Bob jump into the grass. At least now it won't be an everyday worry."

Friday afternoon, relaxing in a patio chair, Ray spotted a man wearing yellow shorts and sunglasses chugging down the street. Did the Iron Man suddenly feel running pangs? No. Instead, he morphed into a sideline critic like everyone else.

"He's not running with a fluid motion, like he's in training," Ray said of the passer-by. "It's more like, 'Oh God, my wife is making me run, so I'll do it if I have to.' "

Along a 100,000-mile road, you'd expect a guy to collect a few memories -- and who knows what else.

"I found enough tools -- screwdrivers, wrenches, sockets -- to go into business, but never a toolbox," he said. He found lots of money -- more than $2,500 -- and turned it all in. On a busy street, he found a box turtle, scooped it up, took it home and named it "Lucky." Cindy used to walk Lucky in the back yard.

Only once was Ray nearly mugged on a run. In 1987, he was pursued by thugs near Northern High School who were after his watch.

"I saw seven of them coming and picked up the pace," said Ray. "They kept dropping off until there was just one guy, maybe 6 feet behind me, who sounded like he was going into oxygen debt.

"I shouted, 'Unless you can do this for 26 miles, you might want to give up.'

"Finally, I looked back. He'd stopped and was giving me a hand gesture."

Fun on well-worn path

There were embarrassing moments too, like the time on Joppa Road when Ray came upon a stopped school bus. Seeing the bus discharging students, he raced past on the other side just as the driver swung out his metal "STOP" sign.

"I hit that thing head-on," he said.

Once, late for a 5-mile race in Bel Air, Ray approached the starting line in his underwear. Fully dressed, he sped off after the leaders but took a wrong turn.

"I wound up at a dead end in some guy's driveway," he said. "Worse, the rest of the field -- about 35 runners -- were right behind me. We all had to go back."

Last Saturday, one day after calling it quits, Ray hit the road for a 2-mile run through the neighborhood. Weekend jaunts won't be the norm.

"Cindy works, and I want to spend that time with her," he said. "During the streak, I'd run 4 miles on Saturday. Now, that's 40 more minutes I can spend with my wife."

He'll leave his American record streak to others. One, Mark Covert, a 54-year-old college track coach from California, is 470 days behind Ray. (The world record is held by England's Ron Hill, who started more than 40 years ago and is still running.)

For Ray, the obsession has become a diversion -- something to savor rather than to see to.

Come fall, he said, "the Red Sunset maple in our front yard will look like a crimson beacon with the morning sun shining on it.

"When I come running up the hill and see it, I'll know that I'm home."

Complete article at The Baltimore Sun
Posted at 18:04     [Perma-Link]

Long-haul runners jostle for position

With almost a full year to Melbourne 2006, the marathon picture is starting to take shape and will be further sharpened after two of the world's major marathons in London today and Boston tomorrow.

The Commonwealth Games marathons and men's 50-kilometre road walk are the only events without specific selection trials and are the only events for which qualifying has begun.

Marathoners, therefore, can qualify between now and November 30, and the selectors will nominate the best three who have achieved minimum B-standards of two hours 17 minutes (men) and 2:40:00 (women).

Three men and three women have already bettered the tougher A-standards (2:14 and 2:35 respectively). Scott Westcott ran 2:11:36 in Japan in February and Sisay Bezabeh 2:13:14 in the same race. Shane Nankervis ran 2:13:07 in Rotterdam last Sunday.

Anna Thompson leads the women with a 2:33:20 in Rotterdam, while Haley McGregor (2:33:47) and 2002 Commonwealth marathon bronze medallist Jackie Gallagher (2:34:10) also have bettered the A-standard.

Benita Johnson and Sonia O'Sullivan in London and Manchester men's Commonwealth bronze medallist Andrew Letherby in Boston hope to join them in the next couple of days.

O'Sullivan, as reported in The Age in December 2003, hopes to run for Australia in Melbourne. She has an Australian partner - Nic Bideau - and two Australian children. The Irishwoman started the process of applying for permanent residency this week.

As much as anything, Johnson is running London because her marathon debut in New York last November was ruined by an untimely bout of diarrhoea. Cross-country, track and half-marathon performances suggest she is capable of a time 15 minutes or more faster than the 2:38 she ran then.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 14:52     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, April 16, 2005 

Benita Johnson out to banish marathon demons

Benita Johnson's first attempt at a marathon was a "terrible" experience. It has made her even more determined to do a better job in London on Sunday.

Australia's 2004 world cross-country champion was taught a rude lesson by the classic 42.195-kilometre race in New York last November when she finished 14th in a pedestrian two hours, 38 minutes and three seconds on her marathon debut.

Johnson, 25, hoped she had learned enough lesson to be ready to race a world-class field in Sunday's London marathon. "Experience counts for a lot in a marathon and I learned a lot from New York," she said. "I'm certainly a lot more relaxed before this race and more confident in what I'm doing. This time round, I think I'll make fewer mistakes and come out with a better performance."

The practical side of preparing for a marathon, such as drinks and diet, was one factor in her New York experience. The Queenslander loaded too heavily on carbohydrates before the race and, as a result, suffered bad diarrhoea in the 12 hours leading up to the race.

"That really depleted me," she said. "I was with them [the leaders] for the first few miles but just felt terrible and just didn't have any energy."

Rather than abandon the gruelling event, the 10,000-metre specialist was determined to conquer it. "Some people could have taken that sort of attitude and quit marathons but it really made me want to have another go at them because I really do love the event," she said. "It probably gave me more motivation to have another go and I decided I really wanted to do London. I generally find I bounce back better after big disappointments."

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 16:21     [Perma-Link]

Women & Athletics losers in Australian TV Sport

If you taped the three daily sports news bulletins, put them in a time capsule and watched them in 20 years, you would come to three conflicting conclusions and one universal truth.

SBS's World Sport would show that European football was the Australian king. We were all entirely obsessed with Italians, Germans and Englishmen playing the code that bans them from using the body's two most useful appendages.

Fox Sports News would contradict that, crowning rugby league as our premier sport, one that really did have a competitive international competition with more than two teams to regularly beat.

Channel Ten's Sports Tonight would back AFL but also imply that motor sport was widely accepted as a sport, and we, the viewers, had such short attention spans that annoying flying planets had to be sent to wake us up every 20 seconds.

But all three would sing one truth loudly, and in unison, from the rooftops: chicks don't play sport.

Granted, Fox had a woman presenting its bulletin on Tuesday, SBS screened a file shot of Jelena Dokic the same night to celebrate her birthday and Ten showed the fastest woman - so quick I didn't catch her name - in some godforsaken ultramarathon Saharan marathon, albeit finishing clutching her husband.

We picked a random night to assess all three shows, and there was not a single item on any women's sport: no netball, no cricket, nothing to do with anything approaching femininity. Were it not for the pesky Fox presenter, Dokic and the woman in the desert, you could even safely assume women had no place in sport at all. One, two, three, four; chicks back in the kitchen door!

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 16:12     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, April 15, 2005 

Morgan runs 1:08:08 in Stramilano Half Marathon

For the first time since the signing of the Melbourne-Milan relationship in March 2004, the City of Melbourne was invited to send a half-marathon runner to the annual Stramilano Half Marathon.

Grant Morgan from Melbourne University Athletics Club was selected to represent Melbourne on a chilly Sunday morning in Milan on 10 April. Grant finished fourth of all the sister city competitors with an amazing time of 1:08:08.

“The spirit of camaraderie between the sister-city runners after the race reflected the bond that we had developed through shared training runs, pasta meals and sightseeing trips.

Complete article at the City of Melbourne website
Posted at 11:14     [Perma-Link]

Benita Johnson eyes Radcliffe's scalp

Australia's Benita Johnson believes she can outrun world record-holder Paula Radcliffe in the London marathon, Jerry Hayes reports from London.

Benita Johnson finished her last serious workout before Sunday's London marathon and then revealed how she had red-hot favourite and world record-holder Paula Radcliffe lined up in her sights.

Johnson said Radcliffe's infamous meltdown during the Athens Olympics, when the distressed Briton pulled out mid-race in both the marathon and 10,000 metres, showed that for all her world-class achievements, she was vulnerable.

"Paula is certainly not unbeatable, everyone saw that at the Olympics, and even a few weeks ago, she was beaten in a 10-kilometre road race in New Orleans," the Australian said after completing a rigorous track session with Sonia O'Sullivan, the partner of her agent Nic Bideau.

And without a trace of hesitation, she added: "I do think I can beat her."

An upbeat Johnson predicted that she was ready to cut at least 10 minutes off the two hours 38 minutes three seconds she registered in her first marathon in New York last November.

There is another article at the Sportlife - "Sonia O'Sullivan and Benita Johnson look set to run shoulder-to-shoulder in Sunday's Flora London Marathon rather than attempt to stay with the pacemakers.".

The London Marathon is Sunday 17th April - website.

Complete article at The Age
Posted at 07:19     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, April 14, 2005 

Marathon runners "drink too much"

As many as one in eight marathon runners may risk falling ill by drinking too much water during races, researchers said in a study released days before the Boston Marathon.

The study of 488 competitors at the 2002 Boston Marathon, which was released today, concluded that 13 per cent probably consumed so much fluid that their blood salt levels fell dangerously low - a condition known as hyponatremia.

One of the runners that year, 28-year-old Cynthia Lucero, died of hyponatremia 6km from the finish line.

Race organisers have since mounted an educational campaign to warn runners about the dangers of excessive drinking.

"Hyponatremia - and, particularly, severe hyponatremia - may be a greater problem than previously recognised," said the team of researchers, led by Christopher Almond of Children's Hospital in Boston.

The 42km Boston race, due to be run on Tuesday, is the world's oldest annually contested marathon.

Writing in this week's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, Mr Almond and his colleagues declined to say how much fluid runners should consume during such a race because individuals vary in size and the rate at which they perspire.

But they said runners should find their best level of hydration by weighing themselves before and after training runs. If they have gained weight at the end, they have probably taken in too much fluid, the researchers said.

"The strongest single predictor of hyponatremia was considerable weight gain during the race," they concluded.

Drinking three or more litres during the race, drinking every mile, running at a slower pace, being a woman, and being lean increased the likelihood that a runner would gain weight by the end of the race.

The Almond team also found that hyponatremia loomed as a problem no matter which type of fluid the runners drank.

Complete article at The Australian
Posted at 14:08     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, April 13, 2005 

The hard jog

For most of us it’s the stuff of nightmares, but for some ultramarathon running is the key to health and happiness.

Breakfast at Portsea is usually a leisurely affair, but not for ultramarathon runner Kevin Cassidy.

The Coburg distance specialists loves to earn the right to a big breakfast in a gruelling and unusual way – by jogging about 90km to the seaside haven from Melbourne in the middle of the night.

“It’s quite different, running in the middle of the night. You see the city in a whole different light running down the Nepean,” he said.

“I used to have friends down at Blairgowrie, so on some Friday nights during summer, I would take off at 9pm and would get down there for breakfast.

“I knew where all the 24-hour places were and I’d stop off for Mars Bar and a Coke to keep me going and I’d see all the drunks rolling out of the Frankston nightclubs.”

On another occasion Cassidy, state representative for the Australian Ultra Runners Association, become a knight in jogging shorts by helping out a stranded motorist.

“I was jogging through Seaford when I came across a woman in a broken down Holden,” the 45-year-old said.

“I’m not sure what she thought, because I came out of the blue, but I knew what was wrong and how to fix it because I had the same car, same problem.

“She had a very bemused look on her face as I jogged off into the night.”

Cassidy’s love of midnight jogging is why he can relate to the endeavours of San Fransiscan runner Dean Karnazes, who has just written a book called Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner.

Karnazes, 42, took up the sport on his 30th birthday after staggering home drunk from a night out with friends.

He went 48km that night. Following that, he targeted 160km. Then 215km and so on.

Last summer, he completed 420km non-stop.

“I wanted to see if I could make it 10 marathons without stopping,” he said.

“It took me 75 hours and the conditions were really tough. It rained for about 20 hours of that.”

Karnazes’ book covers many of his running experiences, including races at the South Pole and the famed Badwater Race, a 215km trip across Death Valley in southern California to Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the US, in extreme heat.

“You run down the white line on the side of the road because our shoes will melt if you run on the asphalt,” he said.

Karnazes claims extreme distance running has filled a void in his life and made him a happier person.

Cassidy, who also subscribes to the theory of wellbeing, said his favourite races include a journey from Mt Bogong to Mt Hotham and an event in Tasmania at Cradle Mountain.

“You can run through some very remote, beautiful areas,” he said.

“Training out in the forest is great also because you don’t see a person the whole time you are out there.”

Cassidy said a beauty of the sport was there was no atypical body shape, nor did participant have to be fast runners.

He said extreme distances tended to narrow the gap in times between men and women.

“In some multi-day races women are winning them outright,” he said.

“They have more fat to draw on and they tend to be more durable in terms of not getting repetitive injuries.”

He said anyone could tackle the sport provided they were fit enough, did not push past their limits and ensured they took care of themselves in terms of keeping energy up.

Cassidy started simply by running laps around his block – for 13 hours.

“It was an experiment. I set up an Esky in the front yard and took off,” he said.

“The oddest thing was that there was a road crew set up on the other side of the block. I started getting a few strange looks from the blokes after a couple of laps around and by lunchtime they didn’t know what was going on.”

But Cassidy, who said there were probably 30 competitive ultramarathon runners in Melbourne, urged those interested to take their time building up in distances.

“During the time of the Sydney to Melbourne races, there were a few very good marathon runners who contested some 24-hour events,” he said.

“Their egos were a little bigger and six or seven hours in they realised they were in trouble.

“They didn’t have a proper fitness or food program and went out a little too fast.”

• The 22nd Annual Victorian 24-hour Track Championship is at the Harold Stevens Athletics Track, Outlook Drive, Coburg North, starting at 10am on Saturday.
• For more details on ultramarathon running, visit

Tips for ultramarathon running

• More is not necessarily better – only do what you are capable of.
• Practice long, slow distance running. Faster is by no means better in ultramarathon running
• Pace evenly for optimal performance. It will help keep repetitive injuries to a minimum.
• Incorporate periodic tempo running
• Take a break. Stop for a quick bite.
• Stay hydrated, stay hydrated, stay hydrated.
• Eat different foods during the long runs. Cassidy often has Mars Bars, Karnazes enjoys a pizza
• Persevere and smile. The mind is extremely importat.

• Be wary. The sport can be dangerous. Minor complaints include bruised toes, broken nails and chafing.
• Dehyration – Begin hydrating before running. Some runners risk overhydration by taking on too much water, which can be life threatening.
• A program is a must.
• Other risks include nausea and vomiting, peeing blood, and diarrhoea and reduced immunity. More serious problems include heat stroke and heart attack.
• Ultramarathon runners often run throughout the day, so need to be aware of strategies to cope.

Article from MX
Posted at 22:28     [Perma-Link]

Great Ocean Road race gets top talent

Five world-class Kenyans will head a quality assault on the Great Ocean Road marathon on May 14-15.

Race manager John Craven has confirmed the entry of the runners, who have outstanding international credentials.

Heading them is Joseph Maina, a Kenyan based in Peru, with a best marathon time of 2 hr11min53 sec.

Last year he won the Lima marathon in 2:17. 29 and the Concepcion, Chile, marathon in 2:21.34, both at altitude.

Joining him will be James Kariuki Mwangi, who has a best marathon time of 2:17.17 and a half-marathon of 1:3.21, Jacob Mwema Wajuki, 1:3.28, Silvestor Moloko, 1:2.26 and Elkana Macheuka with a best marathon of 2:21.12 and half-marathon of 1:2.30.

"A lot of these times have been achieved at altitude and these blokes are going to be tough competitors," Craven said. "Lee Troop has been instrumental in helping get these runners and because he's aware of the course he knows which ones will do well. We've also got entries from the US, Singapore and New Zealand."

Complete article at Geelong Info and race website
Posted at 19:36     [Perma-Link]

IAAF ponders cutting false starts

The Melbourne Commonwealth Games will be one of the first major international championships to use a no false start rule if it is approved by the International Association of Athletics Federations congress in August.

In what is certain to be a contentious decision, the IAAF council announced yesterday it would recommend the sport adopt a new rule whereby any athlete who made a false start was disqualified.

International swimming has operated under such a rule for almost a decade and opinion is divided about its merits.

The IAAF had a "lively discussion" before recommending this course.

"The opinion of a majority of council members was that this rule change would prevent gamesmanship, by penalising those athletes who deliberately false start to unsettle their rivals," IAAF secretary-general Istvan Gyulai said.

This follows the farce that developed during the 100m preliminary rounds at the 2003 world championships, when US sprinter Jon Drummond refused to leave the track after he was disqualified for a false start.

Australia's senior IAAF official Brian Roe said there had been much debate within the sport about the false start rule.

Roe said the great Namibian sprinter Frank Fredericks had surveyed leading sprinters who had come out marginally in favour of the new rule.

National 100m champion Josh Ross said the change would have little effect on him, but would make starts fairer. He felt some sprinters did try to put off their opponents by using a false start.

Triple Olympian Lauren Hewitt was more nervous about the proposed change. "That's a big shock. I feel sick just thinking about it," Hewitt said.

If the IAAF congress approves the change in August, it would be introduced internationally on January 1.

Complete article at The Australian
Posted at 06:58     [Perma-Link]

Sonia O'Sullivan wants to run for Australia

Irish Olympic silver medallist Sonia O'Sullivan is about to take the first step to representing Australia at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne next March.

Her partner, Australian coach Nic Bideau, confirmed last night that they had prepared O'Sullivan's application for residency and would lodge it in the next few days.

"Once you get that, you can apply for citizenship," Bideau said.

One of the world's leading distance runners, O'Sullivan, 35, first expressed a wish to run for Australia at the Commonwealth Games in late 2003.

"I compete and train (in Australia) daily to prepare for the summer season in Europe and my training runs take me past the Melbourne Cricket Ground," O'Sullivan said then.

Complete article at The Australian
Posted at 06:54     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, April 11, 2005 

Mottram wins BUPA Great Ireland Run

Craig Mottram scored an easy third successive win in the men's race. Mottram won from Chris Davies in a time of 28:35, just nine seconds shy of his course record. Davies, back in serious action after falling off his bike and sustaining what was thought at first to be broken back, showed good form with a respectable time of 29:07.

There was a close battle for third place when Mark Miles surprised John Mayock by out-sprinting the European indoor 3000m silver medallist.

In the women's race, Sonia O'Sullivan has been narrowly beaten by America's Amy Rudolph in a tight finish. Rudolph pulled away from the Irish star in the final 100 metres of the 10k race in Dublin's Phoenix Park, setting a course best of 32 minutes 16 seconds.

Former Olympic 5,000 silver medallist O'Sullivan took part just eight days before running in the London Marathon. "Not many runners preparing for a marathon can run as fast as that," she said.

1 00:28:34 50 Craig Mottram M Australia
2 00:29:06 59 Chris Davies M Telford A C
3 00:29:23 63 Mark Miles M Belgrave Harriers
4 00:29:25 52 John Mayock M Barnsley Harriers
5 00:29:29 55 Ricardo Ribas M Portugal
6 00:29:30 58 Matt O'Dowd M Swindon Harriers
7 00:29:53 51 Mark Carroll M Ireland
8 00:30:16 56 Alexandr Sitovskiy M Ukraine
9 00:30:16 57 Ivan Babarika M Ukraine
10 00:30:19 64 Nick Jones M Salford Harriers

15 00:32:15 4 Amy Rudolph F USA
16 00:32:18 1 Sonia O'Sullivan F Ireland
17 00:32:21 18 Jolene Byrne F Ireland
18 00:33:14 19 Charlotte Dale F Invicta East Kent
20 00:33:22 6 Maria Mccambridge F Ireland
25 00:34:05 2 Hayley Yelling F Great Britain
26 00:34:07 12 Oksana Meltsayeva F Ukraine
29 00:34:09 3 Jessica Augusto F Portugal
30 00:34:25 11 Mounia Aboulahcen F Belgium
31 00:34:30 7 Pauline Curley F Ireland

Complete article at The BBC and race series website
Posted at 15:09     [Perma-Link]

Shane Nankervis & Anna Thompson run well at Rotterdam Marathon

The Rotterdam Marathon was held yesterday (Sunday 10th April). The weather was 8 degrees
celcius approx, some light rain during race and some parts of the course - (21k to 25k) had headwind up over the main bridge. Many elite male runners spoke of the conditions as very poor, but others were happy enough.

The staff who looked after the elite athletes have done everything and then more to accomodate every need and want of the athletes - it has been first rate all the way.

Anna Thompson had a very good race and was pleased with the result. A solid pb.

Here is a photo of Shane Nankervis and Anna Thompson and other elite runners taken by Marco Spelten from


1. Jimmy Muindi KEN 2.07.48
2. Jackson Koech KEN 2.08.00
3. Felix Limo KEN 2.09.00
4. Gudisa Shentema ETH 2.09.45
5. Christopher Cheboieach KEN 2.10.12
6. Elijah Chemwolo KEN 2.10.26
7. Titus Munji KEN 2.11.06
8. Yusuf Songoka KEN 2.11.41
9. Jose Manuel Martinez ESP 2.11.54
10. William Kiplagat KEN 2.12.09

13. Shane Nankervis AUS 2.13.06
(5km splits: 15.41, 31.09, 46.41, 1.02.22, 1.05.52, 1.18.12, 1.33.49, 1.49.41, 2.06.11)


1. Lornah Kiplagat NED 2.27.35
2. Ana Dias POR 2.31.26
3. Isabelle Elzmendi ESP 2.33.13
4. Anna Thompson AUS 2.33.18

(5km splits: 18.03, 35.56, 53.57, 1.12.10, 1.16.14, 1.30.27, 1.48.21, 2.06.24, 2.25.20 )

5. Kristyna Loonen NED 2.33.27
6. Yesenia Centeno ESP 2.36.41
7. Fumi Murata JPN 2.39.07
8. R. Moore NZL 2.39.57
9. Anne van Schuppen NED 2.40.50
Posted at 09:30     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, April 09, 2005 

Yiannis Kouros to run in Coburg

In a last minute sensation, the Coburg 24 Hour Carnival received a huge boost today when it was revealed that a legend of the sport in Yiannis Kouros had accepted an invitation to run in the event.

Kouros will miss the start as he is currently interstate and does not return to Melbourne until Saturday evening, but has agreed to participate in the 6 Hour Run from 4:00 am on Sunday, 17 April 2005.

Finishing at the same time as those completing the 24 Hour section will no doubt be a huge boost to those still on the track and look for some strong finishes.

For those local to Melbourne, don't miss your chance to view this giant of the sport by getting down to the Harold Stevens Athletics Track in Outlook Drive, Coburg North before 10:00 am next Sunday morning.

Race website is
Posted at 10:45     [Perma-Link]

Power full throttle for first Games test

Last year was exhausting for Victorian athlete Susie Power.

She endured months of sleepless nights after the birth of her second son, Shay, in May. Then she had an operation on her dodgy left knee, married her long-time partner, Anthony Reeves, moved into a new house on the Mornington Peninsula and, later in the year, her knee went under the surgeon's knife again.

There was little refuge on the track, either, as one of Australia's quickest and most talented middle-distance athletes endured a "nightmare" 2004.

With time to think about her future, the 30-year-old came to the conclusion she had to take a "go hard or go home" approach in 2005. She believes she has only three years left as a runner and, with aspirations of representing Australia in the 10,000 metres at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne next year, her career is on the line.

Having begun her long haul toward the Games with light jogging in January, Power is now training at 70-80 per cent and looking forward to her first major race, The Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon, on May 22.

Power won the event in the wet two years ago in one hour, 11 minutes, 31 seconds, which placed her third fastest in the all-time women's top 10 and only 38s outside New Zealander Nyla Carroll's 1996 record (1:10.53).

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 08:07     [Perma-Link]

Bar is lowered in lead-up to the Games

Athletics Australia has downgraded its selection policies to make it easier for Australian athletes to qualify for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. But athletes are now obligated to compete in the upcoming domestic season and selection trials, putting pressure on those who like to pick and choose their events.

See the policy at the Athletics Australia website

The only exceptions will be if athletes are pre-selected by finishing in the top three at the Helsinki world championships in August.

A team of more than 86 athletes is expected to be picked to compete at the Games, boosting support and ticket sales for the flagship sport. Athletes will have to qualify with the equivalent of a world top-16 time or distance, a departure from the top-eight requirement of previous years.

AA chief executive Danny Corcoran said selectors wanted to give as many athletes as possible an opportunity to represent their country at a home Games. "We look forward to selecting our biggest team ever," he said.

Australia's previous largest team was 86 at the Auckland Commonwealth Games and Perth in 1962. There were also 86 at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Complete article at the SMH
Posted at 08:03     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, April 06, 2005 

Culbert stands down as AA selector

David Culbert has stood down as an Athletics Australia (AA) selector after being appointed the new manager of sprint sensation Joshua Ross.

Ross confirmed his status as Australia's leading male sprinter earlier this year by winning a second successive national 100m title.

He also became only the second man in more than 100 years to win the Stawell Gift off scratch late last month.

He has signed a two-year commercial deal with Jump Media which is headed by Culbert, a former Olympic long jumper who has spent the last four years on the AA selection panel.

Two of the most respected figures in Australian athletics, official Brian Roe and agent Maurie Plant, will continue to organise the 24-year-old Ross's competitive calendar.

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 17:02     [Perma-Link]

Craig Mottram - next run in Dublin

Australian Craig Mottram will line up for his seventh race of the year this Saturday when he competes at the BUPA Great Ireland Run in Dublin.

So far this year, Mottram has raced in five different countries on three continents in four months, traveling tens of thousands of kilometers. He began his year with cross country races in Spain and Britain, then went to Australia for two races on the track, including his national championships (he won the 5000m title). He then flew to France for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, then to the USA for last weekend's Carlsbad 5000 in California. He jetted east again some 10,000 km to to run this weekend in Ireland.

Mottram will line up against Irishman Mark Carroll and Briton John Mayock in Saturday's race, contested over 10 kilometers. His winning time last year was 29:11; he won by nearly a minute.
Posted at 13:34     [Perma-Link]

US$1m for Marathon Grand Slam

Paula Radcliffe could get the chance to join the likes of Tiger Woods and Roger Federer and bid to win the Grand Slam of her sport if the organisers of the world’s biggest marathons get their way. A $1m prize, the richest in athletics, would be on offer.

Top-level meetings were held in France last weekend involving the race directors of the London, New York, Boston, Chicago and Berlin marathons to discuss ways of boosting road-running, with the Grand Slam scheme at the centre of their plans.

Frustration has grown among the race directors that their interests and contribution to athletics are being overlooked by the world governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

One director said: "It’s a year since some of us met at the last IAAF road-running and cross-country commission. Since then, we’ve not even received the minutes of that meeting, yet the IAAF has made the decision to drop the short races from the cross-country world championships - something that we never even discussed."

The directors’ barely-disguised anger has led them to consider breaking away from the track-orientated IAAF to look after their own affairs in professional road-running.

"It’s no good us standing on the sidelines whingeing," said a source. "Between us, we organise the biggest annual events in international athletics, and there comes a point where we need to just do what is in our own best interests."

The London Marathon, to be staged next month, will feature more than 40,000 runners in a stellar field headed by Radcliffe and Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie, the world’s greatest distance runner. London race director Dave Bedford has built up a reputation over the past decade for assembling the best fields thanks to enjoying the biggest budget of the major marathons - an estimated $1m per race, with Radcliffe alone reputedly receiving $250,000 in appearance money.

This financial muscle has not enamoured Bedford to some of his rival race directors, especially those involved with the classic Boston event. Often staged on the same weekend as London, the quality of the American elite fields has suffered in recent years.

Leading marathon runners rarely race over the full distance more than twice a year, which means that the organisers of events in Berlin, Chicago and New York - all staged within a few weeks in the autumn - often compete fiercely for the services of the world’s best marathon runners.

In the past year, New York has re-emerged as a major force in distance running thanks to the backing of new sponsors, ING. The bank is believed to be the stimulus behind the idea of a $1m bounty for a Grand Slam.

The details have yet to be ironed out - not least on the number of races to be included in the series. The Grand Slams in tennis and golf, for instance, involve just four events, but even in these sports, such absolute dominance has been elusive in the modern era, with Woods coming closest in golf when he won the 2001 Masters after claiming victory in the three other majors in 2000. In tennis, the last Grand Slam was achieved by Steffi Graf in 1988.

In marathon running, a Grand Slam of four, never mind five, events within a year would be impossible. But the race directors are considering offering the $1m prize for a career Slam.

"The idea first occurred after Paula won in New York last year," the source said. "That meant that she had won three of the major races, with London and Chicago. We did some research, and we can’t find anyone else who has won three of the major races. Paula has the potential to be a huge star in the United States, and if she were to win a fourth major marathon, that would be a massive boost for our sport."

Such a goal would probably mean Radcliffe racing in Boston next year, with the offer of potential rewards to outweigh her existing arrangements with the organisers of the London event. It would also take some careful planning by Radcliffe’s team, since the spring marathon season will start barely one month after the Commonwealth Games are staged in Melbourne.

Conscious that the big-city races are beginning to flex their financial might, the IAAF are trying to keep them within the fold, even talking about finding the $2m necessary to take the world cross-country championships to Central Park, New York, in 2007.

Complete article at The Scotsman
Posted at 13:29     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, April 05, 2005 

Anna Thompson to run Rotterdam Marathon

Currently Anna Thompson, one of Australia's best female distance runners and her coach Dave Bullock are in Darmstadt, Germany with only a few days left until the Rotterdam Marathon being held on Sunday April 10th. Anna had great runs at World Cross Country in France, under conditions that suited Australian runners - hot sun!! 26 Degrees on the Sat for the 8km and 27 degrees on Sun for the 4km. Anna was 16th in the 8k and 19th in the 4k.

They spent 3 days in Paris, then took the fast train to Frankfurt. Darmstadt is 35k
south of Frankfurt. The town is great and even better, there is a fantastic forest just 5 mins from their accomodation, also track and pool 2 mins away. The forest can accomodate a 2 hr run without backtracking.

Rotterdam will be her first "race" over the marathon distance, as her previous run at the Gold Coast Marathon was an experiment in pace judgement based on assumptions that 2 hrs 40 would be close to the front. There is a good womens elite field in which she is ranked 12th fastest. Her coaches target is for her is to run 76 mins at half way, then see what will happen in the second half.

The dream goal is to run 2.32 which is the "A" standard for the Helsinki World Championships in August 2005, but it is a big ask, so 76 at half way may set it up without getting carried away with the leading group of women who can go through in 72.

Anna is training with Australian triathlete Richie Cunningham and German Lother Leder - the ironman.
Posted at 07:36     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, April 04, 2005 

German aims to run across Australia

As a sightseeing tour it is a bit extreme, but German visitor Mr Achim Heukemes plans to set a record and gain a unique view of Australia when he attempts to run across the country in 44 days.

Mr Heukemes, an accomplished ultra marathon runner, has set out on the charity run from Fremantle to Sydney and will stick to a tough schedule of 105km per day.

He is fundraising for charity Oxfam.

- Official website
- Video and start line photos
- CoolRunner comments
Posted at 17:15     [Perma-Link]

Craig Mottram breaks Australian 5km road best

Olympic finalist Craig Mottram broke his Australian 5k (road) best over the weekend, placing second to fellow Olympic 5000m finalist Dejene Berhanu of Ethiopia in the ‘20th Annual Carlsbad 5000’ held in Carlsbad, California.

Mottram clocked an impressive 13mis 20secs, one second inside the mark he set when he won the Balmoral 5k in Scotland last year. Mottram will next be in action in the Great Ireland Run 10k in Dublin next Saturday, where he is aiming for his third straight title.

Complete article at Athletics Australia and comments from CoolRunners

In the female race, Olympic bronze medalist Tirunesh Dibaba won the Carlsbad 5000 in 14 minutes, 51 seconds Sunday, tying Paula Radcliffe's world road record. It was the 15th time a world record has been broken or tied at Carlsbad since its inception in 1986.

Complete article at San Francisco Chronicle
Posted at 13:39     [Perma-Link]

Tasmanian Mountain Running Championships

Race Report - Poatina, Sunday 3rd April

Elite multi-sport endurance athlete Matt Dalziel won the Tasmanian Mountain Running Championships at Poatina yesterday and now has his sights set on the national titles in Canberra.

In steady drizzle, Dalziel, 34, who also won last year’s title at the same venue, but on a different course, battled former title-holder Simon Phillips, 45, throughout the 13km event, before drawing away in the closing stages to win by 51 seconds in 56:14.

It was a race between brothers for third, with two more of the nation’s top endurance sportsmen in Kris and Sean Clauson chasing the bronze medal. Kris finished stronger on the tough course which included 600m elevation, over two minutes behind Phillips.

International orienteer Hanny Allston showed huge potential in a new event for her, winning the Open women’s 9km in an outstanding 42:46, from another promising new runner Jennifer Brown and last year’s title-holder Sharen Willing.

Both Dalziel and Allston plan to compete at the Australian Championships in Canberra on June 18th, with the chance of a trip to the World Championships in New Zealand on offer.

Deloraine’s Geoff Cassidy (Newstead Harriers) won his first mountain title, taking out the U/20 9km in 41:01 from Hobart’s Lewis Willing (Northern Suburbs).
Phillips (Newstead Harriers) also won the Over 40 veteran’s title from Hobart’s Larry Lacey (Tasmanian Masters) with Athletics Tasmania’s Wayne Fletcher (Northern Suburbs) taking out the Over 50 title.

Both Willing and Lacey had run legs of the 17th annual 48 hour Relay charity event at Hobart’s Domain, the night before the titles.

Next year it is planned that the titles be held on Mt Wellington.
Posted at 07:57     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, April 03, 2005 

Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne 2005 breaks records

Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne 2005 has broken just about every Australian event record with more walkers than ever lining up to take on the 100km challenge. 418 teams of 4, 1,672 walkers in total, started on Friday 01 April from Jells Park in Wheelers for the journey to Mt Donna Buang. Despite high heat and cloudless skies, 97% of teams finished with at least one team member walking. A strong 57% finished as complete teams of 4 – the true spirit of Oxfam Trailwalker.

There was intense competition at the front of the field, with seven teams jostling for top position. The Queen’s Gurkha Signals, team 88, won the day, pulling ahead in the latter stages to regain the title in 12 hours, 39 minutes. An hour behind them were team 95, 8 Feet Under, finishing in 13 hours 41 minutes and just behind, in third place, were team 026, Grunt, crossing the line at 13 hours, 52 minutes. The Return of the Groin Sprains, champions in the 2004 event and the first Australian team to lead much of the event, but had it hard in the last two stages and soldiered on to finish 4th in 14 hours, 15 minutes.

The first mixed team, with three women, finished 5th overall in a fantastic time of 15 hours and 12 minutes. Setting a new Australian record for an all women’s team, Club 18, team 347, finished in a blazing 16 hours, 16 minutes.

The event finished up at 9:13am with Team 4759, a complete team of 4, crossing the line in rain and strong wind, having bravely travelled for 47 hours and 13 minute – 47 minutes to spare to cut off time.

While record number of walkers were on the trail, supporters were busy breaking fundraising records. The event has already raised more than half a million, on target to reach $1.2 million in total fundraising.

Congratulations to all walkers, their dedicated support crews and the amazing team of volunteers that made the event possible! You have all helped make the world a better place to live.

News from the Oxfam Melbourne Trailwalker website
Posted at 17:59     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, April 02, 2005 

Australian Ironman-distance triathlete faces doping ban

An Australian Ironman-distance triathlete could receive a two-year ban after being found guilty of a doping offence.

It is understood to be the first time in its history that Triathlon Australia (TA) has had to deal with a serious doping violation.

TA announced yesterday a two-day Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing in Brisbane had delivered the finding after the triathlete tested positive for the steroid nandrolone.

But TA said the triathlete's identity will not be made public until the 20-day period for filing an appeal after the hearing has passed.

"I've got very mixed feelings. I'm saddened for the athlete, it's a hell of a blow for anyone to receive this finding," said TA president Chris Hewitt. "I don't think anything more should be made of this, other than a single athlete has been found guilty of an anti-doping violation. I'm pleased with the process that has been followed, it's stood up very well. The other point to make is that this isn't over, there has been a finding, but the circumstances are still being considered, the fallout is still being considered."

The triathlete is not a household name in the sport and did not compete in either of the past two Olympics.

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 13:46     [Perma-Link]

Granger aims high at Forster Ironman

Queensland's Belinda Granger is ready to turn the last Ironman Australia triathlon at Forster into a memorable one for the locals.

No Australian has won the women's race at Forster since four-time winner Louise Bonham in 1992, but Granger now has the confidence to beat two of the best women over the Ironman distance on Sunday.

Granger will go against three-time defending Forster champion Lisa Bentley of Canada and top New Zealander Joanne Lawn in a race that could push them under the nine-hour barrier.

Only Canadian Lori Bowden has broken nine hours at Forster with her 8:55 in 2000 for the 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42.2km run race, a qualifier for the famous Hawaiian Ironman.

Bentley, one of the fastest runners in women's Ironman racing, caught Granger late in the marathon last year to win her third Forster crown.

"Even though I went into the race (last year) confident, I always knew in the back of my mind that Lisa was going to catch me on the run," Granger said at Friday's pre-race media conference, flanked by Bentley and Lawn. "It was almost like I was waiting for it to happen. This year - sorry, Lisa - I'm going in with that attitude. I'm definitely out there for the win on Sunday."

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 13:36     [Perma-Link]

Big field expected for Geelong Half Marathon

Race organisers expect a record field to line up for the 17th Geelong Half Marathon tomorrow. About 170 runners have registered for the race so far, but Geelong Cross Country Club spokesman Tom Blood said he expects a field of 500 for the 21 km event. Mr Blood said most of the top runners do not register in advance.

However, he said defending champion and former Melbourne Marathon winner Loretta McGrath would run. But she will have to overcome former world triathlon champion Joanne King, who beat her in last weekend's Sheepwash Classic at Barwon Heads.

The race will start at the James Harrison bridge at 9.00am, with a finish expected at the Moorabool Street Bridge soon after 10am.
Posted at 13:31     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, April 01, 2005 

Lee Troop & others withdraw from London Marathon

In the Flora London Marathon men's race, organizers confirmed the recently announced withdrawal by American Meb Keflezighi, the Olympic silver medalist, and also said that Australian Lee Troop and Tanzanian John Yuda had departed from the field.

Lee Troop reports that he has a stess fracture in his Ischium and will not be able to run for 8 weeks.

British Olympian Tracey Morris has withdrawn from the women's race with an ankle injury she sustained at the Flora Liverpool Marathon three weeks ago. "It is incredibly disappointing to have to withdraw from London which is such a special race for me," said Morris in a press release.

At London last year, Morris came from nowhere to qualify for the British Olympic team by being the first British woman to finish the race. She finished 10th in 2:33:52, a shocking improvement of her personal best time by over an hour.

The Flora London Marathon is scheduled for Sunday, April 17.
Posted at 10:50     [Perma-Link]

Top 10 memorable moments of The Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon

After 14 years, the race has established itself as one of Australia's premier distance running events and has produced a highlights reel full of magical memories. Here are the Herald's top 10.

1: Australia's beloved marathon man Moneghetti knows what it's like to have a cabinet full of trophies. However, "Monna" nominates 1994 - a year he didn't win the Herald Half Marathon - as providing the most memorable performance in race history. It was the year when Moneghetti, in the prime of his career, was made to look second-rate by Queensland redhead Pat Carroll. "I was a bit-player in that race, I can tell you," he said, having trailed in behind Carroll, who scorched over the 21.1-kilometre route in an event and national record of 61 minutes, 11 seconds. Monna later described Carroll's performance as "the most significantly underrated run on Australian soil, ever".

2: A woman named Heather Turland won in 1994 and, in doing so, turned the athletics world on its head. Having never before raced as an adult, the 34-year-old mother of four came from nowhere to gain front-page headlines. Turland had been training in her home town of Bowral but shocked everyone - including herself - when she passed Commonwealth Games-bound Kerryn McCann and Tani Ruckle on the course. "I remember as I came in [over the finish line] the announcer saying on the PA, 'Who is this woman?'," she said later. Turland went on to win two more Herald Half Marathons, two Sun-Herald City to Surf titles and the 1998 Commonwealth Games marathon.

3: When Kiwi Nyla Carroll arrived for the 1996 half marathon, as preparation for the Atlanta Olympics, race officials already knew she was a good athlete - but they didn't know she was that good. Carroll left organisers open-mouthed when she set the race record of 70:53 and beat the great Australian marathoner, Lisa Ondieki. Carroll finished so quickly that no one saw her cross the line in 17th place overall.

Complete article at The SMH
Posted at 10:31     [Perma-Link]

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