Jewish Chronicle Athletics News - March 16, 2007
Click here to see a screen shot of the following two published articles
Kastor in a class of her own
London Marathon winner Deena Kastor, 34, earned her fifth American 15 km title in Jacksonville, Florida last weekend, in a race that she described as "playful and fun". Her time of 47 min 20 seconds in the Gate River Run was just five seconds shy of her own American record for the distance, and earned her a prize of $12,000. She beat the second placed lady, Jen Rhines, by almost two minutes.
The fun element of the race was an 'equaliser' challenge in which the women started five minutes before the men, to give them an equal chance of breaking the tape first. Kastor became the first woman to ever win this challenge, and thereby boosted her prize money by a further $5000.
In warm and humid conditions, Kastor set a fast early pace and led from start to finish. The quality of her victory can be judged from her winning margin of 1 minute 20 seconds over Meg Keflezighi, the current Men's Olympic Marathon silver medallist, in a race where men and women competed on an equal footing.
Kastor's main rivals in the race, both male and female, were also her training partners in California. "It was like another day of hard practice, really.... I kept waiting to hear breathing or footsteps". But no other runner managed to even come close to Kastor.
Fine cross country performance by Benaim
One of the most spectacular sights in sport is the start of the National Cross-country Championship. Several hundred competitors assemble along a start-line that stretches a furlong wide. When the starting claxon sounds, all charge off in an attempt to be in a good position when the course narrows down to a bottleneck. The sound is like distant thunder.
Last weekend at Sunderland, 16 year old Sagie Benaim was a part of that charge, and he acquitted himself with honour. Benaim came 34th out of 188 finishers in the Under-17 event, and helped his club, Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, to a fine third place finish nationally. Benaim completed the 6.2 km event in 22 minutes 16 seconds.
Benaim told JC Sport: "The course consisted of one short lap and one long lap through up-and-down parkland. I pushed hard for a good position at the start, and was placed in the top twenty on the first lap, but then I lost a few places later on. Although the course was hilly the main problem was the very strong wind. But our team did well and I am very pleased with my performance."
Benaim's next test is the Inter-schools Cross Country Championship in Leeds on 24th March, after which he will turn his attention towards preparing for the summer track season.