Welcome to another ‘This Week in Athletics’! Still very early on in the year so not too much action to speak about with the main focus on last weekend’s Edinburgh Cross Country.
In the senior men’s race it was an expected Britain versus USA battle between Sir Mo Farah and 3 time winner Garrett Heath. Well that expectation was half right but it ended up as a battle between rising star Callum Hawkins and Leonard Korir instead. Hawkins took it our hard from the very start which Korir and Heath tried to follow with Farah not going with the early pace. Mo would never really be in contention and did not look in great shape but did come through the field to finish 7th. He has plenty of time to get up to speed before London but it is unusual to see Mo not even in contention for the win.
At the front though, it was the other favourite Garrett Heath who fell off the early pace eventually finishing in 6th but the final battle between Hawkins and Korir was exciting as Hawkins desperately tried to create a gap before the final sprint but was just beaten by the fast finishing American. A great finish to an intriguing race and another encouraging performance for the young scot. He’s already been picked for the marathon at the World Championships and he is picking up good momentum with plenty of preparation time already assured of his selection.
The senior women’s race won by Yasemin Can representing Europe (which I’m sure will cause many debates between the BBC commentators for months to come!) who won fairly comfortably, with Ireland’s Fionnuala McCormack continuing her impressive run of finishing in the top 2 at this event. A lot has been said about national allegiances and there is no doubt the rules need changing to at least stop the really obvious changing allegiance for money despite having no real relationship with that country. However the rules are such that it allows many to change their allegiance for convenience so I don’t think we can blame the athletes too much but hopefully in the next few years it will be a lot stricter.
LAURA MUIR DOUBLING UP
Carrying on from last week’s post, Laura Muir has stated that not only does she want to do a 1500/3000 metre double at the European Indoor Championships in March but she is also considering a 1500/5000 double at the World Championships later this year! She is clearly a very confident athlete at the moment and possibly at the right age, both physically and in terms of experience to attempt it. What are the logistics of attempting these doubles though?
Well for the European Indoors it would potentially mean 4 races in just 3 day. With the 3000 metre heats in the morning session on Day 1 with the 1500 metres later on in the afternoon session. The 1500 metre final on day 2 and the 3000 metre final on the 3rd and final day. No matter how good you are that is still a difficult schedule! I don’t think the worry would be the two heats on the first day however as she should be good enough to qualify for both finals anyway but with the slight challenge of doing it while using up as little energy as possible. The issue would be whether it would affect her performances in the two finals. So is it possible? Well just 2 years ago, Henrik Ingebrigtsen attempted the same double at the previous European Indoor Championships. He didn’t win two medals but he did set two national records, getting bronze in the 3000 metres but only 6th in the 1500 metres. It may also depend on the level of competition that turns up to compete against her. I fear it may hurt her chances of medalling in both and despite her excellent performances the last couple of years she doesn’t yet have a major championship medal, but it will be very interesting to see how she does. Her profile has gradually risen over the last couple of years. This could be the year she really enters the sporting mainstream.
That is this week in Athletics! Thanks for reading and see you next week!