Sunday, 27 July 2008

Swissalpine races in Davos

Yesterday we had a great day out at the Swissalpine races in Davos. Its a one day festival of mountain racing with the blue riband event being the famous 78km race which hits the heights of 2600m on the Panorama Trail. Britain's Lizzy Hawker was the defending women's champion and this year had to settle for second best to Switzerland's Jasmin Nunige while Sweden's Jonas Buud retained his title in a fraction over 6 hours.

For the mere mortals amongst us there was a choice between the K42 (the last 42km of the main event), the K31 (the net downhill first 31km) or the standalone K21 from Klosters to Davos with around 3000ft of ascent. So not an easy choice :-)

With 4 demanding races the logistics are pretty incredible especially as the start times are scheduled so that the K21, K42 and K78 are all finishing at the same finishline in Davos stadium within an hour of each other. This provides an excellent spectator location with almost non stop action as it means you have either a men or women's race winner coming home every 10 minutes or so.

My race started on the spectacular Sunniberg Bridge (pictured) down the valley from Klosters before climbing in a series of steps to the top of the pass at Davos-Wolfgang. The route was mostly trails in the forest which at least gave some shelter from the scorching sun, though it was still pretty warm. As always the course profile, which looked fairly tame as a pdf document turned into a brute once you actually got going. A few of the final climbs were very steep and even the downhills between the steps provided little respite. Its fair to say that after nearly 13km of climbing my quads were pretty tired ! Fortunately the opposition had wilted half way up the climb so I was left with a relaxed run from there on with the biggest challenge being to stay upright on the loose gravel paths with rocks and tree roots sticking out.

The run in to Davos was not without it moments either as the organisers gave us a tempting glimpse of the finish from the Davos See before taking us on a 4km detour up the valley and throwing in a nasty climb as a sting in the tail before the final 2km run down in to the town and the finish on the track in front of a large crowd. In 2nd place was Marcel Tschopp from Lichtenstein who was also behind me at Rhylauf in March. Afterwards Marcel was lamenting his bad luck at chosing the same races as me so I offered to swop both my wins for his spot on the Lichtenstein marathon team for Beijing :-)

To round off a good day for the Brits, Thames Hare & Hounds Dave Symons produced a storming run in the K31 to take third place.

Results K21
1. Adrian Marriott (GBR) 1:20:34

2. Marcel Tschopp (LIC) 1:24.16

3. Christian Puricelli (SUI) 1:24:49

Full Results

In the News
Western Daily Press
Swiss Media Release

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Full moons and She Devils

After a monster 11 days here in St Moritz today was a rest day from running and time for a trip on the narrow gauge railway up towards the Bernina Pass. Hopping off at Bernina Diavolezza I took the cable car up to the top of Diavolezza for lunch and some spectactular views before the cloud closed in. At more than 3000m even the post lunch stroll along the ridge (not the one in the photo !) was hard work and makes me realise just how awesome the Ethiopian training sessions are from Addis up to the top of Entoto which reaches a similar altitude.

Friday night was a full moon which is nothing to get excited about apart from the fact that this one was supposed to be the 'fullest, most spiritual of the year' so there were plenty of events around town from late night moon walks to open air cinema. In St Moritz itself there was a street party with barbeques, beer tents, music and the usual stalls you would expect to see. A few athletes were out enjoying the festivities and I spotted Craig Mottram sneaking off with a foil tray loaded with stuff from the barbie, though no evidence of any tinnies I should report.

Monday its back down to business with another hard week before a day at the Swiss Alpine Races in Davos which should be fun, even if most of it seems to be uphill :-(

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Go Dean, Go

UPDATE sunday 8pm: It looks like Dean has missed out on Beijing scoring 7,491 points.

Full results will appear on Hexham Meeting and EAP

While the attention at the Olympic Trials is yet again on the Chambers soap opera, Dean Macey is still in one piece and getting the job done at the Hexham Combined Events meet with 4,176 points at the end of day 1. Fingers crossed for decent weather on day 2. Go Dean !!

Decathlon - day 1 results

1st Darius Draudvila LTU 4,326pts

2nd Dean Macey GBR 4,176pts

3rd Dan Awde GBR 3,933pts

Friday, 11 July 2008

Training in St Moritz

This week I arrived in St Moritz to get my autumn marathon preparations underway. It seems that all the world and their coaches are here preparing for Beijing so there is certainly a buzz about the place and plenty of people to run with.

The first few days are all about acclimatising. Just nice easy running while the body gets used to the thinner air at 1800m (6000 feet) altitude. Fortunately I'm used to 8000 feet in Kenya so Switzerland feels pretty good and I find that after 3 or 4 days I'm ready to start running faster.

Back at home the Olympic Trials are on this weekend and hopefully everyone comes through unscathed. Athletes enjoy a love/hate relationship with their national federations so I'm expecting some controversy and tantrums when teams are announced on monday ! Away from the main event one of the most talented and entertaining athletes in british sport will be doing his bit in Hexham. Dean Macey will compete in his first decathlon for 2 1/2 years in a bid to qualify. If there is one guy we would love to see on the plane its Dean !

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Gabe on a roll and action from Kenyan trials

Gabe continued to roll back the years with another well judged run in the semis of the US trials. With only 5 of the finalists having the Olympic qualifying time of 3:36.80 it should be a fast race. 3 rounds in 4 days will take its toll and as the only sub 2.20 marathon guy in the field Gabe should certainly be strong !

On the other side of the world Kenya staged its 'one day olympics' at Nairobi's Nyayo Stadium. Employing a similar sudden death system as America there were a few surprises. 800m star David Rudisha who had been tearing up tracks all over Europe this year was injured and didn't start. He wasn't selected and the much anticipated match up in Beijing with Sudanese stud Kaki will be delayed for another year.

In a tasty steeplechase race Sydney Olympic Champion Reuben Kosgei could only manage 8th as the first 3 home ran 8:13 with 4th placed Paul Koech the unlucky man to miss out on the team for Beijing.

1. Ezekiel Kemboi, 8:13.56
2. Brimin Kipruto, 8:13.60
3. Richard Matelong, 8:13.89
4. Paul Kipsiele Koech, 8:13.98

Elsewhere races went to form with Pamela Jelimo dominating the 800m, Edwin Soi the 5000m and Augustine Choge the 1500m. The marathon teams were announced earlier after the London Marathon.

Selected Men

1. Wilfred Bungei
2. Boaz Lalang
3. Alfred Kirwa

1. Augustine Choge
2. Asbel Kiprop
3. Nicholas Kemboi

1. Edwin Soi
2. Eliud Kipchoge
3. Thomas Longosiwa

1. Moses Masai
2. Martin Mathathi
3. Micah Kogo

3000m Steeplechase
1. Ezekiel Kemboi
2. Brimin Kipruto
3. Richard Matelong

Full Kenyan Olympic Team

Friday, 4 July 2008

Recharging the batteries

After Torbay I put my feet up for a few days to make sure I was fully recovered. Its as much a mental as physical thing. Just switch off from running, focus on other stuff that needs attention and then come back recharged. It doesn't take long and is probably the most underestimtated component of most training programs !

This week i've eased back into things and I'm really looking forward to heading for the swiss alps next week to put in a block of aerobic work at altitude before moving into more specific marathon pace work in august. More on my marathon plans and training as I get nearer the race. Can't wait !

On the other side of the world the US Olympic Trials are in full swing. It was great to see my old friend Gabe Jennings win his 1500m heat last night and fingers crossed he can repeat his 2000 performance when he ran away with the final to get to Sydney. The US trials are such compelling viewing because of the winner takes all rules. First 3 in the final with qualifying time are on the plane. No if, buts or selectors opinions. Black and white. And that makes box office.

Here there have been plenty of encouraging performances from our athletes in the run up to our trials though the big news seems to be off the track yet again with Dwain Chambers going to court to try and overturn the BOA ban on convicted drug cheats representing GB & NI at the Olympics. I have little sympathy. He knew the rules and chose to cheat so he must live with the consequences of his decisions.

Now, where's my passport and SPF25 ?