An Evening With
Wallsend Harriers recently organised a “Night with
The Summer Cup is a series of six races held over a 2.5 mile course using the promenade and beach path.
Format is similar to Winter Series in that races are
handicapped, points are awarded on race positions, and there is a team
competition. The first race is on Wednesday June 1st. I don’t have
full details yet as certain things need to be discussed at Committee level.
THE starter’s gun has hardly been raised on the track season but plans are already advanced for the North Eastern Counties AA Cross-Country Championships in December.
Blyth Running Club, one of the area’s youngest outfits, is eagerly looking forward to hosting the 106th annual championships at East Cramlington Nature Reserve in just over six months’ time.
It will be the first time the championships have been held in Northumberland since 1994 when they were run in conjunction with the inaugural European XC Championships in Alnwick under the backdrop of the castle.
Kevin Freeman, chairman of Blyth RC, is delighted that the championships are being held north of the Tyne once again and he is confident that the club he heads can put on an event worthy of what is expected by athletes and officials alike.
“We are delighted and excited to be given the opportunity to host the North Eastern Counties Cross-Country Championships, and our committee and myself can promise a challenging and true cross-country course for all who come along,” said Freeman. “We are confident that Blyth RC can make the ‘leap’ from hosting two recent Harrier League fixtures at the same venue to the prestigious championships.
“The whole club is determined to deliver a well-organised, safe, colourful and memorable event. Our club treasurer, Dave Kitching, has already designed a challenging, competitive layout fit for a championship which will be a variation on the already tried and tested HL course.
“We have had good support from Blyth Valley Council while club secretary Ralph Dickinson already has in place much of the infrastructure required – things like marquees, catering and the likes, and, should they be needed, a couple of tractors thanks to two local farmers!
“Blyth Running Club is extremely grateful for help and support from South Shields Harriers who hosted last winter’s championships and to the NECAA cross-country committee for their encouragement.
“We are determined to leave no stone unturned so that the championships are a huge success.”
Virgin London Marathon
Greenwich Common at a quarter past eight on Sunday 17th April and the five Blyth survivors of their marathon training programmes met up in the ‘blue’ start area with various degrees of nervousness, trepidation and downright uncertainty as to whether their bodies (and minds) were going to cope with the next few hours. Between us we had experienced a broad spectrum of issues just getting to the start line – back (Chris), shin (Phillippa) and both knee and hamstring (Dave R) injuries and the absence of the usual family presence before (Dave B) or during (Davina) the marathon were all far from ideal, but we had made it this far and weren’t going to be stopped now (we hoped).
The weekend weather forecast had gradually been changing for yet warmer conditions and the increasingly cloudless skies across the London skyline told their own story – this was going to be a warm one. In fact, the number of people wandering around quite comfortably in only their vests and shorts at that time of the morning told its own story – it was already warm.
By the time that the mass race started (9:45) with its usual immaculate organisation and with huge crowds to support us (but also to remove any prospect of the breeze reaching the runners) it was seriously warm. Even a steady start got sweat pouring off us within the first mile and the only sensible option was to keep taking small amounts of water on board at every water station.
All of that training showed its benefits as all five of our runners started to real off a whole string of really consistent split times well into the second half of the race, helped by both the general volume of crowd support and particularly the support crew of Blyth members and supporters who made it to miles 9, 13 and 22 to give a vital boost to us all.
Both Phillippa and Dave R had missed out on a few weeks of vital training during February or March, so it was not too surprising that they suffered the consequences, with either their feet or legs showing the strain at about the 30k point, just as the route emerges from Canary Wharf. Both managed to keep going, albeit at a slower pace than previously.
By the last few miles, the heat had got to just about everybody and the Blyth runners were no exception (a North Eastern winter really is no preparation for a hot marathon). Descriptions of the last few miles varied from “very difficult” through “too tough” to “sheer agony” but everyone made it to the finish and then to their well-deserved ‘recovery sessions’ that afternoon and evening!
Chris Stone – running his first marathon – was first Blyth runner home, with a very impressive performance given both the conditions and the back problems that interrupted his training on more than one occasion.
Dave Roberts survived his latest attempt to injure himself - falling over spectacularly (again) twelve days beforehand - to run a solid race up to 21 miles and then just about hang on for the last few miles. To his great surprise, Dave’s badly bruised knee and leg didn’t really hurt that much during the run – or maybe it was just that everything else did?
Dave Bradley had yet another really consistent run, slowing only very slightly towards the finish and appearing to be in much better shape than the rest of us during those last few miles. Dave even managed to just beat his previous PB – a great result in those conditions.
Davina Lonsdale was convinced at mile 19 that she was going to do her first sub (or very close to it) 4 hour marathon. Unfortunately, she ‘blew up’ at mile 22 and the next 4 miles were a mixture of walking and very slow jogging. Although the heat had got to her, Davina had still produced a strong run, and was pleasantly surprised to see that she had managed a new PB - one minute faster than Loch Ness last year.
Phillippa Baxter was also having a really good run up until mile 19 when a blister started to hurt on her foot, necessitating brief medical treatment. She too had been on target for 4 hours. Phillippa is now looking forward to Edinburgh in a month’s time and hopes it won’t be quite so hot there!
Overall, there were 34710 finishers, from around 37000 who started and about 49000 who entered. Our runners finished as shown: -
Chris Stone 3:22:23 2987th Dave Roberts 3:40:07 5354th
Dave Bradley 3:41:29 5557th Davina Lonsdale 4:13:48 12271st
Phillippa Baxter 4:19:20 13596th
If anyone still wants to contribute, both Davina and Dave are still accepting donations, or you can donate online at http://www.justgiving.com/Davina-Lonsdale
(Davina ran for Cardiac Risk in the Young after a friends’ son tragically died in his sleep last year)
(Dave ran for Diabetes UK as he is an insulin-dependent diabetic)
Minutes of meeting held 4th April 2011
Apologies: None The meeting commenced at 8:30 p.m.
Minutes of meeting held 7th March 2011 were read and approved. This was proposed by Dave Kitching and seconded by Helen Morris.
London Marathon Club numbers – Ralph confirmed the wording on the letter from VLM as “You will have received your Club Entry for the 2011 Virgin London Marathon in recognition of your services to your club”. After much deliberation it was decided to leave the selection process for allocation of these numbers as it is currently.
delighted to report that yesterday’s 7th running of the Transped BV10K was a
huge success for BRC, and was a perfect vehicle for accommodating the NECAA 10K
Road Championships. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of the membership,
but in particular thanks to
Ralph reported that he had various race entry forms including; Tynedale 10k, Tynedale 10 mile, Bridlington Festival of Running, Low Fell Watergate Trail Race, Low Fell Watergate 5k Race, Cragside 10k Race, Bamburgh 10k Race, Track & Field Sports Open Meeting at Hexham.
Men’s Captain Report
Iain provided a report as follows;
Our own 10k was run yesterday with over 500
Prudhoe was the venue for the final Cross
Country Harrier league meeting of this season. Thanks to all who turned
out, especially to
This years veteran Cross Country Race was held
· Haweswater and Northumberland Half’s were well attended; full reports are on the website. Many of our athletes had excellent races.
The indoor track and field season concluded at
We were also represented at the recent High Jump
Coaching weekend in
Ladies Captain Report
The 5th fixture in the Harrier League took place
on the 12th March at Blaydon and incorporated the Davison Shield. Only 1 senior
The following weekend was the North East Vets
Cross Country Championships held at Foxhunters field, Whitley bay.
On the 20th March,
The final Harrier League fixture was at Prudhoe
on the 26th March; a great course and a good day for it.
The 26th March was the Wallington Half marathon,
where we had 9 ladies out. Well done to
The final NSP grand prix race took place on the
29th March, where 6 ladies ran. The 1st
On 3rd April our own BV10k took place. We had a
great turnout of ladies; 13 ran. 1st
· Junior Handicap is Monday 18th April and any help would be much appreciated
· The date for the Junior Beach Races will need to be rescheduled
In the Harrier League Charlotte Ramsay was first
U15 at Blaydon. As well as the U17 men finishing 2nd team overall,
Aynsley & Mal reported 3 good races, 3 good turnouts.
Aynsley reported that he had been
Summer Cup – the dates have been agreed. Administration work for the Summer Cup will start after the conclusion of the Winter Series.
this has been tidied up. Thanks go to
Track & Field League – Iain intends to send an email in due course to the male members regarding this year’s senior track and field league, although there has been a good response in any case recently, all after our success of last year!
Winter Series – a question had been raised on the eligibility of t-shirt winners. After a lengthy discussion it was agreed that it was not an issue.
this issue had been raised at the previous meeting. It was agreed to revisit
this issue at a later date after
comers and Beginners Running Club –
– As Blyth members participate in the NSP handicap, Aynsley
suggested that NSP members could join BRC as 2nd Claim to participate in our
club races; Winter Series, Summer Cup, Autumn Relays.
NMAN – The next meeting is on Monday 11th April. There is also a North East Network Meeting on the evening of Monday 11th April. Future planned Events are a Biomechanics and Conditioning Workshops at Alnwick on Thursday 14th April and a Short Form Competition at Cramlington Sporting Club on Wednesday 20th April.
Coaching Questionnaire – this has been sent to all coaches.
History of Blyth Running Club 1982 Part Four: Targets.
There is nothing like success to motivate a club and whilst
the dozen or so members were still raw and inexperienced, we had a refreshing
attitude to running. We were unattached and unfettered; we were not bound to
the official rules of our more serious neighbours at Morpeth, Blaydon or
The training consisted of the usual Monday and Wednesday blow-outs of about eight miles and maybe a more sociable 10-miler on a Sunday morning. My diary shows that I was averaging about 28 miles a week prior to the GNR and since I had run 1-26-45 the previous year, off little or no training, I hoped I might get under 1-20. In 1982 ‘personal bests’ were quite a novel idea and it was a motivating factor to see if you could improve on the previous year.
Then, with six weeks to go I was offered the chance to take part in the second staging of the London Marathon as a friend from Morpeth Harriers who had been invited the take part (a Scottish international) injured himself in training. Security wasn’t quite so strict in the early days but it did mean that I could sneak in but I would be near the front. It was a mistake being up there at the start because the pace was so quick but actually it was a mistake being there at all! I was so unprepared but it was an offer (as a film at the time said) that I couldn’t refuse. On the day, I had reached 22 miles in a respectable 2-34 but then I came apart. My diary reminded me of the anguish of that day (I’m sweating now at the memory as I write):
“My thighs, calf’s,
groin and stomach were knotted with cramp as the hundreds I had overtaken came
past me. At
What could I do with such inspirational support? I
eventually finished in 3:12 and it seemed to impress some people, but not me, I
was inconsolable at the finish. All runners have been there and all have their
own personal ‘hell’. Yet, in spite of the pain, I was hooked. I now wanted to
run the perfect marathon; I wanted a sub-3. Before I could consider the
marathon again I had the GNR and when it came around I astonished myself with 1:18:36;
exactly 6-minute miling. Most of the
Senior T&F – Meeting 1
Blyth Running Club Seniors have
combined with Wallsend Harriers to compete in the North East Track and Field
League again this season. After gaining promotion last year, they competed in
the higher league for the first time on Saturday and performed commendably to
finish in 4th position, with only 30 points covering the first four teams. In
the field events Blyth had two winners, with
If any other club members would like a try at T&F then please inform Ralph, Iain Singer, Helen Morris or Susanne Hunter of your interest. There were many events in which Blyth/Wallsend had no competitors, even a few points in these events could have changed our 4th place finish to 1st. Next one is Saturday 4th June at Middlesbrough. Full results can be found on the Power Of 10 web site
TUESDAY. 30th. August 2011.
START TIME: 7:15 P.M.
FAST, FLAT COURSE TO SEATON
NO ENTRY FEE. JUST TURN UP, COLLECT A NUMBER AND RUN.
AND SHOWERS AVAILABLE AFTER RACE AT
Free after race buffet at ‘The Quay’ pub in Blyth Town Centre. Raffle.
YOU ARE NOT RUNNING, BUT CAN HELP OUT ON THE NIGHT WITH MARSHALLING, PLEASE
RUNNING CLUB PAINTBALL TRIP
26th JUNE 2011.
Arrival time 9.15 prompt All packages feature the following:
· 9” personal pizza for every player. Pizza delivered hot & fresh by Perfect Pizza (or similar chain)
· 12-14 action-packed games
· Choice of movie-set quality paintball game zones
· Full training and supervision throughout the day
· Full head protection anti-mist goggle system
· Full body protection suit - body armour
· Full neck protection - combat suit with high padded collar
· Custom designed special-forces combat suit
· Latest USA-spec rapid-fire semi-automatic machineguns
· Hip-mounted 400-shot capacity ammo magazine – DF battlepack (to safely carry your paintballs)
· Unlimited gas propellant
· End of day debrief and TOP GUN awards
· Comprehensive public liability insurance
· A safe, friendly and professional service
National Young Athletes League Match 1, Monkton: 08/05/11
As the Greggs Children’s run was on the same day we struggled to get a full team out – there were no U13 girls. However, as usual there were some excellent performances as once again people tried new events. Both Ryan Povey and Calum Storey set PB’s in the 100 metres, while Adam Swalwell, Harry McCabe and Daniel Ord all made their YAL debuts and gained points for Blyth.
Chris Lillico ran an impressive 800 metres to set a new Club record and
moved into the top ten in the North East – mind you he then had to go and lie
in the First Aid van for half an hour (made up for his disappointment in not
clearing the High Jump),
Next one is Sunday 22nd May at Monkton
Newcastle – Gateshead Games
Every year Newcastle and Gateshead have a running competition at Gateshead Stadium. The teams are selected via heats, with four heats at Newcastle and four at Gateshead. For the past few years some runners from Blyth have entered the heats and managed to make the final at Gateshead. The events are for runners under the age of 15 with the longest distance being 400 metres.
7th June Gosforth Central Middle School, Gosforth
8th June Lightfoot Walker Park
14th June All Saints College, West Denton
16th June Westgate Centre for Sport, West Road
Not sure of final date yet
The youngest age group is for 5 & 6 year olds and they do a 60m sprint
As the number of Juniors grow it maybe worthwhile pointing out to the newer members exactly what we do. In the past I think we have concentrated just too much on the running side of things, but I would like to think that we are slowly changing the mentality about this. England Athletics are pushing Athletics 365 as the way forward and hope that it may stop the decline in numbers of Juniors who still participate in the sport between the ages of 16 – 22. One of the ways in which we hope to combat this is to encourage Juniors to try everything – so if you see anybody throwing a howler, they are not messing about – they are practicing their Javelin technique!
In the past we have organised Pole Vaulting sessions, hurdling sessions (some are going to Gateshead stadium for a session with Matt Woods this week), high jumping and throws sessions – all attended by some Juniors. Currently, Monday night will still be the main session where everybody tries to attend and the groups are quite well established with the coaches now, but if anybody wants to try sprinting for example just let us know. During the summer there are a lot of activities mid-week, so Wednesday night training is very ad-hoc, Thursday night is for the older, more experienced Juniors as they love to run around the sand dunes. On Friday, nights there is a Sprint session at Churchill playing fields for the more experienced sprinters. Saturday mornings may be a track session at Churchill if there is no competition on that weekend. Sessions are on the web-site.
High Jump Coaching There is a dedicated high jump training session every Friday night at Monkton Stadium, Jarrow from 18:00 - 19:45. There is a small charge - entrance fee to the Stadium.
There is also a session every Friday at Alnwick.
Pole Vaulting there are sessions at Gateshead indoor stadium during the week
Anyone wanting further details on any of the above, see Keith
Blyth Running Club On-Line
Most people should be aware of the club web-site: www.blythrunningclub.org.uk
We also have a Facebook group (this probably doesn’t mean anything to anybody over 25) but to everybody else it does. Many photos of events are put on Facebook (join the group Blyth Running Club)
A couple of other useful sites for checking your rankings are
Enter these sites and you can see where you rank in the country in your age group
England Athletics Events
England Athletics and the Northumberland Athletics Network have put on several coaching events and talks over the past few months, not all just for Junior coaches – actually none of them were primarily for Junior coaches.
England Athletics as part of their ongoing Local Coach Development program organised a “physical preparation session using the theory of fundamental skill development and functional movement patterns to create a holistic approach which develops athleticism in athletes”. Given by Dr Duncan French who works with Newcastle United, on issues such as strength and conditioning and injury prevention. How many senior coaches/athletes from Blyth attended?
Talk in with Lindsay Dunn, Stacey Smith and Jim Alder. Lindsay is the leading endurance coach in the North East. Jim Alder helps to coach the Morpeth endurance runners. Stacey Smith is a current England International runner. How many senior coaches/athletes from Blyth attended?
Even the Junior athletes who attended could feel the passion that Jim has, although he did ‘scare’ several of them!
Physical preparation and conditioning related to endurance athletes session by Julie Twaddle. This was a repeat of a session Julie did in early January at Gateshead attended by coaches from all over the North East and voted the “best coaching session of the year”. How many senior coaches/athletes from Blyth attended?
Coaches and Athletes Development Day. Chance for coaches and athletes to try new events, warm ups drills etc etc and talk to Senior coaches from the area. How many senior coaches/athletes from Blyth attended?
Athletics 365and short form
competition workshop. Actually, this was just for juniors but one of the
Physical preparation and
conditioning related to endurance athletes session by Julie Twaddle, the people who attended this session and similar ones by Nick Ridgeon
There are two Star:Track Athletics camps organised for the Whit School Holiday week.
The basic details are :
Bedlington High School from Tuesday 31st May – Thursday 2nd June,
Chantry Middle school Morpeth from Tuesday 31st May – Wednesday 1st June;
Both start at 09:00 until 15:00 each day. Cost equates to £10 for per day and each attendee receives a goody bag.
I believe there will be discounts if more than one child from a family attends
Attendance must be pre-booked
See Keith for further details and booking form
Gordon Smith Memorial Races
For the first time in the club's history we had teams competing in the Wallsend Harriers hosted Gordon Smith Memorial Relays on Wednesday evening 4th May. A team consists of three runners, one of which must be a vet, and can be all male, all female or mixed, although mixed teams are not eligible for prizes. Each runner does the same 2 mile course which is a fairly flat 1 and a ½ lap loop using the Hadrian Park Cycle Way near to Segedunum Roman Fort
Blyth had 6 teams
competing, 4 male, 1 female and 1 mixed. The best team performance on the night
was by the team of Jordan Middlemist,
conditions were excellent for running, with a cool temperature, blue sky and
little breeze as race organiser Dave Kitching set the first runner
Fastest time on
the night was recorded by
There was a total of 28 finishers, unfortunately somewhat down on last year (maybe due to people saving themselves for the next Grand Prix race the following Sunday), but disappointing considering the effort put in by Dave and his helpers on the night, which included Terry, Gloria, Sandra, Aynsley, Rob, Sam, Iain, Dave, Dickie and Stephen.
Snods Edge 6 mile
Junior Track & Field Heat 2, Monkton Stadium, Jarrow
Pier to Pier (~7.5M)
North East Athletics League (Monkton)
Summer Cup Race 1
Angel View Run ~5 mile
Track and Field Heat 2,
Alwinton Fell Race (~14 mile)
Junior Track & Field Heat 3, Monkton Stadium, Jarrow
Roman Wall Show Fell Race
Junior Track & Field Heat 4,
Windy Gyle Fell Race
The steeplechase scrutinised
Arguably one of the toughest events on the track is the steeplechase and the development, training and history of the unique race is studied by David Lowes
WHAT inspires an athlete to make the steeplechase their specific event? There are many reasons and many would argue that they are athletes who cannot reach the level they desire in none obstacle events on the track. This is not strictly true as we could argue that some of Britain’s greats such as former world record holders and major Games winners, Colin Jackson and David Hemery were failed athletes on the flat. They were not of course; they were just supreme at their events. We could take the argument even further and claim that those who are multi-event specialists are not good enough in any one event, but are fairly good in many. However, this viewpoint is endless, are 200m athletes failed 100m sprinters? The bottom line is that athletes specialise in their chosen event because they excel at it and also because it is something they truly enjoy.
The men’s world record holder, Saif Saaeed Shaheen (formerly Stephen Cherono) is an example of someone who is supreme at the steeplechase and with pb’s of 3:33.51 for 1500m, 7:34.67 for 3000m and 12:48.81 for 5000m he would be number one in most countries in the world, however as great as those times are, they are not good enough to be the outright best in the world. In the same vein, the women’s world record holder, Gulnara Samitova-Galkina has pb’s of 2:00.29 for 800m, 4:01.29 for 1500m and 14:33.13 for 5000m and most of these are world-class times also, but again, not fast enough to trouble the very best in the world.
The following is the history of the winners of the Olympic Games and although Europe reigned initially with 10 victories out of 13 in the men’s event, the last 11 Games have seen nine victories by athletes from Kenya and in 2004 they claimed the gold, silver and bronze medals and in 2008 the gold and bronze medals. Only one man has won the title twice and that was Finnish athlete, Volmari Iso-Hollo. The women’s event has only been held once and that was in a world record time by Gulnara Samitova-Galkina from Russia in a time that would have won the men’s event up until 1952 and the first major championship appearance of the event was at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki.
Year Athlete Country Result
19001 George Orton CAN 7:34.4
19041 James Lightbody USA 7:39.6
19082 Arthur Russell GBR 10:47.8
1920 Percy Hodge GBR 10:00.4
1924 Ville Ritola FIN 9:33.6
1928 Trio Loukola FIN 9:21.8
1932 Volmari Iso-Hollo FIN 10:33.4
1936 Volmari Iso-Hollo FIN 9:03.8
1948 Tore Sjöstrand SWE 9:04.6
1952 Horace Ashenfelter USA 8:45.4
1956 Chris Brasher GBR 8:41.2
1960 Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak POL 8:34.2
1964 Gaston Roelants BEL 8:30.8
1968 Amos Biwott KEN 8:51.0
1972 Kipchoge Keino KEN 8:23.6
1976 Anders Gårderud SWE 8:08.2
1980 Bronislaw Malinowski POL 8:09.7
1984 Julius Korir KEN 8:11.80
1988 Julius Kariuki KEN 8:05.51
1992 Matthew Birir KEN 8:08.84
1996 Joseph Keter KEN 8:07.12
2000 Reuben Kosgei KEN 8:21.43
2004 Ezekiel Kemboi KEN 8:05.81
2008 Brimin Kipruto KEN 8:10.34
1 2500m. 2 3200m.
2008 Gulnara Samitova-Galkina RUS 8:58.81
There are 35 obstacles in a 3000m steeplechase with 28 barriers and seven water jumps to negotiate. The water jump is usually on the inside of the track which means that one lap is 390 metres and less commonly on the outside of the track which adds up to 410m per lap and this necessitates different starting locations with an outside obstacle meaning a home straight start and an inside obstacle moves the start to the back straight with the water hazard being omitted on the first lap. For younger age groups there are is a 2000m race which involves 18 barriers and five water jumps and a 1500m race which incorporates 13 barriers and three water jumps.
Unlike a hurdles event, the barriers will not move and any collision will them will cause pain and almost certain failure to finish (they weigh between 80-100kg). The barriers are 91.4cm in height for men and 76.2cm for women. The water pit is 3.66m long and slopes upwards from 70 cm deep at the barrier end for 30 cm to level with the surface of the track at the exit end and this barrier is slightly narrower at 3.66m. The width of the barriers are 3.96m wide and the wooden top of the barrier is 12.7 cm square and these take up three lanes of the track and sometimes the first barrier is doubled up to accommodate for the bunching of the field which is negotiated 10m into the first full lap (257.8 metres). Although disqualification is rare, if a competitor misses a barrier or their trail foot goes outside of the barrier then this will constitute an infringement of the rules.
The origins of the event began in Britain when runners raced from the steeple in one town to the next. The steeples were used as markers due to their visibility over long distances and the runners had to jump creeks and low stone walls separating estates along the way. Today’s event was originated from a two-mile cross country steeplechase that formed part of the Oxford University sports in 1860 and in 1865 it was replaced by an event over barriers on a flat field, which became the modern steeplechase. The steeplechase became a real event when it was placed on the programme for the 1900 Olympics in Paris. In the 1900 and 1904 Olympics, the distance was 2500m and 2 miles during the London Olympics in 1908. From the 1920 Antwerp Olympics onwards, the distance became the now standard 3000m.
The progression of the world record, like all events has moved on markedly over the years and the men’s record has seen fairly uniform improvements with two to four seconds being the maximum improvement at a time over the last 55 years. The world’s best times now are performances that some ‘would-be’ elite athletes would be happy with over 3000m with no barriers! Of the modern era athletes, Henry Rono has also held the world records at 3000m, 5000m and 10000m while Moses Kiptanui has held the 3000m and 5000m records as well as the 3000m indoor best. The British best still stands to Mark Rowland with a world-class 8:07.96 set in 1988 in the Seoul Olympics which secured him the bronze medal.
Time Athlete Country Date
8:49.6 Sándor Rozsnyói (HUN) 28/08/54
8:47.8 Pentti Karvonen (FIN) 01/07/55
8:45.4 Pentti Karvonen (FIN) 15/07/55
8:45.4 Vasily Vlasenko (URS) 18/08/55
8:41.2 Jerzy Chromik (POL) 31/08/55
8:40.2 Jerzy Chromik (POL) 11/09/55
8:39.8 Semyon Rzhishchin (URS) 14/08/56
8:35.6 Sándor Rozsnyói (HUN) 16/09/56
8:35.5 Semyon Rzhisgchin (URS) 21/07/58
8:32.0 Jerzy Chromik (POL) 02/08/58
8:31.4 Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak (POL) 26/06/60
8:31.2 Grigoriy Taran (URS) 28/05/61
8:30.4 Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak (POL) 26/06/61
8:29.6 Gaston Roelants (BEL) 07/09/63
8:26.4 Gaston Roelants (BEL) 07/08/65
8:24.2 Jouko Kuha (FIN) 17/07/68
8:22.2 Vladimir Dudin (URS) 19/08/69
8:22.0 Kerry O'Brien (AUS) 04/07/70
8:20.8 Anders Gärderud (SWE) 14/09/72
8:20.8 Ben Jipcho (KEN) 15/01/73
8:19.1 Ben Jipcho (KEN) 19/06/73
8:10.4 Anders Gärderud (SWE) 25/06/75
8:09.8 Anders Gärderud (SWE) 01/07/75
8:08.2 Anders Gärderud (SWE) 28/07/76
8:05.4 Henry Rono (KEN) 13/05/78
8:05.35 Peter Koech (KEN) 03/07/89
8:02.08 Moses Kiptanui (KEN) 19/08/92
7:59.18 Moses Kiptanui (KEN) 16/08/95
7:59.08 Wilson Boit Kipketer (KEN) 13/08/97
7:55.72 Bernard Barmasai (KEN) 24/08/97
7:55.28 Brahim Boulami (MAR) 24/08/01
7:53.63 Saif Saaeed Shaheen (QAT) 03/09/04
The women’s event, although fairly embryonic, has shown a huge advancement over the last 13 years since the American Sara Herb ran 10:34.5 in 1996. Daniela Petrescu, Romania, was the first to break the 10 minute barrier two years later and when Polish athlete Justyna Bak sliced an amazing 18 seconds from the record in 2002, it really set the standard and although Galkina is currently the fastest in history, if this article was revisited in two to three years time, I’m sure the record will have moved on with the involvement of more and more African athletes. The current British best is held by Helen Clitheroe with 9:29.14 set in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Result Athlete Country Date
10:34.5 Sara Herb USA 20/04/96
10:30.2 Gracie Padilla USA 17/05/96
10:23.47 Courtney Meldrum USA 23/06/98
10:19.6 Karen Harvey CAN 18/04/98
9:55.28 Daniela Petrescu ROM 21/06/98
9:48.88 Yelena Motalova RUS 31/07/99
9:43.64 Cristina Casandra ROM 07/08/00
9:40.20 Cristina Casandra ROM 30/08/00
9:22.29 Justyna Bak POL 05/06/02
9:21.72 Alesya Turova BLR 12/06/02
9:16.51 Alesya Turova BLR 27/07/02
9:08.33 Gulnara Samitova-Galkina RUS 10/08/03
9:01.59 Gulnara Samitova-Galkina RUS 04/07/04
8:58.81 Gulnara Samitova-Galkina RUS 17/08/08
What attributes does a steeplechaser require? The speed of a middle distance runner, the stamina of a cross country runner and the strength and flexibility of a 400m hurdler are good for a start and obviously the training required can be diverse. The best steeplechasers in the world will have the capabilities of running well over 1500m and 5000m and it is the mix of these two events plus the technical expertise that set them apart. Indeed, without the ability to hurdle well, which will save energy and maintain speed, success will be difficult to attain. Steeplechasers are invariably good cross country runners because they can tolerate a constant break-up in their running rhythm which most flat runners find difficult to endure. The key to maintaining good technique is to ensure that all four phases of the take-off, barrier clearance, flight and landing are executed as quickly, economically and as efficiently as possible. The following are the basic requirements for the steeplechaser: technique, speed, endurance, event-specific endurance, mobility, strength-endurance, speed-endurance and power. There are special steeplechase spikes that have a mesh fabric which allow the water to quickly disperse and wearing socks is obviously to be avoided.
There are many who attempt the steeplechase and fail miserably because they are not ready for the event. Anyone who is not proficient over similar distances on the track or other surfaces will not miraculously become good at the steeplechase. You must be strong and confident on the flat before even contemplating competing over the barriers. There have been many international runners on the flat who have attempted the steeplechase with some preliminary sessions over the barriers and have either failed to finish their race or have had a disastrous run because although they have ‘mastered’ a reasonable technique in training, they haven’t experienced the longevity of the event under extreme fatigue and in the presence of a crowded field.
The more experienced steeplechaser, male or female will employ the standard hurdle technique. This is far more efficient and the athlete will spend less time in the air than when using the “step-on” technique. They need to accelerate into the barrier in the take-off phase with no collapsing of the lead leg. In the clearance phase they must attack with the lead leg, keep low and flow over the hurdle. The lower the athletes centre of gravity over the barrier the more proficient they will be.
The ability to be able to hurdle off either leg is an advantage. The lead leg in the flight phase should hit the ground as quickly and as controlled as possible so that the minimum amount of time is spent in the air. The eyes should be
focused ahead so that there is no over rotation. The trail leg is the key to the landing phase and this should be brought through as quickly as possible so that the athlete not only accelerates away from the barrier, but is into their normal running action as soon as possible.
Many younger athletes are now being encouraged to try the steeplechase and unfortunately in the UK it is a somewhat dying event that needs resurgence with many county championships having only one or two competitors in the race and in some there are no entrants whatsoever! There are not enough competitive opportunities and perhaps more importantly insufficient development programmes over the whole of the country which could give the aspirants sound advice and be taught the event as it should be. I have always thought it would be a good idea for novices to have the opportunity to run some ‘development’ races with the water jump excluded and this would give them the confidence and encouragement to move up to a full race only when they are ready to do so and this would also provide them with a better idea of pace awareness with every lap being 400m.
Next time the second part looks at the training involved and the differences between barrier and non-barrier sessions.