Tag Archives: IAAF World Championships

Usain Bolt’s World Record a decade on: The science behind the world’s fastest man

On Aug. 16, 2009, Usain Bolt clocked 9.58 seconds in the final of the 100 meters at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin.

A decade on, with the eight-time Olympic champion now retired, that world-record time still stands.

At just 22, the Jamaican obliterated a mark he had set exactly one year earlier at the Olympics in Beijing, shaving more than a tenth of a second off the time.

Dr. Peter Weyand, a biomechanics expert at Southern Methodist University, told Omnisport what made Bolt so unique.

A slow starter?

One of the biggest misconceptions of Bolt was that, due to his 6-foot, 5-inch frame, he was a slow starter. Not true, says Weyand. Particularly on that night in Germany when only Dwain Chambers was ahead of him after the first few strides.

“The most unusual thing was how well he was able to start for somebody as big as he is,” Weyand said. “Normally the people that accelerate and get out of the blocks very quickly tend to be the shorter sprinters. The physics and biology of acceleration favors smaller people. In 2009, I think he started as well as anybody in that race. The start was a differentiator.”

Long legs = more force

Though his height may have given him a slight disadvantage out of the blocks, Bolt’s frame came in handy once the race opened up, allowing him to generate more power in the short steps sprinters take.

“What limits how fast a sprinter can go is how much force they can get down in the really short periods of time they have to do it,” Weyand said. “If you’re going faster, the only way to do what you need to do to pop your body back up with a shorter contact time is to put down more force. What all elite sprinters do is put down more force in relation to their body mass than people who aren’t as fast.

“If you’re Bolt and you’re 6-foot-5, you have a longer leg and you have more forgiveness. He probably has six, seven, eight milliseconds more on the ground.

“You have to put down a peak force of about five times body weight and that needs to happen in three hundredths of a second after your foot comes down.

“He was so athletic and so tall. His long legs gave him more time on the ground.”

Fewer strides, greater success

Believe it or not, sprinters cannot maintain their top speed for the entire 100 meters. Bolt, who also holds the 200-meter world record, had another advantage in that he needed fewer strides to cover the distances.

“He had 41 steps usually [over 100 meters] and the other guys are 44, 45, some of the shorter ones are up in the high 40s,” Weyand said.

“Particularly over 200 meters, the step numbers are directly related to fatiguing. If you go through fewer steps and fewer intense muscular contractions to put force into the ground, you have a fatigue-sparing effect.”

Unique, but not perfect

Given he was able to accelerate out of the blocks quickly — relative to his height — and was able to use his frame to generate more force across fewer strides, Bolt might have looked like the perfect sprinter.

But Weyand argued: “You can make a case that Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is the best female sprinter ever and she’s 5 feet tall.

“There are trade-offs in terms of being forceful when you accelerate versus having more contact time at your top-end speed.”

Will Bolt’s mark ever be broken?

No current athlete looks close to eclipsing Bolt’s time in the near future, but that does not mean his record time will stand forever.

In 2008, marathon runner and biology professor Mark Denny conducted research and predicted the fastest possible time a male sprinter could run is 9.48 seconds.

“Nothing’s ever perfect, Bolt’s obviously a unique athlete but no race is perfect and no set of circumstances are perfect,” Weyand said. “Certainly faster than 9.58 [is possible] but that’s a question that’s hard to answer without being pretty speculative.”

The only thing that is certain is for now — as has been the case for the previous 10 years too — the title of “the fastest man on earth” belongs to Bolt.

Source: sportingnews.com

MEN’S 3000M – IAAF CONTINENTAL CUP OSTRAVA 2018

Bahrain’s Birhanu Balew, representing Asia-Pacific, and US runner Paul Chelimo, representing the Americas, look the two likely leaders here.

Both men chased home Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha in the hottest 3000m race of the season so far at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rabat, with Balew finishing second in 7:34.26 – the second fastest time run this year – and Chelimo fourth, both in the race and the list, with 7:34.83.

Chelimo may not be the fastest on paper, but he is the tried and tested man for the big occasion, having won 5000m silver behind Mo Farah at the 2016 Olympics and bronze at last year’s IAAF World Championships in London.

Chelimo finished sixth in the superfast 5000m at last Friday’s IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels in 12:57.55, two places ahead of Ethiopia’s Getaneh Molla, representing Africa here, who clocked 12:59.58.

Chances are there also for Balew’s teammate, Stewart McSweyn of Australia. It’s been a long season for him, but he was also in the Rabat race and finished between Balew and Chelimo in 7:34.79.

Chelimo’s teammate Mohammed Ahmed of Canada ran a 7:52.06 3000m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene, Oregon and finished ninth in Brussels in 13:03.08.

At 16, Kenya’s Edward Zakayo has already amassed a formidable record on the track, having won 5000m bronze at this year’s Commonwealth Games and gold at the African Championships in Asaba and the IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere.

For Europe, Norway’s Henrik Ingebrigtsen was European 1500m champion in 2012 and took European 5000m silver in Berlin last month behind his 17-year-old brother Jakob.

Semenya heads strong Birmingham 1500m field

Triple world and double Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya has been confirmed as the next headline star due to compete at next month’s Müller Grand Prix Birmingham IAAF Diamond League fixture on Saturday 18 August.

Serving as her first ever race in Birmingham, the South African star will compete over 1500m at the Alexander Stadium, eager to build upon her UK successes following her triumphs at the London 2012 Olympics and last summer’s IAAF World Championships.

“It has been such an amazing 12 months for me and I cannot wait to continue it by competing back in the UK again and in Birmingham for the first time ever,” Semenya said. She may be targeting her own South African record time of 3:59.92 she set at the Diamond League opener in Doha in early May.

The 27-year-old is expected to emerge as one of the biggest stars at the African Championships which begin today in Asaba, Nigeria, where she’ll compete in at least three events and possibly four if the amended schedule will allow.

Among those joining Semenya in the Birmingham race is five-time world championship medallist Sifan Hassan of The Netherlands. Hassan impressively won the inaugural Millicent Fawcett mile in London less than two weeks ago in a time of 4:14.71, the fourth quickest women’s mile time in history, and is sure to relish returning to Birmingham having set Dutch records on her previous two outings in the city.

Also set to be present is Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay, an athlete who carries extraordinary range with sub-2:00, sub-4:00 and sub-15:00 minute personal best times for 800m, 1500m and 5000m respectively, while world championship finalists Winny Chebet of Kenya, and Laura Weightman and Sarah McDonald of Breat Britain will also be in the hunt.

Rudisha headlines Shanghai Diamond League

Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha headlines a list of no fewer than 14 world and Olympic champions who are expected to grace the Shanghai Diamond League on May 12.

Rudisha, the world record holder over the distance will hope to make it third time lucky after finishing fifth on his Shanghai debut in 2016 and third last year.

Fellow Kenyan Timothy Cheruiyot will be hoping to start his Diamond League trophy defence on a the right foot when he parades in the 1500m race.

The stellar line-up includes eight gold medallists from the IAAF World Championships London 2017 and six athletes who struck gold at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, plus nine event winners from last year’s Diamond League and two newly crowned world indoor champions.

Kendra Harrison clinched her first global crown when she took the 60m hurdles title in Birmingham earlier this month, equalling the North American record of 7.70. The outdoor world record-holder will make her Shanghai debut in the 100m hurdles and will face Olympic champion Brianna McNeal (nee Rollins).

The Shanghai crowd will be treated to another tasty head-to-head in the women’s 200m in which two-time world champion Dafne Schippers takes on Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo.

Schippers will be racing in Shanghai for the first time, while Miller-Uibo has fond memories of the city, having triumphed over 400m for the past two years. The Bahamian set an early world lead to take the Shanghai title in 2017 and went on to claim overall Diamond League trophies for both 200m and 400m, setting a national record of 21.88 in the half-lap final in Zurich when her Dutch rival was fourth.

In the men’s 100m China’s world indoor 60m silver medallist Su Bingtian will take on two world champions, Justin Gatlin and Ramil Guliyev. Su brought the crowd to its feet 12 months ago when he clinched his first ever IAAF Diamond League victory and the Chinese record-holder will be hoping for a repeat performance against the world 100m and 200m champions.

Botswana’s Diamond League champion Isaac Makwala will face world silver medallist Steven Gardiner in the 400m.

Omar McLeod will target a third successive Shanghai victory in the 110m hurdles when he takes on Spain’s Orlando Ortega. Jamaica’s world and Olympic champion broke the 13-second barrier when he triumphed here in 2016 before going on to claim the Olympic crown just ahead of Ortega.

Other reigning IAAF Diamond League champions who will be looking for early points include Dalilah Muhammad in the women’s 400m hurdles and Maria Lasitskene, the world indoor and outdoor high jump champion.

Colombia’s Olympic champion Caterine Ibarguen is targeting a winning return to Shanghai after she won the women’s triple jump here in 2013 and 2015, as will Luvo Manyonga, the South African who leapt to an IAAF Diamond League and African record of 8.61m to take maximum points in the long jump last May before going to win the world title and Diamond trophy in August. Manyonga will face China’s newly minted Asian indoor champion, Shi Yuhao.

Sam Kendricks, another of last year’s world and IAAF Diamond League champions, takes on the host nation’s World Championships fourth-place finisher, Xue Changrui, in the men’s pole vault. Like McLeod, Kendricks is seeking a Shanghai hat-trick after beating world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie with a vault of 5.88m 12 months ago.

Chinese stars will also feature heavily in the women’s throws, not least world and IAAF Diamond League champion Gong Lijiao, who hopes to repeat her season-boosting shot put victory from 12 months ago. Asian record-holder and world bronze medallist Lyu Huihui will also have high hopes in the javelin. More big names will be announced in the next few weeks.

Lagat Is the Accidental athlete at World Half-Marathon Championships

After turning 43 last December, two-time Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat did not think he would make another appearance at an IAAF World Championships.

Beginning with the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in 2001, Lagat had qualified for 11 world championships, both indoors and outdoors, and had won three indoor titles and two outdoors. Although still competing, he was largely viewed as a “legend” athlete racing here and there for his own satisfaction in the twilight of his career.

Almost exactly a month later, the five-time Olympian from Tuscon, Ariz., lined up for the Aramco Houston Half-Marathon, a distance he had only run twice before. On an unusually cold Texas winter day, he kept an even pace and clocked a personal best and American over-40 record of 1:02:00 finishing in 15th place. He had no idea that his mark would qualify him for his 12th world championships, and his first as a road runner.

“It is a surprise,” Lagat told reporters here today at an outdoor press conference held at the finish line in the Ciudad De Les Artes y la Ciencias (City of Arts & Sciences) in the Jardin del Turia, Valencia’s huge park in the center of the city. “I think I used that word, like it was an accident. A lot of athletes were asking me in Houston, ‘hey Bernard are you trying to get the team?’ And I said, ‘look and see who is running here. Everybody is running. Therefore I’m just here to run a personal best.'”

Under USA Track & Field’s selection process, Lagat was actually sixth on the list (a full team is five athletes per gender). But two athletes above him, Christo Landry and Haron Lagat, were unable to accept their team spots, elevating Lagat to #4 on the list.

“I wasn’t looking into running the world championships,” Lagat admitted. “But then, that position made me fourth in the United States, and I said, ‘wow.’ They gave me the invitation and I said I’m taking it. I was really, really excited to be here.”

Lagat, who is the second-oldest competitor in the men’s field (the oldest is 43 year-old Maurice Turnock of Gibraltar who was born seven months before Lagat), doesn’t relish the half-marathon distance, at least not yet. He admitted that tomorrow’s race was going to hurt.

“It’s painful from mile-two,” Lagat said. “Since mile number two it starts to get painful. Mile-one is OK. I can run with these guys at 4:32, no big deal. I have 3:47 (personal best for the mile); so I can brag about that. The pain starts towards the half. As you keep going you just see everyone starting to leave you, and you’re on your own.”

If the weather cooperates, Lagat could improve his personal best, but beating Haile Gebreselasie’s world over-40 record of 1:01:09 would be a tall order, Lagat said.

“It’s going to be a tough one,” he said.

Nonetheless, Lagat plans to be as competitive as possible. That’s just how he’s wired.

“It is a big challenge for me, but I still have that competitive nature for myself,” Lagat said. “I always want to go out there and do the best that I can. We’ll see tomorrow how I’m going to fare.”

source: runnersweb.com

Aiyabei to battle Cheyech at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon

Sub-2:22 runners Valary Jemeli Aiyabei and Flomena Cheyech will face off at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on Sunday (11).

The race, this year celebrating its 37th edition, is the largest women’s-only marathon in the world, with a capacity exceeding 22,000 runners. The main focus will however fall on the Kenyan pair who bring strong marathon momentum to the start line.

Aiyabei is the fastest in the field of 17 invitees, with a personal best of 2:20:53 recorded at the Berlin Marathon last September where she finished third. Prior to that appearance in the German capital, Aiyabei won four straight marathons: Eldoret, Barcelona, Valencia and Prague. Notably, the 26-year-old has also improved her lifetime best in each of her last four races, from Barcelona to Berlin. Her half marathon lifetime best of 1:07:50 also came in 2017 with her victory at the Prague Half Marathon.

Her main challenger is Cheyech, whose marathon best of 2:21:22 was set at the 2017 Paris Marathon where she too finished third. The 35-year-old followed up that performance with a fourth place finish at the IAAF World Championships London 2017. More recently Cheyech, the 2014 Commonwealth Games champion, won the Saitama Marathon in November and paced January’s Osaka Women’s Marathon through the midway point in 1:12:02. Cheyech’s half marathon best is 1:07:39, faster than Aiyabei’s.

The course record is 2:21:17 set by Eunice Kirwa last year.

Other contenders from abroad include Merima Mohammed of Bahrain, who has a marathon personal best of 2:23:06 from 2010 and Ethiopian Meskerem Assefa, who clocked 2:24:18 at the 2017 Rotterdam Marathon. Assefa ran two 2:24 marathons in 2017 so could be a threat to the favourites. Karolina Nadolska of Poland, with a personal best of 2:26:31, and Italy’s Sara Dossena with a lifetime best of 2:29:39 round out the international field.

For Japanese runners, the race also doubles as a qualifying race for both the 2018 Asian Games marathon team and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Marathon team trials. After three qualifying races for the latter, only three women have thus far qualified, quite a contrast with the men’s side in which 13 have already earned their spots for the Olympic team trials race. In Nagoya, up to six runners can earn qualification: the top three, if they finish under 2:28, as well as those who finish fourth to sixth provided they ran under 2:27.

The fastest Japanese in the field is Sairi Maeda who finished second in Nagoya in 2015 with 2:22:48. She was 13th at the 2015 World Championships. Other contenders include Rei Ohara with a best of 2:23:20 recorded in this race in 2016, Mao Kiyota who clocked 2:23:47 here last year, and Reia Iwade whose best of 2:24:38 came in Nagoya in 2016. Kiyota was 16th at last year’s World Championships.

Others vying for a top-six finish include Shiho Takechi, with a best of 2:25:29; Hanae Tanaka, who’s clocked 2:26:19; Michi Numata, with a lifetime best of 2:27:27; Miharu Shimokado, with a 2:27:54 personal best: Misaki Kato, who’s clocked 2:28:12; and Keiko Nogami, with 2:28:19. Among the ten Japanese runners invited, eight have set their marathon bests in Nagoya.

The most intrigue runner in the field is Hanami Sekine who will be making her marathon debut. The 22-year-old has track bests of 15:24.74 and 31:22.92 over 5000m and 10,000m, but has never raced farther than 11km. The fastest marathon debut time by a Japanese is 2:21:36 set by Yuka Ando in Nagoya last year.

Hellen Obiri: I Love running Because….

The Kenyan endurance star enjoyed an outstanding 2017 season highlighted by her world title victory in the 5000m. Here the 28-year-old athlete discusses her running career and what the sport has given her.

“In Kenya running is a passion. The whole nation runs. It is part of our culture!

“My first running experiences came at school. I enjoyed running the 200 metres, 400 metres and 800 metres, even though back then I was not winning. I started to race more competitively after joining the Kenyan Defence Force (where Obiri serves as a soldier). I recall in 2010 running in bigger races such as the Kenyan Defence Force Championships. It was there I was identified by Noah Ngeny (the 2000 Olympic 1500m champion) and invited to train at the PACE Sports Management camp in Kaptagat. The following year I made a big breakthrough by winning the Kenyan 1500m title and competing at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu.

“In my youth, I used to watch out for all the top Kenyan athletes on TV, Of course, running is held in very high regard in Kenya, so I admire all those who represented their country. If I had to pick one athlete, it would be Vivian Cheryuiyot because she was so small but strong at the same time. I am now pleased to call her a good friend.

“Athletics has given me so much. It has allowed me to travel the world, meet new people and also earn a good living allowing me to support my family back in Kenya. By travelling so extensively and visiting so many countries – an opportunity which would not have come my way without athletics – it has helped my education and my understanding of the world.

“Without athletics I don’t know what I’d be doing now. Maybe, I would be a KDF soldier.

“I love to run and I feel happiest when competing. I enjoy all elements to running but personally you can’t beat the buzz and thrill from racing at major championships.”