This week was very light on top-level competition. Indoor and cross country are over, outdoor track really hasn’t started for the pros (whose season will go until September), and most road racers are in their final preparations for a spring marathon. Still, there’s always something, and let’s see who the award winners are…
Men’s athlete of the week: Atsedu Tsegay, Ethiopia
A little-known athlete, Tsegay won the Hervis Prague Half Marathon on Saturday in 58:47, the fourth-fastest half marathon ever run. More impressive yet is that he did it in tough and windy conditions. Philemon Limo was quoted as saying “If there had been no wind today, this guy would have broken the World record”. Tsegay won a pair of second-tier road races in France last year, one of them in course record time, so this is not a shocking result–just very, very good.
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Women’s athlete of the week: Sanya Richards-Ross, USA
At the Texas Relays on Saturday, Richards-Ross won the invitational section of the 100 meters in a wind-aided time of 10.89 seconds. Applying standard “corrections”, that’s worth 11.05 in still air. It’s pretty fast for any sprinter, but it’s extremely fast for a 400 meter specialist like Richards-Ross.
What kind of 100 meter times should you expect out of top-end women’s quarter-milers? Marie-José Pérec, the fastest since the demise of the Communist machines and the introduction of random out-of-competition dope testing, broke 11.00 just once. Cathy Freeman, the second-fastest, never came reasonably close. Allyson Felix has run sub-11.00 three times, all in 2008. Richards-Ross herself has broken 11.00 just once, making this intrinsically the second-best 100 of her life. In terms of speed mechanics, Richards-Ross is in prime condition.
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