Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Transition Time!


It’s March, and while there are still a couple of major indoor meets to get out of the way (Euro Champs and NCAA Champs) we’re finally headed outdoors!

All over the world we’ll start getting good old outdoor competition. And for a track junkie like me that’s awesome news. From local high school, community college, and college and university meets, to the early season “relay” competitions, there will be plenty of track and field to watch as we finally get from “undercover” and out on the 400 meter ovals.

Of course now is the time of year that separates the “real” fans from those who are just interested in seeing “only the best”. Because sightings of the truly elite will still be several weeks away, and typically if we do see them this month it will be in “off” events.

For example the 400 has become a favorite early season race of many non quarter milers. David Rudisha (45.50) used it last year to set up his spectacular season. And several of the world’s elite sprinters have been using it for years to jump start their seasons – including Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell, Wallace Spearmon and others. So don’t be surprised if the first results you see from the world’s best sprinters begin with the number “4”.

So, just what kind of results should we expect to see during this transition month? Actually pretty good. For one reason, elite athletes often put up solid marks in their “secondary” events. Secondly, by the end of the month even the brief forays of the elite into their pet events can produce some eye popping results. Finally we tend to forget that there are other athletes out there besides the “name” athletes – and many are trying to make a name for themselves before the “stars” come out to outshine them.

Which makes it a real good time to get out and watch the competition. Especially with Worlds on the line this year. There will be many athletes trying to position themselves to make their teams – and they’ll be looking to late March and early April meets to tell them how their training is going and where they need to tweak.

And while April tends to be the month where results really explode, there have been some fairly outstanding marks turned in during the month of March. I went through some all time lists to try and sort out the best marks by event that were turned in during March. I was surprised at just how good athletes have performed this early in the season. Following is the list of “Best March Performances” that I came up with. If you are aware of corrections please let me know.


Event Mark Athlete Date
100 10.02 Deji Aliu 3/18/95 **
200 20.10A Michael Johnson 3/19/99
400 44.59A Arnaud Malherbe 3/19/99
800 1:43.15 David Rudisha 3/4/10
1500 3:32.53 William Chirchir 3/2/00
5000 12:58.19 Craig Mottram 3/20/06
10000 27:43.89 Shadrick Hoff 3/6/96
3000 st 8:14.41 Wander do Prado Moura 3/22/95
110HH 13.22 Colin Jackson 3/14.96
400 IH 48.05 Louis Van Zyl 3/23/06
HJ 7’ 10.5” Javier Sotomayor 3/12/89
PV 19’ 8.75” Okert Brits 3/15/96
LJ 27’ 10.75” Ivan Pedroso 3/19/95
TJ 57’ 11.75” Yoelbi Quesada 3/24/95
SP 71’ 8” Reese Hoffa 3/25/07
Disc 232’ 11” Virgilijus Alekna 3/30/01
Ham 269’ 11” Aleksy Zagornyi 3/9/02
Jav 308’ 5” Jan Zelezny 3/26/97
Dec 8412 Leonel Suarez 3/7/09

** Note that Maurice Greene ran sub10 (9.99) on February 28, 1998. Missing March by a day.


Event Mark Athlete Date
100 10.97 Evelyn Ashford 3/8/82
200 21.84A Marion Jones 3/19/99
400 49.87A Charity Opara 3/27/98
800 1:58.16 Kenia Sinclair 3/24/06
1500 4:01.81 Zola Budd 3/31/84
5000 14:46.60 Wang Chunmei 3/26/98
10000 31:18.07 Lisa Koll 3/26/10
3000 st 9:19.51 Dorcus Inzikuru 3/22/06
100 HH 12.65 Bridgett Foster Hylton 3/23/06
400 IH 54.10A Surita Febbraio 3/16/01
HJ 6’ 7”A Monika Iagar 3/16/98
PV 15’ 1.75” Kym Howe 3/26/06
LJ 22’ 11.75” Bronwyn Thompson 3/7/02
TJ 48’ 1.25” Mable Gay 3/8/07
SP 68’ 10.5” Ivanka Khristova 3/26/76
Disc 231’ 3” Maritza Marten 3/4/89
Ham 246’ 11” Betty Heidler 3/12/10
Jav 223’ 10 Osleidys Menendez 3/5/04
Hept 6396 Kelly Sotherton 3/22/06

So I think we have a lot to look forward to as we head outdoors. The meets in Australia and South Africa have traditionally given us the top early results. And tomorrow we get things kicked off with a meet in Melbourne! The Melbourne line up includes Valerie Adams (NZL) in the shot put; David Rudisha (KEN) in the 800; a mile field that includes Asbel Kiprop (KEN), Nick Willis (NZL) and Alan Webb (US); and a super 5000 field with Craig Mottram (AUS), Bernard Lagat (US), Matt Tegenkamp (US) and Chris Solisnsky (US)! Not a bad way to kick off the month of March.

Start lists for Melbourne can e found here.

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