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 Friday, September 30, 2005 

Kansas City Marathon Comes Up Short

Add Kansas City to the list of communities with marathon woes this year. Organizers of the Kansas City marathon said the race runners completed Saturday was about four-tenths of a mile short of the standard 26.2 miles because of a mix-up involving a loop in front of Liberty Memorial, the nation's largest World War I monument.

The mistake comes after Chicago's Lakeshore Marathon was inadvertently set a mile too long in June. And two freight trains disrupted the Quad Cities Marathon on Sunday, prompting a race organizer to drive a pace truck into the path of an approaching locomotive.

Kevin Wicker, director of special events and sales at the Sports Commission in Kansas City, said the problem started after the driver of the police vehicle leading the race decided not to turn into the Liberty Memorial, "thinking the gates were locked and we were not allowed in there."

But Kansas City police said Wednesday that the police vehicle was following the approved route, which didn't include the loop. Police also noted the police vehicle was followed by race staff.

"If the police vehicle was not following the course the race staff expected it to, it was the responsibility of the race staff to make the correction and bring it to the attention of the officers involved," police said in a news release.

Steve Berkheiser, Liberty Memorial executive director, said he was not notified that the memorial was on the route, although officials there were prepared to let the runners in.

Runners who thought the race qualified them for the Boston Marathon were left wondering.

"If this course is noncertified, that would be very disappointing," said Todd Hildreth, 42, of Lee's Summit, who said he was eager to enter the Boston race after finishing the Kansas City run in just under the time needed to qualify.

Some runners complained about organizational problems at the race, which has been canceled twice in the past five years after losing its primary sponsors. This year, the event was called the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon, named for the sponsor that helped fund the $150,000-plus event.

Wicker vowed the memorial would be part of next year's marathon. "We're working so that will never happen again," he said.

Information from: The Kansas City Star

Complete article at SFGate.com

Posted at 10:08     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, September 27, 2005 

Work begins on Commonwealth Games track

Melbourne's home of cricket and football has begun its transformation into an athletics arena with work starting on Tuesday on the running track for next year's Commonwealth Games.

Just three days after the end of one of the most thrilling AFL grand finals in history, a new cricket pitch has already been placed in the centre of the oval, and on Tuesday ground staff began digging up the area where the track will be laid.

The $18.5 million joint project between the Melbourne Cricket Club and Grocon will see the removal of 16,000 square metres of turf for replacement with two layers of asphalt which will then be covered with a 13mm Mondo rubber running track.

When the MCG last hosted an international athletics event for the 1956 Olympics, the running track had a grass surface, not a rubber one. Part of the $434 million redevelopment of the MCG, the new track is one of the biggest projects ever undertaken by arena manager Tony Ware and his staff. "What we're really doing is laying a road, and then sticking an athletics track on the road," Mr Ware said.

The running track, long jump run and pit, pole vault fittings, and other timing and measuring equipment will have to be installed and covered with turf by early December for the Boxing Day Test, the only cricket match to be played on the MCG this summer.

After the match is over, the turf will be taken off to again expose the track for a pre-Games athletics meet in the middle of February ahead of the opening ceremony on March 15.

It will then be another race against time to have the MCG ready for the opening of the AFL season just a few days later. It is likely that the first football match to be played on the MCG next year will be the Anzac Day clash between Collingwood and Essendon.

Although the MCG had a crowd of just over 91,000 on Saturday, it will seat 84,000 during the Commonwealth Games.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 23:18     [Perma-Link]

Australia lowers medal target for Commonwealth Games

First it was rugby, then cricket. Now the English sporting renaissance has the Australian Commonwealth Games Association looking over its shoulder.

Just 169 days before the opening ceremony of the Melbourne 2006 Games, Australian officials are revising their medal target, and the new target is likely to be lower than initially hoped.

Association chief executive Perry Crosswhite said there were several reasons why the stated medal target of 208, including 88 gold, was under threat.

Fewer medals will be awarded in several sports, particularly weightlifting. And some individual sports with numerous medals on offer, such as judo, have been replaced for the Melbourne Games by basketball — a team sport offering fewer medals.

But Mr Crosswhite said the increasing strength of rival teams, particularly the English, was the biggest threat to Australia's ultimate medal haul.

"I think the main thing is the increased competition from overseas," he said. "The English are looking very good since London got the (2010 Olympic) Games; they're going to have a full team and they will be very strongly supported."

He said he would not set a new target for the Australian team until a review had been completed. Australia set a record at the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games, winning 82 gold and 207 medals overall.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 17:22     [Perma-Link]

Australians at World Mountain Running Champs, NZ

Australia finished equal on points with two other teams in third place in the teams in the Women's World Mountain Running Championships yesterday in Wellington, New Zealand. Unfortunately a countback saw Australia slip to 5th place, still its best ever team performance at a world mountain running championship.
Former dual world triathlon champion Jackie Fairweather nearly created a bronze medal for Australia with a fantastic 12th in 44.34 in her first ever mountain race, just behind Australian champion Vivian Pott who was 11th in 44.20 in her 3rd ever mountain race. Both were only 1 minute behind previous world champion Melissa Moon who was 7th. Kiwi national cross country champion Kate McIlroy romped away with the world title in 39:40 in her second ever mountain race and is now focussing on the Commonwealth Games 5,000m.
Australia's world long distance mountain running champion Emma Murray experienced the lactic bear jumping on her back nearing the top of the mountain the first time and slid way back in the field before having a strong second lap to finish 34th in 47.04. 2004 Australian champion Marnie Ponton went from 75th in the 2004 world championship to finish 35th in 47.14 this time, in a massive improvement, auguring well for the future as she is only 21.


In the men's race, Australian champion Scott McTaggart astonished the 10,000 spectators around the course when he blasted off from the start and led the field through the first 1km uphill, and was 2nd at the summit and 4th at the end of lap 1. He then slipped to 18th by the end of lap 2 and 28th at the finish in 59:12 (compared to his 56 mins at the Australian Champs, a time which would have secured him top 6). Hopefully a slower start next time will give Scott a top ten if not better. The race was dominated by New Zealand's Jonathon Wyatt who sceured his 5th world title, winning by 2 minures in 53:23.
2003 and 2004 Australian champion Ben du Bois pulled out after a lap (had a bad day). Wollongong's Stephen Brown and Barry Keem had very good runs (40th in 60.11, and 44th in 60.26). David Osmond, 75th, said the uphill was easy then the downhill killed off his legs. He was suffering residual tiredness from finishing 6th in the World 24 Hour Mountain Bike Championship 3 weeks earlier in Canada. Albury's Kevin Laws was 88th in 66.21, similar to his Australian Championships time.

Ben Guest of the NSW Central Coast ran a blinder in the junior men's 9.1km to finish 11th in 40:03. Vedat Gunen of Turkey dominated with 36:48.

There are some great photos of a number of the Australian team members on www.mountainrunning.org.nz

John Harding
Australian team manager

Posted at 07:45     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, September 26, 2005 

Berlin run sets Letherby on Games course

Andrew Letherby almost certainly ran his way into the Australian team for next year's 2006 Commonwealth Games when he finished eighth in the Berlin marathon yesterday.

The Manchester 2002 bronze medallist, who lives in Boulder in the US, sliced more than a minute off his best time, clocking two hours 11 minutes 42 seconds.

Philip Manyim became the seventh consecutive Kenyan winner of the race, finishing near the Brandenburg Gate in 2:07:41. Compatriots Peter Chebet and Jackson Koech were second and third in 2:08:58 and 2:09:07, respectively.

While Letherby is almost certain to be selected for the Melbourne Games, Scott Westcott has a stronger claim after representing Australia at the world championships and clocking 2:11:36 in Japan earlier this year.

Shane Nankervis has a strong claim to third spot in the team after finishing 12th in Berlin in a personal best of 2:12:33 and running 2:13 earlier in the year.

But selectors may opt to leave the spot open if Lee Troop is fit enough to bid. Australia's best-performed marathoner over the past five years is getting back to full training after a long injury break.

Ten Australians ran in Berlin, making it a de facto selection race for the Games.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 01:25     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, September 25, 2005 

Berlin Marathon Run-down

Japan’s Olympic Marathon champion Mizuki Noguchi has won the 32nd real,- Berlin Marathon today, clocking 2:19:12, to break both the course and the Asian record. It was the sixth win in a row for the Japanese women in Berlin. Germany’s Luminita Zaituc took second place with 2:27:34, while Asale Tafa (Ethiopia) was third in 2:28:27.

Australian times:
Andrew Letherby 8th 2.11.42
Shane Nankervis 12th 2.12.33
Phil Sly 15th 2.16.32
Cope & Gillard 23rd / 24th 2.20.58
Harrison / DeHighden 26th / 27th 2.21.45
Erwin McRae 33rd 2.24.56
Glen Guzzo 41st 2.28.47
Phil Champion 60th 2.32.48

The men’s race was won by Kenyan Philip Manyim with 2:07:41. While Peter Chebet was second with 2:08:58 and Jackson Koech finished third in 2:09:07 the top five places were taken by Kenyans. Warm weather conditions slowed the elite runners in the final part of the race. More than one million spectators lined the course with its famous finish at Brandenburg Gate.

Mizuki Noguchi ran her own race with pacemakers right from the start. Passing half way in 69:22, running an even pace she was on course for a sub 2:19 time, but slowed slightly during the final seven kilometres. “It was a new experience for me to run against the clock instead of running against rivals. It was difficult in the warm conditions, but I thank my pacemakers”, Mizuki Noguchi said.

Noguchi had the biggest winning margin in Berlin for more than 25 years. Second placed Luminita Zaituc, who had to stop due to a cramp, was 8:22 minutes behind the Olympic Champion.

A number of elite runners struggled in the warm weather with temperatures of more than 20 ° Celsius in the sun. Philip Manyim, who had broken away at 28k with a 1,000m split of 2:43 minutes, slowed strongly during the final five kilometres. But Peter Chebet and Jackson Koech had difficulties themselves and could not use the opportunity to get near to Philip Manyim.

A record number of 39,882 runners from 103 nations participated in the 32nd real,- Berlin Marathon. Adding walkers, wheelchairs, handbikers and inline skaters 48,170 athletes participated in the marathon. Another 9312 pupils ran the schools’ race of one tenth of the marathon distance. So altogether the Berlin Marathon had a record number of 57,482 athletes

Male:
1 Manyim, Philip (KEN) 02:07:41
2 Chebet, Peter (KEN) 02:08:58
3 Koech, Jackson (KEN) 02:09:07
4 Chelanga, Joshua (KEN) 02:09:10
5 Ngolepus, Joseph (KEN) 02:10:10
6 Mola, Shimeles (ETH) 02:10:11
7 Rotich, Michael (KEN) 02:10:53
8 Letherby, Andrew (AUS) 02:11:42
9 da Silva, Romulo (BRA) 02:12:03
10 Yae, Terefe (ETH) 02:12:07

Female:
1 Noguchi, Mizuki (JAP) 02:19:12
2 Zaituc, Luminita (GER) 02:27:34
3 Tafa, Asale (ETH) 02:28:27
4 Kraus, Melanie (GER) 02:34:23
5 Tola, Worknesh (ETH) 02:35:31
6 Crombie-Hicks, Shona (GBR) 02:38:42
7 Aagaard, Anne-Mette (DEN) 02:38:44
8 Rahm, Anna (SWE) 02:39:31
9 Gradwohl, Eva Maria (AUT) 02:39:51
10 Draskau-Petersson, Jess (GBR) 02:42:00

Complete article at The IAAF

Posted at 23:40     [Perma-Link]

Mottram Wins Fifth Avenue Mile

Australia's Craig Mottram won the Fifth Avenue Mile on Saturday, pulling away from premier American miler Alan Webb in the final quarter mile.

Mottram finished in 3 minutes, 49.9 seconds in the run that began at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and ended at the foot of Central Park. Webb finished at 3:51.4 in his road-race debut in the 20-block dash down one of Manhattan's most fashionable stretches. Elkanah Angwenyi of Kenya took third in 3:54.3.

Canada's Carmen Douma-Hussar, the world indoor silver medalist, won the women's race in 4:28, edging Americans Amy Rudolph (4:28.5) and Treniere Clement (4:28.7).

Webb became the fastest American miler in 19 years with a 3:48.92 finish two months ago in Oslo, Norway, edging Mottram for fourth place.

"I tried to get a big enough lead so he couldn't catch me," Webb said. "I thought I was by myself for the last 400 meters, but I guess I lulled myself to sleep. Craig came on so fast and I had no strength to catch him. ... The finish line looked closer than it was, but with 150 yards to go, I knew I lost it."

Mottram turned in the eighth-fastest time in the New York Road Runners race, which began in 1981. The course record of 3:47.52 was set by Sydney Maree that year.

Mottram, who finished third in the 5,000 meters at the world championships last month, credited his victory to practice runs on Friday night and Saturday morning.

"It's a deceptive course, especially the last half of the race, and I wanted to be prepared," he said. "I trained the last three weeks in London and took dead aim at winning this one."

Webb broke Jim Ryun's 36-year-old high school mile record in 2001. He failed to get past the first round of qualifying at the Athens Olympics and finished ninth in the 1,500 at the world championships this year.

1. Craig Mottram AUS 3:49:9
2. Alan Webb USA 3:51.4
3. Elkanah Angwenyi KEN 3:54.3
4. Anthony Famiglietti USA 3:57.1
5. Rui Silva POR 3:57.4
6. James Thie UK 3:58.4
7. Jason Lunn USA 3:59.6
8. Kevin Sullivan CAN 4:01.4
9. Nate Brannen CAN 4:03.4
10. Issac Viciosa ESP 4:08.4

Complete article at SFGate.com

Posted at 11:36     [Perma-Link]

Experts savage oxygen booster

A "super-oxygenated" bottle of water being peddled to athletes and racehorse trainers as a performance booster is a load of hogwash, say experts.

Oxy-Shot, costing $200 for one litre - more expensive than most Champagnes - is said to have been developed using Nasa technology to provide huge amounts of additional oxygen to the bloodstream.

It has been embraced by two leading racing trainers - South Island galloping trainer Michael Pitman and greyhound trainer Dave Fahey - and has sporting icons Martin Crowe and Grant Fox batting for it.

But none of the exercise physiologists and veterinarians consulted by the Sunday Star-Times had a good word to say about it.

Harness Racing New Zealand veterinary consultant Andrew Grierson said Oxy-Shot's claims were "absolute crap, a load of hogwash".

"If this stuff is so good why aren't the girls at Mermaids (a strip bar) all on it. They wouldn't have to come up for air."

Former All Blacks first five-eighths Fox was introduced to Oxy-Shot spokesman Tony Brigstock by former New Zealand cricket captain Crowe. Fox wasn't shy about praising Oxy-Shot, saying it had given him an extra zest for life.

"If I was an athlete I'd be right among this," Fox said. "The science went right over my head, I'm just going on what I feel. You don't get a buzz or anything, but I find I've got more energy and my sleep patterns are better."

Pitman, who finished second on the national premiership last season, started using it in February.

"I'm sure it's helped me. Ten or 12 horses, who were going nice races without winning, won within a short time of being on Oxy-Shot. I'm happy because I've had results. Whether the horses would have won without it I don't know, but whenever I use it, the horses seem to race a little bit better. Horses who are a little bit light, and lack a bit of natural strength, seem to get more energy at the right time."

Pitman agreed it was expensive for what it was, "but nothing's expensive if it works".

Yet some of the claims made by Oxy- Shot, launched in Great Britain last week, where it costs about $100 for 250ml, were outrageous, one expert said.

While vets laughed about the product, concern is spreading in other quarters about Oxy-Shot's aggressive marketing campaign.

By sponsoring big races in all three racing codes this weekend, it appeared to be gaining tacit credibility.

Grierson said he and industry analyst Geoff Beresford checked out Oxy-Shot last year when HRNZ got wind that some trainers were using it.

"There's nothing in it that would make it a prohibited substance under the rules and in my opinion it would have no effect on a horse. I wouldn't recommend anyone uses it."

But Fox, who has been recovering from two knee operations, said that in the two months he had been taking Oxy-Shot he had felt like he could "go just a bit harder" in training.

And he noticed the difference on the golf course, caddying for son Ryan.

"Walking 72 holes in two days is tiring but I now take a bottle of water, with this stuff in it, sipping constantly, and I don't feel so tired any more."

Fox said that, unlike supplements, which didn't make him feel any better, Oxy-Shot gave him an energy lift.

Experts cast wet blanket on 'super' water claims

On its website, www.oxyshot.co.nz, promoters call it a super-strength concentrate, containing at least 150,000 parts per million usable oxygen compared with tap water's 6-10ppm.

Made without the use of chemicals, through "bio electrical manufacture", it comprises "84 per cent deionised water, 15 per cent dissolved diatomic oxygen and 1 per cent sodium chloride (Atlantic sea salt)".

The website claims that in a world breakthrough, Oxy-Shot is able to provide a pH-balanced oxygen supplement that can be syringed behind the tongue.

It says the stabilised oxygen molecules are then absorbed into the bloodstream through the digestive system. Once in the bloodstream the oxygen is said to make its way into the cells of the body.

Oxy-Shot spokesman Tony Brigstock says Oxy-Shot is a revolutionary way to achieve peak performance and conditioning, and was best given 30 minutes before training.

"Oxygen debt is now regarded as a major issue for peak performance in elite athletes and racing animals are no different."

Brigstock says a string of Australian sports stars who have endorsed Sports Oxy-Shot, taken in 10ml doses, prove its effectiveness. They include rugby league's David Peachey, Craig Gower and Robbie O'Davis, rugby international Mat Rogers, hockey Olympian Brent Livermore and Olympic athlete Tamsyn Lewis.

The Australian website, www.sportsoxyshot.com.au, lists testimonials from leading golfers, kickboxers, swimmers, triathletes, bodybuilders, dancers, cricketers and coaches.

Brigstock says Oxy-Shot is a "proven, safe, clean product" that achieves the same objective as illegal techniques, such as the synthetic hormone EPO.

The trouble is, says Mike Hamlin, senior lecturer in exercise physiology at Lincoln University, EPO (erythropoeitin) and hypobaric chambers acted by stimulating the production of more red blood cells, and hence a greater oxygen-carrying capacity.

He questions how Oxy-Shot could work with the existing number of cells, when 98 per cent of them were already saturated with oxygen.

"If you gave the horse 100 per cent oxygen, you'd still only give it another 2 per cent at the most."

Complete article at Stuff NZ

Posted at 11:28     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, September 24, 2005 

Abbott, Farmer pass 75km mark

Health Minister Tony Abbott and ultramarathon runner turned politician Pat Farmer have set a gruelling pace in their 100 kilometre run across Sydney to raise funds for cancer care.

The pair have already pounded more than 75km of pavement and are about 10km ahead of schedule after leaving Mona Vale, on Sydney's northern beaches, at 4am (AEST) today.
The two Liberal MPs are running from Mona Vale to Campbelltown, in the city's southwest, the equivalent of two and a half Olympic marathons.

Mr Abbott was a little nervous of what was ahead before he set off this morning but seemed to have no trouble keeping the pace after the three-quarter race mark.

"My thought is that if things get really tough you can always slow down to a walk and at walking speed you'll cover about six kms an hour, a Cliffy Young shuffle will cover about eight kms an hour," he said. "So one way or another I think we'll finish."

The pair have already raised more than $130,000 to buy equipment for Campbelltown Hospital's Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre, palliative care at Camden Hospital and equipment for cancer surgery for Mona Vale Hospital.

Farmer, 43, the parliamentary secretary for education, science and training, has twice run across the Simpson Desert and in 2001 ran 14,964km around Australia in 191 days.

Abbott, 47, is a recreational jogger and helps organise the annual 1000km pollie pedal charity bike ride event that raises money for leukaemia.

The pair started at Mona Vale Hospital, ran south to Manly, across the Harbour Bridge and the city, and are headed southwest to Campbelltown Hospital. They expect to arrive at Campbelltown Hospital about 4pm (AEST).

Complete article at The ABC

Posted at 18:42     [Perma-Link]

Tony Abbott & Pat Farmer face 100km run

Health Minister Tony Abbott will join ultra marathon runner turned politician Pat Farmer for a gruelling 100 kilometre run across Sydney on Saturday to raise funds for cancer care.

The two Liberal MPs will attempt to run from Mona Vale on Sydney's northern beaches to Campbelltown in the city's south west - the equivalent of two and a half Olympic marathons.

They will set off from Mona Vale Hospital at 4am AEST and expect to arrive at Campbelltown Hospital by 4pm AEST.

The pair have already raised more than $130,000 to buy equipment for Campbelltown Hospital's Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre, palliative care at Camden Hospital and equipment for cancer surgery for Mona Vale Hospital.

Farmer, 43, the parliamentary secretary for education, science and training, has twice run across the Simpson Desert and in 2001 ran 14,964km around Australia in 191 days.

Abbott, 47, is a recreational jogger and helps organise the annual 1,000km pollie pedal charity bike ride event which raises money for leukaemia.

"There is not a person alive untouched by the devastating effects of cancer, either personally or within the circle of family or friends," Mr Farmer said. "It is for this reason that we will be putting ourselves through the pain of this gruelling run."

Farmer said he and Abbott would be aiming to run at a steady pace in 10km segments separated by short rest breaks. The pair will run from Mona Vale Hospital, south to Manly, across the Harbour Bridge and the city, and south west on the M5 to Campbelltown Hospital.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 18:39     [Perma-Link]

South Canberra Tuggeranong Golden Mile

The SCT Golden Mile is an event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the South Canberra Tuggeranong Athletics Club. A series of road mile races will be held on Saturday 1 October commencing at 3pm. The actual number of races will depend on how many entries are received in the different
categories.

The event is open to all runners no matter how fast or slow. There will be special anniversary sashes presented to the male and female winners in the following categories:
Under 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, Open, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50+, AWD and the One- Mile Handicap (last event).

The venue is the Lake Tuggeranong Scout Hall, Mortimer Lewis Drive, Greenway. Entries will be taken on the day from 2pm to 2.50pm. Entry is $2.

On display in the Scout Hall will be historic photos of SCT athletes, 50th anniversary memorabilia such as mugs, lanyards and pens (available for sale), photo albums and other items of interest.

If you require further information check the website

Posted at 13:35     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, September 23, 2005 

Adidas to sponsor Australia’s Olympic Team in record deal

The Australian Olympic Committee has signed a 12-year sponsorship deal with adidas believed to be one of the richest in Australian sport.

Under the agreement signed in Sydney adidas will outfit the Australian Olympic Team at the next three Summer Olympic Games, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and the 2016 Olympics.

“This is by far the biggest sponsorship agreement the AOC has ever entered into” said President John Coates. ”Of its type we believe it is Australia’s largest sporting sponsorship”.

adidas, who last outfitted the Australian Team at the 1996 Atlanta Games, will provide competition and training uniforms, footwear and casual clothing for the athletes, coaches and officials.

“adidas is a leading world brand and we’ve had a great association over the years” Coates said.” We are thrilled to renew our old partnership”.

The size of the adidas commitment to the AOC stems from the remarkable success of the Australian Team at the Sydney 2000 Games and the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Australia won a record 58 medals in Sydney and 49 medals, including a record 17 gold, in Athens. The team finished 4th on the overall medal tally at both Olympics.

“The success of our Team is a key factor. Finishing fourth on the overall medal puts us up there with the USA, Russia and China” Coates said. ‘adidas has recognised Australia’s strength and position amongst the world superpowers at the Olympic level”.

“adidas also recognises the value of an association with the athletes within the Australian market. All credit goes to the athletes for the way they have performed and behaved on the world stage at the Olympics in Sydney and Athens. They have been so impressive and obviously this is an attraction for any sponsor” Coates said.

Complete article at The AOC

Posted at 00:48     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, September 22, 2005 

Mottram to run in New York's Fifth Avenue Mile

The 1980s, like the 1950s was a great decade for mile running. Just as we remember the 50s for the race to break the 4-minute barrier, the 80s was equally famous for the burgeoning number of street mile races which took place in major city centres around the world.

Arguably, the most famous of these races was New York’s ‘Fifth Avenue Mile’, which after a number of years out of the sporting headlines is back in 2005, with a top quality elite field lining up for this Saturday's Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile (24 September).

Sydney Maree, former South African turned USA citizen, who was to break the World 1500m record in 1983 (3:31.24), was the winner of the inaugural ‘Fifth Avenue Mile’ in 1981. Leann Warren, the women’s victor.

During the next decade many of the principal names in world 1500m and Mile running were to feature as winners of the race: Steve Scott, John Walker, Frank O’Mara, Jose-Luis Gonzalez, Peter Elliott, Wendy Sly, Maricicia Puica, Lynn Williams, Mary Slaney, Paula Ivan, PattiSue Plumer to name but a few. More recently, the multiple victories of Issac Viciosa and Paula Radcliffe also showed the New York race retained its class long after most other major street miles had disappeared from the international calendar.

But this weekend, with a total prize purse of US$30,000, with the men’s and women’s champions each winning US$5000, and the race now sponsored by Continental Airlines, the Fifth Avenue Mile is very much back at the top. Also, aired live on ESPNEWS, the race is returning to national television for the first time in more than a decade.

There is also a US$10,000 bonus on offer for a men’s or women’s course record. Maree’s inaugural run of 3:47.52 in 1981 still holds the standard, while the women’s fastest of 4:16.68 was set by Plummer in 1990.

It is in the men’s race where it is felt the record is most likely to fall. Battling for honours on Saturday will be USA Olympian Alan Webb, who will race against Craig Mottram of Australia, the World 5000m bronze medallist, and Rui Silva of Portugal, the World and Olympic 1500m bronze medallist, and former World Indoor champion.

"My goal is not to get the American record. It is basically to compete and be the best in the world,” confirmed Webb. “I'm going to be the saviour of track and field, so I have to work hard. It's just about going out and doing the work. It's all about doing your best."

Steve Scott, the great American miler says this of Webb. "By the time he's done with his career, Alan will be the greatest American distance runner ever."

Mary Wittenberg President of NYRR says this of Webb, "Whenever Alan steps to the line you know there's a shot that he's going to go faster than he ever has in his life. He's always goes after it. He's not afraid to take risks"

The women’s field will be headlined by Canada’s Carmen Douma-Hussar, World Indoor 1500m silver medallist and a World outdoor Championships and Olympic finalist, Carrie Tollefson, a 2004 U.S. Olympian, Amy Mortimer, the former NCAA All American, and two-time Olympian Amy Rudolph of Providence.

Chris Turner for the IAAF

Complete article at the IAAF

Posted at 23:56     [Perma-Link]

Corrigan finishes first in Edgell jog

At her first attempt at Bathurst's traditional September event last year a bout of the flu stopped Lisa Corrigan from reaching her full potential.
Twelve months later it was a stitch 3km from home which threatened to hamper the Canberra based runner's chances, but she overcame the pain to be first female across the line in the 30th annual Bathurst Edgell Jog.

Corrigan, from Canowindra, built a strong lead in the early exchanges up Russell Street, before maintaining the advantage to finish in 27.01 and claim the $1000 dollar cash prize.

An exhausted yet ecstatic Corrigan was rapt with the result, revealing it was a real battle against the blustery conditions.

"It was pretty windy out there, I was feeling really good up until 3km to go when I got a big stitch, I thought I would get a better time than that but it was good to hole on," Corrigan said.

"I did this race last year and ran about a minute slower, but I was quite sick last year. I enjoyed it this time around, it was fun".

While the money was a nice reward for her efforts, Corrigan admitted her main focus was the start of the athletics season in November and her ultimate endeavour a place in the Australian team for the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne next year.

* He finished third in the 2005 City to Surf and yesterday tore up Bathurst's streets to win the 30th men's Edgell Jog, but Martin Dent's biggest aim is the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games Dallas Reeves reports.

The 26-year distance runner has been based in Canberra for the last eight years after being raised on the Central Coast.

A former marathon runner, Dent beat one of Australia's most famous distance running names in Steve Moneghetti to finish third in Sydney's 14-kilometre classic last month in 41.19 behind three-time Tanzanian winner Patrick Nyangelo and his countryman Dickson Marwa.

His biggest aim is securing a place in the Australian squad for the 10,000 metre Melbourne race after winning the Bathurst event.

Dent broke away early to win in 22 minutes and 40 seconds (22.40), 88 seconds clear of his next rival.

Complete article at Canowindra News

Posted at 08:44     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, September 21, 2005 

Pittman and T&F looking to become team players

Jana Pittman said Australia's struggling track and field athletes are trying to be more like the nation's swimmers by adopting a true team mentality.

Pittman spoke while lending support to the Australian Olympic Committee's massive new sponsorship deal with adidas.

"One thing that we have really worked on in the past few years (is) we've tried like the swimming team to sort of become a team, rather than being individuals who've come together once a year," she said.

"We are much better friends than we have (been) in the past, so I think our support of each other is going to be stronger."

Scenes of the star-studded swimming line-up cheering on their teammates at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and world championships are some of the enduring images of Australia's success in the pool.

Pittman admits the athletics team needs "a bit of work" but says injuries, including her own, cost Australia dearly at last month's world championships.

"I think we had a lot of potential going into the world champs this year," she said.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 18:05     [Perma-Link]

Peter hangs up his shoes after 100 marathons

Against doctor's orders – he had a hip replacement last year – Jamestown farmer Peter Kitschke, 74, ran his 100th marathon last month before hanging up his running shoes for good.

Well known on the football field both as a player and umpire and recently inducted into the SANFL Hall of Fame, Mr Kitschke took up marathon running in 1983, proving that maturity is no barrier to a successful athletics career.

Without a coach and knowing no-one else who was involved in the sport, Mr Kitschke taught himself as much as he needed to know from books, and equipped with this information set off on his first 42 kilometre marathon run – the Sydney City to Surf event. [Editor: OK, don't blame me - it's only 14km I know but that's what the report said ....]

"My wife thought I was mad."

But despite thinking her husband was perhaps a little crazy, Mary Kitschke rarely missed a run, waiting at the finish line or driving a support vehicle for the seven ultra marathons (over 100kms) in which he competed. In fact, Mrs Kitschke has been with her husband for most of his sporting achievements and activities.

Overcoming health issues to pursue his goals, Mr Kitschke has suffered from rheumatoid arthritis since his early 20s and about seven years ago collapsed from a heart attack.

"I had heart surgery and my doctor gave me the all clear to go back to running, so I did," Mr Kitschke said.

Booked in for a knee reconstruction 14 years ago, Mr Kitschke thought he would just have one more run before the operation. His level of fitness at the end of the race made him rethink the surgery, and he changed his mind.

In more than 20 years of marathon running, Mr Kitschke has just about worn a groove around his farm and through the nearby Bundaleer Forest during training.

Before taking up running as a sport, Mr Kitschke had an illustrious football career with few injuries, playing 510 games – 220 of them consecutively. He won seven Mail medals and 13 club best and fairest awards.

Football led to umpiring in both the North Areas and North Eastern Football Leagues, until he retired in 2001, but it was another two years before he packed away his shearing equipment.

"I shore sheep for 55 years and have always said I would rather be a shearer than a shed hand, but have now given it away," he said.

It looked like Mr Kitschke had also given away marathon running. He boxed up his running shoes two years ago, and last year had hip replacement surgery. But at the back of his mind he had a nagging desire to run his 100th race.

"People kept saying to me too, that I should do my 100th – I had stopped at 99 – and suggested I even walk one just to finish up the century."

Choosing the Sydney City to Surf, where his career began, to run his last race, Mr Kitschke decided to enter last month's event. Dusting off his running shoes he and his wife made the journey only to find the shoes weren't as comfortable as before.

"At the last minute I had to cut a piece out of each shoe, so I could run in them," he said.

"I was even considering running in my ordinary shoes."

Running the marathon in under 100 minutes, putting him in the first group of competitors to cross the line, Mr Kitschke ignored his doctor's advice and decided against walking.

"But I love walking and that will be what I will be doing from now on," he said.

Finally ready to undergo his long-postponed knee surgery this month, Mr Kitschke is happy with his achievements.

"I class myself as an ordinary person. I never had any big goals and like to take one day at a time, and enjoy what I am doing."

Calling himself a "country plodder", although he is anything but, Mr Kitschke said he would now be content to be a spectator and watch his grandchildren at their sporting events.

"I have had a great life and if I had to do it again it would be exactly the same."

Complete article at The Northern Argus

Posted at 18:00     [Perma-Link]

Tsunami pushes journalist to go that extra mile

Christopher Zinn, Contributor, Sydney

I had been back in Sydney for only two week after a visit to Banda Aceh when a registered letter arrived complete with floral stamps.

A letter like this usually means something of value for the recipient, so I was expecting a nice surprise. Yet, while the message inside was charming it was also unambiguous: "We are desperate please send five thousand Australian dollars now."

At once the tables were turned. For years I'd been a journalist and foreign correspondent whose job it was to go and report on other people's disasters like East Timor (1999) and the Papua New Guinea tsunami in 1998 and then let others do the giving.

The deal was this: I helped publicize the predicament, pricked the conscience of the developed world and let others respond by sending in their hard-earned dollars. I wasn't meant to get personally involved, but this letter changed everything.

" I am writing this letter because I have a belief deep inside my heart that only Mr Christopher Zinn would understand our sadness so far," it said. Umar Ali and his wife Rusnah must have paid to get someone to type the letter in English. It included their bank details.

I had met them on the last day of my trip to Aceh. I was traveling back into town with a small group of reporters, all on an Asia Pacific Journalist Centre fellowship, when I was struck by a row of candy striped tents. We stopped for some photos when I saw a proud looking man in a bright yellow T shirt.

With Harry Bhaskara from The Jakarta Post translating he told us the sadly tragic but all too familiar story of a couple who had lost their three children, their home, their car, their savings -- in fact everything but the clothes they had been wearing. Umar Ali's smart shirt had just been donated by an Italian charity.

Umar Ali and Rusnah showed us the tent which was now their home and told us how they barely subsisted on monthly handouts of tinned sardines and dried noodles. They asked us if we knew as to when some aid might trickle down to help them rebuild their lives. We could only offer the most banal of hopes.

Something strangely moving ...

They had heard rumors of money coming through but nothing was certain. Umar Ali had been a prosperous business man in clothing and obviously was not coping well with a life of enforced idleness when he felt he could help the local economy recover.

We were moved and left them with the small amount of cash we were carrying. Even in this massive disaster area where everyone had a devastating story there was something strangely moving about the couple. Maybe it was their humility and strength and togetherness or perhaps because they were educated and middle class, which made it easier for us to relate to them rather than a fisherman or shopkeeper.

I left them my name card.

Whatever it was on the bus back to the hotel we debated if we should try and buy them a sewing machine to start up a new business. But we flew out the next morning to other stories and other controversies and all the best intentions were soon forgotten.

Soon I put a short story to air about Aceh six months after the disaster and right at the end featured Umar Ali and Rusnah. The final words in the story were along the lines that I would return in a couple of years to see how they are doing.

A short time after transmission the letter arrived. You have had all the proofs of the disaster facing us," it continued ... The aim of writing this letter is that I am expecting your kindness to help us (sic) some funding approximately AUD$5,000 in order to start a new business selling manufactured T-shirts, trousers, and etc."

I played for time. I was a freelance journalist with no regular income. My wife said we could afford it but even in Australia it was a fair sum of money. I spoke to a colleague who advised me to throw the letter away, saying he often got such requests after an overseas trip. There's only so much you can do," he said.

Another colleague read the letter and suggested contacting friends and associates by e-mail to ask them the donate and " share the load.". Yet another thought it would be a good idea to get sponsorship and compete in the 14-kilometer City to Surf fun run in Sydney with 60,000 other joggers.

I thought long and hard about their plea. I had met Umar Ali and Rusnah by chance and was struck by their resilience and bearing, and had no doubt their request was genuine.

They seemed to have the skills and enterprise to make a go of any "investment".

Many Australians had already given generously to the tsunami appeals but this was a chance to provide some modest microfinance, which could make the world of difference to just one family. My philosophy was o secure a lot of small donations and potentially build up an ongoing "person-to-person" program of directed investment, and not just handouts.

Real people, real need

So I sent out the e-mails and there was an amazing and immediate reaction. The news spread far and wide and people I didn't even know came back saying they wanted to donate direct. They were frustrated with giving anonymously to charities after the tsunami and then reading how long it was taking for help to get through and how much was being used up in administrative and other costs.

The notion of giving direct to someone whose story and picture you could see was a powerful one, as was the knowledge that none of the funds would be diverted to other overheads. One friend of limited means promised that when the donations reached $4,000 she would make up the rest.

The e-mail ended up at ABC radio and I was given a nationwide audience to explain about Umar Ali and his wife and my appeal to help them. One listener pledged A$1,000 that morning.

A Sydney online retailer, The RemoGeneralStore.com, got involved because they believed in what is known as " aggregated compassion" or a lot of people giving a little to achieve a stated goal.

Remo, who is an old friend, produced an impressive, fund-raising Give Direct T-shirt to sell and for me to wear on the big run with Umar Ali and Rusnah's picture on the back and their letter (see it at www.remogeneralstore.com/givedirect).

The global reach of his clients produced more donations as well as T-shirt sales and a lively debate as a Jakarta subscriber complained these sort of emotional appeals to help just one person were the worst thing, as they were unfair and deflected funds from the charities that really knew what to do.

It is a good point, as it is unfair to pick one family when there are so many in desperate but would the world have been a better place if I had just thrown away that letter?

I ran the City to Surf in a record time (for me) of 71 minutes and the T-shirt helped solicit more donations. So many people had been involved and inspired by the story of Umar Ali and Rusnah and yet, given the difficulty in communications, the couple had been totally unaware of it all.

'Aggregated compassion'

It took a few weeks for all the pledges to come in and for some banking details to be cleared up but there is now A$5,000 in the Australian account I set up for them and I will be sending it to them as soon as possible, with a request they keep us posted as to what happens.

My hope now is to build on this experience and with others develop a website where we can put aggregated compassion to the test. It might feature five changing short stories from around the world of people hit by disaster who need limited funds, say up to $5,000, for a specific purpose.

The public could then make a small payment by means of a yet to be determined method and see their bucks immediately credit the account. It would be giving direct, in small amounts and by a large number of people, to deserving causes with no overheads.

And who would gather these stories? Why, journalists of course, who in the course of their working lives meet enough deserving causes and could forward their details and pictures to the website as well as writing their stories.

I was wrong when I opened that registered letter and thought it did not contain anything of value to me. It has changed my ideas about giving and what is possible and how to be a better journalist and good human at the same time. Thank you Umar Ali and Rusnah -- you sent me a true gift and I look forward to seeing how you now move on.

Complete article at The Jakarta Post

Posted at 17:58     [Perma-Link]

India's marathon boy, aged three

By Sandeep Sahu, BBC News, Bhubaneswar

He runs seven hours at a stretch, sometimes as much as 48km (30 miles). On a daily basis. And Budhia Singh is just three and a half years old.

When Budhia's father died a year ago, his mother, who washes dishes in Bhubaneswar, capital of the eastern Indian state of Orissa, was unable to provide for her four children. She sold Budhia to a man for 800 rupees ($20).

But the young boy came to the attention of Biranchi Das, a judo coach and the secretary of the local judo association. Mr Das said he noticed Budhia's talent when scolding him for being a bully.

"Once, after he had done some mischief, I asked him to keep running till I came back," Mr Das told the BBC. "I got busy in some work. When I came back after five hours, I was stunned to find him still running."

Mr Das, also the president of the residents' association of the run-down area where Budhia used to live, summoned the man who had bought Budhia and paid him his 800 rupees back.

Then started a strict diet and exercise regimen that saw Budhia adding a few kilometres to his daily marathon every few days.

In place of a few lumps of rice that he used to get at his mother's place, he now has a diet of eggs, milk, soybean and meat. He starts running at 0500 each day and does not stop till noon. After a few stretching exercises, he has lunch and goes for a siesta. At 1600 it is time to run again.

Budhia is enjoying his stay at the judo hostel. "I can run and eat to my heart's content here," he says. His speech is not yet easy to understand. Though he has yet to go to school, he has completed learning the alphabet of Oriya, the local language. Budhia's coach has now set his eyes on a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

That, he says, will be possible when he can run for 90km at a stretch. "I have no doubt whatsoever that he will achieve it soon", Mr Das says.

Complete article/Photos at The BBC

Posted at 13:00     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, September 19, 2005 

19,237 hotfoot it to the Bay for fun (Adelaide, SA)

The Sunday Mail City-Bay Fun Run stamped itself as one of Australia's premier road foot races yesterday, but for most competitors it was fun that took first place.

A record number of runners took to the blacktop in the 33rd running of the annual 12km race, the usual costumes and carry-on supplying the humour and community spirit that has made the event great.

A total of 19,237 people, some children in homemade billy carts, a "patient" on a hospital gurney, a bloke in a gorilla suit, a few dogs on an extra-long Sunday walk and even a baby kangaroo in a pram ran, walked or were pushed the 12km, 6km, or 3km race distances.

Especially popular among the costumes this year were superhero suits, although the real superhumans, wearing a mimimum of lycra, took line honours in just over 30 minutes.

Canberra man Martin Dent, 26, won the men's 12km event in 34 minutes, 36 seconds, just two seconds ahead of second-placed Peter Nowill.

"The competition was as tough as it ever has been . . . but there was an awesome amount of people in the race and that really makes it exciting to be in. And there were people along the course, pushing us to run harder."

Commonwealth Games marathon gold medallist Kerryn McCann was the first woman to finish.

"I'm puffing now, but that was a really good race," the 38-year-old mother of two from Coledale, NSW, said after finishing.

The fastest female walker was Claire Woods from SA (58min 23sec) and fastest male, Jared Tallent from NSW. The open men's wheelchair event was won by Richard Coleman (20min 1sec), and the women's by Angela Ballard (22min 47sec).

Recreation and Sport Minister Michael Wright (who finished the 12km race in 53min) declared the day a "fantastic success".

Complete article at The Adelaide Advertiser

Posted at 23:12     [Perma-Link]

Canberra Times Fun Run

When it comes to feet of endurance, capital steps up as a city with sole by MeganD

On a perfect spring day with just enough breeze to make it comfortable, more than 3700 people enjoyed the competition and community spirit of the 30th annual Canberra Times Fun Run and Walk yesterday.
Lyneham engineer Anthony Haber, 27, won the 10km fun run in 29 minutes and 41 seconds, just 40 seconds slower than the race record, set by the great Robert de Castella in 1990.

The first woman across the finish line in Commonwealth Park was former triathlon world champion Jackie Fairweather, 37, of Macquarie, who finished in 33min 37sec.

It was third time lucky for Haber, who had finished fourth last year and scraped into the top 10 the previous year.

"It's probably the most enjoyable and exciting event on the local calendar. I love it," he said.


Fairweather, who is head triathlon coach at the Australian Institute of Sport, was also full of praise for the event. Her husband, Simon, who won a gold medal in archery at the Sydney Olympics, also took part in the run

"It was just awesome to be part of it. It was a great community atmosphere. I had people cheering me the whole way," she said.

The camaraderie of facing the hard slog together was evident as spirits remained high among the 2400 runners and 1300 walkers who raised $55,792 for the National Heart Foundation (ACT).

The Canberra Times promotions manager Ann Gibbs-Jordan said more than 200 volunteers from the Lions Clubs of Canberra, Erindale Scouts and Cubs, Woden Harriers Athletics Club, Heart Foundation, St John's Ambulance, Sri Chinmoy and the newspaper's staff combined to make the event a huge success.

"I think it's a fabulous effort from the community and we thank everyone for their involvement," she said.

And it wasn't all serious, of course. There were families of bumble bees and KISS fans, a kilted Braveheart fan, an alien, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and a clown on a unicycle among the hard-core runners.

The participants ranged from 86-year-old Max Lee, of Lyneham, who finished his fourth fun run in 91 minutes, to five-month-old Grace Campbell, of Michelago, who happily snoozed in a pram pushed alternatively by mum Heidi or grandfather Garry Williams of Chisholm.

"I like seeing Canberra come out as a community," Mrs Campbell said.

"The fun run really kickstarts spring and gets you motivated."

Mr Lee, a retired naval officer and former accountant, was sipping pineapple juice along the way, insisting he was "86-years-young".

"The fun run is a marvellous incentive to keep fit throughout the year and I've been doing them for more than 20 years," he said.

Former Olympic swimmer Sarah Ryan fired the starting gun at the race beginning on Yamba Drive in Phillip. The runners and walkers then made for a spectacular sight as they headed down Adelaide Avenue, past Parliament House and down Kings Avenue into the park.

There were words of encouragement along the way, including from five-year-old Georgia Lyness, of Hughes, who stood on an Adelaide Avenue overpass and yelled: "Go Mummy! Go!" to her mother Belinda Fry running down below.

It was another day of Canberra proving it does have a soul - and lots of soles too.

Complete article at The Canberra Times

Posted at 20:16     [Perma-Link]

Gold Coast to make Commonwealth Games bid

The Mayor of the Gold Coast wants the city to host the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Ron Clarke says he will raise the issue with the Commonwealth Games Association of Australia during the 2006 games in Melbourne.

Councillor Clarke says the Gold Coast's nomination would have to be lodged within the next couple of years.

"I think the Gold Coast is the perfect place to host a games of that size, we're not big enough to host an Olympics of course but the Commonwealth Games, I think we could do as good a job as what Brisbane did in 1982," he said.

Sourced from the ABC

Posted at 20:02     [Perma-Link]

Craig Mottram Interview

By Simon Turnbull in Newcastle
Published: 18 September 2005

The organisers of the Bupa Great North Run have arranged for Paul Collingwood to be at the start line in Newcastle this morning, waving a replica of the Ashes at the 50,000 participants in the half-marathon race. It was probably just as well that the little urn was absent from Newcastle Quayside yesterday for the international mile and 3km races staged as an hors-d'oeuvre to the main event of Great North Run weekend on Tyneside. The star attraction, running in the British Telecom men's 3km, was an Australian.

"No, it's not the best of weeks to be an Australian in England," Craig Mottram, one-time leg-spinner in the Geelong Grammar School first XI, conceded. "I do have a British passport, though," he added, with a twinkle in his eye.

Mottram's Scottish mother, Dorothy, was pregnant with him when his parents emigrated to Australia from London in 1980. His father, Brian, is a Londoner who played centre-half for Wimbledon in their Southern League days. Mottram himself owns a house at Hampton Wick and spends seven months a year using London as his training base during the European track season. The major breakthrough he made at the World Championships in Helsinki last month was largely conceived in the parks and on the tracks of England's capital.

It will be as an Aussie sporting hero, though, that he will return home to Melbourne next month, as the big hope for glory in the Commonwealth Games at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in March.

In the stadium where Don Bradman stood up to the English bodyliners in 1932, "Buster" (to give Mottram the nickname he has inherited from the British tennis player of the early 1980s) will be hoping to maintain the ground-breaking progress he has made of late. By the banks of the Tyne yesterday, he could not match the speed endurance of Eliud Kipchoge, the Kenyan finishing just two seconds shy of the world-best time for 3km on the roads in 7min 50.9sec, with Boniface Kiprop of Uganda second in 7:53.1 and Mottram third in 7:54.3.

When it came to the race for the 5,000m medals in the home straight in Helsinki last month, though, Mottram beat Kipchoge to the bronze. It was the first World Championship medal won by a non-African runner in the men's 5,000m or 10,000m since 1987, the year England last gained the Ashes.

Dieter Baumann did win the Olympic 5,000m title in Barce-lona in 1992, but Mottram does not take kindly to being mentioned in the same breath as the German who tested positive for nandrolone in 1991, claiming his toothpaste had been spiked. "I don't like being compared to a cheat, because I don't cheat," he said.

"I work hard, extremely hard, and it's frustrating to me that people think you can't do it without cheating. It hurts, because if you came and spent a week with me and saw how hard we train you'd understand. It's just through being committed and training hard."

Mottram's dogged work ethic, allied to a burgeoning self-belief, has made him the fastest non-African 5,000m runner who has not infringed the doping rules. He has covered the distance in 12min 55.76sec and in the past two years has run Kenenisa Bekele and Haile Gebrselassie a close second in the London Grand Prix meeting at Crystal Palace. He has also relieved the great John Walker of his Oceania record for the mile, clocking 3min 48.98sec in Oslo in July.

At 25, the former Australian junior triathlon champion has time on his side, too, in his crusade against the perceived invincibility of African distance runners. "I can only lead by example," he said. "It's one thing talking about beating them, but if I can go out there and actually do it then maybe a few more of us - a few Europeans - can be in there fighting for medals."

Mottram has shown that the fight can be fought from London - and without the support the Ethiopians and Kenyans enjoy in their mass training groups of similarly talented individuals. He does much of his training, in Bushy Park, Richmond Park, and alongside the Thames at Hampton Court Palace, paced by a friend - the former Australian marathon runner Gary Henry - on a bicycle.

When he trains on the track at St Mary's College in Twickenham, he is usually accompanied by two women: Sonia O'Sullivan, the Irish Olympic 5,000m silver medallist, and Benita Johnson, the Australian who won the long-course world cross-country title last year. All three are astutely guided by O'Sullivan's partner, Nic Bideau, a former Australian junior international.

"London is just perfect for what we're after," Mottram said. "Everything we need is there."

In Melbourne, right there, virtually outside his front door, is the converted cricket ground in which he will be carrying Australian hopes in March. "Sure, there's going to be a lot of pressure on me," he said. "But I'll have a lot in my favour: big crowd, home town."

The prospect of gold in the 5,000m swung further in his favour when Kipchoge said he was likely to miss the Commonwealth Games to concentrate on the World Indoor Championships. "Good!" Mottram exclaimed, failing to suppress a grin.

Complete article at The Independent

Posted at 00:11     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, September 18, 2005 

Mottram 3rd in UK 3000m

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge broke away early to win the men's 3,000m.

Australia's Craig Mottram, the man who beat him to World 10,000m bronze in Helsinki last month, could not live with the pace and finished third, with Boniface Kiprop in second.

Complete article at The BBC

Results 3,000m:
1 E Kipchoge (Ken) 7:50.9
2 B Kiprop (Uga) 7:53.1
3 C Mottram (Aus) 7:54.3
4 A Goumri (Mor) 8:06.4
5 R García (Sp) 8:09.7
6 M Farah (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow) 8:10.3
7 B Bene (Hun) 8:12.1
8 M Mourhit (Bel) 8:12.7
9 A Gurkin (Rus) 8:18.2
10 J-L Blanco (Sp) 8:27.4
12 M Skinner (Blackheath) 8:29.7
13 J Newsom (Pitreavie) 8:34.9.

Other results from the same meet are here

Posted at 23:52     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, September 17, 2005 

Mottram pre-selected for Commonwealth Games

Craig Mottram has been pre-selected for the 5000 metres at the Commonwealth Games after his bronze medal run in the world championships in Helsinki last month.

World championships medallists were guaranteed selection for Melbourne 2006 under the criteria agreed between Athletics Australia and the Australian Commonwealth Games Association. Mottram, who became the first non-African runner in 18 years to collect a medal in the 5000, was Australia's only medallist. His selection is subject to a performance test of 13 minutes, 38 seconds between December 1 this year and February 5, 2006.

Mottram returns to racing today in a 3000 metres road race at the Great North Run in Gateshead.

Victoria's fastest distance runners race around the Tan tomorrow in the Athletics Victoria Tan Relays. Mottram holds the unofficial lap record of 10:12 around the 3.8-kilometre track in 2003.

Complete article at Athletics Australia

Posted at 14:56     [Perma-Link]

Fairweather runner doing what she loves

Distance runner and AIS triathlon coach Jackie Fairweather will use tomorrow's The Canberra Times Family Fun Run as a way to wind down after a hectic three months overseas.
Fairweather, a former professional triathlete, arrived back from an extended trip to Canada, France and Japan on Wednesday.

"I love to do it, running is for my vanity and my sanity, it keeps me in shape and looking good and clears my mind," Fairweather said.

Since giving away competing in triathlon Fairweather has taken up marathon running, winning the bronze medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Fairweather's husband, Olympic archer Simon Fairweather, will also do the fun run, although slower than his wife.

"There are a lot of people in Canberra who run and it's a big social outlet for me and, of course, doing it with Simon makes it fun as well," Fairweather said. "I'll just do it at my pace, I don't think he'd want me to stick with him out there, he'll keep me in sight as long as he can. He's improving his times too."

Fairweather has already run a qualifying time for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games but her time is the fourth-fastest, meaning to guarantee a spot on the Australian she would have to better her previous best before the end of November.

"Honestly I had been planning to run another marathon in November but after being away for so long, I don't know if I have the time and energy," she said. "It's not fair on triathlon, and I love doing my job. It takes considerable preparation for a marathon, it's really hard for me and I can't afford to be tired or mentally down.

"I'd love nothing more than to get a run in the Commonwealth Games but I can only fit in so much, and my job and my husband are high up on my priority list, so we'll see how it goes."

Dropping down in distance will be no problem for Fairweather, who ran with her triathletes while overseas. She was also recently selected for the World Duathlon Championships but declined.

The Canberra Times Family Fun Run will begin tomorrow from the intersection of Justinian Street and Yamba Drive, Phillip, at 9.45am.

The five kilometre walk will begin from the corner of Hopetoun Circuit and Adelaide Avenue, Yarralumla, at 10.15am. Entries have already closed, however late entries will be accepted for the run from 8am at the Canberra College Woden Campus in Phillip.

Late walk entries will be accepted from 8.30am at the start point of the walk. The late entry fee for the run will be $25 for an individual and $45 for a family. For the walk it will be $18 for an individual and $30 for a family. More than 3300 people have already entered, with all entry fees going to the Heart Foundation.

Complete article at The Canberra Times

Posted at 14:51     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, September 16, 2005 

Mottram takes on Africans again

Australian Craig Mottram, currently the world's best non-African distance runner, bids to enhance his fast growing reputation in the British Telecom 3,000 metres road race on Saturday.

Mottram won bronze over 5,000m at the World Championships in Helsinki behind Kenya's Benjamin Limo and Ethiopian Sileshi Sihine.

His performance made him the first non-African born athlete to win a championship medal since Britain's European champion Jack Buckner also finished third 18 years ago in Rome.

The run came during a purple patch which also saw him lower his Oceanic 5,000m record to 12minutes 56.13seconds and smash the legendary John Walker's area record with a mile time of 3min 48.98sec.

Now Mottram, who is based in west London during the track season, plans adding to his laurels against Eliud Kipchoge - the 2003 world 5,000m champion - and Boniface Kiprop at the Gateshead and Newcastle quayside venue.

"There'll be lots of rivalry between him and Kipchoge because he just edged the Kenyan for the bronze medal in Helsinki by less than a stride," said Matthew Turnbull, the meeting's elite athletes director.

"But I'm certain Kiprop will keep the pair on their toes."

The Ugandan teenager finished runner-up in last weekend's World Athletics Final in Monaco over 5,000m and said: "My performance was fantastic.

"I was planning to run a fast race so I could break people, because all of them just wanted to run slow and sprint over the last lap."

Complete article at the Sporting Life

Posted at 08:24     [Perma-Link]

World Mountain Running Championship Preview

The World Mountain Running Championship are being held on Sunday 25 September in Wellington, New Zealand and you can watch a live broadcast of the men’s and women’s races at 11am and 1pm respectively Australian eastern standard time on the following web-site.

www.wmrt2005.org

PREVIEW

World long distance mountain running champion Emma Murray of Canberra, who will have race number 1, heads a strong in-form Australian team for the World Mountain Running Championships in Wellington, New Zealand on Sunday 25 September. Wollongong’s Ben du Bois, ranked 7th after 5 races in the World Mountain Running Association Grand Prix Series, with a best placing of second, goes to Wellington as one of the medal contenders. And youngster Ben Guest of Kincumber on the NSW Central Coast will be very competitive in the World Junior Men’s 9kms after an outstanding win in the Australian Under 18 Cross Country Championships.

Murray had a commanding 18-minute victory in the 42km long distance championship in France on 24 July and continued her outstanding form in August with a record-breaking win in the Mt Wilson to Bilpin Run followed by a near record run in the Mt Ainslie Run Up on 6th September. Australian mountain running champion Vivian Pott of Brisbane has also been in good form, with a personal best in the Bridge to Brisbane Fun Run and victory in the Pyramid mountain race at Cairns. 2004 champion and former Australian junior steeplechase champion Marnie Ponton should also find the Wellington course to her liking.

In addition to Ben du Bois, the men’s team features a strong line up. Scott McTaggart, the Australian mountain running champion of Canberra and Barry Keem of Wollongong were the 4th and 6th finishers in Sydney’s City to Surf race, former national champion David Osmond of Canberra finished 6th in the World 24 Hour Mountain Biking Championship in Canada on 3rd September, Albury’s Kevin Laws was only a minute behind the winner in the Sydney Half Marathon, and 2004 Australian junior champion Stephen Brown finished 6th in the New Zealand Mountain Running Championship.

Posted at 08:09     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, September 15, 2005 

Athletics Australia - High Perfomance News (Sept 2005)

Articles include:

  • 2006 WORLD INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
  • CHIBA EKIDEN
  • COMMONWEALTH GAMES SELECTION AVAILABILITY
  • SINGAPORE MARATHON
  • RULE CHANGES – U20 MENS 110m HURDLES
  • 2006 INTERNATIONAL CALENDAR DETAILS
  • COMMONWEALTH GAMES FAMILY TICKETS
  • AUSTRALIAN’S IN THE COMMONWEALTH RANKINGS
  • HIGH PERFORMANCE INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON THE ATHLETICS AUSTRALIA WEBSITE

Complete article at Aths Aust

Posted at 08:32     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, September 13, 2005 

Phil O'Hearn Memorial Run & Breakfast

Phil O'Hearn died last year on October 3rd. He was an avid Kembla Jogger and put all his energies into running, cycling (road and bush), swimming and bush walking. He died at the wrong age (48), totally unexpectedly.

To remember him a group of Kembla Joggers are meeting at "Kingsbury VC" Rest Area, off the Hume Highway on Sunday 2 October, at 8 am. The Kingsbury VC rest area is 27km from Mittagong or 35km from Marulan on the left hand side of the Hume highway going south. If you come up from Wollongong and go through Moss Vale then Sutton Forest to the highway then it is the first rest area after you get on the Hume approx 5km from the crossroads.

They are inviting all who knew him to come and walk or run, or ride, in the lovely Penrose Forest. For those who don't know the area, there are well-defined tracks, toilets, and tables and in addition maps will be available. Bring the kids.
Afterwards - 10 to 10.30 am we will have a late breakfast at the Berrima Bakery (Wingecarribee Street, Berrima), one of Phil's (many) favourite cafes. If you can't make Penrose Forest, then please still come to the Bakery for breakfast.

Could you let us know if you are coming, by phoning either Rita Mein on (02) 4861-3715 or Max Powditch on (02) 4883-6586.

Posted at 08:34     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, September 12, 2005 

Maratin blows rivals away at Sydney Marathon

Julius Maratin, an occasional training partner of Kenya's former marathon world record holder Paul Tergat, ran away with the Sydney Marathon yesterday morning.

In his fourth marathon and first victory, Maratin's time of 2hr 21min 47sec was excellent in windy and warming conditions that hurt his opponents including two-time defending champion, Tanzania's Oswald Revelian who finished second in 2:26:21.

New Zealander Seaten Meredith (2:26:27) was a close third with Olympian Shaun Creighton the first Australian home in fourth in a time of 2:28:25, well clear of the first NSW runner, Bronte's Martin Considine (2:34:08).

Maratin, 26, who applied to enter yesterday's race and paid his own airfare from Nairobi, recouped $5000 in prizemoney.

But he said: "The title was the most important thing and now I hope I will receive an invitation to other races."

Briton Ruth Kingston, sister of 1987 world championship 5000m medallist Jack Buckner – the last white athlete to win a 5000m medal before Australia's Craig Mottram last month in Helsinki – won yesterday's women's marathon in 2:54:04 from Sydney mother-of-three Liz Miller (2:56:29).

Complete article at The Daily Telegraph

Posted at 08:13     [Perma-Link]

Aussie double at world triathlon champs

Emma Snowsill regained the women's title she won two years ago while Peter Robertson won back the men's title to record an Australian double at the world triathlon championships in Japan on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Snowsill broke away from a five-women front group early on the first lap of the final 10-kilometre running section and steadily outpaced the chasing pack to clock one hour 58 minutes and three seconds.

Annabel Luxford, last year's world under-23 champion, made it an Australian one-two finish with a time of 1:59:42 to take the silver medal.

America's 2003 world silver medallist Laura Bennett came in third in 1:59:55.

Snowsill, Luxford and Bennett were all in the front group who took the lead ahead of a large pack in the opening 1.5km swimming section.

The American women performed badly, with defending champion Sheila Taormina coming in 12th while Athens Olympic bronze medallist Susan Williams finished in a lowly 27th place.

Robertson, also the world silver medallist in 2002 and 2000, claimed a record third world title, following his victories in Queenstown in 2003 and Edmonton in 2001.

After the 40km bike section Robertson took a narrow lead at the start of the running section and was able to hold off the chasing pack to cross the finishing line in 1:49:32.

Reto Hug of Switzerland came in second in 1:49:36, followed by Brad Kahlefeldt of Australia in 1:49:44.

Earlier in the day, Steve Dulinsky of the United States coasted to a comfortable 25-second victory to win the junior men's gold medal in 55:08.

Complete article at The ABC

Posted at 07:04     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, September 11, 2005 

Kingston wins Sydney marathon for NZ

New Zealand's Ruth Kingston won the Sydney women's marathon today, while Seaton Meredith, also from Auckland, was third in the men's event.

Kingston was just outside her personal best in recording two hours 54 minutes four seconds as she crossed the finishing line at the Sydney Opera House after a gruelling 42.2km.

Sydney's Liz Miller was second, while Wellingtonian Sally Anderson was third.

Meredith, who last month won the Auckland road championships for the third year in a row, was edged out of second in the men's event by last year's winner Oswald Revelian from Tanzania.

The margin between them was six seconds.

The race was won by 25-year-old Kenyan Julius Maritim, who won in 2hr 21min 47sec. Meredith's time was 2hr 26min 27sec.

Complete article at Stuff NZ

Posted at 19:31     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, September 10, 2005 

Endurance Athletes Seminar Series - Spet 13th - Wollongong NSW

Tuesday September 13th @ 7pm at Wiseman's Park Bowling Club

Susie Burrell: Sports Dietitian & Matt McEwan : Sports Physiotherapist

Susie and Matt have extensive experience working with both amateur and elite runners and triathletes and have been involved together presenting education seminars for sporting groups for the past twelve months. In this interactive seminar, Susie and Matt will outline key nutrition and injury prevention strategies to help athetes get the most out of their bodies for both training and competition. Tony from Endura Sports Nutrition will also be attending to give an update on Endura's new range of sports nutrition supplements.

Numbers are limited, so please RSVP to steven.newman@iinet.net.au to ensure your spot.

Matt McEwan is an APA Sports Physiotherapist. His areas of clinical expertise include overuse injuries of the lower limbs, cycling and triathlon injuries and back and pelvis injuries. He has completed a Masters Degree in Sports Physio, Sports Physio Australia Level 1, 2 and 3 courses and travelled nationally and internationally with sporting teams. His knowledge of the unique characteristics of sporting injuries will help you get back on the field more quickly. Susie Burrell is a sport dietitian and has worked specifically with runners and triathletes for the past five years.

Susie has Honours degrees in both nutrition and psychology from Wollongong University and is the Consultant Sports Dietitian to our local St George Illawarra Dragons and Wollongong Hawks basketball teams.

Posted at 14:37     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, September 09, 2005 

Runner Aguta makes it to Sydney Marathon at last

Lameck Aguta is certainly not a household name, but the Kenyan marathon runner was on the way to becoming one when a frightening mishap almost ended his career.

The story of Aguta's comeback from a three month coma to be among the favourites for the Sydney Marathon race on Sunday is extraordinary enough.

But the circumstances that resulted in his injuries are even more amazing. After achieving his dream of winning the famous Boston Marathon in 1997, Aguta headed home to his family in Kenya. Carrying $US10,000 ($A13,140) in cash, part of his Boston prize money, he was involved in a car accident outside Nairobi.

"The people [who] came to rescue us, they realised I had some cash so they were taking some cash and I told them: you came to help us, not to take our money out," Aguta explained. "So they said, 'let's kick him and we'll take that money'. They kicked me so I was in a coma."

The amazing part is that Aguta's assailants were the local police. At the top of his sport, Aguta's career was suddenly halted.

"I achieved my dream and I was very famous and I was very OK to be a champion," he said. "My career stopped... My dream was cut by the accident."

Aguta had aimed to take the next step, an Olympic medal, in Sydney but was unable to recover in time.

He says he's glad to have finally made it to a race in the harbour city.

"It was my dream to come to Sydney and I've come now to fulfil my dream," he said.

And it may work out that way with Aguta does win a race in Sydney as he will start as one of five favourites on Sunday.

Tanzania's Oswald Revelian is back shooting for a hat-trick of wins in the race, while Japan's Yukinobu Yamamoto and another Kenyan, Julius Maritim, are also likely to be among the leaders.

The local charge will be led by Australian 10,000 metre record holder Shaun Creighton. The 38-year-old, in possibly his last race, is hoping to go one better than his previous best marathon finish, at Houston in 1997.

"Second's my best place in a marathon so I'm hoping, as I get into the twilight of my career, to be able to finish up with a win, he said."

Aguta's new dream is to represent Kenya at the next Olympic Games. The 33-year-old, who now resides in the US, is already in training.

"I'm training to go to Beijing in 2008, that's my dream," he said. "I wish one day to be champion and to achieve that goal in sports is something very good."

Complete article at Ninemsn

Posted at 16:37     [Perma-Link]

Action on Warrnambool athletics plan

The first steps towards setting up a new athletics program will be taken in Warrnambool next week.

Warrnambool Athletics Club committeeman John Keats said a meeting would be held to organise a subcommittee next Tuesday at the Lake Pertobe track.

He said it was planned to run a summer track and field program aimed at encouraging Little Athletics members to stay in the sport and providing a summer program for anyone interested in athletics.

Keats, a qualified level one athletics coach, said far too many young people were being lost to athletics in Warrnambool because of structural deficiencies.

He said the subcommittee would be set up under the umbrella of WAC, which was affiliated with Athletics Victoria, allowing Warrnambool members to compete in Melbourne or Geelong.

Keats said tentative plans were to hold three meetings before Christmas, three after the holiday break and club championships. ``We want to target kids leaving little aths and adults who want to become involved or stay involved in track and field athletics,'' he said.

``It's anyone really and we have the full backing of the Warrnambool Athletics Club. This is a pathway program that has been lacking in Warrnambool and we want to cater for as many events and competitors as possible.''

Keats said Warrnambool had been lacking an organised track and field program for the better part of 20 years, which left the slack to be picked up by schools and Little Athletics.

"I've spoken to past members and people who have done track and field and they are keen to become involved but we want to try and attract as many people as possible," he said. "There are quite a lot of masters competitors in Warrnambool who don't have a club so there are a lot of excellent reasons this program could be successful."

The coach said he had spoken to Mount Gambier Athletics Club officials and they were keen to enter into a reciprocal competition agreement.

Complete article at the Warrnambool Standard

Posted at 08:32     [Perma-Link]

Melbourne Athletes prepare for University Half-Marathon

University Athletics Club will cap another successful cross-country season tomorrow when it hosts the annual half-marathon on the Epsom course.
Athletes from a wide range of ages and abilities will compete on the course, which starts on Golf Links Road, adjacent to Bendigo Golf Club, at 2 pm.

A big afternoon of racing will include the 21 km half-marathon, plus a 14 km or 7 km race. Racing will start at 2 pm, while a 1 km event for all ages starts at 2.05 pm. A 3 km race for all ages begins at 2.15 pm.

University club spokesman and competitor, Frances Walsh said the half-marathon had been on University's racing calendar for more than 10 years and continued to draw many competitors.

"Hopefully, the weather will be kind, and we will have another great turnout," Walsh said of tomorrow's racing. The races will be run on a 7 km circuit.

"Competitor numbers at a lot of club invitations have been up this season, which is great for athletics, and for cross-country running," Walsh said.

For several competitors, tomorrow's half-marathon will be an important lead-up to the Melbourne Marathon.The University Athletics Club members aiming to contest the Melbourne Marathon include Jenny and Alan Buchanan, Maria Slater, Leon Hammond and John Brewin.

For tomorrow's racing, athletes are to register by 1.45 pm. Entry fee is $3 adults, $2 under-18.

Complete article at The Bendigo Advertiser

Posted at 08:16     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, September 08, 2005 

Fans eye Commonwealth Games ticket windfall

Victorians could win access to thousands of prime Commonwealth Games tickets unwanted by interstate and overseas sports fans.

Almost 180,000 tickets have been set aside for travel packages, but only 44,000 have been sold.
With little more than six months to the opening ceremony, sales seem certain to fall short of targets.

Pressure is on organisers to return all travel tickets to general sales, particularly for sell-out events such as swimming, gymnastics, diving and track cycling.

In a statement, Games CEO John Harnden ruled out siphoning seats off to corporate sales. High-priced corporate packages are to be released this month.

Despite 25 per cent sales taking 10 months to achieve and more than 130,000 tickets left, Mr Harnden predicted that there would not be a large number of tickets to be returned to general sales.

The success rate for travel packages pales against ballot sales of 64 per cent. Just under 800,000 of 1.25 million public tickets were allocated after the ballot book was distributed in News Limited newspapers. The Melbourne 2006 organising committee said 90,000 tickets had been set aside for international travel packages.

Overseas travel agents had so far requested 30,000 of those tickets. Confirmed sales were about 20,000. Melbourne 2006 said 24,000 tickets have been sold in Australia through travel packages. In July, organisers relaxed conditions on travel packages in an effort to give sales a shot.

The travel figures cast doubt on official projections that the Games will attract 90,000 visitors from Australia and overseas.

Complete article at The Herald Sun

Posted at 11:15     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, September 06, 2005 

MCG Commonwealth Games Running Track Poser

Commonwealth Games Minister Justin Madden faces a million-dollar choice that will determine how long football fans will be locked out of the MCG next year.

Essendon and Collingwood could yet play the Anzac Day blockbuster at the spiritual home of football in round four.
But it could also be round seven or beyond before the AFL gets back on the 'G after the Commonwealth Games.

At the centre of the quandary is a $20 million synthetic athletics track that will be laid for the Commonwealth Games. The cheap option for the Bracks Government after the March 26 closing ceremony is to dig the track up and dump it.

But Victorian athletics bosses are imploring Mr Madden to order it to be carefully pulled up in sections. They want the Government to re-lay the Italian-made surface in the suburbs, perhaps at Box Hill or Moonee Ponds. Geelong and other athletics club also want the precious synthetic.

"The track must be re-laid, as a legacy for the sport," Athletics Victoria chief executive Nick Honey said. "To dice it up after it's been run on for a couple of weeks doesn't make sense. It would be a travesty."

Painstaking removal would put the MCG off-limits until round seven, as was the original plan.

The big issue for the Government is that it must pay compensation to the AFL for each week that the 'G is out of play because of Commonwealth Games works. The compensation runs to millions of dollars.

Complete article at The Herald Sun

Posted at 14:11     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, September 02, 2005 

Tanked jogger's take-off aborted

by Steve Butcher

BY THE time Adrian Joseph Mercuri got to the main east-west runway at Melbourne International Airport, he'd already cleared himself for take-off.

Conditions were ideal. The weather was fine, visibility was good and cloud cover — or any cover — was minimal.

Fully tanked, Mercuri had jettisoned all luggage except his running shoes, watch and heart-rate monitor.

Naked, without waiting for clearance and swaying gently in the warm summer breeze at the eastern end of the 2286-metre runway 27, Mercuri began to move.

But so did members of airport security, who had earlier been bemused to find clothing on the runway...

He later told police it would be a "better story to tell" if on his late-night jog he stripped and ran on the runway.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 08:36     [Perma-Link]

How NZ Elite team fared at Sydney Oxfam Trailwalker

Masterton endurance athlete Graeme Butcher was part of the Oxfam Trailwalker New Zealand team which finished a close fifth in the Oxfam Sydney Trailwalk100km event raced in Sydney last Friday. They clocked in at 13hr 1min, chasing home ACT Mountain Running Association (11hr 59min), Sunhing Cosmo Boys from Hong Kong (12hr 17min), Sydney Striders (12hr 41min) and Steam Sports (12hr 54min).All told 430 teams started and 413 finished.

The event, which required all four team members to complete the course together, started in the Hunter Hills and followed the many bush tracks and Great Northern Walkway through to Ku-ring-gai National Park and back to French's Forest.

Butcher was joined in the New Zealand squad by Jack Koenen of Auckland, David Keen of Christchurch and Al Cross of Wellington and they had just two days to sort out race strategies and try to get an understanding of a course which most of the Sydney teams had the advantage of knowing well.

Managing the New Zealanders was former world-class endurance runner Sandy Barwick, and also present were five Oxfam staff from this country who were there to learn the processes of a major event in preparation for their own 100km trail walk race, to be held at Taupo in April 2006.Several Sydney teams and at least one Hong Kong team are expected to be part of the entry there.

Butcher described the Sydney course as "very tough" with many twists, turns, hills and rock faces. Teams needed to follow markers placed every 100m to 200m to stay on course, and if a marker was missed it was easy to get lost and be forced to back track……not a happy prospect in such an arduous race.

The New Zealand team started well and followed the ACT side into the first checkpoint.

"We decided they knew the course well so it was easier to follow them rather than try and take the lead at that stage," Butcher said.

By the end of the second stage, however, the New Zealand team were in front, with the ruggedness of the terrain testing all competitors.

So rugged was it, in fact, that one runner from another team broke an ankle within the first few kilometres and Butcher himself rolled both his ankles before the 20km mark and was down to a hobble for a short period, "They were anxious moments, I can tell you," he said. "When you have to finish you don't need that sort of thing."

The start of stage three saw Butcher change shoes to avoid slipping and he was not the only New Zealand runner experiencing difficulties. Koenen had a big cut in his head from running into overhanging rocks.

The NZers reached the 49km mark in over six hours, were one of six teams on race record pace, and within 5mins of each other at the halfway point.

Butcher said the tactics of the New Zealand team at this stage revolved around concentrating on their own performance, and not getting sucked into pushing the pace when they weren't ready to do so.

"We were always aware that we all had to finish, and we had to develop our tactics accordingly," he said.

Having said that, all the New Zealand side went through bad patches and unfortunately, they happened at different times.

Butcher spent about 10km during the middle of the race feeling very uncomfortable, while Keen's rough patch persisted for the last quarter of the event. He vomited severely during the last leg and the team had to nurse him home over the last couple of kilometres.

"When that happened stage time and placing became rather irrelevant, the whole concentration was on helping him (Keen) to the finish," Butcher said. "It was his first 100km race and he showed tremendous courage to make it to the end."

So spent was Keen that he kept vomiting after finishing, and was eventually taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with acute renal failure and was hospitalised for a night.

Butcher said the final 10km also posed additional problems as the sun had gone down, and the runners found it difficult to find the markers pointing the way through the bush and hills. The last 10km took almost two hours to complete.

There was satisfaction in the New Zealand camp at their finishing time and placing, and they were the subject of much attention from the Australian news media who were impressed by their efforts.

Butcher is optimistic their performance will encourage many other New Zealand runners and walkers to try their luck at the Taupo event next year.

"I would love to take a Masterton team there………we have quite a few athletes who could manage it ok with the right preparation," he said.

For Butcher, it will now be a case of hanging up his running shoes for a brief period, before building up for the New Zealand ultra marathon championships in February 2006 – Taupo being the venue for that event as well.

Complete article at the Wairarapa Times Age (NZ)

Posted at 08:04     [Perma-Link]


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