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 Monday, August 06, 2007 

Geelong, Knox win Sandown Road Relays

In local competition yesterday, Geelong virtually wrapped up the men's winter premiership when Lee Troop led it to a comfortable win in the annual Sandown road relays. Troop ran the fastest time on the day of 17:57. Knox-Sherbrooke won the women's race, though Georgie Clarke gave Geelong the fastest individual time with 20:32.
Complete article at The Age

Posted at 12:55     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, July 07, 2007 

Tirunesh, the millionaire village girl

From the Kenya Nation newspaper

A lot of stories have been told about Tirunesh Dibaba’s early life, but two truly stand out as most memorable.

In 2001, she was almost late for her maiden appearance at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Ostende, Belgium.

Aged 16, it was her first trip outside Ethiopia and it came shortly after her arrival in the city of Addis Ababa from her rural birthplace of Bekoji, some 280 kilometres south east of the Ethiopian capital.

“When they announced that the race was going to start at 9 am, I thought it was 9 O’clock Ethiopian time in the afternoon (translates to 3 pm), and I decided to sleep,” she once told Ethiopia’s leading athletics writer, Elshadai Negash, currently the press chief of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation.

“One of the coaches burst into my room to wake me shouting that my race was just minutes away,” Tirunesh recounted.

She eventually made it to the start and finished a commendable fifth after hardly having warmed up for the race and wearing big shorts that she had picked from a senior athlete’s closet in the hurry to make it to the start.

Then there was the story of an earlier incident in which Tirunesh arrived in Addis from Bekoji to live with her cousin, Bekelu, and continue her high school education, only to be told she had shown up six days after the school registration deadline.

“I was heartbroken? Bekelu tried all she could but there was no hope for me. I could not go back to Bekoji because I could have ended up marrying at a young age and not fulfilling by athletics dream.”

Bekelu then helped Tirunesh to enrol in the Prisons Police Sports Club at the tender age of 14, and things have looked up for the rural girl ever since.

Tirunesh is the fourth born in a family of seven children, the eldest, Bekelu Dibaba, currently residing in Belgium and the second, Chala, living with his mother, Gutu Tola and father Dibaba Keneni, in Bekoji.

Their cousin, Derartu Tulu, was the first Sub-Saharan woman to win gold on the Olympic track which she did in the 10,000m at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and again at the Sydney Games in 2000.

Tirunesh’s elder sister, Ejegayehu, 25, is an established athlete in her own right, having won bronze medals in the 5,000m and 10,000m at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki. Their younger sibling, Genzebe, 16, is also one to watch. She represented Ethiopia at last March’s IAAF World Cross Country Championships’ juniors’ race in Mombasa and finished fifth in 21:23, just 31 seconds behind Kenyan winner Linet Barasa Chepkwemoi.

Ejegayehu is enrolled with the Oromiya Police Club while Genzabe runs for Muger Cement, the same club that has in its fold superstar Kenenisa Bekele.

Tirunesh is by far the best known family member, bursting into prominence in her best year as an athlete so far, 2005. It was in this year that she won a double in the long and short course races at the 33rd IAAF World Cross Country Championships in St Etienne/St Galmier, France, before moving over to the track to complete another double over the 5,000m and 10,000m at the World Championships in Helsinki.

Also in 2005, Tirunesh broke the world indoor 5,000m record in Boston before grabbing another world best over five kilometres in Carlsbad, US. Between 2004 and 2005, Tirunesh was the highest paid Ethiopian athlete having earned close to $100,000, which was not too bad for a 19-year-old village girl.

Like her track rival Meseret Defar, Tirunesh has not yet ventured into big business or real estate. Instead, she invested her initial earnings in the family, building a mansion for her parents in Bekoji and also purchasing a $500,000 (Sh35 million) residence in Addis Ababa where she lives with her siblings and fiancé, another top Ethiopian distance runner, Sileshi Sihine, the All Africa Games defending 10,000 metres champion.

Unlike Meseret, Tirunesh did not get any opposition from her parents when she exhibited great desire in athletics. “Perhaps it’s because my parents had seen the successes of our cousin, Derartu, and other top athletes from our region like Kenenisa Bekele and Haile Gebrselassie,” Tirunesh says in her compound, where she has parked her five-litre BMW 750 next to boyfriend Sileshi’s Toyota Prado.

“I did not want her to get married young,” Tirunesh’s mother had told us in Bekoji where the star athlete spent her early education at the Bekoji Elementary School, which is also Kenenisa Bekele’s alma mater. “I wanted her to study and get a job. I never object to my children’s desires and when she took up athletics, I did not object.”

Tirunesh is shy, reserved and hardly media savvy. She loves her space, which is quite evident in her expensively furnished but spacious living room. That’s why she would not budge when asked about her game plan for the 2007 track season after failing to retain her world cross title, finishing second to Kenya-born Dutchwoman Lornah Kiplagat in Mombasa.

“I just want to be at my best and win gold at the World Championships in Osaka,” was all she could offer. The Mombasa competition was the most demanding of her career. “It damaged the whole Ethiopian team but we are recovering well for the track season now.”

Like Meseret, Tirunesh and her sisters, along with Sihine, have morning and evening training sessions and also report to the National Stadium in Addis Ababa for regular track splits under veteran distance running coach Woldemeskel Kostre.

Tirunesh’s tense relationship with Meseret, her biggest track rival, reached its climax at the final 5,000m race of last year’s Golden League in Brussels, where Tirunesh needed to win to grab a share of the $1 million jackpot on offer for athletes completing a six-race sweep in their Golden League Series specialities.

But Meseret had other ideas, breasting the tape ahead of her compatriot and denying her a clean sweep and over Sh1 million in income.

“I lost a lot of money,” Tirunesh recalls, the bitterness evidently still showing. “At that time I was very angry but now I think nothing of it. We both went there to win and she had every right to win too.”

Meseret will not be there when Tirunesh runs at the Meeting Gaz de France in Paris Saint-Denis tonight, the second of this year’s six Golden League competitions.

The pair’s next big duel will now most probably be at the world championships in Osaka next month.

Posted at 10:22     [Perma-Link]

Masai targets rare double at Osaka championships

From the Kenya Nation newspaper

Three times world cross country short course champion Edith Masai is aiming for a rare double at next month’s World Championships in Osaka. Masai has been named in the marathon squad for Osaka and is also shortlisted for the track trials for the Osaka competition which will be held from August 25 to September 2.

Athletics Kenya also announced the selection criteria for track events with the first two across the line winning the ticket to Osaka and the third slot to be decided through the wild card system.

The national trials for Osaka will be done on July 28 by invitation only.

Masai, 40, has also qualified to compete in the track trials in the 5,000m and 10,000m and will guide the Kenyan women marathon team to Osaka together with four time Boston marathon champion Catherine Ndereba, 2005 Boston winner Rita Jepto Sitienei, Helen Kimutai Kimaiyo and Rose Cheruiyot while Beatrice Omwanza has been put on stand-by. Japan-based Tokyo International Marathon champion Daniel Njenga heads Kenya’s charge in the men’s category.

Others in the team are Vienna City Marathon champion Luke Kibet, James Mwangi Macharia, Laban Kipkemboi and William Kiplagat while Salim Kipsang and Isaac Macharia are on the reserves list.

AK Chairman Isaiah Kiplagat said the team named was the best available and was sure they will be able to reclaim the overall title in the global event which is considered second in ranking in the discipline competitions after the Olympics. Despite Kenya’s dominance in the marathon races from Europe to America, local runners have failed to win the team gold medal in former events.

“Before naming this team we talked to all the big names, but they declined noting that they are interested in competing in the Olympics in Beijing, China. However, the athletes we have here are equally good having run at least 2:06 and are capable of attaining the same greatness their colleagues have got in the past,” said Kiplagat.

Kiplagat said that only athletes who been ranked in the A category by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will be considered for the trials while those in Category B will only be called upon should there be space. Events like men 800m, 1,500m and 3,000m steeplechase will have no heats but will see athletes battle it out in straight final.

In women only commonwealth Games 800m champion Janeth Jepkosgei and Viola Kibiwott (1,500) have qualified under category A in their respective specialities. However, there will be 12 athletes in the 5,000m, six in 3,000m steeplechase and while Kenya’s top ten women will have to battle it out in the 10,000m.

AK secretary general David Okeyo said that athletes who are yet to hit the qualifying mark still have the chance to do so by running in the IAAf Grand prix or in the All Africa games. At the same time AK has cautioned agents that no athlete will be allowed to run in the other races apart from Rome and London grand prix races on July 13 and 15.

“Athletes should have two week time to rest before the trials and I believe it will be enough time for them to recover. Those five going to Algeria like Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi are running in middle distance races,” said Okeyo.

Posted at 10:21     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, July 01, 2007 

Japanese double in Gold Coast Airport Marathon

It was a Japanese quinella at today’s 29th annual Gold Coast Airport Marathon when Toyokazu Yoshimura (2:20:07) and Ayumi Hayashi (2:33:22) took the men’s and women’s crowns in almost perfect running conditions, on a day when a record 16,200 people participated across all events.

It was the first Japanese double in the event since Yuko Yamazoe and Hajime Nakatomi saluted in 1994 and the timing was perfect.

Yoshimura and Hayashi’s winning runs were captured by the event’s largest ever contingent of Japanese media – some 50 in total beaming the stories and images to an estimated audience of 40 million people.

Former cross country champion, New Zealand’s Ben Ruthe (2:20:46), stunned the field by taking out second place in his debut marathon while journeyman Tanzanian, Oswald Revelian (2:20:48), improved on previous fifth and sixth placings in the Gold Coast event to claim third.

In the women’s full distance race, 25-year-old Hayashi took out her first marathon, finishing a full eight minutes in front of marathon debutant Lindsey Scherf (2:41:22) a University of Queensland student from the United States and Western Australia’s Lauren Shelley (2:42:21).

It was Shelley’s second podium finish in the Gold Coast event after a second placing in 2005.

Men’s winner Yoshimura said he timed his race perfectly. "I went with the flow and ran with the rest of the pack until I broke away at the end,” said Yoshimura. “I went for my personal best (2:17:10) and was really close. My family came to Australia with me to encourage me and give me support - I know they would have been cheering me on the whole way,” he said.

For second placegetter Ruthe, today’s marathon experience was all new ground. “It was the first time I’ve run more than 21km so that was something else,” said Ruthe. “I was just running on instinct - I didn’t have time to think about the race.”

Revelian was philosophical about his third placing, revealing he had been in the country less than six hours before facing the starting gun. “I am very tired from my trip here from Tanzania - it took me two days to get here and I only arrived yesterday night at midnight,” said Revelian.

Belconnen’s Scott McTaggart was the first Australian across the line, finishing in fifth place overall in a time of 2:23:30, while Scott Brittain claimed the Queensland Marathon Championship. The state title confirms Brittain’s eligibility to represent the Gold Coast Airport Marathon at next year’s Senshu International Marathon in Osaka, Japan.

South African fancy Sandile Lembetha’s hopes for a maiden Gold Coast victory were dashed just past the half way mark when he pulled a hamstring and race favourite, Gemechu Woyecha, finished several minutes in arrears of the winner and out of the top 10 after losing touch with the lead pack five kilometres from the finish.

Women’s winner Hayashi said she enjoyed her first journey overseas. ”I am having a lot of fun, the run was great and I definitely want to come back next year and defend my title,” said Hayashi.

Scherf said today’s race was entered almost as an afterthought. “I’m studying psychology at the University of Queensland and thought I might as well run while I’m here. Being a five to ten kilometre runner I found it easy in the initial stages of the race, but it did get a lot harder half way through and I just told myself to slow down, relax and focus,” said Scherf. Shelley said she knew exactly when the going got serious. “I really enjoyed the first half until about 34 kilometres, when it started to get tough.”

Earlier in the day Tanzania’s Patrick Nyangelo (1:03:00) held off determined ACT runner, Brett Cartwright (1:03:04), and Japan’s Hiraku Fujii (1:03:45) to claim the spoils in the Asics Half Marathon.

It was Nyangelo’s second victory in the event after his breakthrough win in 2005.

“I felt good all the way and it was good that the lead pack was pushing me along,” said Nyangelo. “This (1:03:00) is a personal best for me, so I’m extremely happy.”

Brett Cartwright however didn’t appreciate the pace set by his African opponent. “In the early stages of the race I didn’t feel that good,” said Cartwright. “I haven’t done much track work for a while so I knew my time would be down. Patrick and I were side by side a lot of the way - he just had too much pace for me.”

Men’s race favourite, Lee Troop, finished sixth after what he described as a less than perfect preparation. “I was unwell about six weeks ago and knew I was underdone at about the 14 kilometre mark,” said Troop. “I ran about a minute under what I’d hoped, but I still don’t know if I’d have caught the blokes up the front – the pace was on in the second half, that’s for sure.”

Diminutive Victorian Lisa-Jane Weightman (1:12:02) was forced to sprint to the line to take the women’s crown from slick Japanese duo Mai Endo (1:12:17) and Mayumi Fujita (1:14:22).

But having Mai and Mayumi breathing down her neck was worth it for Lisa as she avenged last year’s second placing and recorded a personal best time over the 21.1 kilometre distance. “I am really happy with my time and my performance,” said Weightman.

The SOUL 10km Run was another corker with Oxenford’s Michael Shelley backing up his 2006 win with victory again in a time of 29:54.

Leichardt’s Ben St Lawrence (30:09) was a mere 15 seconds behind with triathlete-turned-road-runner, Courtney Atkinson (30:19), showing he will be a force to be reckoned with in the road running stakes with a third placing less than a half minute behind the winner.

Former marathoner, Helen Stanton, vindicated her drop in distance by taking out the SOUL women’s 10km race (35:05) from fellow Queenslanders Ashleigh Gentle (35:30) and Emma Jackson (35:32).

Race favourite and record holder Tasmania’s Kylie Risk, couldn’t make it six victories in the event, fading in the sprint to the line to finish in fourth place (36:49).

The 2.25 kilometre Calci Yum Junior Dash saw Robina speedster Benjamin Eastwell (8:09) become the first two-time winner of the event, backing up his 2006 victory.

Jade Dowling (8:46) was the first girl home, while Moonee Beach’s Wade O’Malley (13:10) and Highland Park’s Katelyn Simpson were first across in the four kilometre event. Katelyn’s time of 14:10 was a new record for the event.

Narellan’s Paul Nunnari (51:29) and Toowoomba’s Sybilla Austin (1:28:05) were the first man and woman across the line in the Asics Half Marathon Wheelchair Race, which doubled as the Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association Half Marathon Championships. “I was hit by a car when I was 11 and I’ve been racing pretty full on since 1992,” said Nunnari. “I’m really happy - I’m stoked - it was my first race this season. It was a quality field today, I’m really happy.”

A record 16,200 participants faced the starter for today’s events, shattering last year’s record of 13,814. That number surpasses the event’s largest participation increase in any one year.

Over 3200 interstate participants were complemented by an international contingent of almost 2000 with 1,500 runners, walkers and supporters from Japan, 300 from New Zealand and 80 from the United States. There were entries from 30 countries and every Australian state and territory – all in the running for a share of the largest prize pool of any accredited marathon event in Australia.

Queensland Events Gold Coast Chairman Kerry Watson said a lot of preparation went into the 29th Gold Coast Airport Marathon “particularly developing our increased international involvement”.

“Japan, which has been our largest international target market has been a tremendous success this year with an overall increase of 50 percent to 1500 participants,” said Watson. “We are looking forward to considerably expanding this event as part of our Gold Coast destination promotional activities and the support of our major tourism authorities has been a crucial part in this activity. The total numbers of 13,800 in 2006 were expected to rise to around 14,500, but we were amazed when we started to receive entry rates running in excess of 20 percent more than last year’s figure.

"We are very excited about the final figure of 16,200 which has exceeded all our expectations and we feel it is a testimony to the performance of the event and the increase in the general attitude towards health and fitness. We are not predicting what the 30th anniversary numbers will be in 2008, given the great surprise we had this year, but we are standing by to host another huge event. One of the best aspects of the increase on the numbers is that it was across all our events from the full marathon to the 2.25 kilometre junior dash.”

Participant numbers per event today were:
Total - 16,200

Gold Coast Airport Marathon - 2849
Asics Half Marathon - 5340
SOUL 10 Kilometre Run - 4351
Gold Coast Bulletin 7.5 Kilometre Walk - 2959
Calci Yum 2.25 Kilometre Junior Dash - 395
Calci Yum 4 Kilometre Junior Dash - 300

Flash Quotes:

Marathon

1st Male: Toyokazu Yoshimura (JAPAN)

“I went for my personal best (2:17:10) and was really close.”
”I went with the flow and ran with the rest of the pack until I broke away at the end.”
”My family came to Australia with me to encourage me and give me support, I know they would have been cheering me on the whole way.”

2nd Male: Ben Ruthe (NZ)

“It was the first time I’ve run over 21km so that was something else.”
“I was just running on instinct, I didn’t have time to think about the race.”
“Every time someone made a break you had to decide whether to go with it.”
“The last break by the Japanese guy was just too fast.”
“The pace picked up through 26k’s then we caught them back up.”
“The Japanese guy made a move and the Kenyan went with him running for second but then he slowed and I caught him back up and then it was just a battle for the line.”
“I will definitely be back. What an event, what a day, what a crowd. It’s a beautiful city.”

3rd Male: Oswald Revelian (TANZANIA)

“I didn’t think it was a tough race, because the pace was slow and I like it fast.”
“Today was a very good day for running.”
“I am very tired from my trip here from Tanzania, it took me two days to get here and I only arrived yesterday night at midnight.”

1st Female: Ayumi Hayashi (JAPAN)

“I’m extremely happy.”
”This is my second personal best time and my first Gold Coast Airport Marathon.”
”My trainer invited me to compete today and I’ve had a great time, this is my first time in Australia, and my first overseas trip.”
“I ran with another male competitor all the way, we were encouraging each other along.”
”I definitely want to come back next year and defend my title.”

2nd Female: Lindsey Scherf (USA)

“I definitely enjoyed the event it was a great challenge and very rewarding.”
“It was my first marathon and finishing second is a great feeling.”
“Finishing anywhere in the top five is very pleasing.”
“I’m studying abroad at the University of Queensland and thought I might as well run while I’m here.”
“Being a five to ten kilometre runner I found it easy in the initial stages of the race, but it did get a lot harder half way through and I just told myself to slow down, relax and focus.”
“I am studying psychology in the States. I’m just out here for the semester doing some interesting courses.”
“It just rewarding to get out here and run and finish in the top five.”
“I’ve been running since I was ten.”

3rd Female: Lauren Shelley (AUS)

“I really enjoyed the first half until about 34 kilometres, when it started to get tough.”
“It would be fantastic to be able to jog one year and really enjoy it and take it all in.”
“A marathon is not supposed to be easy, so I’m feeling a bit tired, everything started to tighten up.”
“”Today is tough because you get the best women in Australia here.”
“I would have liked to have run bit faster.”
“I really enjoyed the first half and then it got tough from 30kilometres on.”
“I would have liked to have run a couple of minutes faster.”
“I’ve certainly got the capacity to go faster later in the year with more training.”
“It’s nice to know you’ve spent everything and put in your best effort.”

Asics Half Marathon

1st Male: Patrick Nyangelo (TANZANIA).

“I feel good, we were all pushing each other along.”
“I was here the year before, the weather and wind was good this year.”
“I completed it sub 1:03:00 which is a personal best.”

2nd Male: Brett Cartwright (AUS).

“In the early stages of the race I didn’t feel that good.”
“The first five kilometres felt pretty average but after that I started feeling good.”
“He (Patrick) was just too quick for me over the last 100 metres.”
"I haven’t done much track work for a while so I knew my time would be down.”
“It was a solid result.”
“Patrick and I were side by side a lot of the way - he just had too much pace for me.”
“Ideally I would have liked to have won.”

3rd Male: Hikaru Fujii (JAPAN)

“I am really happy with my result.”
“I started the race not expecting to win.”
“This is my first time to Australia and running the Gold Coast Airport Marathon.”
“Compared to other courses I have raced on, this is flat and with the cool temperature it made my job a lot easier.”
“I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the Gold Coast Marathon. It is a great family event.”

1st Female: Lisa Jane Weightman

“I am really happy with my time and my performance.”
“This race was really good preparation for the road world racing marathon in Italy.”
“I am going to try to run the full marathon next year, I love the half but the full would be a good challenge for me.”
“The race was great fun and very enjoyable I love the atmosphere and the different cultures participating in the marathon.”
“I really sprinted once the finish line was in sight so I could get a time under 72 minutes and I’m ecstatic I set a new PB (1:12:02)”

2nd Female: Mai Endo (JAPAN)

“The race was not too good, but not too bad”
“I wasn’t pleased with my run because I ran 1hour 12minutes and I wanted to get 1hour 10minutes.”
“This is my second Gold Coast race.”
“The atmosphere is really good.”
“Unfortunately I won’t be able to run next year because I will be at a Japan festival.
“I find running hard but I really enjoy the sense of achievement at the end.”

3rd Female: Mayumi Fujita (JAPAN)

“This is my first time to Australia, and I’ve really enjoyed the weather it’s been great.”
”I’ve only competed in four half marathons before coming third in this one.”

Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association Half Marathon Championships

Winning Male: Paul Nunnari (AUS)

“I was hit by a car when I was 11 and I’ve been racing pretty full on since 1992.”
“I’m really happy - I’m stoked, it was my first race this season.”
“It was a quality field today, I’m really happy.”
“I loved the course. We had a fairly good breeze behind us the entire time.”
“In 10 days I’m heading to Alaska for the Sadler’s Ultra Challenge, which is a 427km stage race similar to the Tour de France for wheelchairs.”
“It’s great to come back home and do an awesome race in your own country.”
“I’m overjoyed with the win.”

Female: Sybilla Austin (AUS).

“It’s been a while since I’ve done a half marathon so I was a little off what I’m used to.”
“I’ve done the Gold Coast before but it’s been a couple of years.”
“I did it last when it was at runaway Bay - it was a lot flatter than Runaway Bay but there were a couple of nasty bumps.”

SOUL 10km Run

1st Male: Michael Shelley (AUS)

“I’m absolutely stuffed, that was tougher than last year.”
“I didn’t feel too good before the race but I came out and got the job done.”
“I felt very good at first. I think the wind was behind me but it was tough on the way back.”
“It was pretty tight at six kilometres, but I just slowly drifted off.”
“I had a good win at Sandown in Melbourne so I was feeling pretty confident.”
“I love the Gold Coast. Look at this, this is winter!”

1st Female: Helen Stanton (AUS)

“I’m stuffed, but I’m rapt because the last two years I’ve competed in marathons, so it’s great to win the 10 kilometre - I was only hoping to get a placing.”
“I’ve been working on getting my speed up to do the 10km rather than the endurance of a marathon.”
”I’ve got another marathon later in the year, but it was good to work up my speed for this event.”
“There were about four girls in front of me but I thought to myself ‘this isn’t as hard as a marathon, you can do this’ and I just pushed ahead towards the end.”

Calci Yum Junior Dash 2.25km

1st Female: Jade Dowling (BRISBANE)

“I’m 10 years old.”
“My coach is Shawn Williams.”
“I think my parents will be very happy and proud.”
“I really like distance running.”
“I have state cross country coming up and I want to do really good and get in the top five.”

1st Male: Ben Eastwell (ROBINA) (Won last year, first to achieve two in a row)
”I feel alright.”
”I have state coming up soon, hopefully I’ll win that too.”
“I expected to win after winning last year.”

Calci Yum Junior Dash – 4 KM

1st Female: Katelin Simpson (HIGHLAND PARK)

“It was hard.”
“I started doing these [Gold Coast Airport Marathon’s] since I was 9 and now I’m 13, so I’ve done about five.”

Posted at 18:04     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, June 27, 2007 

All the best-dressed crooks prefer Nike

Back in the 1990s, Johnny Vaughan went out to buy a new pair of sneakers. Trying on some plain white Reebok Classics, he asked the shop assistant if he knew what sport they were originally designed for. Tennis, perhaps? Squash? "Nah mate," came the reply. "They're really more of a pub shoe." This was, the broadcaster decided, a landmark in laziness: the first ever non-sport-specific trainer.

Except that now, the Reebok Classic can claim endorsement from a reliably active group - the thieving fraternity. Police forensic scientists have revealed that the shoe is number two on its league table of footprints left at crime scenes, beaten only by the enduringly desirable Nike Air Max 95. "Criminals overwhelmingly use trainers, probably because they allow them to run fast," say the clever police. Better still, the shoes' mass-produced ubiquity makes them almost impossible to trace.

There is something deeply ironic about Nike Air Max 95 becoming the favourite shoe of criminals. As someone who bought some when they first hit the shops, I can vividly recall Nike themselves being accused of daylight robbery for charging an outrageous £109.99 a pair. They became known as the Nike "one ten" among underfunded JD Sports groupies. A friend of mine was actually mugged for hers and had to walk home from a club barefoot. Now the robbers' quarry has become their uniform.

Nike has so far been loath to take advantage of this associ-ation. But it is rather tempting to encourage the company to embrace the stealthy track record of its brand and launch a new range designed specifically with petty criminals in mind. Might I suggest Nike Home Invasions, or Nike Probations, perhaps? (It could happen. Nike's names are legendarily daft. Exhibit A: my pair of vintage Son of Lava Dome hiking hi-tops.)

How would Johnny Vaughan's shop assistant sell these shoes? "Yeah, good robbing shoe that, mate. Enough strength in the toe to stove in a window and plenty of flex on the sole so you can leg it when the Old Bill arrives."

Complete article at The guardian uk

Posted at 22:33     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, June 09, 2007 

Gold Coast Marathon to use Endura drinks

Queensland Events Gold Coast, the organisers of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon and associated events, advise that previous advice concerning the sports drink on course was premature. On course sports drinks will be Endura products.

In total, there will be 18 Drink Stations at regular intervals along the course from the start to the finish line. There will be eight Refreshment Stations located every five kilometres on the marathon course, with an additional eight Water Stations located midway between each Refreshment Station starting at 3km. Marathon runners can access their personal refreshments, sports drink and water at Refreshment Stations. The layout order of drinks will remain exactly the same at each Refreshment Station. The order will be: Personal Refreshments, Sports Drink, Water.

Marathon and Half Marathon runners will have access to water only at each 2.5km water station, and raspberry flavoured Endura product and water at each 5 km refreshment station. In the post race recovery areas lemon/lime flavoured Endura product will be available, as well as a bottle of Nu-Pure water.

It is recommended that participants in events such as the Gold Coast Airport Marathon ‘train’ with the sports drink provided on course prior to the event on 1 July 2007. Details of stockists in each state and in New Zealand can be found on the Endura Website.

Personal Refreshments:
Personal refreshment distribution is available to Marathon runners only and must be delivered to the Gold Coast Left Luggage next to the Information Booth at the Broadwater Events Parklands between 8.00am - 6.00pm Saturday 30 June only. Each Personal Refreshment container must display the athlete’s name, race number and kilometre point for placement. Marking containers with a personal item or colour will make them easy to identify. Glass or metal containers are not permitted. Containers must be sealed and no more than 30cm high. Personal refreshment containers not adhering to these criteria will not be accepted.

Posted at 11:01     [Perma-Link]
 Monday, June 04, 2007 

Gold Coast Marathon Numbers Up

The number of entries today reached the 5000-mark which is more than 35 percent up on last year.

Gold Coast Airport Marathon General Manager Cameron Hart said at the current rate of entry, this year’s participation will not only exceed last year’s record of 13,814 but also the 2007 target of 14,500.

"We are absolutely thrilled with the interest and entry level with one month to go until the event," said Hart. “It goes to show that more and more people are out there running and walking, and strive to enter events that are all about fun, fitness and participation for all ages and abilities. We also encourage people to enter before next Wednesday June 6 to take advantage of the cheaper entry fees. A late fee applies from Thursday and late entries will be accepted right through until Saturday June 30.”

This year the main beneficiaries of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon will be The Cancer Council Queensland and Diabetes Australia – Queensland.

High profile marathon runners attending this year’s Gold Coast Airport Marathon in various capacities are Rob de Castella, Steve Moneghetti, Pat Carroll, Lee Troop and Kerryn McCann.

The oldest entrant to date is Southport’s Bill Cumming who will participate in the Gold Coast Bulletin 7.5km Walk, and celebrate his 81st birthday two days after the event. The oldest entrant in the marathon currently is NSW resident Bruce Paine who will be aged 80 years 1 month on race day.

The youngest entrant to date is four-year-old Ben Robertson from Carrara, who will be five years one month old by the time he participates in the Gold Coast Bulletin 7.5km Walk. The minimum age is five years.

There are entrants from 22 countries and every Australian state and territory.

The largest group of family members that has currently entered is the Davoren family from Parkwood on the Gold Coast. The Davorens have six members entered across a range of events. Mother Kim will run the Asics Half Marathon while father Peter and eldest son Nicholas have entered the SOUL 10K Run. Middle sons Michael and Stephen will participate in the Calci Yum Junior Dash over 4km, while the youngest Daniel will run the 2.25km Calci Yum Junior Dash.

Grahame ‘Mountain Man’ Kerruish has run the most number of marathons by an Australian and will clock up number 307 at his 23rd Gold Coast Airport Marathon this year.

John Wishart holds the title of completing more Gold Coast Marathons than any other competitor. He has participated in 27 of the past 28 Gold Coast Marathons meaning he has covered 1140km at the event.

Peter McKenzie of Upper Coomera will compete in his 22nd Gold Coast Airport Marathon this year which will be his 70th marathon in total. Peter ran his first marathon in 1985 and his first Gold Coast Marathon in 1986. Peter, along with another Peter, Peter Hall, are the Gold Coasters who have run the most Gold Coast Marathons at 21 so far.

People can enter the Gold Coast Airport Marathon at www.goldcoastmarathon.com.auor receive an entry form from the office on phone (07) 5564 8733.

END OF RELEASE

Media Information:
Stephen Lock, Corporate & Public Relations Manager, Queensland Events Gold Coast
Phone: 07 5564 8733

Posted at 00:19     [Perma-Link]
 Wednesday, May 23, 2007 

Melbourne Marathon - 30 Years and Running Strong - All the Way to the MCG

The Samsung Melbourne Marathon today announced a new race format to celebrate its 30 year anniversary. On Sunday 7th October, both the elite and the recreational runner will be able to take to a new course that runs along Melbourne’s Bayside and finishes with a lap of the MCG.

There will be four distances that competitors can take part in. The Samsung Melbourne Marathon covers the full 42.195km distance, while the Asics Half Marathon is 21.1km. Both races are set to produce fast times with the introduction of an out and back course format. For those who prefer the shorter distance there is the Melbourne 10km run and the Yarra 5.5km run / walk.

As recognition of the strength of the Event, an agreement with the MCC has been struck to make the MCG the start and finish points for all events. This will give all competitors the chance to run a lap on the hallowed turf with their loved ones cheering them on. No stranger to this experience is Samsung Melbourne Marathon ambassador Kerryn McCann, who was lifted by the MCG “crowd’s roar” when she took gold in the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

“The thrill of running along William Barak Bridge with the crowd cheering and then entering the stadium gave me the biggest boost of my running career and I’m sure everyone who enters this year’s event will get a tingling sensation when they enter the MCG, whether they are running, jogging or walking” Kerryn commented.

Only three marathons have ever been run on the MCG, the 1956 Olympic Games and last year’s Male and Female events at the Commonwealth Games.

The Samsung Melbourne Marathon and Asics Half Marathon course will take in Melbourne landmarks such as Federation Square, The Arts Centre, Albert Park Lake, Fitzroy Street and the Port Phillip Bay foreshore with both races commencing at 7.45am. The Melbourne 10km, starting at 8.30am, includes a lap of the Royal Botanic Gardens, while the Yarra 5.5km which begins at 9.00am, will take in the banks of the Yarra River.

Dallas O’Brien, IMG Director of Athletics and Fitness, said “The 2007 Samsung Melbourne Marathon will see a new era in marathon racing in Australia. The introduction of the MCG as host to the new out and back race format and a truly fast and internationally accredited course contribute to making the Samsung Melbourne Marathon the best marathon in Australia!”

IMG, the Event owners and promoters will donate $25,000 to the official charity partner, The Cerebral Palsy Education Centre (CPEC). Competitors will also have the opportunity to pledge their support or be sponsored to run for CPEC.

The Samsung Melbourne Marathon expects to attract 15,000 competitors with a strong international field. Competitors will be racing for over $20,000 prize money and over $30,000 worth of prizes. Last years winners were Kazunari Suzuki from Japan (2 hours 23 minutes) and Karen Natoli from Australia (2 hours 53 minutes). Keep an eye on Karen who is sure to be a force again this year.

Event registration commences Tuesday 22nd May and can be made at www.melbournemarathon.com.au

Posted at 07:02     [Perma-Link]

Olympic qualifiers a target on the Gold Coast

Olympic qualification will be at the back of many elite Australian marathon runners’ minds when they contest the Gold Coast Airport Marathon on Sunday 1 July.

The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games qualifying period for Australian marathon runners commenced on 1 January this year, making the Gold Coast’s annual marathon race a great opportunity to post either an ‘A’ or ‘B’ qualifying time.

A number of early elite entries for the Gold Coast Airport Marathon are capable of producing an Olympic qualifying performance – MEN ‘A’ 2:12:00, ‘B’ 2:14:50; WOMEN ‘A’ 2:32:00, ‘B’ 2:36:00.

Both the early Australian and international interest also suggests this year’s Gold Coast Airport Marathon and Asics Half Marathon will once again be hotly contested.

In the women’s marathon, West Australian 30-year-old Lauren Shelley will be one of the leading contenders with a runner-up finish on the Gold Coast in 2005.

Shelley, coached by former world triathlon champion Jackie Fairweather (nee Gallagher), set a personal best in that race before lowering it even further at the 2005 Tokyo Marathon clocking 2:33:42. Last year she contested the Asics Half Marathon on the Gold Coast finishing seventh in a crack field in a fast 1:14:47, after finishing eighth in the Melbourne Commonwealth Games marathon.

“I’ve got a fair bit of work to do in the six weeks leading into the Gold Coast Airport Marathon,” said the Esperance-based runner.

“I haven’t run a marathon since last year’s Commonwealth Games in March, but had a good hit-out in last weekend’s Sydney Half Marathon finishing sixth.

“I’d like to run sub two hours 40 minutes on the Gold Coast given where I’m at. It’s the biggest and most important Australian marathon to run well at, so I’m aiming to be in good shape.”

1998 Commonwealth Games marathon silver medalist Lisa Dick is returning to the Gold Coast which has proved a happy hunting ground in the past. The 38-year-old from Victoria set her personal best of 2:36:54 when second in 1998.

The men’s Gold Coast Airport Marathon also looks strong at the top end with an intriguing ‘Tri Nation’s’ battle set to develop between Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Aussie frontrunners are set to include former Gold Coast winner Gemechu Woyecha who established a pb of 2:15:47 when he won in 2004, and recent Canberra Half Marathon winner Scott McTaggart who is making his marathon debut on the Gold Coast.

Last year Woyecha set a new best in Nagano, Japan with a 2:15:44 run, while McTaggart was the fourth ranked Australian over the half marathon last year with his 1:04:56 on the Gold Coast.

“I would like to set an Olympic qualifier on the Gold Coast – it will all depend on the competition and how fast the pace is,” said Woyecha. “It’s been a busy year so far but training is going really well. My baby girl was born in February, not long after I ran the Beppu Marathon, but that didn’t turn out to be the best of races for me. I’m much looking forward to the Gold Coast because I love the course and the conditions.”

South African runner Sandile Lembetha and New Zealand entrant Ben Ruthe are two early internationals out to spoil an Australian celebration in the marathon.

Lembetha, who came seventh on the Gold Coast in 2005, has a personal best of 2:18:15, while Ruthe, from Tauranga near Auckland, is a former national 5000m champion making his marathon debut.

The Asics Half Marathon is also drawing quality interest with Olympian Lee Troop confirmed as well as last weekend’s winner of the Sydney Half Marathon Brett Cartwright.

Troop sits third in the Australian all-time rankings for the half marathon with a sizzling 1:01:00 set in Tokyo in 1999, but will face some stiff competition from the in-form Cartwright.

In the women’s Asics Half Marathon, Victorian Lisa-Jane Weightman will be striving for the number one podium place following her second last year in 1:12:54. This time put the 28-year-old inside the top 20 Australians all-time, and second in last year’s national rankings for the half marathon.

The SOUL 10K Run will pit the winners of this race over the past three years – Queensland’s Michael Shelley, champion in 2004 and 2006, and fellow Queenslander Chris Reeves, champion in 2005.

These two Aussies already have a strong Trans Tasman rival with New Zealander Dale Warrander using the 10K race as preparation for the marathon in August’s World Championships.

Many more elite entries will be confirmed by June 6 with more top Australian and New Zealand runners expected alongside a strong Japanese field.

People can enter the Gold Coast Airport Marathon at www.goldcoastmarathon.com.au or receive an entry form from the office on phone (07) 5564 8733.

Posted at 06:58     [Perma-Link]
 Thursday, May 17, 2007 

Mizan Mehari takes own life in Canberra

Mizan came out to Australia in 1996 for the World Junior Champs in Sydney; together with 4 other athletes he stayed in Australia. Mizan and Sisay made Canberra their home, were in and out of clubs, AIS etc and have represented Australia at Olympics and World Champs.

From his IAAF bography he had a pb of 13:20.85 for 5000m and 7:54.97 for 3km.

Mizan took his own life last week on Mt Ainslie. He had been troubled for sometime largely due to the absence of a family base and finances.

Mizan's death notice is in the Canberra Times today, they are trying to raise funds to send his body back to Ethiopia and the local distance running fraternity are likely to organise a memorial service/Run in Mizan's honour.

He was one of the most talented runners we’ve had in Australia but he suffered a series of injuries that curtailed his running. He ran 13:20 for 5km as a 19 year old and finished 12th in the final of the 5000m at the Sydney Olympics (the only Australian male to make a track final). He won the National XC in 97, 98, (ahead of Moneghetti) - as he was born in December 1980 he would have been just under 17 the first time he won.

He was super talented but just kept getting injured. He was still trying to make a comeback. Many of his training sessions are still talked about. Things like 6 laps of Mount Rogers faster than we could do one. Runs up Mount Stromlo 1min faster than anyone else. Coming out and doing the group’s session in the afternoon as an easy run after running really hard in the morning. Destroying everyone including Shaun Creighton and Darren Wilson in training sessions when they were in great shape.

Mizan was 27. His Funeral is on Saturday at O’Rourke Funerals, 113 Crawford St Queanbeyan.

Profile from ABC

Posted at 07:43     [Perma-Link]
 Saturday, May 12, 2007 

Kokoda to Gold Coast Marathon

Kokoda to the Gold Coast is a long journey. But for one Papua New Guinea national, it will be a trip of discovery and the trip of a lifetime.

This year’s Gold Coast Airport Marathon to be held on Sunday 1 July will feature a 36-year-old PNG runner by the name of John Hiviki.

It will be a trip of discovery because John holds the record for the Kokoda Track Run with a time of 21 hours 1 minute 13 seconds which he set in 2005 over the arduous 97km journey from Kokoda to Owen’s Corner.

And, the Gold Coast Airport Marathon will be his first ever marathon race, so John will be able to test his endurance running talents against some of the best athletes from Australia, New Zealand and around the world.

It will be a trip of a lifetime because John, who hails from the village of Kebara near Kokoda, has never been outside his native country. Thanks to the efforts of PNG tourism identity Mrs Sauni Priscilla Ogomeni, the trip has been made possible.

Mrs Ogomeni, who lived and worked in Townsville for many years before returning to Kokoda to develop local tourism, runs ‘Kokoda Mountain View Lodge’ and organises treks along the Kokoda Track through her company ‘Kokoda Oro Treks and Tours’.

A Kokoda local herself, Mrs Ogomeni, 59, expressed a desire to support young Kokoda residents in experiencing an overseas adventure linked to their talents.

“I really wanted to provide an opportunity for youth in Kokoda and give them an experience overseas,” said Mrs Ogomeni. “With Australia being our neighbour and having such strong history with Kokoda coupled with John being a runner, I thought this would be a great first opportunity. I am also taking another Kokoda local by the name of Philip Arari who is my senior guide and coordinator for my trekking company. It will be a great experience for Philip as well.”

John is looking forward to making his marathon debut on the Gold Coast and visiting one of the world’s premier tourist destinations.

“I am very excited and looking forward to the trip,” said John. “I can’t wait to get on the plane and have a ride on the train to the Gold Coast, and then prepare for this great event. This means so much.”

Mrs Ogomeni will accompany John and Philip on the trip and will celebrate her 60th birthday on race day, Sunday 1 July.

Any companies interested in sponsoring John’s trip can contact Priscilla Ogomeni on phone 0011 675 329 7653 or email priskokoda@daltron.com.pg

People can enter the Gold Coast Airport Marathon at www.goldcoastmarathon.com.au or receive an entry form from the office on phone (07) 5564 8733.

Posted at 00:15     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, May 11, 2007 

Trail Running Association of Queensland is operational

Australia has some great places where we could be running – if only there were more events – we decided to form the Trail Running Association of Queensland. A bunch of the committed trails addicts attended the formation meeting – Don Wallace, Ian Javes, Bruce Hargreaves, Tamyka Bell, David Waugh, Rob Ware, Adam Barron, Greg Waite.

Our aim was go beyond casual groups running trails, to lobby so that we can get permission to use our parks for larger events - we want more people to be able share the trail experience. We believe trail running will be an increasingly important part of building up the running scene, adding a bit of adventure and excitement.

Our 2007 calendar keeps growing as permits and organisers are confirmed. So far it includes five new trail runs at Woodford, Wild Horse Mountain, Beerburrum, Lake Manchester and Dayboro-Woodford. We’re still working on others - including Mapleton Great Walk and Toowoomba Range in 2007, Fraser Island and Rainbow Beach in 2008

The www.runtrails.org website is up and running. If you have some great trail running information that’s not there, we’d love to hear from you at info@runtrails.org. We’re also keen to cross-promote related sports like mountain and ultra-running, rogaines and orienteering.

Finally, a plug for coming events. The first Glasshouse run of the year is coming up on May 20. This year there’s a new start from the relaxed rural town of Woodford. Plus we have a brand new run on a new course in Brisbane Forest Park, complete with online entry – Lake Manchester Trails (7/21/33km) on Sunday 17 June. More information at www.runtrails.org - Events.

Greg Waite, TRAQ treasurer.

Posted at 12:18     [Perma-Link]
 Tuesday, May 08, 2007 

Evan Hourigan Memorial Walk, Canberra

All are most cordially invited to participate in a Memorial Walk in memory of Canberra athlete Evan Hourigan. The walk will be held on Sunday 20 May at 10.30 am, starting and finishing in Commonwealth Park.

Evan participated in many athletic events and was a keen triathlete. He finished his first marathon at the Gold Coast in 2005 and was embarking on his first Ironman Triathlon. He has competed in many Sri Chinmoy events. Tragically in November 2006 Evan died while competing in a Sri Chinmoy event in Canberra. He was 34 years old. He was very popular with other athletes. He is survived by his wife, Sharon and son Kai (who is now 15 months old). Sharon is expecting their second child in July this year.

This is an event to remember and celebrate Evan and also help raise money for his children. The Walk is being organised by Evan's friends. At the end of the walk there will be a complimentary barbeque lunch and drinks, with lucky door prizes, including signed Brumbies, Sydney Swans and North Melbourne Football jumpers to be given away.

If you are unable to attend the walk but would like to make a donation, please see the details below.

Where: Commonwealth Park, Rond Terrace at the bottom of Anzac Parade on Lake Burley Griffin
When: Sunday 20 May 2007
Start time: 10:30 am
Entry fee: $10.00
The Course: from Commonwealth Park, crossing both Commonwealth and Kings Avenue Bridge, returning to the park (approximately 5.5 kilometres)

In order for the organisers to know how many to cater for, it is important to RSVP to the following email address:
ehouriganmemorialwalk@walturn.com.au

The entry fee and any further donations can be made on the day or by making payment to the following account:

Account name: WalterTurnbull Pty Ltd - Evan Hourigan Memorial Walk
Account Number: 062 919 1028 2636

All proceeds will go directly to Evan's son Kai and his soon to be little brother/sister to assist them with their development and education.

Posted at 17:52     [Perma-Link]
 Sunday, May 06, 2007 

ACT mountain running championships

Mt Majura, ACT, Saturday 5 May 2007

Stunning performance by Wallington the highlight of the ACT Mountain Running Championships

The ACT Mountain Running Championships were taken out by interstate visitors, Neil Labinsky of Queensland winning the men’s title and Canowindra school girl Veronica Wallington the women’s.

Sixteen year old Wallington produced a stunning performance, slashing more than a minute from the course record held by world long distance mountain running champion Emma Murray and over two minutes off the 2005 Australian championship record time of Vivian Pott of Queensland who went on to finish 11th in the World Championship that year. Wallington appears to be an outstanding prospect for this year’s World Junior Mountain Running Championship, after completing the first lap in under course record time and then accelerated in the next lap, clocking 46 mins 5 secs for the 9kms which had a total elevation gain of 600 metres. Canberra’s Vanessa Haverd was 2nd in 50:21 and Angela Bateup of Yass 3rd in 51:24.

Neil Labinsky showed outstanding endurance at the 2007 Six Foot Track in finishing 5th in 3:36:25 but used superior downhill speed to nullify the uphill running strength and local knowledge of South Canberra Tuggeranong’s Stuart Doyle in the ACT men’s 13 km championship. The lead see-sawed between the two during the first and second of the three ascents and descents of the mountain. Labinsky eventually claimed victory for the 13 kms in 65:04, with Doyle runner-up in 66:09, and M50 world long distance champion Trevor Jacobs of Weston Creek 3rd in 70:29. Unfortunately Labinsky is heading to South Africa for the Comrades Marathon and will not be around for the Australian Mountain Running Championship on Mt Majura on 16 June. But if downhill running is an advantage for the downhill Comrades, he will undoubtedly do very well.

Results:
Senior women’s 9kms:
1 Veronica Wallington 46.05, 2 Vanessa Haverd 50.21, 3 Angela Bateup 51.24, 4 Cindy King 55.18, 5 Narelle Patrick 58.29.
W35 9kms: 1 Angela Bateup 51.24, 2 Cindy King 55.18.
W40 9kms: 1 Narelle Patrick 58.29.

Senior men’s 13kms:
1 Neil Labinsky 65.04, 2 Stuart Doyle 66.09, 3 Trevor Jacobs 70.29, 4 Damian Green 73.12, 5 Norak Theam 80.32, 6 Ian Wright 80.37, 7 Mick Corlis 86.30, 8 Simon Krantzcke 86.58, 9 Christophe Vial 90.54, 10 Hugh Jorgensen 92.27, 11 Ross Stewart 98.38, 12 Matthew Hole 103.29.

M40 13kms: 1 Stuart Doyle 66.09, 2 Damian Green 73.12, 3 Simon Krantzcke 86.58, 4 Christophe Vial 90.54, 5 Hugh Jorgensen 92.27, 6 Ross Stewart 98.38.

M45 13kms: 1 Mick Corlis 86.30.

M50 men’s 8.8kms: 1 Ian Wright 53.33.

M55 men’s 8.8kms:1 Trevor Jacobs 45.59, 2 Peter Clarke 52.28, 3 Ian Wright 53.33, 4 Hugh Moore 56.17, 5 Mick Charlton 71.56.

Open 4.7kms: 1 John Revesz 54.42.

Posted at 13:15     [Perma-Link]
 Friday, May 04, 2007 

The Pichi Richi Marathon is on again!

As per tradition, the marathon is being held on the first weekend of the mid year school holidays, Sunday 8 July 2007.

Due to overwhelming public support for the event, a new committee has been formed to continue the success that the Port Augusta Road Runners have established with this event. With the assistance of the Port Augusta City and Flinders Ranges Councils, along with local community/charity groups, the 26th Pichi Richi Marathon is shaping up to be bigger than ever. 2007 will see the same events offered as in previous years; 42km Marathon, 21km Half Marathon Walk/Run, and 10.5km Walk/Run.

As with any event, its success is not just measured by the strength and organization of the committee but by the commitment of competitors. So, we are encouraging everyone to start training to either run or walk our beautiful scenic route between Port Augusta and Quorn, culminating in a social afternoon at the Quorn Oval.

Please visit our website at www.pichirichimarathon.org.au for entry form locations or print off and send in the online entry form.

Posted at 08:33     [Perma-Link]


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