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 Monday, October 31, 2005 

Brichacek sets U16 Australian record for 3000m

Canberra's Emily Brichacek has avoided the spotlight for four years, but after breaking the Australian under-16 record for the 3000m on Saturday night, she has become the centre of attention.
After recording 9min 08.93sec at a low-key interclub meet at the Australian Institute of Sport, Brichacek, 15, had to be assisted off the track by coach Ted McLean.

The previous record, 9:22, stood for almost 17 years and mum Jenny stood nervously at the finish line along with McLean, who kept check of the lap splits.

As Brichacek crossed the line for the final time, the combination of physical exhaustion, toxic by-products pumping through the legs and four years of focused training were realised.

There are rarely positive implications when an athlete is sprawled across the track but when Brichacek collapsed after her effort, it was with good reason. She was now an Australian record holder.

"I though he [the announcer] was saying 9:18, and then someone said 9:08 and I thought, 'oh my god, I didn't think I could do that'. I knew that there was a good time in me, but I didn't think that quick.

"Five minutes after, I feel like I haven't run."

The athlete from the Weston Creek Athletics Club said the initial feeling was exhaustion before the euphoria of her achievements sank in.

"My legs just give way and I just want to sit down," she said after her race. "Then I get up and hear my time, and, cooling down, it was pretty amazing. Tomorrow I'll probably be sore."

The performance now ranks Brichacek among the fastest junior middle-distance runners in the world in a time that would have placed her third behind two Kenyans in this year's under-18 world youth championship.

But even more impressive than the record time was the fact she had to do it all on her own, running out in front of a women's only field, under lights and on a wet track. The nearest female competitor was nearly a minute back in second place.

Complete article at The Canberra Times

Posted at 13:32     [Perma-Link]

US runner smashes Portland Three Bays Marathon record

He may be from Portland, Oregon, but American Scott Nicholas made Portland, Victoria his home yesterday when he blitzed the field in the Three Bays Marathon.

Nicholas smashed the 20-year-old time standard when he cut six minutes off the course record to win the marathon in two hours 24.35 minutes, more than half-an-hour ahead runner-up, last year's winner Geoff Moulday (2.54.41).

Nicholas won by so far that race organisers had a hard job getting back to the finish line in time after starting the half-marathon.

"Scott was in a class of his own," Portland Runners' Club president Peter Reefman said. "It was a race in itself just getting back in time to see him cross the line that's never happened before. He is that close to being a professional runner it's not funny. Just the way he prepares is amazing. He made a terrific speech after the race about events like this being the lifeblood of the sport and he said he would do his best to come back next year." The women's event was won by race veteran, Melbourne's Robyn Neilson who won in the 3.56.39.

A field of 45 took to the marathon while more than 100 competitors, made up of runners and walkers, were in the half-marathon.

The half-marathon had a local flavour with Portland's Justin bell winning in 1.26.18. Mount Gambier's Karen Chambers took out the female section in 1.35.31.

Reefman said this year that there had been a notable increase in Warrnambool competitors runners along with many school groups that entered teams in the relay event.

Complete article at the Warrnambool Standard

Posted at 13:07     [Perma-Link]

Mottram signs on for Games

by Sarah Bieske

GEELONG middle distance star Craig Mottram heads the list of local athletes who have applied for selection in Australia's track and field team for next year's Commonwealth Games.

Joining the World Championship bronze medallist competing for a spot in the side are golden girl Georgie Clarke, Olympic bronze medallist Nathan Deakes, marathon man Lee Troop and runners Richard Jeremiah, Mark Tucker and Louis Rowan.

Applications for selection close on Monday.

Clarke, who made headlines when she ran at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 as a 16-year-old, said lining up on the MCG track in March was her sole focus.

She missed out on a place in Australia's athletics team for the Athens Games last year.

Complete article at the Geelong Advertiser

Posted at 09:13     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, October 30, 2005 

Women's steeplechase added to the Olympics

The women's 3000 metres steeplechase has been added to the track-and-field program for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

The Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games could provide a look at the first Olympic gold medallist. Dorcus Inzikuru of Uganda won the gold medal at the world championships in Helsinki earlier this year and will be one of the favourites both in Melbourne and Beijing.

Inzikuru, 23, is a former world junior champion at 5000 metres. She has the same coach as men's world record-holder Saif Saaeed Shaheen, the former Kenyan now representing Qatar. She has trained with him at times. "Sometimes I train with (Shaheen) in Iten," Inzikuru said after winning the world championships steeple. "It is high in the Rift Valley, while Uganda is low altitude, and not good for long-distance training."

Four other Commonwealth athletes made the top eight in the Helsinki final, with Kenya's Jeruto Kiptum taking the bronze medal. But one of biggest challenges may come from an Australian who did not even run in the world championships.

Victoria Mitchell, from Tolmie, near Mansfield, is on a sports scholarship at Butler University in the American state of Indiana. Mitchell won the US national collegiate title in the steeple this year, then went on to take silver at the World University Games in nine minutes 47.54 seconds.

Mitchell is running in the National Collegiate Athletic Association cross-country championships next month, then returning to Australia to aim for the Commonwealth Games.

Melissa Rollison holds the Australian record at 9:30.70, a world junior record set in winning at the 2001 Goodwill Games in Brisbane. Injuries have held her back since, but she may be enticed back by the thought of a home Games.


World & Commonwealth record 9:15.04 Dorcus Inzikuru (Uganda)
Australian record 9:30.70 Melissa Rollison
World championships 2005 9:18.24 Dorcus Inzikuru (Uganda)
Best Commonwealth performers 2005 9:15.04 Inzikuru
9:26.95 Jeruto Kiptum (Kenya)
9:27.21 Mardrea Hyman (Jamaica)
9:30.12 Korene Hinds (Jamaica)
9:45.7 Jackline Chemwok Rionoropo (Kenya)
9:47.54 Victoria Mitchell (Australia)
9:01.59 Gulnara Samitova (Russia)

Complete article at The Age

More on Women's Steeplechase at Athletics Australia

Posted at 13:19     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, October 29, 2005 

40km of free wheeling on new Sydney Cycleway

A new 40km stretch of road without a single traffic light, linking growing business centres with residential areas, and not a single toll to pay. Sounds too good to be true in Sydney in 2005. And it is – if you drive a car.

But for people with a bicycle and a working pair of lungs, Western Sydney is about to become the jewel of the two-wheel scene, with the opening of a cycle path that follows the route of the soon-to-open Westlink M7.

While the $1.5 billion privately-owned toll road has the dubious honour of following the Cross City Tunnel into operation, the cycle track is keenly awaited by the pedalling fraternity.

The path from Prestons in the southwest to Baulkham Hills in the north, which is due to open by Christmas, will allow some residents to leave the car at home and commute to work at a number of business parks like Norwest and Eastern Creek from areas around Blacktown, Quakers Hill, Glendenning and Rooty Hill.

The lure of a 40km track, with its own bridges to avoid highways and suburban streets, will also be huge for weekend riders according to Bicycle NSW chief executive Alex Unwin.

The southern half of the path winds through more sparsely-populated areas like Horsley Park and Cecil Park. "Many cycle paths and bike lanes are interrupted in sections and involve the danger of cars," Mr Unwin said. "While we would like to see links to some other cycleways along the route, the path is a fantastic development.'

The cycleway was funded by Transurban following contract negotiations to build the dual carriageway toll road – currently the largest urban infrastructure project in Australia.

The path will be the envy of Clover Moore and some sections of the Sydney City Council, who are currently planning to expand bicycle lanes and discourage cars in the city centre. The cycleway will also be available to pedestrians, including runners.

Transurban recently pledged its support to reviving the Cities Marathon, using large tracts of the path.

Complete article at The Daily Telegraph

Posted at 09:02     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, October 28, 2005 

Record time looms for Portland 3 Bays Marathon

This year's Portland 3 Bays Marathon is shaping up as being the best in the history of the race, with the 2.40 barrier almost certain to be smashed.

Already confirmed for Sunday's race are previous winners Jeff Moulday, Jeremy Cox and Calvin Marhall, but the big news is the inclusion of Portland runner Scott Nicholas. If you are wondering why that name does not ring a bill it is probably because Nicholas is from Portland, Oregon, and is one of America's elite marathon runners.

With the average winning time in past 3 Bays Marathons around two hours and 40 minutes (2.40), Nicholas is expected to blitz the field, having run times more than 20 minutes faster than that in the past.

In the 2004 USA Olympic team trials Nicholas recorded the superb time of 2.18.13, about six minutes outside of a place on the Olympic team, on a track that was meant to simulate the gruelling Athens course.

Event organiser Peter Reefman said the inclusion of Nicholas ensured that this would be the strongest field in the history of the race.

"With Scott in there you would have to say that it will be the strongest field ever," Reefman said.

Nicholas is expected to be so far ahead of the field there was even talk at one stage of handicapping him to save the volunteers at the drink stations from having to wait the extra time for the runners that followed.

"We talked about that last night and we decided not to, because it would cause some other problems."

Nicholas' more recent results include a third at this year's Great Ocean Road marathon, which puts him in excellent stead for the Portland race.

Reefman said with Jeff Moulday, Jeremy Cox and Calvin Marhall also in the field, the level of competition should be fantastic.

"It should be a ding-dong race. With Jeremy's debut marathon in 2003, which was the one that he won, he did a 2.43 which is pretty amazing. He just rocked up and had no idea. He was blown away by what he did, and now that he has got a couple of years behind him he might come out and surprise us too. I doubt he would beat Scott, but he might come in with a 2.30 something anyway. I know that Jeff is very serious on running his best and improving his times. Last year he did a 2.49 but that was on a very tough day, but he is capable of doing a low 2.40s. Most of the winning times have been around the low 2.40s, so we will have definitely one person who will beat that and maybe two others who should push it as well, so we should have a very fast field."

The only disappointing area of the race at this stage is the lack of female runners, with only one as a possible starter at the time of going to print.

"Last year we did not have any women in the marathon at all. I think at this stage we might have one."

Reefman is expecting a field of around 40 runners for the marathon, with 60 other solo competitors, and 22 relay teams.

Reefman stressed for runners and walkers to remember daylight saving, and to also allow a little extra time than normal to walk from the meeting point.

Complete article at Victoria Spectator Observer Group

Posted at 19:33     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, October 27, 2005 

Sweating on Games selection

World championship medallist Craig Mottram can expect a knock at the door Tuesday if he fails to submit his Commonwealth Games availability form to Athletics Australia.
Less than one week remains for track and field athletes hoping for selection for next year's competition.

But while athletes must indicate their interest to the national body by Monday night, AA media consultant David Culbert said international stars such as Mottram would not be punished for failing to fax in the document.

"You drive up to where he is and get him to sign it," Culbert said.

"It's a very good system in Athletics Australia, you have to state requirements of whereabouts for ASDA and communication between high performance and athletes is constant.

"It's crucial athletes read and understand the selection criteria."

Complete article at The Canberra Times

Posted at 11:36     [Perma-Link]

Victorian Milers club to quicken pace of middle-distancers

An initiative of Victorian coaches and supporters will bear fruit at Box Hill tonight when the Victorian Milers Club stages its first meeting with men's and women's 1500-metres races.

The club hopes eventually to operate along the lines of the hugely successful British Milers Club, which annually conducts races over distances from 800 to 5000 metres. The aim is to produce faster times. Races are paced by rostered club members.

Tonight's races at Box Hill will test potential for a similar club in Victoria, where middle-distance runners are well served by the interclub system, but the aim is to augment this competition with a small number of races aimed at producing faster times.

Several leading middle-distance runners have entered. For most, it will be their first serious race of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games season.

Geelong's Mark Tucker, at three minutes 41.67 seconds, is the fastest entrant. Another Geelong runner, Louis Rowan, has reportedly been in good form, while Glenhuntly's David Ruschena made a significant breakthrough over 5000 metres this year.

Leading women include Libby Allen, Alicia Tye-Smith, Kate Seibold-Crosbie and Simone Braakhuis.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 07:55     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, October 26, 2005 

Long way from lunch for late-bloomer Haber

Lyneham engineer Anthony Haber has a few people to thank for his selection in the prestigious world running event the Chiba Ekiden road relays. Coach Hue Ford plucked Haber out of the office and transformed the lunchtime runner into an elite athlete after watching him compete at an interclub meet three years ago.

Training partner Martin Dent had a few persuasive words to encourage the "novice" to submit his availability form.

And ACT athletics official Gerard Ryan served on the selection panel and pushed for Haber to get his first Australian uniform. But it was Haber who let his feet do the talking, recording a personal best time of 29min41sec when he won last month's The Canberra Times fun run over 10km.

Haber, 27, was named in the 14-member team to contest the race in Japan next month which involves a men's and women's relay over the 42km marathon distance.

With the country's best distance stars chasing Commonwealth Games qualifiers in the domestic season, Athletics Australia decided to send a development team to contest the relays.

Haber only began running competitively three years ago and was amused to join athletes from Victoria, Queensland and NSW, some who are still fresh from racing in the school system.

"In terms of my running age, I'm only three years old," Haber said. "I'm a little surprised to reach that level of elite competition. I can't wait to go."

Haber said he was so excited to learn of the selection that he drafted an e-mail to send to family and friends and was hopeful the message on his return would also be a positive read.

The relay event involves six legs of varying distance from 5km to 10km and draws teams from 13 countries. The team running order had not been finalised but it was expected Haber would line up in the green and gold for one of the longer legs.

"We could go very well or it could be a pretty average or poor performance. Personally I'd like to think I could push down to the low 29s," he said. "I want to keep some consistency but it will come down to my form and how well I'm feeling."

The 700,000 passionate Japanese fans that travel to catch a glimpse of some of the world's best distance runners will be a far cry from the sprinkling of spectators that lined The Canberra Times course.

While Haber's time at that event was hardly a world-beater, coach Ford said that the win had given his charge an indication there were better things to come.

"It's a vote of confidence for him," Ford said

Australia's Chiba Ekiden teams

WOMEN: Kate Seibold (Vic), Kate Smyth (Vic), Billinda Schipp (NSW), Lucinda Chapman (NSW), Rachel Gibney (Vic), Donna McFarlane (Tas), Madeline Heiner (NSW)

MEN: Scott Brittain (Qld), Anthony Haber (ACT), Barry Keem (NSW), Ian Hornabrook (Qld), Chris Reeves (Qld), Liam Adams (Vic), Andrew White (Vic).

Complete article at The Canberra Times

Posted at 18:04     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, October 25, 2005 

Rich people more likely to run

by Michelle Pountney, health reporter
PEOPLE living in Melbourne's poorer suburbs are much less likely to exercise than people in upper-class ones.

Fewer than half the residents in lower socioeconomic areas did enough exercise to maintain good health.
A Melbourne University study of 2349 Melburnians found 60 per cent of those living in upper class neighbourhoods got at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, compared with 54 per cent for middle-class areas and 46 per cent for poorer suburbs.

About 80 per cent of people in the study reported they walked between one and seven times a week.

Walking and jogging were more common among high earners.

People living in the most disadvantaged areas were 30 per cent less likely to jog than those in affluent areas.

Attractive areas, having convenient places to walk close to home, living near the beach, good street lighting, footpaths, access to large open spaces, trees and minimal traffic all helped encourage people to exercise.

Middle-class suburban residents were most likely of the three groups to ride a bike or swim for exercise and high-income earners were most likely to jog.

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 11:09     [Perma-Link]

ASICS Bolt shapes up as a showdown

Queensland's top two distance runners over the last five years, Alastair Stevenson and Peter Nowill will take on two of Australia's biggest name athletes, Victorian’s Steve Moneghetti and Lee Troop as they prepare for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games by competing in the Asics Noosa Bolt on Saturday November 5.

Joining them, fellow Victorian and last year's winner, Mark Tucker who is keen to defend his title.

Stevenson and Nowill both former Australian Track Champions have never won the prestigious Asics Noosa Bolt street race but both are currently in their best shape ever to take out the 2005 title. In 2003 Stevenson and Nowill finished second and third respectively behind the great Craig Mottram.

The Asics Bolt will get underway from 6:30pm and the cooler conditions and exceptional talent in the field could finally see the race records fall. They are currently held by Joseph Waweru (14:41 – 1999) and Benita Johnson (15:22 – 2002).

In the women's race two previous winners, 2003 champion, Ireland's Sydney Olympic 5000m silver medallist Sonia O'Sullivan and last years winner Eloise Wellings from Sydney face a challenge from Australia's Commonwealth marathon champion Kerryn McCann.

This year McCann from Wollongong has dominated the Australian road race scene with wins in Sydney, Adelaide and Burnie and is competing in the Asics Bolt for the first time and expected to be very difficult to beat.

The Noosa Bolt was introduced to the festival program in 1991 as the Streets Magnum 5km Run and over the past 15 years is now officially recognised as the premier 5km Road Race in Australia. It has seen a couple of name changes over the years but Asics were thrilled to be able to secure sponsorship for 2005. The winners list includes some of the world’s best runners – Steve Moneghetti, Sonia O’Sullivan, Susie Power and the fastest white man in the world at the moment, Craig Mottram just some of names to claim victories.

For the first time ever the Asics Bolt will be held under lights due to the expansion of the Super Saturday program and the introduction of the Aussie Football Legends Triathlon featuring six of the AFL’s glamour teams. This could mean that in the cooler conditions the race records could fall. The Asics Bolt is one of the ‘blue ribbon’ events of the festival and huge crowds are again expected to line Noosa Parade to be entertained and cheer on their favourites.

The 2005 Noosa Multi Sport Festival will be held from Sunday 30 October to Sunday 6 November.

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

Posted at 07:37     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, October 24, 2005 

VIC State titles a rehearsal for Games

Most of Australia's Commonwealth Games team and many international athletes are expected to familiarise themselves with the MCG by competing at the Victorian championships next February.

The championships, from February 17-19, will be the only test event on the ground, the venue for the Games' track and field competition. At this stage, it is uncertain what, if any, further access will be allowed to the main stadium any other time before the athletics program opens on March 19.

Many Victorian athletes will be in the Games' team anyway, which will be selected after trials in Sydney on the first weekend in February. The remainder will be brought to Melbourne by Athletics Australia for a team camp on the weekend of the Victorian championships.

A number of teams and individual athletes already have indicated they intend to come to Australia well before the Games.

Although participation in the championships will be up to the individual athletes, Athletics Australia chief executive Danny Corcoran said yesterday he believed most would want to test the Games venue.

The Victorian championships will be augmented by an invitation meeting on the Saturday night. It is expected that a number of international athletes may want to compete to get a foretaste of the MCG.

Corcoran said Athletics Australia was in touch with other national federations to determine their pre-Games competition needs.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 23:26     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, October 20, 2005 

Too many athletes for Commonwealth Games

First they were oversubscribed by spectators entering the ticket ballot, now Commonwealth Games organisers have been oversubscribed by athletes wanting to compete at next year's event.

Estimated team sizes submitted by all 71 competing nations last month list nearly 1200 athletes and officials more than had been planned for.

Melbourne 2006 organisers last night said they hoped to see a 20 per cent reduction in the estimated team sizes by the start of the Games in March.

Melbourne 2006 chief executive John Harnden said: "The entry by numbers submitted by teams in September did yield a higher number than the 6000 athletes and officials Melbourne 2006 have been planning for.

"Commonwealth Games Associations (around the world) are already informing us of reductions as their selection trials have now commenced."

The smaller, less professionally run nations of the Commonwealth are notorious for overestimating their team sizes in the lead-up to the Games. Manchester 2002 officials were oversubscribed by more than 15 per cent and Mr Harnden said he was not surprised to be oversubscribed at this stage.

Australian Games Association chief executive Perry Crosswhite said: "It's easier to reduce than expand when you get closer to the Games."

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 08:05     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, October 18, 2005 

Scott Westcott blows out the cobwebs

Outstanding distance runner Scott Westcott has started competing at the top level again with third place at the Burnie 10km race in Tasmania.

Westcott only recently commenced light training after having a six week lay-off following the Helsinki marathon.

He rated that marathon as the toughest race of his life, and was extremely pleased with his run at Burnie.

'The Burnie 10km was really just a chance for me to blow out the cobwebs,' Westcott said. ‘It's been good to run some shorter distances and prance around and show off on the track, cause I don't get to do that very often,' he laughed.

Westcott has been focussing on runing 10,000 metre races, as he will be running that distance at the Zadopek meet on 1 December which is also the main qualifier for the Commonwealth Games.

‘I'm hoping to qualify for the 10,000 metres at the Commonwealth Games even though I probably wouldn't run it,' he said. ‘Obviously Craig Mottram is the hot favourite, but the top three will qualify, so I'd love to be in that company.'

Scott is virtually assured a Commonwealth Games spot in the Marathon as he is currently ranked no.1 in Australia following his time of 2h 11m 36s in Japan.

‘I'm number one at the moment, although Lee Troop is running a marathon in early December, so he will be keen to knock me off,' he said. ‘But even if he does, I'd be number two and should still be picked in the top three.'

Once the Zadopek meet is over, the Commonwealth Games squad will be announced and Scott should be heading to Falls Creek to start his marathon preparations.

‘I'm only doing 160-170km running per week at the moment, so I'm pretty fresh and keen to start getting into the tough stuff again.'

Complete article at the Parkes Champion Post

Posted at 17:13     [Perma-Link]

Georgie Clarke gets her groove back

ONLY 12 months after starting with a new coach, Georgie Clarke has ticked off two objectives.

The first was achieved almost four months ago when she ran a personal-best 1500m time of 4min06secs in Rome. The second was to be competitive on the world stage.

Posting A-qualifying times during six weeks in Europe proved she could mix it with the best. "The best thing for me was that I was actually quite competitive, which is the first time really in my career that I had been," Clarke said. "Usually, in Europe, I'd go over and come ninth and 10th, but I was actually competitive in the races. It was good for my confidence."

Since cutting ties with former coach Nic Bideau, Clarke has enjoyed a subtle change to her routine with coach and Olympic distance runner Shaun Creighton.

She still runs about 140km a week, but she is older, more experienced and more confident.

Complete article at The Herald Sun

Posted at 14:15     [Perma-Link]

Athletes feel Games pressure rising

Leading Commonwealth Games athletes have admitted they are feeling the pressure to help boost Australia's medal tally to record levels in Melbourne next year.

Officials have predicted the Australians to break their highest overall medal tally of 207 set in Manchester in 2002 and the record gold medal haul of 87 from Canada in 1994.

Basketballer Allison Tranquilli, whose Opals team bolstered by superstar Lauren Jackson is red-hot favourite for gold, admitted to feeling pressure to meet public expectations. "We're raging favourites so there is a bit of pressure there," she said at a Commonwealth Games supporters' lunch in Melbourne. But we'll prepare for this tournament like every other Olympic Games and world championships, so the outcome will take care of itself if we prepare well enough."

Distance runner Craig Mottram, among the favourites for the 5,000m gold medal, admitted he had noticed expectations rising since he returned from his European training base several weeks ago. But Mottram said there was no reason Australia's team couldn't match the hype and break both medal records.

"Since I've been back I have noticed there's a lot of attention around it (breaking the records)," Mottram said. "Everybody wants to know what you're going to do when you win the gold medal. History shows Australia as a whole has done very well as a team at Commonwealth Games. I see no reason why we can't do as well, if not better than we have in the past."

Mottram said he was confident of playing his part in the expected Australian gold rush if he could maintain full fitness in the five months leading up to the Games.

"I'm quite confident I can improve on what I did in Manchester four years ago," said Mottram, who finished sixth in his event. "But first things first. I've just got to concentrate on staying fit and healthy and get to the start line ready to race. If that happens, I'm confident I'll be there fighting for a gold medal coming into the home straight."

Complete article at NineMSN

Posted at 14:12     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, October 14, 2005 

VIC Athletics clubs on track for Commonwealth Games windfall

Athletics clubs across Victoria stand to win a Commonwealth Games bonus of almost $2 million.

The State Government will donate some of the equipment used at the Games to grassroots competitors. And more than $1 million compensation clawed back from the AFL will be ploughed into the sport.

Games Minister Justin Madden said details were not complete, but he was committed to the dividend. "We want to make sure that the benefits are shared across the state," he said.

The Government has saved millions of dollars by ordering the MCG be ready for the 2006 Anzac Day clash between Collingwood and Essendon, instead of three rounds later as had been the plan. The Government has to pay compensation to the AFL for every week the ground is off limits after the Games.

The early return means the temporary rubber athletics track will not be able to be moved to the suburbs, as Athletics Victoria had wanted.

"If there are any savings in what we've allocated for the AFL, in terms of the agreement for compensation, then we are eager to try to use some of that at least to invest in athletics in Victoria, to ensure that there's a benefit . . . equivalent of the track," Mr Madden said.

That would equate to more than $1 million but less than $2 million. Athletics Victoria was ecstatic at the news.

Complete article at The Herald Sun

Posted at 15:40     [Perma-Link]

Mottram nominated for Sport Australia Hall of Fame "Don"

Australia's greatest sportsmen have decided that Shane Warne does not qualify as an inspiration, a hero and a role model.

The Sport Australia Hall of Fame delivered a stinging snub to the champion cricketer yesterday by leaving him out of a short list of candidates for its most prestigious annual award, The Don.

Named after Sir Donald Bradman, the award recognises not only outstanding performance but sportsmanship, integrity, courage and modesty.

SAHOF chairman John Bertrand said Warne's controversial public image was responsible for him being overlooked despite a terrific on-field contribution to Australia's recent unsuccessful Ashes campaign.

Instead, it has nominated world champion triathlete Peter Robertson, national swimming captain Grant Hackett, AFL Grand Final hero Leo Barry, cyclist Cadel Evans, distance runner Craig Mottram and rugby league star Andrew Johns. The award will be presented at the Hall of Fame's annual dinner next month.

Complete article at The Herald Sun

Posted at 15:37     [Perma-Link]

Revival of marathon takes big stride forward

The imminent opening of a major new toll road in Sydney's west has had an unexpected community spin-off: the restoration of the Cities Marathon, ditched two years ago because of transport problems and safety concerns.

The operators of the Westlink M7 - a 40-kilometre electronic toll road to be opened before Christmas - had pledged support for a new race to take place next winter, Blacktown Mayor Leo Kelly said yesterday.

The Blacktown Cities Marathon, which started at Town Hall in Sydney and headed west, was stopped in 2003, having been run annually for 23 years.

Although final plans have yet to be announced, runners are almost certain to spend most of the race on a pedestrian- and cycle-only path that runs alongside the toll road. The pedestrian path has segregated bridges and overpasses, meaning runners won't need not worry about vehicles.

Complete article at The SMH

Posted at 15:16     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, October 12, 2005 

Troop's all-out assault @ Fukuoka

It will be all or nothing when Lee Troop, Australia's No. 1 marathon runner, puts his Commonwealth Games spot on the line in December's Fukuoka Marathon.

Troop is again on the comeback trail after a series of injury problems and was expected to rely on the selectors' discretion to gain a spot on next year's Games team.
That was the plan until last month's Berlin Marathon, where the excellent performances of Australians Andrew Letherby and Shane Nankervis changed the marathon picture.

With only three positions available in the marathon, Troop suddenly found himself in a selection "grey area".

Letherby (2hr 11min 42sec) and Nankervis (2:12.23) both ran personal bests to virtually lock up spots.

Scott Westcott, who was 27th in this year's world championship marathon in Helsinki, is a certainty to be picked.

Troop, who hasn't run a marathon since last year's Athens Olympics, made his return to competition in the Burnie 10km event on Sunday in which he finished second.

He knows that running the marathon in Japan on December 4 is a risk but one he says is necessary to ensure he runs in Melbourne in March.

"We were going to push for selectors' discretion because I have run under 2:12 five times and probably have enough credits on the board," Troop said. "But seeing how Andrew and Shane, in particular, ran (in Berlin) I decided I would feel more comfortable having made the team based on my merits rather than being given a free ride."

Troop must run under the A-standard qualifying time of 2:14 in Japan.

Complete article at The Herald Sun

Posted at 13:35     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, October 11, 2005 

Moneghetti to be Games mayor

Olympian Steve Moneghetti will be mayor of Melbourne's Commonwealth Games village and retired senior army officer Major General Peter Haddad will be his deputy.

Premier Steve Bracks announced the appointments today at the Commonwealth Games' village at Parkville in inner-city Melbourne.
Both the mayor and the deputy mayor will live at the village with 6000 athletes and support crew expected for the duration of next year's Games.

Mr Bracks said Moneghetti had all the right credentials for the job, being a former Commonwealth Games medallist and chairman of the board of the Victorian Institute of Sport.

He said Major General Haddad's appointment was a sign of the times, in a climate of heightened security.

"We want to make sure we have the right support system in place with the mayor and deputy mayor, in this case Major General Peter Haddad, so we could give particular on-ground attention to security matters as well," Mr Bracks said.

Moneghetti is expected to be the public face of the Commonwealth Games' village and Major General Haddad will assist with the planning and delivery of logistical support.

Complete article at

Posted at 13:43     [Perma-Link]

Lee Troop to run Fukuoka Marathon

Lee Troop will try to qualify for Melbourne 2006 in the Fukuoka marathon on December 4 after selectors extended their deadline to include the Japanese race. Phil Sly, another Melbourne 2006 contender, also has been given permission to run the race.

The deadline was originally on December 1, with Melbourne 2006 marathoners to be provisionally named within a week of that date.

From The Age

Posted at 07:57     [Perma-Link]

Kate Smyth closes in on Commonwealth Games marathon

Melbourne athlete Kate Smyth ran herself into contention for next year's Commonwealth Games when she slashed her personal-best time by six minutes in Sunday's Chicago marathon.

Smyth, 33, finished ninth in two hours 33 minutes 41 seconds, rocketing from virtually nowhere in Melbourne 2006 terms to the verge of selection for the marathon.

Five women now have achieved the A-standard for the marathon, and Smyth now ranks third on times among those likely to run.

Benita Johnson is the fastest, at 2:26.32, but she is almost certain to focus on the track distance events.

Defending champion Kerryn McCann is next fastest, then Anna Thompson. Smyth has now edged ahead of Haley McGregor (2:33.47) and Manchester 2002 bronze medallist Jackie Fairweather (2:34.10) on times. Sonia O'Sullivan is a wildcard if she gets Australian citizenship in time.

Smyth said her aim had been to run her way into Melbourne 2006 contention. "I wanted it so badly. I decided that was what I wanted to go for while watching the athletics at Sydney 2000."

Deena Kastor, of the US, was the first woman home in Chicago in 2:21.24, five seconds ahead of Romania's Constantina Tomescu.

More on the Chicago Marathon here

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 07:56     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, October 10, 2005 

Fitzroy Falls run attracts some serious talent

In each of the last five years the Fitzroy Falls Fire Trail Marathon has been held, there has been at least one very serious, very talented runner.

For example, last year the star was Graeme "Mountain Man" Kerruish, who with 301 marathons to his credit, holds the Australian all-time record - 14 ahead of his nearest rival.

This year's marathon will be no exception with Bob Fickel having registered to run. Fickel has run 158 marathons, the third most in Asutralia and needs only four more to move into second spot. This year he has run quite a few, including his 21st Canberra Marathon and his first London Marathon.

He has too many accolades to list, but they include many ultra marathons, including the awesome Westfield Sydney to Melbourne run.

As well as the Fitzroy Falls marathon on Saturday October 15, there will be three other cross country events - a 10 kilometre run and a five kilometre run, as well as a five kilometre walk.

The Fire Trail runs are held on Saturday October 15 in the scenic Morton National Park, and start from Twin Falls Bush Cottages which back right onto the trails. Signs on the Nowra Road direct entrants to the race start and there is ample off street parking for runners and spectators.

Complete article at the Southern Highland News

Posted at 14:18     [Perma-Link]

Troop happy with race performance in Burnie

Lee Troop has never known second place to be as satisfactory. He was overtaken with just a few hundred metres to go in yesterday's Burnie 10 but he knew he was back in town as one of Australia's pre-eminent middle and long distance runners.

Troop finished just metres behind hot favourite Martin Dent in a race which had many similarities to last year when he was pipped by fellow Geelong runner Mark Tucker with the finish line almost in sight.

But the comparison of races stops there. This was Troop's first competitive outing since that run last year following an injury which has prevented him from training until 10 weeks ago.

``If you had offered me 10th spot before the race started, I think I would have taken it,''` he said yesterday.

``I feel very happy and content, second could have easily been 10th and to finish second against the best runners in Australia bar Craig Mottram is a great step forwards. I was very nervous, I knew I could run well or terrible. If I could have told you after the first k where I would finish, it wouldn't have been top 10. The pace was hot and you can't do anything about that in training, it's just something you can't prepare for. I got dropped two or three times and hung on and got back which was good testimony to my mental strength. But I'm happy, it would be arrogant of me to say I wasn't happy, there was no way I could have been disappointed with that performance.''

A phone call from distance legend Steve Moneghetti congratulating him on getting to the start line has also boosted his confidence.

``I went into this race not knowing how I was going and it means I am ahead of where I thought I would be.''

Defending champion Tucker was disappointed with his run but said the result at least gave him a clear indication of where he stands in his preparation for the big summer races.

His performances since returning from overseas in mid-August have been ``nothing flash'' and he is hoping a steady diet of racing will bring him back to his best.

He has pencilled in Victorian Milers' Club 1500m on October 27, then another 1500m race in Brisbane's national track series meet, he will then defend his title in the Noosa Bolt 5km and then head back to Melbourne for the Zatopek meeting.

This year is becoming a breakthrough year for Martin. The Canberra based former steeplechase star was the hot favourite going into yesterday's race on the back of impressive runs, including first Australian in the City to Surf.

Complete article at Geelong Info

Posted at 08:39     [Perma-Link]

Moneghetti for mayor

Ballarat sporting icon Steve Moneghetti is tipped to be crowned mayor of the Commonwealth Games athletes' village.
Moneghetti is believed to be the front-runner for the prestigious position, which is expected to be announced shortly.

The four-time Commonwealth Games medallist yesterday said it would be a great honour to be village mayor, but had yet to be approached by games organisers.

"It would be a nice honour for me, I'm waiting for the official announcement like everybody," he said. "The Commonwealth Games are something that I've always had a good relationship with, it's where I got my first opportunity so I'm always happy to help out."

Moneghetti, who served as an athlete liaison officer during the 2002 Manchester Games, said he would be proud to put something back into the event.

"To be the mayor of what's going to be the biggest event in Victoria ever is something pretty special," he said.

Australian basketball star Andrew Gaze is also believed to be in the running for the mayoral post, which would involve heading up to 6000 athletes and officials.

Moneghetti has been invited to attend a meeting with the Australian Commonwealth Games Association tomorrow morning.

He has been in discussions with organisers about becoming a games ambassador and is also planning to undertake a media role during the Melbourne event, which runs from March 15-26. Moneghetti was unsure what the mayoral role would entail but imagined it would involve greeting dignitaries.

The marathon legend competed in four consecutive Commonwealth Games in the 1980s and 90s, winning a medal at each, including gold at Victoria, Canada in 1994.

Complete article at the Ballarat Courier

Posted at 08:35     [Perma-Link]

Home-town joy in Melbourne after Berlin failure

Two weeks ago, Nick Harrison ran the Berlin Marathon with the intention of earning selection in next year's Commonwealth Games team. He failed; so yesterday, Harrison turned his attention to the Melbourne Marathon, charging home along St Kilda Road to the Arts Centre spire to win his home-town race in two hours 23 minutes 29 seconds. Melbourne 2006 became Melbourne 2005.

Sherryn Rhodes was first woman home in 2:50:35. With all times on the Frankston to Melbourne course slowed by a blustery wind, Rhodes did not achieve a personal-best. But with her third win in the race following earlier successes in 1998 and 2002, she did become the race's first three-time winner since Andrew Lloyd in 1979-81.

Harrison caught Magnus Michelsson, who was bidding for a hat-trick of wins, as the pair turned out of Fitzroy Street into St Kilda Road for the run to the finish. Michelsson had led by almost three minutes at halfway and by two at 30 kilometres. At the beach end of Fitzroy Street, the lead was still almost 300 metres.

It was Michelsson who had put the thought of Melbourne in Harrison's head. He had also run in Berlin but didn't finish.

"He said something like, 'Never mind, I'll go home and run Melbourne now'," Harrison recalled yesterday. "I thought, 'Not a bad idea. I might try and beat you there'."

The only time he felt the effect of two marathons in a fortnight was late in the race. "The last 10 kilometres was hard," Harrison said. "I could feel Berlin in my legs."

Andrew Walters of Queensland also got past the tiring Michelsson in the last few kilometres, beating him for second, 2:26:40 to 2:27:57.

Rhodes always had looked the winner of the women's race, though at times in the first half of it she had trailed Kylie Dick by up to 50 metres. Rhodes eventually took control and won by almost two minutes, 2:50:35 to 2:52:16. Vanessa Smith was third in 2:54:12.

Ian Rohde was the first wheelchair athlete across the line.

Complete article at

Posted at 08:33     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, October 09, 2005 

NSW runners win Burnie Ten

New South Welshman Martin Dent has crossed the line first in Australia's richest road race, the Burnie Ten.

The 26-year-old finished three seconds ahead of 32-year-old Lee Troop from Victoria, who has now come second four years in a row.

Dent says he usually prefers marathons, and he is pleased to have beaten Lee Troop in the 10 km race.

"Lee's a fast runner, he's at his best to be competitive in this sort of race," he said.

"Its the first time I've ever beaten Lee so its a great run for myself."

In the women's section, 38-year-old national champion Kerryn McCann from New South Wales will take home the $3,500 prize for first place.

From the ABC

Posted at 19:07     [Perma-Link]

Troop hungry for a victory at Burnie

World-class distance runner Lee Troop is desperate to shake his perennial bridesmaid tag in today's Skilled Burnie Ten event.

The 32-year-old Geelong-based runner has come runner up in the event three times and has previously likened his bad luck in the race to Australian golfer Greg Norman's frustration at never being able to win the US Masters.

"I'm the only guy who's come so close so many times never to win," he said.

This year Troop, who is one of only five Australians to run the marathon in under two hours and 10 minutes has fresh legs, is excited about his prospects and looking forward to the challenge.

He said that today will be a good litmus test for him because after suffering a calf injury and having almost 10 months off, today will mark his comeback to serious competition.

"So I should be fresh, but this is the first race I've done since I've been injured," He said.

"I entered a couple of races this year but I did them all with injuries and I didn't run well and wasn't competitive so I regard this as my first proper race back for the year.

"But I've only been back running for 10 weeks so I'm not coming with a marathon under my belt, I'm coming in with no training under my belt. Not that I'm making any excuses I'll stand on the start line and I'll race as hard as I can, like every year, because I want to be competitive and I'm confident I can do that."

Troop rates Martin Dent, Mark Tucker and Scott Westcott as his biggest threats.

"I've got a lot of respect for all the elite runners that will be standing on the start line, they're all quality athletes. I don't think I'm at that level this year to actually try and serve it up early so I'm looking forward this year for the other guys to take the bull by the horns and have a crack and go out hard."

Troop said that at this stage he doesn't really know where he is at but knows that he wants to win. "I'm excited about coming back and I'm looking forward to the challenge. And I'm going to keep coming until I win and I can get that frustrating perennial bridesmaid tag off my back."

Complete article at The Tasmanian Examanir

Posted at 08:28     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, October 08, 2005 

No gain without pain on a long and grinding road (Melbourne Marathon)

By Stephen Cauchi

"If you want to run, then run a mile. If you want to experience another life, run a marathon." (Emil Zatopek, Czech marathon runner).

It is another life, the marathon. And it would be a much easier one if it was faithful to history.

According to legend, a messenger ran the 34 kilometres from Marathon to Athens in 490BC to announce the defeat of the invading Persians. The modern event has somehow gained an extra eight kilometres — among the most gruelling eight kilometres a runner can experience.

But many of the 1850 runners who will gather at Frankston at 8am tomorrow for the 42-kilometre Melbourne Marathon trek into town know this already. They've done a marathon before, if not in Melbourne then elsewhere.

The last time this reporter ran the Melbourne Marathon — indeed, any marathon — was 1995.

Running 42 kilometres is painful no matter how you do it, and I've learnt it's pointless trying to convince non-runners that a marathon is worth doing.

But a marathon isn't an ordeal from start to finish. The first half is quite pleasant. At the start, there'll be excited whoops, then jokes about "41 to go" after the first kilometre, the buzz of realising the climax of months, perhaps years, of hard training.

The Nepean Highway will be a river of runners for the first few kilometres, but by the five-kilometre mark the pack will spread out, with the quick up front, the tardy at the rear.

The main danger is running too fast. Go too fast at the start — a mistake I made in 1995 — and you may end up walking.

Hopefully, it will be a cool day; heat is the runner's enemy. But even in ideal conditions, the event is punishing. In 1995, former Collingwood player Tony Shaw was so exhausted and dehydrated he ran into a tree and wound up in hospital.

Past Beaumaris, and it's the second half of the race. US endurance runner Dean Karnazes wrote recently that you run the first half of a 160- kilometre ultramarathon with your legs, the second half with your mind. With a marathon, you run the first half with your legs, the second half with sore legs.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 09:40     [Perma-Link]

Magnus Michelsson chasing Melbourne marathon hat-trick

Vicorian distance runner of the year Magnus Michelsson is prepared to run whatever it takes in his attempt to complete a hat-trick of Melbourne marathon wins tomorrow.

The marathon returns to its traditional finish in St Kilda Road, outside the Arts Centre, for its 28th staging and Michelsson will be dipping back into history if he is successful in taking a third straight win.

That has not been achieved since Andrew Lloyd — then hailed as the "fun run king" but subsequently acquiring more credibility as the 1990 Commonwealth Games 5000 metres gold medallist — won in 1979, 1980 and 1981.

Michelsson started the Berlin marathon two weeks ago to try to get a qualifying time for next year's Commonwealth Games. He did not finish the race, but the effort took enough out of him that he says he will not be going all-out from Frankston to the Arts Centre tomorrow.

"But I want to win," he said, "and I'm prepared and ready to run as hard as I have to to do that."

Michelsson won in two hours 14 minutes two years ago, a run that retiring race director Joe Murphy remembers fondly as it proved the Frankston to Melbourne course could be run fast. Unseasonally hot conditions last year slowed him to 2:26:51.

Rod de Highden and Nick Harrison, who also ran in Berlin, are also listed as starters tomorrow. So, too, is Steve Moneghetti. Even at 42, "Monna" would be capable of winning the race but he is pacing a group of runners.

Sherryn Rhodes also will be aiming for her third win in the race, having won in 1998 and 2002. Her main opposition could be Kylie Dick, who led into the last kilometre last year before succumbing to the heat and finishing fourth.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 09:36     [Perma-Link]

Murphy makes it to the finish of Melbourne Marathon

Tomorrow Joe Murphy will complete his sixth, and last, Melbourne marathon — all of them without running a step.

Murphy was one of the state's leading distance runners in the 1980s and early 1990s. He once ran the London marathon in a respectable two hours 32 minutes, but his one try at Melbourne in 1990 ended 10 kilometres short. A friend gave him a lift to the finish.

It is as race director that Murphy has made his mark. He and Dianne Keeley, his wife, took over running the event in 2000 and will end their stint this year. Murphy's future runs will relate to newspaper delivery — the pair will take over the newsagency at Paynesville, on the Gippsland Lakes.

There is a further sense of completion about this year's event. For the first time since 1994, the race returns to its traditional finish outside the Arts Centre in St Kilda Road.

"I suppose you could say I've finally made it to the Arts Centre," Murphy says.

The marathon owes a lot to major sponsor Asics, says Murphy, as well as the councils through whose municipalities the course passes, Victoria Police and other authorities.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 09:25     [Perma-Link]

Rivalry in the ranks: Anna Thompson v Kerryn McCann

Melbourne-based distance runner Anna Thompson believes the biggest threat to her chances of standing on the podium in today's Burnie Ten is Kerryn McCann.

Thompson, 28, who today makes her sixth attempt at taking out the event rates 2002 Commonwealth Games marathon gold medal winner McCann as the stand-out favourite.

Thompson has had five Burnie Ten podium finishes, including two seconds and three thirds, but is now in some of the best form of her career having coming fourth at the Rotterdam Marathon in March and being the third Australian home in the recent national cross-country championships.

However McCann has also been running well having recently won the City-To-Bay in Adelaide as well as being the first Australian woman home in Sydney's City-To Surf.

Aside from McCann, Thompson said Susie Nicholson and Lisa-Jane Weightman were also in good form.

"I'm feeling great and I like all road races, especially Burnie but I'll just have to see how I go on the day," Thompson said. She also said she planned to use today's race as good preparation for the Commonwealth Games, where she's aiming for selection in the 5000m and the marathon.

Complete article at The Tasmanian Examiner

Posted at 08:23     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, October 07, 2005 

New innovations: running skirts for females

Pro triathlete Nicole DeBoom was out running when she glimpsed her sweaty reflection in a store window. "Damn!" she thought. "I look like a boy again!"

DeBoom had just the solution: a sexy running skirt, one that covered her "jiggling butt." So the Downers Grove, Ill., native launched Skirt Sports, which makes athletic skirts to "enable female jocks to feel pretty bad-ass."

Decades after women fought for the right to sweat in boxy-looking shorts, skirts are making a comeback, a trend called "fashletics." Though skirts have always showcased good legs in tennis, golf and field hockey, designers are now creating them for sports such as running and biking. Skirt Sports sells five styles of poly/lycra blend skirts, priced from $40 to $70, along with coordinating tank tops (see Also, New Balance has unveiled its first running skirt, the Andare ($45). Nike sells skirts ($45 to $60) in its new Fitness Dance collection.

The technical performance skirts, which have seamless shorts inside or "spankies," are not for girlie girls but for hard-core athletes who have long wrestled with the question: "Why can't I feel like an athlete and a woman?"

When we tried running in one, the most striking aspect was The Husband's enthusiastic approval. The skirt also was as comfortable as shorts; it didn't fly up or hamper performance. DeBoom, in fact, won the women's title the 2004 Ironman Wisconsin triathlon (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run) wearing her first racing skirt prototype.

Initially, DeBoom expected her skirts would appeal to "sassy women who want to make a statement." They do, after all, almost always attract a look or even a comment. But she found they're also appealing to high school students and women in their 60s who are excited and even nostalgic about going back to a skirt.

Still, some short-wearing athletes just don't understand the concept.

"It just seems out of place, like trying to make high-heeled running shoes," said Nancy Hopf, 42, of Naperville, Ill., a top age-group triathlete who can't imagine having a skirt bouncing off her thighs while she runs. "Now that would make one's legs look awesome, but try doing a (personal record) in them. I will stick to my running shorts."

Photo here

Complete article at The Houston Chronicle

Posted at 10:48     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, October 06, 2005 

Condom supplier expects busy athletes in Commonwealth Games Village

Ansell Ltd., the official condom distributor for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, has predicted that athletes and officials could have sex an average of 10 times over the 11 day event.

The company announced it will provide 60,000 free condoms to the official games village, which is expected to house 4,500 competitors and 1,500 officials, the Australian Associated Press reported Thursday.

And if the company learned anything from its experience stocking the Sydney Olympics in 2000, it will need to have more condoms on hand for when stocks run out.

"We initially supplied 50,000 condoms for the athlete's village in Sydney in 2000; however, 30,000 additional condoms were requested during games time," Ansell's Asia Pacific marketing vice president Burton Van Rooyen told AAP. "We learned quite a lot from the Olympics," he added.

Asked if Ansell planned to bring out a commemorative condom to mark the event, he replied: "Not at this stage. We hope every one will be memorable."

Van Rooyen said the condoms would most likely be distributed at a village clinic. He said the company would provide a broad choice of flavors, colors and shapes to the village. "Essentially, athletes come in a whole range of sizes and preferences, so we'll be providing a wide variety."

Complete article at Mainichi Daily News (Japan)

Posted at 19:30     [Perma-Link]

Khmel back in the running

By Mike Hurst
After delaying the occasion twice, Athletics Australia will interview Amsterdam-based coach Michael Khmel for the national sprints coach/co-ordinator job.

In track competition two false starts earns a disqualification and so Khmel is already pursuing alternative coaching options.

"I'll go through the interview but they need to be serious," Khmel told The Daily Telegraph. "I'd come back to Sydney but I can't return for $50,000 like before and bring the family with me."

Khmel built the core of Australia's Athens Olympic sprint squad, personally coaching Clinton Hill, John Steffensen and Pat Dwyer who won silver medals with the 4x400m relay team.

He also developed some fine pure sprinters, including Matt Shirvington who ran 10.03sec as a teenager in the 1998 Commonwealth Games 100m final.

But on returning from Athens the word was out that all of AA's 24 coaches would not have their contracts renewed.

So Khmel's dominant group quickly disintegrated.

It's hard to figure out what game AA is playing when they axe all their coaches in March and then interview them for a job seven months later.

Others known to be applying for the Sydney sprints position include experienced NSWIS athletics program co-ordinator Rob Medlicott and a highly competent hobby coach, Paul Hallam, who guided Daniel Batman to 12 personal best times including nine A-qualifying marks over the past 16 months.

The Dutch are pleased with Khmel's work as their national sprints coach, especially following his advice which delivered 4x400m gold at this year's European under-23 championships. However, he and his British wife, Jenny, and their four months old daughter Kiki head to Nottingham next Tuesday.

The former Nike product line manager for pro sports, Jenny will start work with Speedo while Mike discusses a possible coaching role at nearby Loughborough University.

Complete article at Fox Sports

Posted at 08:13     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, October 05, 2005 

Fit body now, firm mind later in life

Exercising in middle age not only keeps the weight down and the heart healthy but cuts the risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia later in life, particularly for those more susceptible to the disorders, new research shows.

Scientists at Sweden's Karolinska Institute have found that people in mid-life who exercise at least twice a week have about a 60 per cent lower risk of developing dementia than more sedentary people.

"This is the first study to show this long-term relationship between physical activity and dementia later in life," said Miia Kivipelto, of the institute's Ageing Research Centre.

The study, published in The Lancet Neurology journal, found the biggest impact was in people with a genetic susceptibility to dementia.

"Physical activity had an even more pronounced effect among those with the 'susceptibility gene' apoE4, the most important risk factor for Alzheimer's disease and dementia," Dr Kivipelto said.

Alzheimer's is the leading cause of dementia in the elderly. There is no cure for the progressive illness, which robs people of their memory and mental ability, although drugs may slow its early progression. Famous Alzheimer's sufferers include the actors Charles Bronson and Charlton Heston, author Enid Blyton, painter Willem de Kooning, civil rights activist Rosa Parks, former US president Ronald Reagan and boxer Sugar Ray Robinson.

Dr Kivipelto and her team studied the mental health of nearly 1500 people aged 65 to 79, whose leisure activities had been monitored every five years from 1972 to 1987.

After re-examining the data in 1998, they discovered that those who had done a physical activity that caused sweating and strained breathing were less likely to suffer from Alzheimer's and dementia. Walking and cycling were the most common types of exercise.

Complete article at The SMH

Posted at 10:31     [Perma-Link]

In step with a champion - Pat Farmer

Pat Farmer comes across as an ordinary bloke - who was inspired to run marathons after seeing an elderly Cliff Young run past. These days he is the Federal Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education, Science and Training, after spending just four years in parliament.

In Whyalla on Thursday, he was happy to have three local runners join him when he went for his regular jog at 6.30am the next day, before catching his plane.

The three were Whyalla Harriers president Chris McCann as well as Greg Desmond and Karen Goldsworthy. McCann described Farmer as a "gentleman who has achieved a lot in his 43 years".

During the early morning jog Farmer imparted some of his secrets to success in both long distance running and life.

He said it was important to have long-term goals at the start of any achievement. McCann said Farmer's simple philosophy, "one step at a time," could be applied to all aspects of life.

Farmer was eager to inspire those at a Whyalla dinner on Thursday night to follow their dreams - whatever they were.

"There is no force on this earth greater than your personal will," he said. "If you really want to do something with all of your heart - you will. If you don't, you will find an excuse not to do it."

He recounted how amazed he was when he first saw Cliff Young run past the business where he worked.

"I said to my boss: 'I don't think he is going to finish'," Farmer said. "He didn't just finish - he won that race. He was an inspiration because he got out there and did what he wanted to do. I thought: 'If that little fellow can do that, then I can'."

Farmer went on to use his talent to raise more than $3 million for charities.

"You have to be smart about what your strengths are."

Cliff Young's was the way he expended little energy by running with his feet close to the ground. "I tried to run like Cliff and I couldn't."

Farmer is an ultra marathon runner who took just 191 days to run almost 15,000km around Australia in 1999 to celebrate the Centenary of Federation.

He ran through every State and mainland territory of Australia, speaking about federation.

Complete article at The Whyalla News

Posted at 08:04     [Perma-Link]

Call to keep Games gear in Victoria

It's little more than a soft landing for catapulted athletes, but a top-quality pole-vault mat can cost more than $30,000.

A high-jump mat can cost $10,000 and hurdles — 80 of which are needed for a 400-metre race — $1200 each.

These economics of athletics competition are why the treasure-trove of equipment left after next year's Commonwealth Games will be so hotly pursued.

Athletics Victoria wants the State Government to ensure the equipment is kept for use by local athletes and clubs, rather than sold as happened after the Sydney Olympics.

Athletics Victoria chief executive Nick Honey said: "Even though (Melbourne 2006) is an Australian Games, it is in Victoria and Victoria is the state that should benefit. We would want all the gear kept in the state, primarily because that would be our physical legacy, given that we (athletics) are not getting a stadium or any big infrastructure built.

"In the grand scheme of the Commonwealth Games budget it's not that big, but for us it would set up the sport for 10 years in this state."

A wide range of equipment, estimated to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, is expected to be available, from tape measures for long jump events to lap counters.

The plea comes days after the State Government turned down a request for the MCG athletics track to be relaid at a new home after the Games.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 08:00     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, October 04, 2005 

USA View: road racing continues to grow in popularity

The Road Running Information Center (RRIC), under the auspices of Running USA, has issued its third installment of the "State of Our Sport."

This report studied 2004 U.S. running event growth trends, and here's the bottom line: The biggest road races and fun runs are here to stay.

The RRIC, the official data-keepers of USA Track & Field distance-certified races, reported that in 2004 more than two million people participated in the 100 largest running festivals in the U.S.

The two national events which have added the most new participants are the Nike Run Hit Wonder series (which we don't have in our region), the Elite Racing's Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach, and P.F. Chang's Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon and Marathon in Arizona. Elite Racing and P.F. Chang events are earmarked destination races for some area runners, as well as charity-based fundraising teams.

Size does matter. RRIC reports that road races of all standard distances grew in 2004, reflecting a healthy and diversified array of runners' tastes. Although the 5K remains the No. 1 choice for runners and race directors, it may be time to have courage and choose an alternate distance to serve respective running communities.

The Race for the Cure Series, a fundraiser for breast cancer research, began in 1983 with one rac and continues to thrive today. New York state hosts Race for the Cure 5Ks and walks in Buffalo, New York City, Syracuse, Albany and Elmira. In 2003-2004, there were 110 Race for the Cure events in the U.S., with more than one million participants and 75,000 volunteers. The Race for the Cure series accounts for 39 of the 100 largest U.S. running festivals.

The 5K and the 10K account for more than half of all total race distances. The 10K has hit a plateau, likely because it has become hard to find.

The half marathon shows the greatest promise in growth, even though the RRIC states that the marathon is still king n terms of sponsorship, prestige and media attention.

But the RRIC discovered that if a half marathon is paired with a marathon as a dual event, the half marathon will attract more participants than the marathon. Race directors who are thinking of adding a half to a whole should consider the consequences. It may drain numbers away from your marathon.

The RRIC lists conventional road race distances and the number of finishers in each during 2004: one mile (450,000), 5K (3,049,000), four miles (203,000), 8K (615,000), 10K (1,030,000), 12K (108,000), 15K (215,000), half marathon (496,000), 20K/25K/30K (125,000), marathon (423,000), others (1,232,000).

In 2004, the four largest road races in the U.S. were the Celestial Seasoning Bolder Boulder 10K in Colo.(43,994); the Lilac Bloomsday 12K in Spokane, Wash. (39,670); the ING New York City Marathon (36,562); and the Revlon Run for Women's 5K in Los Angeles (34,159).

The three largest road races in the world in 2004 were the Cursa El Corte Ingles 12K in Spain (60,088), the Sun-Herald City to Surf 14K in Australia (48,585), and the Peach Tree 10K in Atlanta (47,272). Oddly enough, 12Ks and 14Ks are almost impossible to find in the U.S.

Among women's races in the U.S., the top three were the Race for the Cure 5K in New York City (14,000), the St. Luke's Women's Fitness Celebration in Indiana (10,200), and the Tufts 10K in Boston (5,616). Among women's races in New York state, Freihofers Run for Women 5K in Albany ranks eighth nationally, and the New York City Mini-Marathon 10K ranks seventh.

The two largest races in New York state are the ING New York City Marathon and the Continental Airlines Friendship 4-miler (7,500).

In Pennsylvania, the largest road races are the Broad Street 10-Miler (10,684) and the Jefferson Hospital Half Marathon (7,337), both in Philadelphia.

The largest 15K road race in the U.S. is the Utica Boilermaker (9,121). Among other popular distances, the Army 10-miler in Washington, D.C. is No. 1 with 13,138 finishers, and the JFK 50-Miler in Maryland is the nation's largest ultra with 876 finishers.

The three biggest running festivals in the U.S. are the Race for the Cure in Denver (50,700), the Peach Tree 10K (47,272) and the ING New York City Marathon (36,562).

Complete article at the Star Gazette

Posted at 08:21     [Perma-Link]

Simon Allatson appointed Sydney Kings chief

Sydney Kings have appointed former Athletics Australia boss Simon Allatson as chief executive of the reigning NBL champion.

"We are very pleased to have acquired the services of such an outstanding candidate as Simon Allatson," said John Overs, who had filled both the executive director and chief executive positions since taking over the Kings last September.

"Our board has interviewed a number of applicants over the last few months and we were determined to ensure that the right candidate was appointed to lead the Kings for the coming years.

"After winning three NBL titles, we want a winner at the helm as we expand the Kings franchise."

Allatson, who ran Athletics Australia for five years, also has experience at national executive level in tennis and swimming.

Complete article at The Australian

Posted at 08:07     [Perma-Link]

Melbourne's brand new run with a view

by Sam Edmund

VICTORIANS will get the chance to run over the Bolte Bridge and through the Domain Tunnel in a mission to help the Royal Children's Hospital.

The Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids -- a 14.8km fun run that starts at the Docklands and finishes at the RCH on Sunday, April 9 -- will be the official launch of the Good Friday Appeal.
The Herald Sun will donate $20 out of every $25 entry fee to the Appeal, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary.

It is believed to be the biggest entry fee contribution by a fun run organiser in Australia.

The run is expected to raise more than $250,000.

The event is designed to give Melbourne a major fun run to rival other city races, including Sydney's City to Surf.

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 06:41     [Perma-Link]

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