Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Feb 7 - News & Notes

Welcome back to another edition of Going Pro!

This week we have a bit of a hodgepodge: I introduce you all to one of Canada's top runners: Sheila Reid; I briefly describe 5 of my favorite running books; and introduce you the bittersweet world that is Track and Field!

Let's start it off with some news and notes of the week just past:

1) Last week I said, 'remember the name Cameron Levins'. Well, he was at it again this week past at the New Balance Grand Prix indoor track meet in New York. Cam ran the 3,000m against 11 other men - some of whom were the biggest names in the track world, including the silver and bronze medallists from the 2011 track and field World Championships.
O CAMada!
7 days after his 5,000m and 3,000m wins (within 24 hours) he ran yet another personal time for 3,000m - 7: 45.75 (4:10/mile or 2:35/km) placing 5th overall. Some people might be upset with a 5th place finish, however, when you are only 4 seconds behind the 10th fastest 1,500m runner of all time you can live with it!

*World 3,000m record is 7:24.9 (3:59/mile or 2:29/km)... W.T.F.

2) Two weeks ago I briefly introduced Taylor Milne, who ran 2:20 for 1,000m and setting the world's best for that distance this year. At the same meet as Levins - New Balance Grand Prix indoor track meet in New York - Milne took on the mile (that's 1,600m for you metric folk).

Milne ran tremendously well to placed 2nd with what I believe is a personal best time of 3:56.4 (2:27/km). The mile is truly one of the most amazing race distances. What is incredible was that many thought that a runner could never break the 4:00 per mile barrier. However, England's Roger Bannister did just that in 1952 with his 3:59.4 clocking on the Iffley Road Track in Oxford, England. [Which is beautifully captured in the book The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb... see the list of my recommended running books]

Since then, over 1200 men have run sub 4:00, including over 350 Americans and ~50 Canadians (Levins and Milne are in the pretigious club). So to go from a time period where that time seemed improbable to now have up to 3-5 guys breaking it a single race, it's a truly spectacular experience.

3) I'll give you three guesses as to which race distance the following photo finish was for:
800m? 1 mile? 3,000m? 5k? 10km?

Time's up... These 3 men (plus one other just out of the frame), crossed the finish line within 1 second in the Hong Kong MARATHON!!  Can you imagine running 26.2 miles and losing by literally one foot! Aye yi yi... But this is the world of marathoning these days. Expect many more of these close finishes as more and more Africans go after the big money that comes with winning marathons.

Seeing how I'm still speechless by this, I'll leave it up to Jerry Seinfeld to explain it to you:

Let's continue on here with an introduction to one of the most amazing female runners to come from Canada... Sheila Reid. 

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