There isn’t any top drawer road event going on around this weekend but still some interesting pieces of action to pick up. But, first of all, let’s mention that Jamaican sprint superstar Usain Bolt and Aussie hurdler Sally Pearson were named Athletes Of The Year for 2011 at the glamorous World Athletics Gala in Monaco last night.

World Athletics Gala, Monaco

Bolt claimed the illustrious award for the third time in his career courtesy mainly of his blazing dash round the furlong to a sensational 19.40 secs ahead of Walter Dix (USA) in successfully defending his global title in Daegu, as well as anchoring the Jamaican 4x100m outfit to a world record of 37.04 secs  in the curtain-drawer of the championships. Pearson, for her part, scooped the women’s respective prize first time out in the top three nominations of the institution, having notched the gold medal over the 100m hurdles in the fourth fastest time ever of 12.28 secs and winning all but one of her races during the season.

Sally Pearson blazes over the hurdles to a stunning 12.28 secs in Daegu

However, fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake could feel hard done by to be denied the gong as he produced a nearly surreal 19.26 secs over the 200m at the Diamond League in Brussels, on a poor reaction (0.259) at that, and was himself a convincing 100m global champion, where Bolt uncharacteristically blundered into a shocking false-start, and played also a key part in the Jamaican relay round the top bend himself.

As could Kenyan distance queen Vivian Cheruiyot who made an impressive golden double of the 5000 and the 10000m in Korea while also enjoying an unbeaten run over either distance on the track.

Which, in turn, may have been the ground that they were both sort of ‘compensated for’ by way of the Performance Of The Year awards by IAAF on their above mentioned feats, suggesting something like a ‘books balance-out’ policy on account of the world’s athletics governing body.

There is also a wide sense that Mo Farah could have merited a share in the men’s final cut on a nothing less than a purple patch of performances and achievements this season but hopefully he is going to force his way in through some further enthralling displays on the track of the Olympic stadium of London next year.

IAAF report

http://www.iaaf.org/athletes/gala/2011/newsid=62919.html

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McCain UK Cross-Country Challenge, Bristol

Frank Tickner and strong favourite Gemma Steel have been the winners in men and women at the McCain’s Challenge earlier on in Bristol in very good racing conditions, the latter romping to an around 41 secs sound victory margin over Naomi Taschimowitz and a round 50 secs on returning Justina Heslop – the winning time at 25:26.

That was a fitting way to celebrate her 26th birthday yesterday as the Charnwood runner is enjoying the form of her life and targeting the European Cross-Country Championships next month.

Jessica Sparke was seventh in 27:15 and Kate Avery is still looking some way off her best self to come only 12th in 28:04.

Gemma Steel

Senior women’s results http://www.runbristol.com/files/xc/SeniorWomenResult.pdf

The men’s race built up into a much more competitive affair and it came only in the closing stages that Tickner, who astonishingly hasn’t raced on the track since 2008, drew away to clinch top honours in 29:56 from eventual runner-up Phil Wicks (30:08) and U23 Welshman Dewi Griffiths (30:17).

Senior men’s results http://www.runbristol.com/files/xc/SeniorMenResult.pdf

In the U20 province, Kieran Clements was a thorough top marker by some 45 secs in 23:31 from Irishman Liam Brady while Annabel Gummow, the European U20 5000m bronze medallist, demolished the field by a huge gap of 1:24 to cross the line in 17:43.

U20 men results http://www.runbristol.com/files/xc/U20MenResult.pdf

U20 women results http://www.runbristol.com/files/xc/U20WomenResult.pdf

Meanwhile, Emelia Gorecka, the European U20 silver medallist over 5000m, was the winner in the women’s senior race at the Hamshire League on Saturday.

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NCAA Regionals – Millington third in Utah

Ross Millington built further on his good early run of outings on the American country as he placed third over the men’s roughly 10km course in 30:24.8 at the NCAA Mountain Region XC Championships held at Provo, Utah. The European U23 5000m silver medallist was pleased with his display and wasn’t far off winner Miles Batty (30:09.3) and runner-up and home favourite Cameron Levins (30:11.5).

Millington’s side, the University of New Mexico, finished just outside the top three spots in fourth.

Men’s Results

http://results.athensclassicmarathon.gr/results2011/results.asp?p=1091&s=0&a=0&e=0&l=2

Former steeplechaser Ruth Senior, a global U20 finalist in 2006, was the highest finisher among British girls in 7th in 21:05.8 over the 6km route in a race won comfortably by Kenyan Risper Kimaiyo (Texas) in 20:35.2 but did head New Mexico on top of the team standings, with Sarah Waldron 13th in 21:21.3.

Natalie Gray, Kirsty Milner and Imogen Ainsworth followed some way back in close succession in 20th, 21st and 23rd respectively and apparently working their way through on team tactics.

Women’s Results

http://www.runnercard.com/runner/data/512/3650/Result/Womens_6K.htm

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David Forrester returned to winning ways as he edged out teammate Michael Fout by nearly three seconds in 30:43.3 to 30:46.0, ensuring Florida of an easy top spot in the team standings in the South Regionals.

Hannah Brooks was a close runner-up behind Amanda Winslow as Florida made a clean sweep of the podium places in Tuscaloosa, topping the women’s table in the process.

Men’s Results http://flashresults.com/2012_Meets/xc/11-12-D1South/Results-2.htm

Women’s Results http://flashresults.com/2012_Meets/xc/11-12-D1South/Results-1.htm

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Callum Hawkins extended his strong start to the cross-country term as he saw off Eric Finan (Cincinatti) to victory by over seven seconds in a time of 30:01.5 at the Great Lakes Regionals. Ross Clarke was 13th in 30:36.5.

Men’s Results

http://www.deltatiming.com/results/xcresults.aspx?yf=2011&mf=2011-ncaa-d1-great-lakes-region-xc&ev=1&sp=True

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Tom Farrell, second European U23 over 5000m last summer, wound up sixth in 31:23.03 in a tight finish affair where only winner Hassan Mead edged off to a six-second margin at the end in the Midwest division.

Men’s Results http://www.trxctiming.com/NCAA_XC_D1/2011/men_10k_finish.htm

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Mitch Goose was fifth for Iona in 31:28.0 at the North East Regionals held by the University of Buffalo, with teammate Leonard Korir (KEN) the winner in 31:10.3. Hollie Rowland was third in the women’s 6km in 20:40.2 some way behind top finisher Abbey D’Agostino (20:25.3).

Men’s Results http://www.buffalobulls.com/sports/xc/2011-12/files/Men.htm

Women’s Results http://www.buffalobulls.com/sports/xc/2011-12/files/Women.htm

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Merga gets off to winning start on the country in Spain

Imane Merga may have endured an entire track season without a single victory to his credit on the circuit but back on the country he showed a different proposition. The Ethiopian and his ‘killing elbows’ managed to haul in a powerful late surge by Eritrean Kidane Tadesse over the last 300m to edge past and back to winning ways at Atapuerca by a mere second, crossing the line in 27:21 to 27:22 respectively. Humengnaw Mesfin (ETH) was a close third a further two seconds behind.

By contrast, Linet Masai (KEN) turned a runaway victor in the women’s race in 24:20 as she carved out a sound 22 secs on runner-up Belaynesg Oljira (ETH), with fellow Kenyan Priscah Jeptoo closing out the top three an additional ten seconds behind.

U23 Briton Hannah Walker placed a creditable eighth in that very good quality race in a time of 26:20 as she is building up nicely towards the new season.

http://www.iaaf.org/news/newsid=62938.html

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Boubker comes away with convincing win in Athens Marathon

30-year-old Abdelkerim Boubker rose a rather surprise but yet convincing victor on the demanding original marathon course of Athens in the face of cold blustery conditions. The Moroccan set a creditable time of 2h11:40, among the fastest ever set thereon, to comfortably hold off Kenyan Sammy Kipkosgei Chumba who came home second in 2h13:27.

The well-versed on the course will tell you that it adds up to even three and a half to four minutes on what one would run on a fast course like Berlin or London due to tough lengthy and treacherous uphill segments and turns during the first 30km of the race or thereabouts, which require a gentle and astute approach to tackle.

Interestingly, runner-up Chumba said after the race “I think I’m capable of 2ho8 on another course!”

Elfeneshe Melkamu (ETH) inched off to a close win over Ukraine’s Kamila Khanipova in 2h35:25 to 2h35:31 in the women’s version.

Results (Top 20)

http://results.athensclassicmarathon.gr/results2011/results.asp?p=1091&s=0&a=0&e=0&l=2

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El Idrissi edges surprise victory in Turin

Sunday turned out into a rare Moroccan double triumph out of two marathon runs on the Mediterrenean as Italy-based Ennaji El Idrissi, a 13:06.81 performer over 5000m on the track, shocked the favourites to edge away to victory in a big PB of 2h08:13.

Kenya’s William Chebor was second in 2h08:21, Ethiopian Bacha Megersa was third in 2h08:55 and also Kenyan Peter Kurui was just outside the podium in 2h08:58 to work a surprising depth in the affair.

Ukraine’s Yuliya Ruban eased to a thorough win in the women’s version in 2h27:10, a mere 10 secs outside her PB.

http://www.iaaf.org/LRR11/news/newsid=62932.html

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