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Track & Field

Track & Field (207)

By David Monti, @d9monti

(c) 2017 Race Results Weekly, All Rights Reserved

Used with Permission


LOS ANGELES (18-May) -- As the warm Southern California sun set over the Bill Henry Track at Jack Kemp Stadium at Occidental College here, action on the track heated up at the USATF Distance Classic, led by USA-leading and meet record marks by global medalists Matthew Centrowitz in the 1500m (3:33.41) and Brenda Martinez in the 800m (1:58.78).


Martinez, the 2013 IAAF World Championships silver medalist at 800m, glided through the first 400-meters behind the pacemaker in a swift 57.23, then bolted to the lead with 300 meters to go.  Pumping her arms furiously as she ran down the backstretch, the 29-year-old Californian did not let up in the final meters and was the only woman to break two minutes here tonight.  She was clearly pleased with her effort and saved something for the Prefontaine Classic 1500m one week from Saturday in Eugene, Ore.


"We're smart about training," Martinez told reporters.  "I trust what coach (Joe) Vigil's doing.  I think we're going to peak at the right time."


Behind Martinez, three more athletes broke the IAAF World Championships qualifying standard of 2:01.00: Britain's Adelle Tracey (2:00.35), New Zealand's Angie Petty (2:00.44), and the Hoka NJ-NY Track Club's Cecilia Barowski (2:00.90).  Jenny Simpson, last summer's Olympic 1500m bronze medalist, has the 8th best time on the night of 2:02.32, and said the race was a good early-season effort.


"I wanted to commit to running hard," Simpson told Race Results Weekly.  She added: "It's a different kind of hard the last hundred of an eight hundred, so it's tough.  It's a strange feeling when you're used to accelerating the last hundred and suddenly, like, you're legs are gone."


Centrowitz, last summer's Olympic 1500m champion, had to beat back credible challenges from four-time Olympic Gold medalist Mo Farah, and two-time European championships bronze medalist Chris O'Hare to get the win tonight.  Pacemakers Edward Kemboi and David Torrence, took the field through the first 400 meters in 56.4, and 800 meters in 1:55.1.  Just after Torrence stepped off the track at 1200 meters, O'Hare took off down the backstretch, taking Centrowitz and Farah with him.  Centrowitz stuck to his two rivals, then powered past them entering the homestretch.


"Coming in I really didn't know what to expect," Centrowitz told reporters after signing autographs and posing for selfies with fans.  "I was just, like, hang on for dear life kind of thing.  I was happy, obviously, with the time."


Farah dug deep in the final 50 meters, passing O'Hare to take second in 3:34.19 to O'Hare's 3:34.35, both comfortably under the IAAF World Championships qualifying standard of 3:36.00.  Eric Jenkins, this year's NYRR Wanamaker Mile Champion, had the fourth-fastest time out of the second section of 3:36.51.


In the men's two-lap race, Australia's Luke Mathews was the fastest of three men who broke 1:47 tonight, clocking 1:46.44 over Britain's Kyle Langford (1:46.77) and Britain's Andrew Osagie (1:46.93).  He was slightly disappointed that he didn't make the World Championships qualifying mark of 1:45.90.


"I didn't get out as well as I would have liked," Mathews explained.  "I waited and waited and waited until the final hundred and that was it."


The women's 1500m went to the Oregon Track Club Elite's Sheila Reid who missed last summer's Olympics because of a series of injuries to her right leg, including bursitis in her knee and a stress reaction in her tibia.  Tonight the Canadian from Newmarket, Ontario, showed some of her old form, out-sprinting USA 1500m record holder Shannon Rowbury on the homestretch to claim the win in 4:07.07 to Rowbury's 4:07.17.  Both women got under the IAAF World Championships qualifying standard of 4:07.50.


"Four-oh-seven is still five seconds off of my personal best, but if two months ago if you told me that I would be in a position to run a world standard I would have laughed at you," Reid told reporters.  "I was so out of shape, and really dejected.  I just kind of found my fitness, and found my groove again."


There were also sold runs in the two 5000m races, especially on the women's side where Britain's Laura Weightman made her debut at the distance in an excellent 15:08.24.  She was pushed right to the line by USA half-marathon champion Natosha Rogers, who ran a 20-second personal best of 15:08.29.  Three more women got under the IAAF World Championships qualifying time of 15:22.00: Canada's Jessica O'Connell (15:16.79), Boston Athletic Association's Sarah Pagano (15:18.57), and Brooks's Lauren Paquette (15:19.73).


"That was the hardest race of my life," said Weightman sprawled on her back in the infield while coach Steve Cram looked on with a smile.  "I'm really happy with that."


The U.S. Army's Shadrack Kipchirchir won the men's 5000m in 13:23.74, just off the World Championships qualifying time of 13:22.60.


Three women representing Oiselle --Mel Lawrence, Marisa Howard and Alexina Wilson-- went 1-2-3 in the women's steeplechase in 9:40.20, 9:40.40 and 9:40.90, respectively.  They were the only three athletes to get under the World Championships qualifying mark of 9:42-flat.


Unfortunately, in the men's steeplechase not all of the barriers were set at the correct height after the women's heat was concluded.  As such, all of the marks --including Hilary Bor's winning time of 8:23.08-- cannot count as qualifying times for the World Championships.

An all-star clash in the women’s 200m will be the headline attraction on the third stop of the IAAF Diamond League at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene on Friday and Saturday (26-27).

INDIANAPOLIS -- Reigning World Champion in the shot put Joe Kovacs (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) astounded the competition at last week’s Tucson Elite Classic, improving on his PR with the world’s best throw since 2003.

The Pre Classic is the third of fourteen Diamond League Meetings in 2017. The two day Eugene Diamond League has its Friday night dedicated to women in athletics. On the second day, the best three hours of track in North America this year will go down. Make sure that you are there, or watching it! Here's Justin Lagat's take on the distance races in Eugene!

STAMFORD, Conn. – May 24, 2017NBC Sports Group presents live coverage of the 2017 Prefontaine Classic from Portland, Ore., beginning this Friday, May 26, at 11 p.m. ET on NBCSN, and continuing this Saturday, May 27 at 4 p.m. ET on NBC. NBC Sports Gold’s “Track and Field Pass” live stream will begin Saturday at 2:45 p.m. ET, and also offers exclusive bonus coverage of field events, highlights, and replays, as well as an exclusive 30-minute preview of the event.

The provisional entry lists for the third meeting of the 2017 IAAF Diamond League in Eugene on 26-27 May are now available.

Eight men with sub-10 second lifetime bests will line up for the start of the 100m at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene on 27 May, the third stop of the 2017 IAAF Diamond League series.

By David Hunter, March 26, 2017
A successful track & field athlete needs several critical traits: natural talent; a disciplined work ethic; a reliable support system; knowledgeable coaching; an unflappable demeanor; an unshakeable focus; and - among the most important - an engrained sense of motivation which inspires the athlete to employ all of those other characteristics in the quest to achieve the targeted track & field goal. A survey of the current marquee track & field athletes suggests that Ekaterina Stefanidi, reigning Olympic and Diamond League pole vault champion, is among those few athletes who receive high marks in virtually all of these categories - especially motivation.
by Cathal Dennehy
For many distance runners, the landscape of life after college is a wasteland - an empty scene where there is no visible route from where you are to where you want to be.
Sam McEntee knows this, but the 25-year-old Australian is one of the fortunate few to have had a path mapped out for him, thanks to two world-class coaches who nudged him in the right direction at a pivotal point in life.
It was May 2015 and McEntee, a middle distance talent plying his trade at Villanova, was coming to the end of his collegiate career. Three years earlier, it seemed he had endless options available for the future after clocking a PB of 3:36.81 at the age of just 21. But the only predictable thing in life is that it’s utterly unpredictable, and after being eliminated in the heats the 1500m at the NCAA Regional Championships in Jacksonville, Fl., he faced the daunting decision every athlete must when the safety net of a scholarship disappears: What next?
Marcus O’Sullivan had guided him through his time at Villanova, but the Irishman could see that McEntee’s progress was stagnating in Philadelphia. “He knew I was a bit flat and he said ‘You’ve got to get out of here,’” recalls McEntee. “He said to ask yourself if you really want it and if so, go and get to that next stage.”
The next step was an obvious one, as it is for most promising Australians with an aerobic engine. As soon as McEntee got knocked out of NCAA regionals in Florida, he picked up the phone to Nic Bideau, the coach, manager, and driving force behind the Melbourne Track Club.
“Nic was over in London at the time and he said to change my flight and get over there as soon as I could,” recalls McEntee. “You’d struggle to find someone as influential in Australian athletics as him. He’s been in the game for 25 to 30 years, knows a lot of people on the world circuit, and he knows what it takes to get to that top level.”
McEntee ran a series of races around Europe that summer before returning to Australia, setting up a training base in Melbourne and adjusting to his new life, where he knew the path to global championships would involve a lot more mileage than he was used to.
“Oh man,” says McEntee, when asked how training has changed from college life under O’Sullivan to life as a professional under Bideau. “Marcus is one of the best coaches out there. I was a really low-mileage guy before he brought me on, but once I moved on, I knew there would be a lot of hard work and extra mileage.
“Nic’s tough, but he’s good. It’s been a lot harder than I wanted but I really enjoy the challenge, and that’s one thing I’ve learned to love - getting as much out of myself as I can.”
In 2016, McEntee finally surrendered to the belief - long held by both O’Sullivan and Bideau - that he was better suited to the 5K than 1500, and in Stanford in May 2016, he smashed his personal best to run 13:20.72 and qualify for the Olympic Games.
In Rio, a summer bout of plantar fasciitis left him well off his best and McEntee was eliminated after finishing 18th in his 5000m heat in 13:50.55, but the experience was nonetheless a positive one.
“It was awesome,” he says. “The race was tough going as I had pretty average training going in and I knew I wasn’t going to be at my best but it was my first Olympics, so I don’t think I was ready to set the world on fire.
“I tried to take in as much as I could of the experience - running next to Mo [Farah] thinking: ‘He’s the best. If you want to be as good as him it’s going to take a lot.’”
Ahead of 2017, McEntee continued to creep up his weekly mileage, training everywhere from his sea-level base in Melbourne to the group’s favoured altitude locations in Falls Creek, Australia, and more recently in Mount Laguna, California.
That was where he came from to compete at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Stanford, where he slashed another three seconds off his 5000m PB to finish second in 13:17.55, his last lap a swift 59.06 seconds.
“I took it over at 800 [to run] and it’s normally not my cup of tea to do that, but I really wanted that world standard and I really wanted a PB,” he says. “It’s something I don’t do often but I’m pretty proud of myself for having a crack.”
It made him the first Australian qualifier for the men’s 5000m at the World Championships in London and moved him to eighth on the Australian all-time list, but what’s perhaps most promising is that McEntee feels there’s more in the tank.
His typical mileage hovers around 90 miles a week, but he figures he’s only banked 10 weeks above that in the past two years as he continues to adjusts to the lengthier workouts prescribed by Bideau.
“The sessions had a lot more volume than I would do in college, and it’s three sessions a week now instead of two in college, so the key was to be able to handle the volume in sessions before I increase the overall mileage.”
It can be exhausting, no doubt, but the results are starting to speak for themselves.
“Sometimes you think: ‘Fuck, this is so hard,’ but Nic is really good and this race showed it works,” said McEntee. “I haven’t been that consistent for very long - it’s only been a couple of months.”
His next race will be at one of his old stomping grounds in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, on May 17, where he hopes to rewrite his 1500m PB in a race paced by Nick Willis. After that he’ll relocate to Europe for the summer, training at MTC’s base in Teddington, England.
Along with athletes like Collis Birmigham, Patrick Tiernan, Genevieve LaCaze, Ryan Gregson and Brett Robinson, McEntee is part of a widespread resurgence in Australian distance running, and he believes the best is yet to come.
“We’re not quite on the same level as the Americans in middle-distance events - obviously we’re a much smaller country - but we’ve got as much fight as they do and we want it as much as them. The results will come in the next year or two.”
Life as a low-13-minute 5000m runner is far from lucrative, with sparse money available either through sponsorship or prize money, but McEntee credits his parents and his coach for the chance to continue chasing the dream he believes is possible this year: a World 5000m final in London.
“I’m a full-time athlete and I don’t work, much as I’d love to get that extra bit of income, but my parents are really supportive,” he says. “Along with that, Nic has given me a great opportunity, so I’m just grabbing it by the horns and seeing how far I can get.”
By David Hunter
As is the case in virtually every undertaking in life, goal-setting is an essential ingredient for track & field success. The better athletes in our sport reflect upon past accomplishments, assess their fitness level, target their goals, and map out a strategy to achieve them. Yet without the athlete’s commitment, the prospects for goal achievement are slim indeed. Studies show that when an athlete does commit, but then also verbalizes and shares the targeted goals with others, it serves to strengthen the resolve of the athlete who has gone public with the dream. Some athletes - who see risk in sharing their goals with others - are coy about their annual or long-range objectives and are reluctant to share their goals with others. Other bolder and more confident track & field performers do not fear publication of what they hope to accomplish and see it as technique to inspire them to employ their best efforts to succeed. Kerron Clement is one such athlete.
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