Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: News items...Fionnuala Britton, Zola Budd, Michael Johnson...

Friday, January 13, 2012

News items...Fionnuala Britton, Zola Budd, Michael Johnson...

After winning the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country race last Saturday, Fionnuala Britton is in action again next Sunday in the Seville International Cross Country in Spain. Among those lined up to take on Britton are the Kenyans Vivian Cheruiyot and Linet Masai, the two best women distance runners in the world. Cheruiyot is the reigning World Cross Country champion, plus the 5,000-10,000 metres double gold medallist from the World Championships in Daegu and Masai is the 2009 World 10,000 metres champion, and three-time runner-up in the World Cross Country Championships.

In an interview with the Irish Times, she said....“Well, it’s nice not being the athlete to beat this time. I suppose I’ll be chasing them, instead of being chased. Obviously it will be harder as well. Cheruiyot and Masai are two of the very best, but hopefully I can stick with them for a while anyway, and certainly try to beat them. That’s always the aim, to beat everyone in the race. We all know the Africans are the hardest to beat, but if you want to be the best you have to take them on. Hopefully, it’s more realistic for me now, but I’ve never believed it wasn’t possible to compete with them. There’s no point in running if you don’t believe that.”

When asked about trying to qualify for the London Olympics in the 10,000 metres, she said..."All these races are really just part of training right now. It’s all endurance work anyway, building up to the track. Because there’s no World Cross Country this year there is no one big race. So it’s really about building through this period. I’ve never run a 10,000 metres on the track. I suppose the distance should suit me, but then again it is 25 laps. I can’t even imagine that right now. I’ve done a few 5,000 metres so that seems more realistic right now. But the track season is not that far off. I know the training is all building towards the track, but I haven’t thought about it too much.”

Zola Budd is back in the news again after announcing that she will compete in the Comrades marathon, a race of approximately 90 kilometres (56 miles) between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in June. Nearly three decades after she was entangled in a controversial women's 3,000 metres final at the Los Angeles Olympic Games, Zola Budd has set herself a modest goal in South Africa's most popular road race.

Nick Bester, the 1991 Comrades marathon champion, said on Tuesday that Budd, would aim to break eight hours in the annual ultra-marathon in KwaZulu-Natal. “She told me she hoped to run under eight hours, which is within her capability,” Bester said. "The benchmark for a woman to break seven hours at Comrades is to be able to run under three hours for a marathon. If she can run under seven hours, she will have a very good chance of earning a gold medal.”

Budd qualified for the race when she finished fourth at the Kiawah Island marathon in South Carolina in December, clocking 3:01.51. And with a number of standard marathons under her belt – including major city races in New York (where she broke three hours in 2008) and London – Bester felt she had the credentials to earn a gold medal by finishing among the top 10 women.

Budd is best know for her controversial emigration to England as a teenager and her subsequent clash with Mary Decker in the 3,000m final at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics when both crashed to the track in a much publicised race. Budd picked herself up and finished the race – Decker did not – and over the next few years she would improve the world 5,000m best – officially this time, clocking 14:48.07 in London – and win two world cross country titles.

...and now for a strange story ;o) ....Former 200m record holder and athletic great Michael Johnson will work with the Williams Formula One team to help speed up its pit stops. His training company, Michael Johnson Performance Inc, will develop a training program for the pit crew and evaluate the entire team. Michael Johnson become a fan of Formula One in 1990 when he attended the Belgium Grand Prix and was first introduced to team principle Frank Williams. Johnson, a three time Olympic gold medalist, is confident his company can help the Williams pitcrew achieve their goal of shaving hundredths, or even tenths of a second off their pit-stop times.

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