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 Saturday, April 15, 2006 

See our World Champs Bronze Medal Girls on SBS

See all the highlights of the 34th IAAF World Cross Country Championships from Fukuoka Japan on SBS, April 16 at 11.00am.

Don't miss the Australia's bronze medal winning performance, as well as great runs by Craig Mottram, Benita Johnson and the rest of the team.

Complete article at Athletics Australia

Posted at 14:15     [Perma-Link]

Jogger in park flashpoint

Shannon McRae and Peter Mickelburough


A FEMALE jogger was threatened by an angry protester wielding a large stick as Aboriginal activists declared a ban on uninvited visitors to their "sacred fire" in Kings Domain.

The ugly confrontation drew Federal Government heavyweight Peter Costello into the controversy, calling for calm and urging protesters to respect the rights of others in a public park.

Police were called after jogger Marcia Griffin was verbally attacked by protester Robert Corowa yesterday morning.

He pointed a stick at her and shouted "Get off our land" after Ms Griffin diverted from her daily run to jog past the protesters' fire.

Ms Griffin, a former Telstra Businesswoman of the Year and a successful author, said she was terrified she would be bashed with the stick.

She said security guards, hired by the Melbourne City Council at a reported cost of $30,000 a week to patrol the site, did nothing to help.

"He was yelling very loudly, poking the stick towards my chest. It was very frightening . . . I felt very scared; he was extremely aggressive.

"I'm running around the Tan, and I find myself being intimidated by this man with this huge branch. I couldn't keep jogging because he had this thing pointed right at my chest."

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 14:12     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, April 14, 2006 

Run for the Kids: Cheque this out


THE kids collected yesterday when the Good Friday Appeal received money raised by the Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids.

Herald and Weekly Times managing director Julian Clarke and CityLink's manager of media and stakeholder relations, Jean Ker Walsh, presented a cheque for $406,969.70 to Good Friday Appeal executive director Christine Unsworth.

Despite this being the first year of the fun run it was an outstanding success, with the 20,000 places sold out early.

Mr Clarke said both the Herald and Weekly Times and CityLink were prepared to go the distance to support the Good Friday Appeal, and urged the public to keep the Sunday before Good Friday free for the event every year.

"We think we've created something that is of great appeal to Melburnians and Victorians, and thrilled that CityLink is with us for the long haul," Mr Clarke said...

Race organisers yesterday said the results of up to 500 entrants failed to register and were not published in Tuesday's Herald Sun.

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 13:02     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, April 13, 2006 

Run for the Kids a huge success


A STAGGERING $406,969.70 was raised by last weekend's Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids -- and next year's run is likely to earn even more money for the Royal Children's Hospital.

Herald and Weekly Times managing director Julian Clarke said there had been no better way to celebrate the Good Friday Appeal's 75th anniversary.

"To have 20,000 register for the run was beyond our wildest dreams," he said.

"Our only regret is that we had to knock back an estimated 10,000 people."

Mr Clarke hoped next year's event would be an even greater success.

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 08:38     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, April 12, 2006 

Ross chasing historic Stawell Gift

Josh Ross is pumped at the prospect of claiming his own piece of Australian athletics history at the Stawell Gift this weekend.

Fully recovered from the hamstring injury that forced him out of the Commonwealth Games 4x100m relay final in Melbourne last month, Ross is gunning to become the first man to win the 120m handicap race three times. As was the case last year, he will have to do it the hard way from the scratch mark.

The 125th running of the historic sprint has drawn its strongest-ever domestic field.

Australia's five fastest runners this season have all entered, including national 100m record holder Patrick Johnson, who will race off a 0.5m handicap on his Stawell debut.

The handicapper has also moved the frontmarkers out another metre to a maximum of 11m.

Far from being daunted by the challenge, Ross, 25 – one of only two men to win the Gift from scratch – is revelling in it.

"It doesn't worry me, I'm as confident this year as I was last year coming into the Gift," he said today at the race launch. "Last year I probably won by three-quarters of a metre and I pulled up celebrating. So there's still another metre there."

Despite suffering from a grade-one hamstring tear, Ross had been eager to run in the Commonwealth Games relay final, but eventually bowed to medical advice.

The women's Gift has also attracted a strong field, with Sally McLellan, Melanie Kleeberg and Tamsyn Lewis backing up from the Commonwealth Games.

Complete article at The Australian

Posted at 18:21     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, April 11, 2006 

Marathon des Sables: Fat Boy Slim


THE once-tubby and spotty Jack Osbourne has had an impressive makeover.

The TV host and son of madman Ozzy Osbourne is working it hard in the Sahara, Morocco, during the gruelling six-day Marathon des Sables.
Thirty-two nationalities are represented in the 240km endurance race, where competitors' ages range from 19 to 71.

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 14:38     [Perma-Link]

Aussies Do Well In Beijing

11 April 2006 | 9.22am

A team of twelve Australian athletes flew to Beijing to compete in the International Ekiden Race on the weekend (9-10 April).

Putting in a solid performance for the women’s team was Anna Thompson who lead the Australian Team home to take third outright and achieve the best result ever for the Australian women’s team in a race like this to date.

Thompson also set another personal best on the road of 33:00 and fastest on her individual leg ahead of the Ethiopian athlete and Chinese athlete.

The men’s team was not so fortunate. They lost a substantial amount of time due to New South Welshman David Byrne having to walk his leg of the race due to illness. The team however to their credit still managed to finish a respectable fourth.

Complete article at Athletics Australia

Posted at 13:04     [Perma-Link]

Mottram Continues Games Form in Fourth Great Ireland Win

Craig Mottram won his fourth consecutive Great Ireland run in Dublin earlier this morning and is now know as Craig O’Mottram by the local Irish Community.

Mottram, who won silver at the Commonwealth Games last month and placed eleventh in the short course at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Japan last weekend, took control of the undulating 10 kilometres course in Phoenix Park. Putting in a solid run he led the field home in 28:50 to come out the clear victor ahead of Ireland’s Mark Kennealy 29:17, and Mark Carroll 29:19.

There were half-a-dozen runners in contention for the Irish title until Mottram pulled away from the field. Kennealy and Carroll did all they could to stay with the big man, but were no match for the Aussie powerhouse.

Complete article at Athletics Australia

Posted at 13:03     [Perma-Link]

Run for the Kids: Endurance work pays off


A GUN team of high school students blitzed a field of thousands in the Run For The Kids to collect a trophy worth $10,000.

Team Ritchie, from the Fearnley Endurance Group in Williamstown, won the under-18s team event in Melbourne's newest charity fun run on Sunday.

Team member Ryan Matthews finished an impressive 12th overall. Coach Keith Fearnley said Ryan, a national representative, was a bright prospect, and he had expected the team to do well.

The group was presented yesterday with Nike prize packs, and an inaugural trophy from event partner CityLink.

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 13:00     [Perma-Link]

How Steve Ovett's great love finally ran out of passion

Steve Ovett, once the iron man of British athletics, struggled to hold back tears last week as he spoke of his wrecked marriage and broken dreams.

His greatest moment came as he sprinted across the finishing line for a gold medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. In a gesture shared by millions, Steve raised a finger and traced the letters ILY - an "I Love You" message to his girlfriend Rachel.

She was his most ardent fan, shouting him on to victory in the 800 metres final from her home in Brighton. Now, 26 years and four children later, the romance is dead, leaving Steve facing the lonely life of a long distance runner.

The irrepressible smile and confident swagger are gone. He is a sad shadow of the heroic figure famous for beating his great rival Sebastian Coe.

When I spoke to Steve in the Australian town where he lives, he asked me limply: "What will my situation mean to the people back in Britain?" I told him he is still a hero for many and I raised my index finger to remind him of the famous message of love he sent Rachel.

He shrugged and said he understood - but he was soon immersed again in his own private thoughts. Eventually, he said of his marriage: "It is a sad situation, I must admit, and there is not much I can do about it." What makes his plight seem even sadder is its sharp contrast with Seb's good fortune.

Fellow Olympian Lord Coe went on to a life in politics, was given a life peerage in 2000 and has been acclaimed for bringing the 2012 Olympics to London.

Steve, preferring a life away from the spotlight, moved to Australia after making a fortune investing in properties. Now the foundation stone on which he built his life Down Under - his marriage to still beautiful raven-haired Rachel - has fallen apart and he finds himself at the age of 51 facing an uncertain bachelor lifestyle.

The reality of his domestic difficulties is plain to see in his rather nervous, careworn features. Steve said: "We have broken up and now I just want to get on with my life. There is no one on the horizon, nobody else in my life and I don't think in Rachel's.

"But it's all about the children now. . . and the school fees."

Closest to his broken heart are his kids Alexandra, Freddy, Georgia and Lois, who have all shown athletic promise. Rachel and the youngsters continue to live in their remote eight-bedroom GBP1.5million family home Lake House, which borders on a forest.

It is only a short drive from Queensland's Sunshine Coast - and is expected to go on the market soon. Steve lives alone a few miles away, in a six-bedroom house at Peregian Beach. The timber house, which was the family's weekend retreat, is already up for sale with local agents LJ Hooker for GBP266,000.

In the small beach community, Steve passes by virtually unrecognised. The only hint of his former greatness is his truck registration plate, which has 800 in numbers. He often grabs a sandwich from a Subway takeaway, followed by a coffee in McDonalds.

Steve, whose weight ballooned a few years back, is determined to keep in trim and spends his evenings working out in a makeshift gym in his garage. The intense heat precludes him from shutting the door and the bare chested former track star pounds away on his exercise bike in full view of motorists on the busy road close to the beach. It is an extraordinary sight, the man who enthralled packed stadiums around the world now alone and struggling to fight the flab in the dusk.

Steve will have to find himself a new home soon, but has told friends his future lies in Australia and he has no intention of returning to Britain.

An astute businessman, he owned a mansion near Eastbourne before moving to a castle in Dumfries, Scotland. Now he boosts his income by commentating for Australia's Channel 9. Last month he was the station's guest track expert at the Commonwealth games in Melbourne.

At the time, he and Seb broke bread - and the ice - when they breakfasted together. It is believed that Lord Coe is keen to pull his old opponent into the 2012 Olympics scene, using his hero status to give the Games an extra edge. Steve's oldest child Alexandra is following in his footsteps.

She finished third in the Australian national junior 800 metres final and also won a scholarship. Last year son Freddy won his district 100 metres, 200 metres, 800 metres, long jump and relay.

Steve, once known for his coolness, finds it difficult to watch them race. Recently Rachel, who refuses to talk about the marriage split, said: "He gets himself in a terrible state. He is drenched in sweat, just hopeless, hopeless!"

(Via The Express On Sunday)

Posted at 02:41     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, April 10, 2006 

Canberra Marathon: Cool welcome enhances feet of endurance

Markus Mannheim
Monday, 10 April 2006

Almost 1000 runners took advantage of ideal, near-freezing conditions yesterday morning to brave the capital's ultimate athletic challenge, the Canberra Marathon.
It was the largest turnout in more than 20 years.

The event, the oldest annual marathon in Australia, is also one of the most popular courses among runners.

The route winds through the capital's scenic parliamentary precinct and along the northern shore of Lake Burley Griffin before looping back to Kingston.

Yesterday's race fired off at 7am in cold, autumn sunshine, with the temperature resting around zero.

Barry Keem, 25, of Wollongong, who trains with Commonwealth marathon hero Kerryn McCann, overtook favourite Magnus Michelsson in the last kilometre to win 2hr 24min and 10sec later.

It was his fastest time over 42km.

The first female over the line was New Zealand nurse Shireen Crompton in 2:42.55; her second Canberra win after taking the women's title two years ago.

Event organiser Dave Cundy was delighted after the race, saying the weather had spurred many competitors to run personal best times.

"Today really was Canberra at its finest," he said. "We had perfect, still conditions, the sun soon warmed runners up, and everything looked fantastic."

Complete article at the Canberra Times

Posted at 14:20     [Perma-Link]

Oxfam Trailwalker strides ahead!

Taking first place in Oxfam Australia’s annual 100km endurance event, the ‘Sydney Striders Travelling Circus’ team finished Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne 2006 in just 11 hours and 40 minutes – the fastest time on the Melbourne event’s current trail! Coming south of the border for the first time, the Sydney Striders have been successful front runners in the Sydney Oxfam Trailwalker event for many years.

The race was on from the outset with four teams jostling for lead position. The ‘Groin Sprains’, Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne veterans and the first team to steal the title off the ‘Gurkhas’ in 2004, fought off the ‘Best Boys’ from the Eureka Athletics Club by a mere minute at the summit of Mt Donna Buang in a time of 12hrs 11mins. Not far behind were ‘8 Feet Under’, another repeat Oxfam Trailwalker offender and major fundraising team, who came in 4 th in a time of 12hrs 21mins.

This year’s event overcame terrible weather conditions on the last leg of the trail where dangerously low temperatures, low visibility, risk of snow and a hazardous track on Mt Donna Buang forced organisers to hold the remaining 1888 participants overnight at Checkpoints 7, 6 and 5. Oxfam staff worked through the night with the expert assistance of the SES, CFA, Victoria Police and the ambos, pulling out all the stops to find an alternative ending to the slippery slopes of the mountain. By 7am on Saturday morning the weather cleared sufficiently to allow the trail to be safely reopened. However, much to everyone’s disappointment just 5½hrs later, the weather once again forced the track closure but Checkpoint 7 at Millwarra Primary School came up trumps by becoming the new Finish point at the 88.5km mark.

Complete article at the Oxfam website

Posted at 08:58     [Perma-Link]

Run for the Kids: It's an all-star cast

Jordana Borensztajn

SOME of Melbourne's best-loved TV, radio and sporting stars came out in force to help raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids yesterday.

Track legend Cathy Freeman fired the starter's gun for the huge crowds.

Freeman said she'd have loved to participate but starting the race for 20,000 was also exciting.

"It's pretty impressive and it's typical of Melbourne to show their support. I'm very proud of the city I live in," she said.

Race director Steve Moneghetti said the massive turn-up highlighted Melbourne's identity as a sporting capital.

Many such runs struggled to get more than 8000 entrants and yesterday's huge numbers, on top of spectators, was rewarding after months of planning, Moneghetti said.

"We've had overwhelming support," he said.

"You can hear all about the number (20,000) but when you see it come into fruition . . . very fulfilling."

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 08:54     [Perma-Link]

Walker, Weightman win Run for the Kids

Kelly Ryan

A WALKER won the run, a Mr Quick made a speedy marriage proposal and Victorians leapt at the chance to race over CityLink toll-free.

Generous Victorians threw heart and soul behind the state's most beloved charity with thousands sprinting, jogging or walking through the inaugural Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids.

Organisers hope the herculean efforts of 20,000 entrants will raise at least $400,000 for the Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal...

Teams flying corporate and sporting club colours added to the moving mass that charged over Bolte Bridge.

Rowan Walker, the first runner across the line in the 14.7km course, was later joined on stage by young Leigh Todd, a Royal Children's Hospital amputee and the face of the run.

"It was a great and gruelling and gripping course and to be able to complete it for such a good cause just makes it one of the best runs I have ever been involved in," Walker said.

Walker (0:44:43) joined Lisa-Jane Weightman (0:50:13) as the first man and woman to the line in the 14.7km event, each winning Qantas tickets to San Francisco.

But the most raucous roar was reserved for second woman place getter, Kate Smyth.

Smyth became a national hero when delirious with dehydration, she goose-stepped and then collapsed over the finish line in the Commonwealth Games marathon.

Complete article at

Posted at 08:53     [Perma-Link]

Pounding through the pain to help

John Hamilton

They ran. They sweated. They puffed and they panted. They sprang and they stretched and they bounced a little, too, at the start.

They grimaced and they groaned, they blistered and they ached. They were red-faced and hungry, and more than a little thirsty, too, at the finish.

But they all ran for the kids yesterday.

Most of the runners and the plodders, the athletes and the joggers finished in their own very good times as well.

Their wide smiles at the finish line told their own stories of individual bests.

And that was all that mattered. They'd done it. All by themselves.

Yesterday, foot power took over Melbourne in the Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids as thousands of Victorians put on the sneakers to raise thousands of dollars for the Royal Children's Hospital.

Motor traffic may have writhed itself into fishing line tangles around the outskirts of the course as the run got under way, but, for those running, the bliss of pounding over the Bolte Bridge or moving six humans abreast through the Domain Tunnel was worth the journey.

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 08:49     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, April 06, 2006 

Canberra ultra marathon grows in stature

The race has also been endorsed by the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) and is proposed to become part of a new world series of 50km races. Subject to certain conditions, the male and female winners in Sundays' ultra marathon will win trips to the World Final, proposed to be held in Europe later this year.

The Canberra Marathon is unique in giving all marathon finishers the opportunity to go on and complete the 50km ultra marathon.

Last year's marathon winner, Magnus Michelsson, intends racing the 50km this year. He won the 50km in 2002 and on that occasion was third over the line in the marathon. He'll be trying for the double – marathon and ultra wins -on Sunday. This feat has not been achieved by any runner to date.

Challenging Michelsson will be experienced New Zealander Mark Hutchinson, who is now based in Queensland. Two years ago Hutchinson ran a strong race in the Gold Coast Marathon, and then ran a great 100km race at the Gold Coast just six days later. So his stamina is certainly not in question.

Victorian Sandra Timmer-Arends, who set an Australian women's record in Canberra in the 1999 ultra, has entered again this year and shares favouritism with last year's ultra winner Suzanne Kelly, from NSW, and Siri Tarjesen, from Queensland.

About 120 runners from the 800 pre-entries have advised that they will attempt the extra distance.

The 30th Canberra Marathon and Canberra 50km Ultra Marathon will be held this Sunday 9 April, starting at 7am from the Telopea Park School. Support events include the Asics Marathon Eve 5km and 10km Fun Runs, to be held at 4pm on Saturday afternoon and the Kids Marathon, which starts at 8am on Sunday.

Complete article at Athletics Australia

Posted at 12:35     [Perma-Link]

Boyz light up the lives of sick kids

Jordana Borensztajn

TEEN band Boyz will be among a host of entertainers at Sunday's Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids post-event party.

The young musicians got into the spirit of helping sick children when they performed at the Royal Children's Hospital's Starlight Room yesterday.

Sabrina Orwin, aka Captain Starlight from the foundation that provides entertainment for seriously ill children, said the boys were a hit.

Singer Jaxson McLennan, 13, said he was excited to be playing at Sunday's free event because he liked helping other children.

"We like to work with kids (and) help out charities . . . because we're so young, it hits home," he said.

Celebrities such as track legend Cathy Freeman, marathon man Steve Moneghetti and Channel 7's Jennifer Adams and Jennifer Keyte will all be at the race.

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 12:34     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, April 05, 2006 

Relay anchor to hold gold

By Damian Barrett
April 5, 2006

ROSEMARY Hayward, who anchored Australia's controversial 4x400m relay team at the Commonwealth Games, has no intention of following Jana Pittman's lead and offering her gold medal to disqualified England.

Unlike teammates Pittman and Tamsyn Lewis, Hayward, until yesterday, had maintained a public silence on the team's contentious win.

Hayward said offering the medal to England, which won by 10 metres but was disqualified after Lewis and Pittman alerted officials to an illegal changeover, would be futile.

"We all got our medals engraved together, so I'm not sure if the English would actually like a gold medal with our surnames on it," she said.

Complete article at Foxsports

Posted at 14:59     [Perma-Link]

Cathy to run and gun for fun

Jacqueline Freegard

CATHY Freeman will get 20,000 Victorians off and racing in the Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids.

The Olympic gold medallist will fire the starting gun for Sunday's race.
The Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids has already beaten the state fun run record in its inaugural year, with entries closing early because of overwhelming demand.

Freeman said she was proud to be part of such an important event.

"There's so much goodwill in the community. It's events like this that make us so proud to be Australian."

The 14.7km course includes the Bolte Bridge and the Domain Tunnel.

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 14:55     [Perma-Link]

Moneghetti & Freeman support Pittman in Relay Medal Spat

Steve Moneghetti and Cathy Freeman yesterday supported Jana Pittman's decision to hand over her Commonwealth Games 4x400 relay gold medal to the English team.

Moneghetti said the disqualification of the English team on a technical breach was farcical.

"It's very hard for us to judge but (the protest) to me would seem un-Australian," he said. Freedman agreed the move by Pittman to hand over her medal was a nice gesture.

"It sounds like her heart was in the right place," she said.

Moneghetti said Pittman's medal haul meant she could afford to give one away. "Jana won two gold medals -- she can probably afford to give one away because she won two," he said.

Complete article at The Advertiser

Posted at 07:30     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, April 04, 2006 

Murray predicts pain on the flat

Julia Whyte
Wednesday, 29 March 2006

World champion mountain runner Emma Murray is preparing to swap uphill battles for the challenge of 42.2km on the flat when she competes in next month's Canberra Marathon.

Despite running up mountains across distances exceeding those of regular marathons, Murray, of Dickson, said she was under no illusions as to how hard it would be to complete her first marathon on April 9.

"I'm expecting it to be more painful than mountain running, because you just have to run at a higher intensity for quite a long time and there's a lot more people around you to run against. So there's more tussles with people. It's more intense," Murray said.

Murray shifted her focus and preparation to the Canberra Marathon after being the first woman home in the Six Foot Track 45km race in the Blue Mountains on March 10.

She was fourth overall, beating the next-fastest woman across the line by almost 45 minutes.

Murray, 28, said the thing she was most looking forward to about the marathon was finishing. She hoped to stop the clock at about 2:40 but would be happy with anything under three hours.

The fastest time for the women's open race is Susan Hobson's 2:32:57, set in 1994.

The shift to the flat will not be a permanent one for Murray.

Complete article at the Canberra Times

Posted at 13:25     [Perma-Link]

Truth behind the Pittman-Lewis feud …

By Richard Hinds

THE Pittman-Lewis emails.


From: Tamsyn

It's all set for tonight. You run as slowly as you can - so even I can pass you - then I trash you on the radio next morning. I've got this great line where I say I was standing at the start thinking, "I'll give you 'No competition', bitch!" Sorry about the expletive, honey. But it will play huge in the media.


From: Jana

We nailed it! I laughed my head off at the "bitch" comment and the press ate it up when I said I'll have to go on a junk food diet like yours. Back pages everywhere. First time I've seen your picture in print for ages without a staple on your stomach!

From: Tamsyn

You go girl! The phone has been ringing off the hook since you said I had "created an evil atmosphere in the team". They don't know whether to love me or hate me. But they sure as hell want to sponsor me.

From: Jana

Things have been a bit quiet on the media front - I mean, can you believe they are using that beastly discus thrower in the NAB ad instead of one of us? So I told The Sydney Morning Herald I was thinking of leaving Australia because people were so mean. Then I rang a couple of other papers and told them I couldn't be more Australian if Rolf Harris had painted my fingernails. I've spun so many stories even Chris isn't sure what to believe.

Complete article at the Sydney Morning Herald

Posted at 13:21     [Perma-Link]

The drama continues: Tamsyn launches fresh attack on Jana

INSTEAD of bringing them together, gold has driven an even deeper wedge between bickering Australian athletes Jana Pittman and Tamsyn Lewis.

Lewis has vowed to have nothing more to do with her rival after Pittman wrote to England's athletes saying she was embarrassed by her teammate's protest that led to the English being disqualified and Australia being handed the 4x400 metres relay gold at last month's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. Lewis took their feud, which seemed to have calmed after their controversial relay win in Melbourne, to further depths yesterday.

"I've had an absolute gutful," Lewis told Triple M radio in Melbourne. "I was willing to let it ride and let the finger be pointed at me and accept the blame, but for her to turn around and wipe her hands of it, while pointing her finger at me, is harsh.

"I don't understand the girl's motive - never have, never will. Quite frankly, after this, I want nothing to do with her. I'm moving back up to the 800s and I don't want to have anything to do with her ever again."

In her letter, Pittman apologised to the English and offered to give them her gold medal, but Australia's head athletics coach, Max Binnington, said she had no reason to apologise.

Binnington also confirmed Lewis's claim that both she and Pittman had approached officials after the race to protest that England's Natasha Danvers-Smith had stepped into the wrong lane at the second changeover.

"I'm not really sure what she's apologising for," Binnington said. "We've all been in teams which have lost races for breaking the rules for whatever reason. I don't know whether embarrassed is the right word, but it's a bit of a pain. We'd be happier if it went away.

Complete article at the Sydney Morning Herald

Posted at 13:20     [Perma-Link]

Run for the Kids: Gatecrashers warned

THE countdown to Melbourne's blockbuster new fun run, the Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids, has begun.

And the maximum combined field of 20,000 entrants for the 14.7km and 4.5km events on Sunday has been achieved.

But overwhelming demand from those wanting to join the field led race organisers to warn yesterday that non-paying entrants would be barred from the course.

Organisers said anybody trying to take part without an official race number -- however harmless their intentions -- would be prevented from being involved.

Run for the Kids chairman Rick Swinard said it was not uncommon for some people to try to take part in fun runs without having paid an entry fee.

But non-paying entrants were not covered by insurance, he said.

"This will not be tolerated in the Run for the Kids," he said.

Complete article at the Herald Sun

Posted at 06:14     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, April 03, 2006 

Another International Medal For McFarlane

Tasmania’s number one female athlete, Donna MacFarlane began April as she finished March with another bronze medal at international level.

The Hobart runner was today a member of the six woman team which won Australia’s first ever team medal at the World Cross Country Championships – this year held in Fukuoka, Japan.

The Championships are regarded as the toughest test in world athletics and in the thirty four previous editions Australia’s only medal came from Benita Johnson who won the women’s long course individual event two years ago.

The race, over four kilometres was run in extraordinarily windy conditions, which made it tough for all competitors, but especially for the tall Tasmanian.

The Australian team was led by Johnson, who finished a gallant fourth, just pipping yesterday’s long course silver medallist Lorna Kiplagat (Netherlands) on the line to pick up an additional point for her team.

But it was the storming finish of Australia’s fourth counter, MacFarlane who passed Morocco’s Hanane Ouhaddou in the shadows of the finish gantry for a two point turnaround, which assured Australia of the much sought after bronze, just ahead of their North African challengers.

In cross country team races, times are of little significance. It is placings, particularly as against your closest rival teams, which matter. MacFarlane’s 29th spot was critical to the Australian success.

Complete article at Athletics Australia

Posted at 17:53     [Perma-Link]

Tamsyn's 'had enough'

By Jano Gibson
April 3, 2006 - 2:24PM

Tamsyn Lewis has accused teammate Jana Pittman of "trying to wash her hands" clean by offering her Commonwealth Games relay gold medal to the English team, who were disqualified after a protest by Australia.

The Australian women's 4x400 relay team, who crossed the line in second place, were bumped into first place following the disqualification of England's team.

Television footage showed Pittman and Lewis approaching race officials, apparently to alert them that an English athlete was positioned in an incorrect lane when handed the baton.

Pittman has reportedly apologised to England's relay team over the matter and offered to give them her gold medal.

England's athletics coach, Brad McStravick, said Pittman "blamed it on Tamsyn going to the officials and pointing out the fact that our girl was in the wrong place".

Lewis's manager, Rick Olarenshaw, today rejected that his client was solely responsible for alerting the officials.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 17:49     [Perma-Link]

Johnson back to her best as team takes bronze

By Len Johnson, Fukuoka, Japan
April 3, 2006

AUSTRALIA'S first team medal in a world cross-country championships — bronze in the women's short race — was achieved yesterday through a succession of fine individual efforts.

Australia beat Morocco by four points for the bronze behind Ethiopia and Kenya on the second day of the championships, but it would not have happened unless each of the four scoring team members had not gained placings in the last lap.

Benita Johnson, fourth in the long race the previous day, threw herself at the finish line to put herself centimetres in front of long-race silver medallist Lornah Kiplagat of the Netherlands. One point gained.

Melissa Rollison went in to the second lap in 14th place, Morocco's Mariem Alaoui Selsouli in 11th. Two kilometres later, Rollison had pushed herself up to 11th as the Moroccan faded to 15th.

Australia's third scorer, the underrated Anna Thompson, improved from 33rd at the first checkpoint to 32nd to 28th and finally to 25th, closing the gap to Morocco's third scorer, Bouchra Chaabi in 20th place.

Finally, Australia's fourth and final scorer, Donna MacFarlane, out-sprinted Morocco's Hanane Ouhaddou to finish in 29th place. Critically, Japan's Yuriko Kobayashi also slipped ahead of the Moroccan for one more precious point of advantage to the Australians.

"It's fantastic," Johnson said. And so it was. Like a close election victory, a team medal in the world cross-country is built on winning the marginals.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 08:18     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, April 02, 2006 

Ethiopian wins, Johnson fourth

BENITA Johnson turned in the best Australian run on the first day of the IAAF world cross-country championships with a fourth placing in the women's eight-kilometre race behind Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia yesterday.

Craig Mottram managed 11th in the men's four-kilometre event won by Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia.

Dibaba came from behind to win the women's long race for the second year. Trailing Kenyan-born Lornah Kiplagat of the Netherlands by five metres into the final lap, Dibaba overtook her just before the home straight to win the race in 25 minutes 21 seconds. Kiplagat was second in 25:26, Meselech Melkamu of Ethiopia third in 25:38 with Johnson at 25:43.

Today, Dibaba hopes to become the first woman to add the four-kilometre title to her long-course victory for a second year running.

Bekele is one win away from equalling Kenyan Paul Tergat's feat of winning the long and short courses five years in a row. Bekele, 23, who holds the 5000 metre and 10,000 metre world records, spurted on the final lap ahead of a bunch of Africans to cross the finishing line in 10:54, one second ahead of Kenya's Isaac Kiprono Songok with Adil Kaouch of Morocco, third in 10:57.

Complete article at The Age

Posted at 08:48     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, April 01, 2006 

Brisbane bids for 2011 World Championships

Queensland wants to cash in on the success of Melbourne's Commonwealth Games by bidding for Brisbane to host the 2011 world championships.

Brisbane athlete Fiona Cullen, who contested the 100m hurdles in Melbourne, said such a major sporting event would be a coup for Australia.

"Apart from soccer, there's nothing bigger in the world than track and field," Cullen said of an event never staged in the southern hemisphere. "For an athlete to make a world championship, it is the equivalent of the Socceroos making a World Cup ... that's the scale we are dealing with."

Premier Peter Beattie said yesterday an expression of interest had been lodged with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

The last time the world titles were staged in Asia was in Tokyo in 1991 and they will return to Japan next year when Osaka hosts the event.

"We are advised that the championships are likely to attract attendances of about 500,000, with nearly 3000 athletes and officials and the same number of media representatives," Beattie said.

He said the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre - the main venue for the 1982 Commonwealth Games and 2001 Goodwill Games - was the most likely venue for the event, which would be held in July-August 2011.

Beattie said the Sydney Olympics and Melbourne Commonwealth Games had shown Australia's geographic location did not hinder televising the events successfully to the world.

Athletics Australia has fully supported the Queensland bid for the world titles, which follows suggestions by Beattie last year for Brisbane to host the 2024 Olympics.

Complete article at The Australian

Posted at 09:16     [Perma-Link]

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