This is the story by Stuart Weir for the Stockholm 1,500m, held on July 2. I am posting this from my room in Motel 6 in Springfield as I prepare to head to day 2 of the US champs, watching the hep, the decathlon, and the 100-meter finals tonight. After watching the 1,500m rounds last night in Eugene, this one made a lot of sense. The Brits have their champs this weekend as well. Stuart Weir is there, covering for RunBlogRun and Athletics Weekly.
The race ended with an Ethiopian 1,2,3
1 Freweyni Hailu 4:02.31
2 Diribe Welteju 4:02.31
3 Hirut Meshesha 4:03.01
At a time been the efficacy of Ethiopian doping testing is being whispered about, it was probably not the result that the organizers would have wished for. Several athletes referred to it as a messy race, not helped by a pacemaker who set off at a pace that no one wanted to follow. She was easily 25 meters ahead of the field when she dropped out.
Ciara Mageen (Ireland) ran an excellent race to finish fourth in 4:03.46, commenting: “That was such a messy race; it is a testament that we all stayed standing, to be honest. But it was good practice for championships as it was like a championship race – no one including me really went with the Pacers for whatever reason. I am delighted with my finish. Coming into the last 100, I found something from somewhere as we were all so close together. I have been practicing that turn of speed or turbo to pick up when running fast. That it was messy, which is really good practice. Today was proper racing and that is what is great about athletics”.
Melissa Courtney-Bryant was delighted to be the first finisher among the three British athletes in the race, finishing in 4:03.81. She told me: “I was ready to run a fast race, but it was very tactical. It’s a long time since I’ve been in a race like that”.
Laura Muir, World and Olympic medallist, told me: “I don’t know what to make of it. It was a very odd race, yeah all over the place, so I’m just glad I got through it in one piece because people were chopping and changing lanes”. Finishing sixth in 4:04.83, she added: “I’m in good shape. It’s just trying to get that on paper that is frustrating. It was a very good field in terms of the depth, but the race was just very slow, so it got very messy, and people were all over the place”.
The common themes in the athlete’s comments were ‘messy’ and ‘good practice for championships’. It is ironic that the meet set up a fast race with a pacemaker, and the athletes commended it as good practice for championship running!