31 May 2009

An African Affair

The women's 5000m event at the Reebok Grand Prix was held about two hours ago - you have to let me off, I've been out pursuing my own running career this morning at RUN Auckland Race Four in Milford (more on that shortly).

It was all Africa in the medals, unsurprisingly. Linet Masai, a Kenyan who is not related to the legendary Edith Masai, took out the race in 14:35.39, which came up 11 seconds short of the meet record, held by the darling Meseret Defar (Ethiopia). Linet is no stranger to distance success, having placed 4th in last year's Olympic 10,000m, as well as being the current junior world record holder and Kenyan record holder for the longer race. In March, she was second in the same race that Genzebe Dibaba won at World Cross. She's just 19 years old!

My hero Tirunesh finished just over 5 seconds behind Masai, in 14:40.93, and little sister Genzebe rounded out the podium for Ethiopia, finishing in 15:00.79. So it was something of a stretched out race. Kim Smith, formerly of Papakura, was fourth with 15:26.00, and the rest of the field were Americans who I don't really care about. I would have liked a win for Tirunesh (I always would), but this meet isn't exactly the biggest one on the calendar, and I'd be much happier to see her take apart both the 5 and 10 at Worlds later this year *gets all giddy and excited about Worlds*.

As a footnote to the Grand Prix results, Asafa Powell had a disappointing show in the 100m, finishing 7th in 10.10s.

As for MY race (which I know you're all just dying to hear about), it went really well! It was over a course that would have suited a post-Athens me, as back then I was all about burning people off up hills. Now I'm one of these lazy flat-terrain types, so between hills I had a good time. That was until we reached the "Coastal Walkway". Uh, so it's totally my own fault for not pre-running the course, but about a mile of the run was on SAND. And I HATE running on sand. Like, I'm not even kidding. I hate it. I don't even really like walking on the beach. So there was a bit of grumpiness, which pretty soon got put aside as I found my old hill legs and proceeded to dominate (I'm speaking relatively, here) the rest of the course. Had my first ever bonk about 500m from the finishing line. Pretty humanising experience. I managed to finish in 53:22 (time to be confirmed) which, considering the course - harder than XTERRA in my opinion - was good enough for a thumbs up. No spot prizes for me, but I'm happy with the $50 Tamara Day Spa voucher from my race pack. Nidra Body Scrub & Wrap, here I come.

Big ups to RUN Auckland organisers, including the lovely Shannon Stallard, who are doing an amazing job of getting us lazy Aucklanders to push play.

Get out there.

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