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 Tuesday, November 29, 2005 

High hopes for 2006 athletics season

The rare and welcome scent of optimism was in the air at the MCG on Tuesday for the launch of the 2006 athletics season.

Track and field in Australia has taken plenty of body blows since the false dawn of the Sydney Olympics. But with a new four-year TV deal in place and a home Commonwealth Games little more than 100 days away things are looking up.

The domestic season proper starts on Thursday with the annual Zatopek Classic at Olympic Park.

The season runs until March 9 when the revamped IAAF world athletics tour meet at the same venue will serve as the perfect entree for the Commonwealth Games athletics program at the MCG.

The March 9 meet will feature particularly strong international fields as the cream of the Commonwealth's talent will be in town looking for high-level competition.

Global scheduling over the next few years also favours the new Athletics Australia administration, headed by chief executive Danny Corcoran and recently appointed president Robin Fildes.

Following the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, the 2007 world championships in Osaka, Japan; the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi all fall in friendly time zones for Australian audiences more used to seeing live track and field beamed from Europe in the middle of the night.

The new AA television deal with SBS will include coverage of the March 9 IAAF tour event and the February 18 MCG Invitational meet in Melbourne, the Commonwealth Games trials in Sydney and the A Series meets in Canberra and Brisbane.

"The TV deal is very important for the sport," said Corcoran.

"For our exposure and for SBS, who have shown a real interest in the sport and want to work with us to develop it, it's very important because a lack of exposure has been a problem for us in recent years."

In another boost for AA, Telstra has signed on for another two years as the principal sponsor of the Telstra A Series.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 23:19     [Perma-Link]

Running whizz snared in Mayoral Mile coup

There might actually be an Aussie we can’t beat and he’s coming to Wanganui.

Right on the tail of the Kiwi league team’s victory over the Kangaroos, the Mayoral Mile team have announced top Australian runner Craig Mottram’s inclusion in the race’s elite field.

Athletics New Zealand sport developer Craig Kirkwood said Mottram’s entry was a major coup and the 25-year old would be the fastest in the field.

Mottram took home a bronze medal for his 5000 metre performance at the recent track and field world championships at Helsinki and is ranked fifth fastest mile runner in the world with a personal best of 3.

"He’s the best runner in the Southern Hemisphere and is probably one of the top three runners of non-African descent in the world," Mr Kirkwood said.

Peter Snell set the then-world record of 3.54.4 seconds at Cooks Gardens on grass track in 1962. The current record is held by Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj with 3.43.13 seconds.

Kirkwood said the timing of the race fitted well with the build up to the Commonwealth Games and Mottram’s presence would be great training for Kiwi Commonwealth qualifiers Nick Willis, Adrian Blincoe and Paul Hamblyn, who have all confirmed their involvement.

"It will be a great training opportunity for them having Craig over," Mr Kirkwood said. Willis is the New Zealand record holder for 1500 metres after he broke John Walker’s record with a speed of 3.32.38 seconds.

In the elite women’s field, world mountain running champ Kiwi Kate McIlroy had entered and Kirkwood said Athletics New Zealand were also hoping to sign up former world cross country champ Australian Benita Johnson for the race.

"We’re stoked to be involved with the Mayoral Mile at all levels," Mr Kirkwood said. "We’re also big on participation as well as the elite races. It’s really good to be involved in it."

Complete article at the Wanganui Chronicle

Posted at 23:14     [Perma-Link]

Mottram on track for Comm Games

World championships medallist Craig Mottram says he is satisfied with his preparations so far for the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne next March.

Mottram has returned to training in Australia after taking a break following his successful 2005 campaign in Europe.

The 25-year-old, who is coached by Nic Bideau, won bronze in the men's 5,000 metres at the world championships in Helsinki in August and he set a new national record for the mile at the Bislett Games in Oslo the previous month.

He also claimed an impressive win in the 5,000m at the IAAF Grand Prix in Seville in June.

Mottram, who has been training at altitude in Falls Creek, said he was confident he would reach peak form in Melbourne.

"The aim of coming back to Australia and having a break is that you've got to take a few steps back before you can progress forward," he said.

"But I'm fit, healthy and 100 per cent at the moment. I've got no problems and that's exactly where we want to be and come March, I'll be better than I ever have been before."

Complete article at The ABC

Posted at 23:11     [Perma-Link]

Du Bois captures Mt. Obuda title

Ben du Bois of Australia won the Mt. Obuda Run, the first-ever mountain running race held in Nigeria, today (Sunday 27 November 2005).

Du Bois covered the 11Km course, which climbed 800m to the summit of Mt. Obudo in Cross River State, in 48:44 to claim the $50,000 first place prize, the richest award in mountain running.

The fast starting local runners, relatively inexperienced in mountain running, were soon being overhauled by the World Trophy internationals invited to compete. By the half way point, du Bois and Robert Krupicka (CZE) had only Nigerian Danjuma Kopkuddi as company. Krupicka later faded, to leave the remaining pair to battle it out over the final 3Km. Without having to increase his pace, du Bois slowly drew ahead to win by 12 seconds. Kopkuddi was second, winning $20,000, with Krupick, more than 30 seconds adrift, in third.

The two invited Italian runners also finished amongst the prize winners, with Alberto Mosca, who represented Italy in the Junior World Trophy some years ago, fourth and former World silver medallist, Emmanuel Manzi, sixth.

The Governor of Cross River state, His Excellency, Donald Duke, was delighted with this WMRA race and announced that he would be sponsoring Kokuddi and Danjumba Gyang, who finished fifth, to run in the 2006 World Mountain Running Trophy, which is being staged in Turkey next September.

Anna Pichrtova (CZE) was a comfortable winner in the women’s race over the same distance, to take the $1500 first place prize.

A field of 350 athletes, mostly Nigerians, took part.

Complete article at The IAAF

Posted at 23:04     [Perma-Link]

Fiji to benefit from $12m Australia sports aid

Fiji sports will benefit from a $12.73million ($AUD10million) aid package from Australia which is aimed at fostering sport in developing Commonwealth countries.

Announcing the Australian Sport Outreach Program following the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference in Malta, the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, said that the aid would provide support for sports coaching, education and club administration procedures.

The program was also designed to offer an effective vehicle for addressing broader community issues such as HIV/AIDS awareness, non-communicable diseases (such as diabetes), youth leadership and personal development.

Howard said the program would run from July 2006 to July 2011 and would supersede Australian Government sports development programs in Pacific, African and Caribbean countries, due to cease from June 2006.

Of the new $AUD10m allocation, each year $AUD1m ($F1.27m) would be earmarked for the Pacific and $AUD1m to Commonwealth countries in other regions.

The Australian Sports Outreach Programme will commence shortly after the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games in March.

Howard said the Melbourne Games would represent the pinnacle of sporting achievement from around the Commonwealth and involve more than 4500 athletes from the 53 Commonwealth members and 18 territories.

The Australian government is contributing $AUD294m ($F374m) to the staging of the event. This included $AUD7.5m ($F9.56m) to assist all teams to travel to the Games, with a particular focus on smaller teams from developing countries.

Complete article at the Fiji Times

Posted at 12:09     [Perma-Link]

Athletics back on track with SBS

This summer's Telstra A-series will be back on the big screen as part of a new long-term television arrangement with SBS.

The new four-year deal will be announced at today's Athletics Australia season launch. While SBS has covered the Telstra A-series previously, the new agreement will see more resources thrown at the local track and field series.

It is believed there is a possibility of live coverage, most likely for the Melbourne Grand Prix in February. The long-term agreement is a major boost for the sport as it tries to revive itself after a horror period.

AA's new administration has worked tirelessly over the past 12 months to re-invent the sport in the lead-up to the March Commonwealth Games.

Complete article at The Herald Sun

Posted at 07:58     [Perma-Link]

Pinnacle of success for Gillard family

Launceston couple Kim and Jenny Gillard made their first trip to the top of Hobart's Mt Wellington on Sunday and returned as winners of the Point To Pinnacle run.

The first husband and wife to win the 21.2km race both said they found the arduous climb surprisingly enjoyable.

"I thought I'd be in pain the whole way," said Kim, 35, whose winning time of 1hr 25min 06sec was less than a minute outside the course record. "Because you're always running uphill you cannot fully assert yourself in any spot so your legs don't hurt that much. They even feel good this morning."

The race featured 1100 competitors, of whom 400 were runners, including a team of jogging Elvis Presleys called the kings of the mountain.

"I'd never been up there before," said Jenny, 34, who clocked 1:45.4. "The last 5km was quite steep so you're not running so fast and get the chance to enjoy the view. It's beautiful up there."

Back in Launceston with their respective $650 first prizes, the Gillards, who have recently returned to Australia from the US, said the money would come in useful in setting up home.

Kim, who is still hopeful of landing a spot in the Australian Commonwealth Games marathon team, completed the first leg of the family double after a mid-race breakaway, and had an inkling that his wife was also going well.

Jenny, who is the sister of Australian Olympic marathon representative Kerryn McCann, only learned of her husband's triumph during a post-race interview.

The Gillards' 15-month-old son, Hunter, joined his parents' celebrations yesterday, having slept through the race while getting a lift to the summit with Kim's brother Rob, who is vice-president of Launceston Athletic Club.

"He slept all the way up and got out just as we were finishing," said Jenny.

The LAC team of Jan Lynch, Debbie Pauna-Reece, Liz Ellis and Susie Bennett won the women's social team category.

Complete article at the Tasmanian Examiner

Posted at 01:33     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, November 26, 2005 

Pittman, Clarke, under pressure

Only five years ago, Jana Pittman and Georgie Clarke were the youngest members of the Sydney 2000 Olympic athletics team.

Now, both are approaching the peak of their careers. As the pair inspected the MCG track yesterday, treading on the Mondo polyurethane surface for the first time, Pittman said her perspective had changed.

"We were the two babies then — now we're the two oldies," she said. "I went into Sydney to be part of the team. I'm going into this to be one of the top guys. It puts different pressures on you."

As a worker marked out the lanes on the red surface — markings that soon will be covered up for the Boxing Day Test, then ripped up for the resumption of football within weeks of the Commonwealth Games — Pittman also reflected on making her own impression on track and field.

"I shouldn't keep saying it, but I'm still chasing Debbie's (Debbie Flintoff-King's) record," she said. "So much work I've got to do over the next couple of years and they're the sort of things I've got to start thinking about — whether I'm going to fade away or leave a mark."

Pittman, who was just weeks short of her 18th birthday, was run out in the heats of the 400 metres hurdles at her first Olympics, but went on to win a 400-400 hurdles double at the world junior championships immediately after the Games. She won the hurdles at the previous Commonwealth Games in Manchester and then powered her way to a gold medal at the next year's world championships in Paris.

Injury checked her campaign for the Athens Olympic Games and wrecked it for this year's world championships in Helsinki.

Clarke, who had just turned 16 in Sydney, advanced a round of the 1500 metres in Sydney, then was run out in the semi-finals. Since then, she has battled all the afflictions that beset prodigious teenage female distance runners and, a mysterious recent blood infection aside, appears to have successfully come out the other side.

Clarke lives just across the road from the MCG and says she has watched the ground's transformation from a football field to an athletics stadium day-by-day.

"I've been watching the transition," she said. "It's been great. (The Games) are coming very quickly, 112 days away."

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 13:08     [Perma-Link]

It's a painful road for Lee Troop

Geelong's running man, Lee Troop, has been hit again with injury as he prepares for the Fukuoka Marathon in Japan in just two weeks time. Troop has a hip injury which saw him bedridden for three days two weeks ago and anxiously looking for remedies which would allow him to continue his preparation to qualify for the marathon at next year's Commonwealth Games.

An MRI scan in Melbourne tomorrow will determine his approach for the next two weeks before the race.

"I've had this hip injury for the past three or four weeks. I am counting down the hours getting the treatment," Troop said yesterday.

"Fukuoka is my only shot to make the marathon team for the Commonwealth. To be honest, I am panicking a bit. When you have been around as long as I have, missing out on a team, and a major team here in Australia, in your home state is a real worry. Ten days ago I thought I had a stress fracture in my back. I couldn't get out of bed for three days. I've had people working on me every day to get me up. We think we're 95 per cent there."

Troop raced in a 5000m race last Saturday night, running in constant pain and finishing more than a minute outside his best time.

The injury is not related to the problems which kept him out of competition for 12 months up until last month's Burnie 10. It is, however, a consequence from the severe injury he suffered during the Sydney Olympics marathon almost five years ago and has meant every training run and every race since has been an ordeal.

Troop has been seeing a new specialist and the two have been trying to address some of his physical deficiencies caused by his myriad injuries.

"Structurally, the body is right, apart from a couple of nerves and muscles in my hip being aggravated by this new bio set up," he said.

"Because I wasn't able to run for a year I have been trying to cram in a lot of training which hasn't been a great recipe for me leading into this marathon. I'm confident I can can get over these things and I can be close to 100 per cent. I don't see this challenge as any different to others I have had except I am sick of it. I want to run, just run and deliver my best performance without pain," he said.

Posted at 13:02     [Perma-Link]

O'Sullivan wants to run for Australia AND Ireland

Ireland’s Sonia O’Sullivan today confirmed she would like to run for Australia in next year’s Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

The 35-year-old, who lives in Melbourne, says she will never renounce her Irish citizenship and will continue to represent her native country as long she is racing at international level.

But having spent so much time Down Under with partner Nic Bideau and her young daughters Ciara and Sophie, she wants to run in an Aussie vest at the Games next March.

"Why not?" O’Sullivan asked. "Over the years I’ve made many friends down here and they keep asking me when will I run for them."

O’Sullivan, who became an Australian resident last year, today sent off her official application to become a full citizen of the country which, for almost a decade, has been her winter training residence.

"Both the girls have dual nationality so I see no reason, given I spend so much time here, to not also get an Australian passport," said O’Sullivan, who claimed her Olympic 5,000 metres silver medal in Sydney five years ago.

She has the backing of Athletics Australia, who have written a supporting letter for her passport application.

[Editors note: Athletics Australia have supported her application for Australian Citizenship, not to run internationally for two countries as the situation fits - more here].

"Now we’ll have to wait and see what happens," O’Sullivan added. "But I really do want to compete in the Commonwealth Games for Australia. I suppose it will make for plenty of discussion in Ireland and possibly some controversy," she admitted. "I might be a little out of date, but if Roy Keane can play for Manchester United why can’t I represent another country? Let’s face it I am in the middle of it (the Games) here, and I really want to be a part of it. I already feel involved because of my training partners who I have been doing some hard work with."

That was a reference to Australian duo Craig Mottram, the world 5,000m bronze medallist, and Benita Johnson, the former world cross-country champion.

"Australia has always given me a lot in the past and I genuinely want to give something back. It’s 30 degrees here tonight," she said of her Melbourne base, which she fondly remembers in particular for her halcyon year of 1998 when she won both the long and short course World Cross Country Championship titles before claiming the European Championship 5,000m and 10,000m gold medals.

If O’Sullivan was to be given citizenship she would have to qualify like other Games hopefuls at the Australian trials from February 2 to 4.

Complete article at Ireland Online

Posted at 12:19     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, November 25, 2005 

Moneghetti only very, very obsessed not absolutely, unbelievably obsessed

The last time Steve Moneghetti woke up and did not feel enthused about going for a run was five years ago. It was just after the Sydney Olympic Games, where he finished 10th in the marathon and then - supposedly - retired.

"I haven't had a day off running by choice since I was driving back home to Ballarat a week after the Olympics, and I just didn't feel like it," Moneghetti said. "It has become such a part of my life now that I don't feel complete if I don't go for a run during the day."

On all 1850 days since the Sydney Games, apart from a few short injury breaks, the 43-year-old has laced up his joggers and hit the road, often twice a day.

He doesn't use the same excuses as the rest of us. No time? A few weeks ago, he was spotted by some friends in the athletics community going for a run at 10pm because he had been too busy during the day, flying to Sydney and back for a speaking engagement.

Most weeks, Moneghetti, who got the bronze medal in the marathon at the 1997 world championships, runs more than 120km, though he points out that is half what he was running at the peak of his training.

"I am only very, very obsessed now rather than being absolutely, unbelievably obsessed," Moneghetti said.

This week his name popped up on the entry list for Australia's most prestigious 10,000m track event, the Zatopek Classic, to be run at the traditional home of distance running, Melbourne's Olympic Park, next Thursday evening.

The Zatopek, which heralds the start of the 2005-06 domestic athletics season, is one of two major qualifying opportunities for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in March. Does this mean Moneghetti is making a comeback for a place on the team?

"There is no chance of that at all," he said. "I am definitely not trying out for the Commonwealth Games, and even if I made the team I wouldn't be going. I am the mayor of the village, I am not allowed to be there."

Complete article at The Australian

Posted at 08:05     [Perma-Link]

Sonia O'Sullivan's Aussie Quest supported by AA

Irish distance running great Sonia O'Sullivan yesterday officially began her quest to run for Australia at next year's Commonwealth Games in March. O'Sullivan, 35, posted her application for Australian citizenship along with a letter of strong support from Athletics Australia.

She was made an Australian resident last year and now begins a nervous wait to find out if she can run for her adopted country. Her home country, The Republic of Ireland, does not belong to the Commonwealth, unlike Northern Ireland which will have a team in the Games.

"So I've never run in the Commonwealth Games. Having spent the last decade living here for half the year it would mean so much," said O'Sullivan, who has daughters Ciara, 6, and Sophie, 3, with partner Nic Bideau.

"I have the support of Danny Corcoran from Athletics Australia and hopefully when I go for my interview somebody will look favourably on me. It would mean so much to compete because most of my favourite places in the world are in Melbourne and we live so close to the MCG, in fact we can see it from home and hear the noises at night."

Irrespective of Games selection, O'Sullivan will press ahead for Australian citizenship and next year plans to run the London marathon in April, meaning a 5000m run at the Games in March would be the ideal build-up.

Ideally she hopes to be one of the many new Australians celebrating their citizenship on Australia Day next January, the one difference being she would then compete in the national athletic trials in February.

Complete article at The Herald Sun

Posted at 01:32     [Perma-Link]

Australians have nothing to fear from England's Track team

Olympic great Daley Thompson has predicted Australia's track and field team can match, or even surpass, England at the Commonwealth Games in March. It's a big confidence boost to our Games team and Athletics Australia, who were bracing for an English onslaught at the MCG.

"It's the worst I've ever seen track and field in England and there is no way I think we'll dominate in Melbourne. In fact, quite the opposite," England's Thompson told the Herald Sun from London. "It will be so interesting and seriously the tables are now turned on England compared to Manchester three years ago. This time we have to travel from our winter to your summer and we are a young, inexperienced team."

Thompson, who is coaching several English squad members in Spain, will travel to Melbourne in early February where he will also act as a consultant to Australian runner Tamsyn Lewis and the St Kilda Football Club.

Thompson defended eight-time national champion Lewis, who came under fire from Australian track and field coach Nic Bideau a fortnight ago. Bideau, who coaches distance runners Craig Mottram and Benita Johnson, labelled Lewis a "C-grade celebrity who runs". Thompson has told Lewis to let her performances do the talking.

"Nic is a very talented coach and is entitled to an opinion," Thompson said. "Tamsyn is a very good athlete and I think it was a bit harsh. But she needs to just go out and win or gain as many podium finishes as possible."

Thompson said Commonwealth Games hype was starting to build in the UK.

"(From) What I have seen, it may be the best Commonwealth Games of all time," he said. "Melbourne will do it fantastic and whether it be AFL footy, cricket, whatever, the fans will embrace the Games and there is no reason this can't be the best of the best."

Complete article at The Herald Sun

Posted at 00:56     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, November 24, 2005 

Kouros on target for Colac record

SIX-day race veteran Yiannis Kouros is on track to break the Colac race record he set in 1984 after averaging almost 200km per day by the halfway mark of racing. The Greek runner had clocked 617km by the 76-hour mark of the Cliff Young Australian Six Day Race yesterday but started to drop off his target late in the afternoon.

In 1984 he set the race record of 1023.2km, which is still well within sight.

Kouros is among 37 entrants, the largest field ever, completing the ultra-marathon event at Memorial Square, which is set to finish on Saturday. Race commentator Phil Essam said Kouros had slept for just two hours in the three-day period to achieve the total.

"Statistically he is looking good. I think he can achieve about 950km. That's a little bit below but things could change,'' Essam said. "He will go close, which is still a magnificent total. It's too hard to tell."

Trailing in second place is Vlastimil Dvoracek, from the Czech Republic, who has shuffled through 498km, followed by Japanese runner Katsuhiro Tanaka with 452 km.

Tasmanian Vlastik Skvaril was leading the Australian charge in eighth position, clocking up 383km. Earlier in the day he broke the 65 to 70-year-old record by covering more than 266km.

Victorian 83-year-old Ken Matchett smashed three world records for covering more than 162km in 48 hours. He also smashed the records for 100 miles by 13 hours and later the 200km by eight hours.

Essam said the crowd support had been encouraging for the runners, who had benefited from the cooler weather conditions. "The track is holding up."

Complete article at the Warrnambool Standard

Posted at 13:11     [Perma-Link]

McCann still dreams of Melbourne gold

Dreams of a second Commonwealth Games gold medal remain firmly intact for Coledale athlete Kerryn McCann, despite a rare sub-standard performance on Sunday in Japan.

McCann was brimming with confidence heading into her first Tokyo Marathon, after powering through a gruelling training campaign in the months leading up to the event.

But once the race started, it took all of a couple of minutes for the three-time Olympian to realise it was not going to be her day.

She laboured home in 14th place in 2hr39min, well outside the career-best 2:25:59 she produced five years ago in London.

"Within the first five ks, I wasn't feeling like I normally feel in a marathon," McCann said.

Complete article at The Illawarra Mercury

Posted at 10:29     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, November 22, 2005 

Lee Troop has labelled Collingwood's altitude training camp in Arizona a waste of time

Australian marathon runner Lee Troop has labelled Collingwood's altitude training camp in Arizona a waste of time.

Troop's broadside at the two-week pre-season camp at the Centre for High Altitude Training, 2100m above sea level, comes as Troop prepares for a Japanese marathon in a fortnight. While Troop supported the team-bonding aspect of an overseas trip, he said comments the Magpies would benefit from training at altitude were incorrect.

"For 10 days there's no effect, there's no benefit whatsoever in doing altitude training for that long," Troop said. "You've got to be there for at least 21 days to help increase the red blood cell (count) ... ideally, a month. I understand they have got an altitude chamber but there are so many variables that go into altitude training. So as far as them saying they're going to altitude and this is what elite athletes do, it was just a crock. If they were serious they would've been there for three weeks, if not more."

Thirty-five players plus staff joined the pre-season camp that included hikes to the 3850m summit of Mt Humphreys and a nine-hour trek at the Grand Canyon.

The players were based at Northern Arizona University, near the town of Flagstaff, where the oxygen content in the atmosphere was 15.5-16 per cent. At sea level, it is 20.9 per cent.

While the Magpies lauded the trip, Troop suggested the club had "more money than sense".

"I think it was a trendy thing to say: 'We're going to altitude training and we're going to get benefits from it'. There's no benefits in 10 days training. What baffles me is there is a place four hours by road called Falls Creek and there's a walk there called Mt Bogong and it's a three-hour epic to get to the top. It just bewilders me that people have got more money than sense. That they can jump on a plane and go over and do these things when Australia's best athletes in (Craig) Mottram and Benita Johnson, myself and Mona (Steve Moneghetti) and Deeks (Rob de Castella) and Ron Clarke have all used an altitude training base just up the road called Falls Creek."

Complete article at The Courier Mail

Posted at 07:42     [Perma-Link]

Elite Runners Wanted - $10,000 Prize Money

To celebrate the opening of the world’s tallest residential building – the Q1, located in Surfers Paradise, Triple M will nationally promote the Q1 Stair Run-Up and both Brisbane and Sydney will broadcast live from the event. The field will be restricted to just 20 runners.

Triple M – Q1 Stair Run-Up
Thursday, 1 December 2005
Gold Coast, Queensland

Details:
When: Thursday, 1 December 2005
Where: Q1 – Cnr Clifford St and Gold Coast Highway
Time: 7:00am
Format: 600m run around the block followed by 77 flights straight to the top
(1821 stairs)

Prize Money: 1st $5,000 (plus additional $5000 donated to the charity of your
choice, 2nd - $3,000, 3rd - $2,000. Overall prizes only

Anyone interested in taking part should contact:
Lisa Pringle: 0417 005 743
lisa@usmevents.com.au

Event managed by USM Events.

Posted at 01:16     [Perma-Link]

Australian wins race to the top

An Australian man has beaten 75 other contestants from around the world to win a race up the stairs of the world's tallest building, Taipei 101.

Paul Crake, 30, ran up 91 floors containing 2,046 steps in 10 minutes, 29 seconds.

Mr Crake, who has won a similar race up the Empire State Building five times, won US$5,920 (£3,446) in prize money.

The women's race was won by Austrian Andrea Mayr, who finished in 12 mins, 38 seconds and also won a $5,920 prize. Ms Mayr is also a previous winner of the Empire State Building race, according to the AFP news agency.

Austrian Rudolf Reitheiger, who beat Mr Crake in this year's Empire State Building race, came second in the men's competition, AFP said. Mr Crake and Ms Mayr missed out the $30,000 on offer for completing the gruelling race in under 10 or 12 minutes respectively.

A further 1,001 people took part in a so-called "self-challenging" race up the skyscraper, AFP said.

Taipei 101 is 508 metres (1,676 ft) tall and was finished in 2003, although Chinese developers have said Shanghai's World Financial Centre will be taller when completed in 2007.

"Tower-running" races take place up the tallest buildings and structures across the world. The Sears Tower in Chicago, the CN tower in Toronto and the Azrieli tower in Tel Aviv have all held recent events.

Runners also race up the longest staircase in the world - the service staircase for the Niesenbahn railway near Spiez, Switzerland, which has 11,674 steps.

An event for the long-distance stairway runner also takes place in Radebeul, Germany, where competitors run up 397 stairs 100 times to equal the height of Mt Everest.

Complete article at The BBC

Posted at 01:09     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, November 21, 2005 

2006 Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon

The 2006 Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon will be held on Sunday, May 21.

Entry to the 2006 event will open in early March. At that time you will be available to enter online or download an entry form from the race website site or contact the office and have an entry from sent to you. Please note there is no waiting list kept for this event.

At this time there is no information available regarding the entry fee.

We look forward to seeing you for the 15th Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon in May 2006.

You can contact event organisers on 1800 555 514 or halfmarathon@smh.com.au

Complete article at the race website

Posted at 13:41     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, November 20, 2005 

Rowan goes the distance

Louis Rowan gave himself something to think about — and his opposition something to worry about — with a decisive win in the 5000 metres at the national series meeting at Nunawading last night.

Rowan came to the track as a middle-distance runner dabbling in the longer distance. But a 56-second last lap took him to a comfortable win over better-credentialled distance athletes and suggested that his future may lie at the longer distances.

At the bell, it looked anyone's race, with a leading pack of seven all still in contention. Once Rowan made his move with 280 metres to go, however, there was no doubt about the winner. The rest were running for second.

Rowan won in 13 minutes 44.20 seconds, more than 20 metres clear of Mark Thompson and marathoner Scott Westcott. Rowan said he had intended to run the 1500 metres at the Zatopek meeting on December 1, but he now will have to consider running the 10,000 as well.

Sarah Jamieson, who won the women's 5000 metres, has no such dilemma. Her Commonwealth Games future lies at 1500, but she looked fit and strong in winning the longer event last night in a personal-best 15:29.88. The time bettered the B-qualifying standard for the Games, but Jamieson will make her season debut at 1500 at the Zatopek meeting and that will remain her focus through Melbourne 2006.

New Zealander Kate McIlroy showed some grit in sticking close to Jamieson through the first half of the race. She took second in 16:01.32, with Anna Thompson third in 16:07.60.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 12:19     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, November 17, 2005 

2006 Medibank Private Australia Day Fun Run

On Thursday 26 January next year runners from six cities across Australia will participate in The 2006 Medibank Private Australia Day Fun Run/Walk. The event, which is endorsed by the Australia Day organisations in each participating state, and sanctioned by Athletics Australia will be held simultaneously in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Canberra, Brisbane and Adelaide.

This is a fun filled day with something for everyone! Get together with your family or friends, enter a corporate team or your running club and make a morning out of it. The 8km starts at 8:00am and the 4km at 9:00am leaving plenty of time to go and join in other Australia Day Festivities.

Register online before Saturday 24 December for your chance to win a Schwinn Bicycles Family Starter Pack, a Sports Move Return Airfare to another capital city (conditions apply) or 2 x 3 month membership to Fitness First.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website

Posted at 12:02     [Perma-Link]

Clarion National Series Meet, Melbourne

Australia’s top distance runners will be assembling in Melbourne on Saturday evening for the Clarion National Series Meet.

Strong fields will contest both the men’s and women’s 5000m events, with leading distance coach Bruce Scriven expecting a number of athletes to record Commonwealth Games qualifying performances.

"It’s the first real opportunity to run a 5000m for the season and the fields are exceptionally strong. There is no doubt that a number of these athletes will be competing in the Commonwealth Games," Scriven said.

In the men’s 5000m, Canberra based runner Martin Dent presents as the form athlete, fresh from victories in the Asics 5km Bolt and the Skilled Burnie 10km. He will be challenged by Victorian Institute of Sport athletes Lee Troop, Mark Tucker and Richard Jeremiah, New South Welshman Scott Westcott and emerging talents Clint Perrett and Collis Birmingham.

Complete article at the Athletics Australia website

Posted at 12:01     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, November 14, 2005 

Stawell to host Australia’s richest women’s Gift

The Stawell Easter Carnival will now boast the richest women’s footrace in Australia, the Minister for State and Regional Development, John Brumby, announced today.

The investment in the icon event by Regional Development Victoria, through the ‘Make it Happen in Provincial Victoria’ campaign, will ensure even greater interest in the 125th running of the Australia Post Stawell Gift from 15 to 17 April 2006.

The Stawell Carnival already boasts Australia richest men’s sprint – the Stawell Gift.

The Victoria-wide ‘Make it Happen in Provincial Victoria’ campaign promotes the wonderful job, lifestyle and investment opportunities available outside the metropolitan area.

“The Stawell Easter Carnival has been an integral part of Victoria’s sporting life since 1878 and is now becoming even more recognised throughout the World as the event grows in stature,” Mr Brumby said.

“The Stawell Easter Carnival has stood the test of time as a legendary event. The Victorian Government is proud to be associated with such a magnificent part of our culture and the people who make it happen on and off the running track,” Mr Brumby said.

The Women’s Gift has been won by athletes of very different pedigrees since its inception in 1989 but the boost in prize money to $10,000 from the previous amount of $2000 is sure to attract even more of Australia’s best women sprinters and possibly some overseas stars, who may now stay on in Victoria after the Commonwealth Games.

Olympian Tamsyn Lewis and this year’s victor, Alison Fairweather, training partner of dual Stawell Gift champion, Joshua Ross, are among the previous winners and both are excited about the news of the funding boost. Lewis won the event in 2003 and has been competing at Stawell since 1994.

“This is a massive boost to the women’s events at Stawell. I always have Stawell in my diary and I can’t wait until next year to get the chance to run in Australia’s richest women’s race,” Tamsyn Lewis said.

Complete article at Sports Australia.com

Posted at 00:18     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, November 13, 2005 

Kidney transplantee trains for Melbourne Marathon

A kidney transplant in March has left Hamilton man Brendon Walsh feeling fantastic so fantastic he's training for a marathon.

What's more, Toni-Anne Lee, the friend who donated the kidney, plans to cross the finishing line with him when they compete at the Melbourne Marathon in October next year.

The pair want to emphasise just how healthy both recipients and donors can become, and how good life can get after a transplant. They also want to encourage donors. They have embarked on a 52-week training programme to prepare themselves.

Mr Walsh, 34, has had kidney troubles since he was 15. About four years ago he had to go on dialysis four times a day and realised a transplant would be necessary. Suddenly Ms Lee, a workmate at the time, offered to help.

"It wasn't a hard decision," said Ms Lee, 28. "We were sitting at traffic lights in the car. We compared blood types and I said, `if you want one of mine you can have it'. I don't think he took it seriously."

From then it was a waiting game before she began extensive tests to see if she was a suitable donor. Despite the wait and a false start due to a booking problem in Auckland, she never wavered. "She's a very giving person," said Mr Walsh, and the pair have become firm friends.

Mr Walsh, now a farming business consultant, said the marathon seemed like the best way to get their message across.

"We can say all this stuff, but unless we can back it up with actions what's the point? Everyone goes through challenges; they're always going to happen but it's how you deal with them that matters."

If the period around the transplant wasn't busy enough, Mr Walsh's wife, Kara, gave birth to son Finlay four weeks later.

Mr Walsh said he hadn't felt so good for years. Ms Lee said although she felt no different, she was now more conscious of what she does for her health.

Organ Donation New Zealand co-ordinator Janice Langlands said the pair's actions emphasised how good the quality of life could be for people who'd had transplants.

Complete article at Stuff NZ

Posted at 23:25     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, November 12, 2005 

Angry Tamsyn tells critical coach to Nic off

Eight-time national champion Tamsyn Lewis last night returned fire after being labelled a "nobody" and a "C-grade celebrity who runs" by Cathy Freeman's former coach.

Nic Bideau, who coaches distance stars Craig Mottram and Benita Johnson, launched a scathing attack on Lewis and the direction of track and field in Australia in yesterday's Herald Sun. Bideau slammed Lewis's poor results overseas, saying her performances paled compared to those of Mottram and Johnson.

"If they came from someone like Seb Coe or Daley Thompson or someone I respected, then Nic's comments would have hurt me," Lewis said. "Aren't we all about promoting the sport or is Nic just interested in personal attacks on other Australian athletes? To me, that doesn't make much sense when we all should be one heading towards the Games."

Lewis says Bideau is more interested in self-promotion and pushing up his own athletes in what she labelled a publicity stunt.

"I wouldn't have thought this was the way to promote your athletes," she said. "Craig and Benita don't need that sort of press as they are both world-class performers. I have acknowledged time and time again in my roles in the media (that) both have had outstanding years, and what Craig did at the world championships in winning bronze in the 5000m was awesome for our sport."

It's believed several key decision makers in the sport at the top level expressed their disappointment at Bideau's criticism of Lewis.

The 27-year-old is one of the faces of the Games and is regarded as one of the most supportive players in Athletics Australia's quest to attract young talent to the sport.

"I'm not going to get down over Nic's comments and I'll just keep on training and get myself as best prepared as I can for the Games," Lewis said. "We need to promote our sport and I'm extremely passionate about supporting kids who are aspiring athletes."

Complete article at The Herald Sun

Posted at 10:56     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, November 11, 2005 

Games chiefs expected to drop baton plans in No-Rorts deal

Three of Australia's most senior Commonwealth Games officials are expected to withdraw from the Queens' Baton Relay, after tensions overflowed at board level of the Melbourne 2006 corporation.

Melbourne 2006 chairman Ron Walker reacted angrily yesterday to revelations in The Age that Sam Coffa and Perry Crosswhite — the two most senior officials of the Australian Commonwealth Games Association — would carry the baton on its journey around Australia.

A third board member of the Melbourne 2006 corporation, former cyclist Peter Bartels, is also set to be removed from the relay, after his participation was revealed.

"This should not be happening," said Mr Walker, who sits with Mr Crosswhite, Mr Coffa and Mr Bartels on the board of the Melbourne 2006 corporation. "We are leading by example on this." Mr Walker will encourage the Melbourne 2006 board to demand the removal of the three officials from the relay.

His stance is understood to have the backing of state and federal governments, who say there was an agreement with Games organisers that politicians and officials would remain out of the relay.

Such an agreement was said to have been adopted to avoid controversies such as the one that hit the Sydney 2000 Olympic Torch relay, when the daughter of Olympic official Kevan Gosper was given relay honours.

Mr Crosswhite's wife, Janice, was also revealed in The Age to be running a relay leg, but her place appears safer than the three officials, as she was selected through the public nomination process for her commitment to sports volunteering.

The three board members, however, were selected via an allocation of 350 relay places to the Australian Commonwealth Games Association — the organisation controlled by Mr Coffa and Mr Crosswhite. Mr Crosswhite said he was not aware of any agreement that board members should not run in the relay. "There was never any instruction that if you were a board member you shouldn't be nominated," he said.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 12:50     [Perma-Link]

Nic Bideau knows athletics better than most, and he says the future isn't rosy

Nic Bideau, Australia's most successful athletics coach of the past decade, said yesterday track and field had fallen badly behind other sports and warned not to expect a big gold tally from the MCG in March.

Bideau, who coaches two of Australia's genuine Commonwealth Games track gold medal hopes in Craig Mottram and Benita Johnson, claimed the structures were lacking to take athletes all the way.

He pointed to sports such as cricket, soccer and Australian rules as having created pathways to success that robbed athletics of budding stars.

And he nominated 400m-800m runner Tamsyn Lewis as being symbolic of the problems facing Australian athletes trying to make it on the world stage.

"Structures can be changed. In soccer the A-League is very different from the national league. You look at athletics and they just haven't progressed," Bideau said. "It has to be made more attractive to people. The basic element of any sport is competition and nothing is more competitive than two people running down the track with each other. By chance someone like me might come along and help you, take you overseas where I've got the contacts, but that is a one-off.

"In cricket there is a pathway where you go to the academy, get in the state team, get a state contract, get in the Test team and get a Cricket Australia contract. Look at someone like Tamsyn (Lewis). I've never seen her win a race overseas whereas Benita (Johnson) won eight last year and Mottram 10. In that league she's a nobody, a C-Grade celebrity who runs, but if she really wanted to do it and there was the right pathway she could because she is very talented."

Bideau claims Athletics Australia in the past has tried to do too much, rather than finding the appropriate people for appropriate roles.

His critics will say he's pushing himself but Bideau has been swatting critics for much of the past 15 years since rising to fame as Cathy Freeman's coach and former partner, and doesn't outwardly show any signs of caring.

"Athletics Australia should obviously administer the sport, put on events, organise programs and direct the good athletes to people who know what they're doing, someone like (athletics promoter) Maurie Plant," he said. "The athletes need a structure for them to travel and compete and get better. Athletics Australia want to do it themselves and they shouldn't, because they can't. They should establish relationships with those who can do it. Maurie Plant, believe it or not, isn't involved in the Commonwealth Games in any form at this stage."

Bideau met with recently appointed Athletics Australia board member Eddie McGuire on Tuesday to exchange ideas. For Bideau it was an eye-opener, in which McGuire highlighted the vast financial challenges ahead for athletics.

"He sees me as someone who has been around the sport and knows how to get people to win races. I appreciated speaking with him. It's not everyday you get someone like him with such a successful financial record, he can find money. As he told me, athletics gets $6 million to take on China and the USA, he's got $37 million to take on the Western Bulldogs. What's going on?"

Complete article at The Herald Sun

Posted at 12:34     [Perma-Link]

Runner knocked down & killed

Patricia Foell was about a mile from her home, on a run in the early-morning darkness Wednesday, when she was struck and killed by a car.

An avid amateur runner, Foell clocked some of the fastest 5k, 10k and marathon times for her age group in the Atlanta area.

Patricia Foell, 43, was an award-winning amateur runner and took part in more than 15 marathons.

News of her death spread quickly among the metro area's competitive runners, as well as ordinary joggers who worry about their safety along the traffic-clogged streets and roads of Atlanta.

"I think everybody in Atlanta's running community kind of knew who she was, or ran with her, or ran against her as the case might be," said Mike Cosentino, owner of Big Peach Running Co. "It really hits home."

Foell, 43, apparently was trying to cross North Decatur Road near Springdale Road shortly before 6 a.m. when she was hit by a westbound Toyota Camry, said DeKalb County police spokesman Cory Hughes.

Hughes said investigators were still trying to determine whether Foell was in the marked crosswalk when she was struck. The driver stopped and is cooperating with police, Hughes said, adding that no charges have been filed. Officials did not release the woman's name Wednesday.

Foell was not wearing a reflective vest, and police do not believe the driver was speeding, Hughes said. Foell also wasn't carrying any identification, which delayed efforts to find her relatives.

Dr. Mark Rosenberg was driving from his nearby home to a gym when he came upon the accident scene.

"It was pitch black, and there was a body lying in the road and there was someone hunched over the body," said Rosenberg, a former director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Rosenberg said Foell still had a pulse when he arrived but had suffered a "horrendous brain injury." He described the driver as distraught and said she told bystanders that she was headed to a Bible study. Foell, the mother of two elementary school children, was a member of the Women's Competitive Team of the Atlanta Track Club.

Julia Emmons, executive director of the club, said Foell was an active member of the organization for years but had really blossomed as a runner in her 40s, winning numerous awards in her age group. "She was on the awards stand almost every week," Emmons said. "She was immensely popular and a wonderful competitor and a wonderful person."

Earlier this year, Foell won the women's master's division at the Charles Harris Run for Leukemia 10K race in Tucker with a time of 39:29. She also placed first in her division at the 2004 Chattahoochee Road Runners 10K.

Foell ran her first 26.2-mile race, the New York City Marathon, in 1990 and met her future husband, Charles, when she went back to run the race again the next year. She competed in more than 15 marathons.

With dozens of running groups in the Atlanta area and plenty of runners who go it alone, it's hard to say how many people in the metro area run regularly, or how many find themselves vying with vehicles for space on the pavement. The Atlanta Track Club, one of the biggest running organizations in the United States, claims roughly 10,000 members.

Emmons preaches the basics of running safety, though she knows that many people don't always follow the rules of running "defensively." In general, runners should stay on sidewalks. If they have to run in the roadway, Emmons and other experts say they should always run facing traffic so they can see what's coming, use crosswalks, assume that vehicles can't see them and wear reflective vests when running in
darkness.

Hughes, the police spokesman, also suggested that anyone running with a cellphone enter an emergency number into the phone's speed dialer under the acronym "ICE" for "in case of emergency."

"More and more emergency personnel are going to the phone" in search of family contact information, Hughes said.

Rosenberg would like to see community discussion of a range of solutions, from passing a law that would require runners to wear vests when it's dark to redesigning roads and intersections and even improving sidewalks so that more runners will use them.

Marci Maurer-Nunnery agrees. Maurer-Nunnery, who ran out of her house to help when she heard the driver screaming Wednesday morning, said too many cars drive too fast along North Decatur Road. "The story to me is Atlanta is as un-pedestrian-friendly as you can get," she said.

Complete article at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Posted at 12:15     [Perma-Link]

Queen of the mountain to fight for Point to Pinancle title

Reaching great heights seems to run in Emma Weitnauer's family. Her cousin is Mary Donaldson -- better known as Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. But Mrs Weitnauer's success comes from athletic prowess.

She was last year's Point to Pinnacle women's race winner and is going back for another dose of the 21.4km Wrest Point to Mt Wellington challenge this year.

Victory came as quite a surprise for the West Moonah mum because she had been ill just two days before the event. It was her first big race since the birth of daughter Cariad two years earlier. "It was the first time I'd done it, so it was quite an unexpected win," the 30-year-old said. "I went in it just for the challenge and felt good half way up so I went for it. My daughter turned two and we had her birthday party on the same day (as the race), so I ran faster so I could get back for that."

The Point to Pinnacle will be held on November 27, and Mrs Weitnauer -- who did the run leg of the Freycinet Challenge last weekend -- will be out to improve on her time last year of 1hr 58min 18sec.

Mrs Weitnauer, who has done the gruelling Hawaiian Ironman twice and five ironman triathlons in total, says almost anyone can complete the event and benefit from the experience.

"Just making it to the top is really what it's all about," she said. "Whether you walk, jog slowly or try to do your best time, it totally doesn't matter. How you feel when you get across the line is great, that sense of satisfaction and achievement. I'd encourage everyone to do it."

Entries close on November 26, with the event to be limited to 1200 participants.

Event manager Alan Rider said competitors should not drag their feet because entries were already up on previous years.

Complete article at The Tasmanian Mercury

Posted at 07:21     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, November 10, 2005 

Lee Troop's baton anger

Olympic marathoner Lee Troop has threatened to snub the Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton Relay after being overlooked for the Geelong leg of the tour.

Troop, who has competed in two Commonwealth Games and two Olympic Games, said he was shattered when told he had not been included in the baton runners for his home town and had instead been allotted a spot in Ocean Grove. The proud Geelong runner is now contemplating withdrawing from the relay to instead compete in a lead-up race to the March Games in Japan.

"It's ridiculous. I'm nearing the end of my career, this could be my last Commonwealth Games and it just would have been great for me to be able to be a part of the relay in Geelong," Troop said. "It's nothing against Ocean Grove, but Geelong is my home town and that's where I was hoping to run. I might just end up cancelling my spot and giving it to someone from Ocean Grove who may really live for that moment and get a lot of excitement from it."

Troop contacted Melbourne 2006, organiser of the relay, to voice his disappointment but was told the only vacant spots for baton runners remaining were in Ocean Grove, Torquay, Warrnambool or outback Queensland.

While he understands the importance of recognising volunteers and leaders in the Geelong community, he said he was disappointed not to get the chance to share his excitement of competing at the Games with the people who have supported him throughout his career.

"It is about volunteers and people who have done a lot for the community and it's a great showcase for people like that, but the Games are about the athletes, too," Troop said. "There's a lot of pride going into the Commonwealth Games but they've pretty much given the athletes the leftovers. I would have loved to run through the streets of Geelong."

A spokesperson for Melbourne 2006 said Troop had been selected as one of 350 athletes to take part by the Commonwealth Games Association and that he had been slotted in to a relay leg as close to Geelong as possible.

The baton will arrive in Geelong on March 3, day 38 of its 55-day journey around the country.

Complete article at Geelong Info

Posted at 10:42     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, November 09, 2005 

JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge attracts 7,000

Around 7,000 of Sydney’s corporate high flyers today headed to Centennial Park for the largest global corporate team road race in the world - the sixth annual JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge in Sydney.

Patrick Rafter, former world number one Tennis Player, took up the Challenge and competed in this 5.6km run again, which raised $30,000 for his charity, the Patrick Rafter Cherish the Children Foundation.

Robert Priestley, Senior Country Officer for JPMorgan Australia said, “The JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge is now truly a global event - it runs in 15 different locations across six countries and five continents. Here in Sydney we’re celebrating our sixth anniversary and it is one of the fastest growing races in the entire Series, growing 20 per cent year-on-year.

“As a global organisation, JPMorgan is committed to promoting health, fitness and teamwork within our firm and the wider business community through the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge.

“JPMorgan is delighted to have had Patrick Rafter back on board this year - he is an outstanding role model and sporting champion. This is the third consecutive year our event has raised funds for his very worthy charity, the Patrick Rafter Cherish the Children Foundation,” said Mr Priestley.

“The JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge is a great team event to get involved in and thanks to the huge corporate participation the event has captured, it keeps getting bigger and better every year,” said Patrick Rafter.

“The Patrick Rafter Cherish the Children Foundation is honoured to again receive the proceeds for this event. In the two years we’ve been involved, The JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge has raised in excess of $60,000 to benefit Australia’s most disadvantaged children,” said Mr Rafter.

Awards were presented to Charlie Low from McGrathNicol + Partners, Suzy Walsham from Symantec, Russell Brennan from GE Commercial Finance and Liz Burrows from Blackmores - the first man, woman, most senior male executive and most senior female executive, respectively. The first place male, female and mixed teams once finalized will be invited to compete in the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championship, which will be held in October 2006 in New York City.

For further information on the global JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series visit www.jpmorganchasecc.com.

Media Contacts:
Eugénie Perks, JPMorgan
(02) 9220 3125
eugenie.a.perks@jpmorgan.com

Nicola Andrews, Sporting Spectrum
(02) 9431 9118
nandrews@sportingspectrum.com.au

Posted at 20:59     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, November 07, 2005 

Adventure racing season kicks off in Canberra

Fun, but tough. That's how Julian Dent described the 2hr 45min journey he took through the streets of Belconnen, across grasslands and over Lake Ginninderra yesterday. Setting out at 9am, Dent, 20, who was fourth in the world junior orienteering championships this year, and his teammates Glenn Meyer, 27, and David Meyer, 20, took line honours in Canberra's first adventure race of the season.

About 200 people competed in the race, running, cycling and kayaking close to 30km. The course took the athletes past Hawker and beyond Holt, but didn't allow much time for them to appreciate the views out to the Brindabellas.

However, they were given the opportunity to touch up on their tenpin bowling skills. Early in the race they were given a surprise leg in which they had to produce a strike or spare before getting points and moving on. In the past this leg has included golf, a maze and even the Jamison waterslide.

Dent said yesterday's course was hard, but having all the members of the Ultimax Stingers with a background in orienteering helped. Fellow Canberran David Meyer is in the Australian Orienteering Team.

"We're all pretty strong orienteers so we know how to navigate. [We planned to] get a bit of time on the others on those legs, but otherwise we just wanted to try to hold on in the bike and kayaking," he said.

Dent, competing in his first adventure race, found the paddling one of the toughest aspects of the event. "The whole course was pretty tough. The kayaking was very tough because that was new to me."

World mountain running champion Emma Murray, of Canberra, led her team to victory in the women's category.

Complete article at The Canberra Times

Posted at 13:40     [Perma-Link]

Sport champs choose Cathy Freeman

Cathy Freeman's 400m gold medal at the Sydney Olympics remains Australia's greatest sporting triumph, according to the nation's sporting heroes.

The Herald Sun asked sports stars and the public to choose between seven classic sporting moments to find our greatest glory ever.
The choices were: Makybe Diva's third Melbourne Cup, the 1983 America's Cup win, Freeman's 400m triumph in Sydney, Phar Lap's 1930 Melbourne Cup, Lionel Rose's world title win over Fighting Harada, the Brisbane Lions' third premiership and Kieren Perkins' 1500m win at the Atlanta Olympics.

Herald Sun readers bucked the trend, with the 1983 America's Cup win voted as Australia's greatest sporting win in an internet poll.

Almost a third voted for the America's Cup, with Makybe Diva's third Melbourne Cup and Perkins' win neck-and-neck for second place. Freeman's win attracted 13 per cent of votes.

In yesterday's Herald Sun Voteline, 52.6 per cent of readers answered yes when asked if the Diva's third Cup win was our greatest sporting moment.

Olympian Tamsyn Lewis said yesterday Freeman's win was our top moment because track and field was an international sport.

"What she achieved with the pressure of the country on her shoulders in a home Olympics was amazing," she said.

Champion jockey Damien Oliver was also in Freeman's corner. "I was there and it was amazing," he said. "We haven't done a lot in athletics and it was a magnificent event."

Former footballer Sam Newman said, "Without a doubt Cathy Freeman. Nothing comes close."

Tennis champ Todd Woodbridge voted for Freeman "because of the expectation upon her -- it was massive".

Basketballer Andrew Gaze also chose Freeman because "the pressure she was under and the environment she was in made for a pretty enormous result". But Gaze placed Kieren Perkins' 1500m victory at the Atlanta Olympics a close second. "He was crook when he was qualifying and he only just qualified. He came from nowhere. Everyone had written him off," he said.

Marathon swimmer Tammy van Wisse rated Perkins No. 1. "Nobody thought he would come back. Nobody thought he had a chance," she said. "He'd been written off the books. He was in lane eight. It was the last thing on anyone's mind. It was an amazing comeback for him to do that."

Brownlow winner Chris Judd also backed Perkins. "There was a huge amount of pressure on him," he said.

Marathon runner Steve Moneghetti chose Freeman's win as No. 1, followed by the America's Cup. "The pressure of the nation was on (Freeman). To pull it off in those circumstances is an enormous feat," he said.

Complete article at The Herald Sun

Posted at 12:45     [Perma-Link]

Road runner on track for Games qualifier

Canberra runner Martin Dent is confident he can qualify for next year's Commonwealth Games following his win in the Noosa Bolt on Saturday. Dent beat a class field that included Olympians Steve Moneghetti and Lee Troop to take out the 5km road race, just three weeks before he attempts to run a Commonwealth Games 10km qualifying time.

The 27-year-old will now race in several low-key track events in preparation for the Zatopek Classic in Melbourne on December 1, an event which will double as a Commonwealth Games qualifier.

Dent, the first Australian home in Sydney's City to Surf in August, said the win had renewed his confidence following a disappointing track run last week.

"I've been winning lots of other races on the road and I've been in pretty good form but I had a bit of an ordinary run on the track last week so I was concerned I might have lost some form," he said. "To reconfirm that I'm still running well is great and to win with a bit of a sprint finish was good. I'm not usually too good at them."

Dent will aim for a B qualifying time of 28min 25sec at the Zatopek Classic, with an A qualifier of 28:05 not out of reach. The former marathon runner said he was in top form and confident of beating his previous track personal best of 29:17.

"I've only raced two 10km [races] on the track ever, I've been running road races lately but hopefully I can put it together on the track in a few weeks," he said. "Over 10,000m it's pretty much the same, the track is a bit faster usually because it's dead flat and you can usually run in a pack."

His main competition is expected to come from Olympian Craig Mottram and fellow Canberran Brett Cartwright, but Dent said he was in with a good chance. "I'm pretty confident now, I've been racing as well as anyone over the distance. Doing the time will be as tough as anything but I think I'm in shape to get close to it."

Complete article at The Canberra Times

Posted at 12:35     [Perma-Link]

Old guard lured back by Melbourne Games

The prospect of competing at a home Commonwealth Games is flushing track and field athletes out of retirement. When Athletics Australia asked people to register for selection in the team for the Games in Melbourne in March, more than 500 athletes applied.

And a few of the names were blasts from the past, including sprinters Tania Van Heer-Murphy, Nova Batman (nee Peris) and pole vaulter Viktor Chistiakov.

Van Heer-Murphy and Batman, a Commonwealth Games 200m medallist who is married to sprinter Daniel Batman, have not competed on the circuit for almost five years.

The athletics season begins next month, with a new two-tier competition structure of smaller National Series meets and the elite Telstra A Series events, which will give athletes more opportunity to meet qualifying marks.

The final selection trials will be held in Sydney in early February. David Culbert, the former long jumper and chairman of selectors for AA, said the Commonwealth Games were "mentally attainable" for many Australian athletes.

"A number of them don't come out in a world championships or Olympic year, but it doesn't frighten them to go to the Commonwealth Games," Culbert said.

Complete article at The Australian

Posted at 10:44     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, November 06, 2005 

Sonia O' Sullivan's Irish eyes spy green and gold

As long as the paperwork is completed on time, champion runner Sonia O'Sullivan remains on track to represent the two countries closest to her heart in successive weeks next year.

O'Sullivan, who last year was named "the greatest living Irish sportsperson", is applying for Australian citizenship. Her case to become a dual passport-holder is a compelling one. O'Sullivan's partner and coach Nick Bideau is Australian, as are their two daughters. She spends half of every year living and training in Australia.

And thanks to the rules governing the Commonwealth Games, if the passport arrives on time she could represent Australia on the track at the MCG in March and run for Ireland the following week at the world cross-country championships in Japan.

"I did loads of paperwork last year and I finally got residency in Australia, which became activated when I came back to Australia last week," O'Sullivan said. "But I'm a bit hopeless with the office work so I've got to get my act together and go back and fill in another form this week.

"As long as I send it in and get it signed off I'll have an Australian passport and then I can really start thinking about it. If it fits in and it was going to be sitting happy with everyone both here and in Ireland, I'd be happy to do it because I've spent a lot of the last 10 years in Australia. One of my daughters, Sophie, was born in Australia. The other one, Ciara, is Australian as well, so I've got a lot of connections here and it would be great to give back a little bit to a country that's given me a lot. And then I could run for Ireland the following week at the world cross-country in Japan. That would be perfect."

If she were to get the Australian passport, the 5000 metres shapes as the most likely event in which O'Sullivan would don the green and gold at the Commonwealth Games.No Australian has bettered the A qualifying standard of 15 minutes, 20 seconds.

Complete article at The SMH

Posted at 11:06     [Perma-Link]

Australians on Track For Comm Games At Noosa

Australia’s Sarah Jamieson tonight confirmed she is on track to secure a medal at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne next year. The current National 1500m champion beat home a world class field to claim her first Asics Bolt win.

Canberra based Michael Dent claimed his first Asics Bolt win out sprinting former track champion Peter Nowill who finished third here last year.

After injury ruled out his marathon aspirations Dent is now focussed on the 10km, his preferred distance and the Steeplechase.

With the addition of the Aussie Football Legends Triathlon to the Super Saturday of sport in Noosa the Asics Bolt was run at 6:30pm and consequently much cooler conditions than the athletes have become accustomed too.

The men’s race was no surprise to lead group of six athletes make a break after completing the first lap of four. Crowd favourite Steve Moneghetti a former Bolt winner was among them along with defending champion Mark Tucker, marathon specialist’s Lee Troop and Scott Westcott, former Australian track champions Alastair Stevenson and Nowill.

The cooler conditions saw the pace on from the start which was a telling factor in the second half of the 5km, especially for the marathon men.

In the final stages of the event it was evident it would come down to a final sprint and they didn’t disappoint the huge crowd.

Dent just managing to breast the tape ahead of Nowill with Westcott holding out a fast finishing Collis Birmingham. "I can’t believe I won that, it’s given me a real confidence boost and great idea of where I’m at with my form," said Dent.

Dent will compete in the Zatopek 10000m race early next month in the hope of achieving an A qualifying time and spot in the Commonwealth Games team.

The women’s field was truly world class with Sydney Olympic 5000m silver medallist, Sonia O’Sullivan, last year’s winner Eloise Welling, Australia's Commonwealth marathon champion Kerry McCann and 1500m Australian representative for the Commonwealth Games Sarah Jamieson.

The women got away to a very quick start in the early stages which may have been tactical from Jamieson to try and make an early break. After the first lap a small group remained with the rest of the field strung out.

The ensuing laps saw Jamieson, McCann and O’Sullivan break from the rest and with just one lap remaining it was just a matter of the medal colour for the trio.

In the end it was Jamieson’s superior turn of speed that secured the win from McCann and O’Sullivan. Jamieson has been training here in Noosa with a squad and running in the national park clocking up long, strong sessions daily.

For Jamieson it will be full steam ahead in preparation for Commonwealth Games which includes a four week altitude camp. "I knew with 100m to go that I had Kerryn covered and really happy to come away with a win against such great talent."

Jamieson has only ever managed a third place at the Asics Bolt previously.

Results

Male
1. Martin Dent Macquarie 14:04
2. Peter Nowill Kurwongbah 14:05
3. Scott Westcott Merewether 14:09
4. Collis Birmingham Ballarat 14:10
5. Mark Tucker Newcomb 14:12

Female
1. Sarah Jamieson Moonee Ponds 15:51
2. Kerryn McCann Coledale 15:56
3. Sonia O’Sullivan Richmond 16:10
4. Suzy Walsham Waverton 16:25
5. Emily Morris Randwick 16:34

For further information or to arrange interviews or photographs contact Lisa Pringle on 0417 005 743 lisa@usmevents.com.au or visit www.usmevents.com.au

Posted at 10:22     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, November 02, 2005 

Mottram ponders Games double chance

Distance running star Craig Mottram is in no rush to decide how, or if, he will double up at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

After claiming an historic bronze medal in the 5,000m at the world championships earlier this year, the spotlight will shine brightly on Mottram in March.

His Games campaign takes a major step up in intensity on Tuesday when he moves to his favoured summer training base at Falls Creek in the Victorian high country.

There, far from the distractions that come with being one of the few genuine stars in Australian athletics, Mottram and coach Nick Bideau will decide in the next three months whether to add the 1,500m or the 10,000m to his Games program alongside the 5,000m.

"The main focus at the moment is just to get fit, get away, get out of Melbourne," the 25-year-old said.

"The decision will probably come more to me rather than me having to make it.

"We'll do something to give us an indication, I'll do some 400s.

"If I can run it in 51 (seconds) comfortably, we'll be alright and I'll consider the 1,500m.

Complete article at the Sydney Morning Herald

Posted at 08:59     [Perma-Link]


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