After a long summer of relentless pulsating action of athletics, we’re going to need to get used to some more ‘spare’ menus over the following few months as far as the new indoor season gets underway in January. Not that this is necessarily bad as everyone around could use a little break, turn our attention on other things and come back with a sharpened up appetite for more after New Year. As of this weekend, it is going to be mainly road, and later cross-country, events that are going to entertain us in the meantime and there are a few big affairs lined up over the next couple of days like the 5th Avenue Mile in New York and the Berlin Marathon, featuring Paula Radcliffe on her return to top notch racing as she attemps to revive her Olympic dream, tomorrow. So let’s catch up with the action as it shapes up around:
5th Avenue Mile, New York, USA, September 24
Great Bernard Lagat (USA) wrapped up a fabulous season of the highest quality in style as he convincingly knocked last year’s winner Amine Laalou (MAR) off his prestigious seat by well over a second in a time of 3:50.5 to 3:51.7, the fastest winning time on the course since Aussie Craig Mottram‘s 3:49.9 in 2005. For that matter, Kiwi Olympic silver medalist Nick Willis also set 3:50.5 winning the 2008 edition of the race.
Third was a surprisingly strong David Torrence (USA) in a fast 3:52.4 to hold off astounding compatriot Jeff See who ended up just outside the top three in an excellent 3:52.9. By contrast, noted Kenyan Boaz Lalang sank way down the field in 14th place slightly inside 4 mins (3:59.1).
1.Bernard Lagat (USA) 3:50.5, 2.Amin Laalou (MAR) 3:51.7, 3.David Torrence (USA) 3:52.4, 4.Jeff See (USA) 3:52.9, 5.Craig Miller (USA) 3:54.4, 6.Jon Rankin (USA) 3:54.7, 7.Gareth Heath (USA) 3:55.3, 8.Jeff Riseley (AUS) 3:56.6, 9.Haron Lagat (KEN) 3:57.0, 10.Anthony Famiglietti (USA) 3:57.1, …, 14.Boaz Lalang (KEN) 3:59.1, 17.Nick Symmonds (USA) 4:04.9
Bernard Lagat lays down his law in the men’s mile
World 1500m champion Jenny Simpson, a former steeplechaser, topped off a nearly surreal campaign to winning ways in the women’s version in 4:22.3 as she edged out Sally Kipyego (KEN) and Hannah England, who finished tied for second and third in 4:22.6, although the anticipated challenge of Diamond League winner Morgan Uceny surprisingly never really took shape, coming a distant sixth in 4:26.2 . The winner’s time was the fastest since Lisa Dobriskey‘s 4:18.6 shortly after the Beijing Olympics in 2008 come to that.
England, for her part, must be feeling pleased to wrap up a wonder season on a high with yet another high-profile top three placing to bolster up her foothold in the top tier of the middle distances on the global stage. As a matter of fact, what a trio of milers could Britain field in London if England, Dobriskey, Steph Twell, who made a low-key return to racing this weekend, and Charlene Thomas are all healthy and on top of their game!
Shannon Rowbury, the winner of the previous two occasions, endured a modest display to trail home seventh in 4:27.0 where Daegu ‘chase finalist Barbara Parker enjoyed an encouraging run in 4:31.7 to round out the top ten.
1.Jenny Simpson (USA) 4:22.3, 2.Sally Kipyego (KEN) 4:22.6, 3.Hannah England (GBR) 4:22.6, 4.Ingvill Makestad Bovim (NOR) 4:24.6, 5.Susan Kuijken (HOL) 4:25.5, 6.Morgan Uceny (USA) 4:26.2, 7.Shannon Rowbury (USA) 4:27.0, 8.Sarah Hall (USA) 4:29.1, 9.Brenda Martinez (USA) 4:29.6, 10.Barbara Parker (GBR) 4:31.7, …, 14.Alysia Montano (USA) 4:34.0, 20.Maggie Vessey (USA) 4:44.5
Jenny Simpson tops off a fairytale season winning the women’s mile with Hannah England just pipped on the line for a still excellent third
Luckwell hits Olympic A qualifier in the javelin
Merwyn Luckwell, the former rugby player that has turned a javelin thrower, picked up where he left off last weekend to launch his spear to a stunning PB of 83.52m and gain a sound foothold well inside the Olympic A qualifying territory, backed up with his second furthest throw ever of 82.92m in the process. That took place at a low-profile meet in Wales as the 26-year-old smashed his previous best of 81.05m dating back to early 2009 at the European Winter Long Throws Champs at Compiegne (France) and added almost three metres to his SB of 80.60m.
On top of that, Luckwell moves up two places into sixth in the British all-time lists with the new specification while his new lifetime mark is the best landed by a Briton since Nick Nieland, who has made a coy return to action himself this season, set 84.70m in Riga (Letonia) in 2006. Needless to say, he has as good as put one foot in the Olympic team as only James Campbell and maybe Lee Doran look capable of reaching the A standard next summer of the other javelin throwers around the country. Though that could well be subject to change.
Also noteworthy was Richard Shuttleworth‘s substantial PB of 72.52, improving from 71.61m last weekend, to narrowly miss out on the domestic U20 rankings top held by Joe Dunderdale a mere 3cm higher. Both today performers train under Esa Utriainen.
International Race Walking Naumburg, Naumburg, Germany, September 24
Alex Wright, still 20, walked to a big SB and UK-leading mark of 1h26:42 over 20km to overtake groupmate Tom Bosworth, a SB of 1h27:18m, to the top of the domestic rankings this season, improving from 1h28:07 in Lugano (Switzerland) last March. Both athletes train under Andy Drake by the way.
Irishman Brendan Boyce secured the Olympic A qualifying standard as he clocked a solid 3h57:58 over the far longer tough 50km distance.
Start-lists & Results
Thompson back in good shape in the streets of London
Chris Thompson, the European 10000m silver medalist, showed that he is well back on track as he set a massive PB of 62:11 for third over the Run To The Beat half marathon held mainly round the streets of Lambeth and Greenwich in South London yesterday. According to a tweet by Jemma Simpson it was done in a so-called ‘tempo run’ which makes the display even more impressive, a nice confidence boost after missing Daegu despite a superb start to the season.
Two Kenyans, not anything unusual, finished ahead of him in Milton Kiplagat Rotich (61:19) and Edwin Kipyego (61:57) while their compatriot Alice Mogire impressed with a 69:51 clocking as first woman home.
SEAA Road Relays, Aldershot, 24-25 September
The event marked the low-key return of Steph Twell to action for the first time since suffering that freak injury over cross-country in Belgium last winter and the apparent good news is that she has come off in one piece and unscathed, which may have been presumably her main goal testing her leg over its response in racing conditions.
For that matter, Charlie Purdue showed a sharp return to form as she clocked easily the fastest leg of the day in 12:15, a three seconds faster than last year when she was flying on every surface at this stage.
Both athletes are coached by Mick Woods for good measure.
1.Charlotte Purdue (U23) 12:15, 2.Emelia Gorecka 12:48, 3.Jess Peterson 12:48,…, 7.Emma Pallant (U23) 13:01, 8.Steph Twell (U23) 13:03
Heslop draws the eye in Swansea
Justina Heslop has remained firm on a trail into new territories as she edged the Swansea Bay 10km in a lifetime best of 32:40 ahead of Kenyan Edith Chelimo (32:48), an 71:21 half-marathon performer this term, to slash 31 secs off her previous marker. Incidentally, she recently set also a best of 73:12 over the half-marathon in the Czech Republic.
Gemma Steel was third in 33:47 and veteran now triathlete Andrea Whitcombe, who was fourth at the 1990 World U20 Championships over 3000m, fourth in 33:53.
On the men’s side, Phil Wicks was second in 29:43 to Kenyan Edwin Kipkorir, who clocked 29:29 some way ahead, with Ben Tickner third in 30:14 and U23 Welshman Dewi Griffiths fourth in 30:22.