WC final day

WC final day
Dolgoprudny, Russian Federation

Dolgoprudny, Russian Federation

As the championships draw to an end there’s a definite feeling of a gear shift, as we leave morning sessions behind and have just an afternoon one. It starts earlier, with the first medal ceremony at 3.40, but that still left time for a slow start to the day.

Italy's relay team warm up on the practice oval
Italy’s relay team warm up.

I set my stall out early for a lie in, stubbornly refusing to wake up for good even when it seemed everyone else was up and out. In the event, I later met Aden and he had only gone for a shower before more sleep, so I was only in silver for laziness. I headed out for a run around 11, and it was hard work from the start. I stayed on the inner ring, thinking to cut across the front of the stadium but found that it was possible to just run through the barriers and keep to the river bank, along a two lane cycle/rollerblade path. I had passed three female runners going the other way, one of whom waved at me, but I didn’t recognise any in the 800 final later on. I still reckon two of them for pro athletes out for an easy one. By three miles in I was moving, at least, and it was a lovely sunny sunday, worth staying out in. I decided I’d go across the river at Vorobyovy gory, but that was behind security so I had to keep going to the next, glass bridge, which looks the same so I assume it is opposite the one I had used to cross the river near the hostel on other days. I ran back past sparrow hills again, pushing on a bit to pass a runner who grunted and tried to come with me, and then some bladers closed on me but weren’t pushing it, so I allowed myself to keep accelerating as they did to get in a faster mile. About halfway in they went properly ahead, but then slowed and I closed, feeling pretty good about my pace-low 6s, for sure. Just then another runner came floating by, on the road to my path, making it look easy. I passed him a few hundred metres further on, so I suspect he was doing intervals but still, he must have kept to a decent pace to have stayed close enough to me that a rep was quick enough to go past. I eased off, or, more, came to a crashing slowdown, after a mile and a half. A bit short for a tempo, need to fix that, but I think I have been a bit under the weather this week in any case. With the route being a bubble-written U, doing the inner and outer side of the river bend, it came to just about 11miles, which makes for about 35 for the week; okay. Even better, at least to me, I tried sticking the garmin connector on the hostel computer and it worked, so I was able to transfer all my workouts into garmin connect, and clear the watch. It was hardly critical, but good for my head to clear something out.

Commentators preparing to leave for a party
Rob head for the booze but is startled by conversation.

I picked up drinks at the local unfriendly shop but didn’t eat and so was starving and fading by the time I got to the IAAF lounge. Score there, though, as they had pasta. Can’t complain, but some days it has been all meat, some days all potato and veg, today was just what I needed. Wolfed that and was in the stadium for the second medal ceremony and on to the action. Something that has surprised me is just how many families seem to be involved. It’s particularly noticeable amongst the sprinting brothers and sisters, and I tried to spot them in the relay teams; the Georges of Nigeria, Sprungers of Germany, Borlees of Belgium. Marriages perhaps make pairings of good athletes less unlikely (in that as an elite athlete you hang around with elite athletes), but it is still cool that the javelin bronze medallists are married (the lady, Abumakova, was the world leader coming in, and threw furthest in qualifying, so was disappointed, but did comment that at least they were synchronised), as are the silver heptathlete and the gold decathlete, Thiessen-Eaton and Eaton. There’s a good article on the guardian site, arguing that he is the greatest athlete in the world.

View from close to the track
I took a wrong turn and ended here. My pass let me be here, but the fuzziness of the photo shows how furtive I felt.

With the speed, excitement and chaos of the relays, it ended, though with the usual confusion for the Brits. Apparently the men had been on the verge of heading to the medal ceremony when told they were disqualified, though Ellington seemed to know he had gone out of his box, with no less a judge than Michael Johnson spotting it. Dad wondered if it was payback for the Brits’ tendency to point out others’ transgressions and get them disqualified, but they continue to do so-the French women were full of bounce on the medal rostrum, but were later disqualified at the Brits’ behest, the latter finding out about their medals just before the party.

I didn’t see Johnson on the beeb, of course. No, instead I left the stadium with dad and followed, saying goodbye to various people and then heading to the bus stop to say goodbye to others. Only two people waiting there; Christine, the only one on the radio team I hadn’t met, was chatting to Michael Johnson. Or, as it went in my head “bloody hell, that’s Michael flipping Johnson!” Dad was introduced, Christine introduced herself to me and we had a lovely chat before I finally managed to find a second to introduce myself to the man. “John”, I said. “Michael”, he replied, redundant-but-modestly.

Official pass and daily programmes
TV crew. Ha.

Although it was sad that the thing was over – I didn’t feel I could show up at the party as a hanger on – that was one pretty cool last act, and I strolled back to the hostel trying to switch my head from ‘end of adventure and no more chats with that lot’ to ‘new adventure and am I set?’

Summary: 1:30:15, 17.66km, bye bye Moscow, bye bye commentary team, bye bye walking past elite athletes and saying ‘excuse me’ etc to Phil et al.

WC 7 and Pushkin

WC 7 and Pushkin
Moscow, Russia

Moscow, Russia

Flash interviews are conducted with athletes on their way out. Linda Stahl, having qualified in the javelin, talked about training whilst working as an assistant doctor, and is apparently “here on a leaf” which is their version of ‘on a wing and a prayer’ though she qualified comfortably enough. Highlight of the morning for me was the final 200m heat. Usain Bolt eased through, not needing a great time to win, looked right and spotted no one, looked left and saw Delanno Williams racing up, just as williams eased off and grinned back. The two finished the race grinning, pretty much laughing, with each other, as if it was their own private fiefdom, no one else involved. Good to see some British talent happy to mix it up, as did Chris O’hare in the 1500 earlier in the week, taking it on with over a lap to go, and responding whenever anyone came alongside until the final straight. He couldn’t hold it then, but qualifying on time was the least he deserved for a gutsy run.

Two statues, resembling dancing weeping angels (from Dr Who)
Weeping angels hit the disco.

After a short session, I headed to the Pushkin museum. An easy ride on the metro, 5 stops from the stadium, it’s easy enough to find if not immediately obvious which beautiful building holds the museum. The queue outside looked bad, but moved quickly if sporadically. 400rub entry. They’ve gone large on the pre-raphaelites (finally, use of the word ‘pre’ without my having to shout ‘******’. Pre-booking, I ask you) upstairs, the section a bit crowded for my liking. There are a succession of masterpieces, and not too much ‘ah, another madonna and child’ religious nuttiness. Having forgotten my guidebook, though, I was a little confused at first-statue of David? Bust of Pericles? Not much in English amongst all that, but one crucial word is; plastercast. Apparently they were intended as models for students. Certainly grand, but it does make it all a bit fake, and means the few real marble heads and the like don’t stand out. The large pieces, including wall friezes, are impressive, though. Amongst the pictures, the portraits without provenance always seem a little too prosaic; ‘Portrait of a man’ ‘…a woman’ ‘…a man with whiskers’. Some fabulous art, and a Titian display there at the moment, though I’m sure they rotate them regularly. Don’t be fooled that the downstairs area you can see at the back of the building, under the main stairs, holds another exhibition area; it’s just cafe, toilets and exit. You can come back in with your ticket if you wander down there exploring, mind. The building itself is grand, enormous high ceilings, decorated in a variety of ways, from large skylights to plaster sculpture and paintings. The whole thing is probably just a plaster cast of an original somewhere, though.

Replica of Michelangelo's David

A great evening of athletics. Fraser-Pryce scorched through again, Ahoure just hanging on to silver, while Gemili raced through for another pb, two in the day, taking another .19 off (.13 earlier) and going under 20 seconds for the first time, 19:98. Chris O’Hare looks a right racer, prepared to get in and have a go and qualified, having given the 5inches taller Frenchman a heck of a shove, in an admittedly slow race. Mo, once again, took the lead 600m out and repelled all attacks. On the replay you can see the point where he attacks, with Gebrhimet immediately responding, but that passivity hasn’t worked yet-once Mo gains that yard with a lap and a half to go, he holds on even when he works hard. One Kenyan made a move early on, and when he was joined by the other on the next lap it looked like finally Farah would be challenged by a quick early pace, but Farah left them to it and it soon closed up, with splits (if I remember rightly) of 2:45, 48, 49 before they sped up towards the end. Britain were squeezed into fourth in the 4x400m, Russians won the long jump and hammer to huge noise, the latter with a championship record. Rutherford’s form from last year would have got him a medal, but not gold. I moved away from the commentary area so I could make some noise, though went back for the medal ceremonies to avoid all the standing up. A brilliant night.

Ukrainians enjoy Bondarenko's medal ceremony, inside the stadium which might be approaching half full. In places.
Ukrainians enjoy Bondarenko’s medal ceremony.

Running round Moscow

Running round Moscow
Moscow, Russia

Moscow, Russia

With fewer events on this morning, just two different tracks events having heats and three field events their qualifying session, it seemed an excellent day to put in (ha!) a longer run and miss some of the early action. In the event, I got going after 9:30, ran for over an hour and a half and missed the whole session.

Park Kultury Metro station
Park Kultury Metro station.

I went further this time. Same route, over the road and river then down and round the outside of the U loop, but rather than crossing near the stadium of Vov Gory I continued till nearly out of park, then turned into the park (yes, I am now a tree with herbaceous border) and up the hill. This, then, was sparrow hill, at the top of which we had stood and surveyed the view he previous day and part of Gorky park. The park is long but not deep, and the hill goes up rapidly, but it’s a short sharp sort of a thing rather than a long grind. There are lots of undulating trails, and I came across distance markers suggesting marked courses, though I was heading the opposite way. In a clearing, for me apropos of nothing, were pianos. Five in a group, then a couple more I could see further up. Not playable; there was a sign that probably explains exactly what they are apropos of, but it was no good to me. I couldn’t find a way, at least not quickly, to stay on the trails and follow the river so my options were to head to the road or back down to the promenade by the river. I picked the latter and retraced my steps. The great thing about being forgetful, though, is that even when doing that you come across places you could swear you have never seen before. These steps? That bridge? It was all flat, I’m sure. Each day I’ve run this way before they have been jet washing the railings so I’ve had a little spray to cool me down. Today they had moved on to spray painting them, so I’ve caught some interesting patterns of spotty paint, instead.

Big pretend-ship-restaurant in St Petersburg
Big pretend-ship-restaurant in St Petersburg.

A good one, and I headed to the stadium. In a sense, I timed it appallingly, getting there just as everyone left, but today’s inner fanboy had Colin Jackson and Jonathan Edwards leaving which adds them to Cram, Foster, Merry, Ovett and Backley in my British Olympian collection. But I could have lunch (in fact they don’t serve lunch, just breakfast 8:45-13:00, dinner later) and then find a spot in the media centre.

Annoyingly, this was my first visit, so spotting a media race on for 2pm today at 1pm was no good at all. What a place that would have been for my first 800m! I did, though, finally get to grips with my onward travel, booking tickets for the first day of the Boxing Day test, finding that I couldn’t get the ferry to South Korea-it goes on a Wednesday, my visa ends on a tuesday, and I can’t make it for Wednesday week with any stop overs. I could have just gone the full Moscow-Vlad in one, but I’d rather stop. So instead I’m having three nights in each of Yekaterinburg and Irkutsk and then flying from Khabarovsk to Tokyo. The train tickets I booked through Real Russia, as the man in seat 61 (www.seat61.com) recommends. He does also suggest comparing prices across different sites, which would be wise, as would booking a little more than a week in advance. There may be some connection between my booking close to time and not comparing.

The flight from Khabarovsk to Tokyo ends up cheaper and much quicker (2.40 hrs vs 7) than Vladivostock to Seoul or Tokyo; at one point I was in a frustrating loop, where I could fly from either Russian city to Seoul, but only by stopping at the other Russian city. You’d think if the flight from Vladivostock stops at Khabarovsk then you could pick up a direct flight from the latter but no, all the flights I was offered from K stopped at V. Sod it, I’ll go further and directly, then, to Tokyo – 2hrs 40, and from there it’s a short hop back to Seoul if that’s what I decide to do.

Finally, some athletics. On the way I passed a small line of beggars. First a woman with animals, who I only spotted because a kitten was doing its own thing so she picked it up by the scruff of the neck and put it back on its pity podium. Next to her was a crippled lady, without upper limbs. At first I was a little fearful, then I realised she was ar (NO! ed).

In the stadium, I loved the 4x400m heats. The Cubans messed up their 3rd change (he’s got it-nope missed, check, turn, grab) and were run out of it – having led, the change saw them slip to 3rd, and as the next team, Germany perhaps, came up on his shoulder he responded. Unfortunately the need to chase meant both had burned their matches early and slipped down the field on the home straight. It was a slower heat than the others in any case. I headed down to the editing area after that, to see how comedy double act Jim and Ted do the quality control and running order (ha) for the 52 minute highlights programme. Seeing the number of people involved was eye opening, starting with those who log the action, adding keywords so it is all saved on a server in findable format. I was assured, though, that’s it all straightforward. Right, on you go, then. Back to quality control because there I had two sources of entertainment, watching the athletics and then Ted’s stories and semi-professional grumpiness and Jim’s ability to laugh whilst watching action, setting out times to allow for each event and pushing Ted’s buttons. It has also, and this is not the first time this week, nor getting any easier to admit, given me new found respect for my father. I already took his expertise as read, but his ability to commentate, offer expert summation whilst spotting anything significant from whoever finishes 4th as well as the main three is impressive, but adding in the fact that the editors can use him as an example of exactly how to do it, always giving a nice intro to a race that can be edited in, then an out as well, before adding in lengthier analysis must be seriously annoying to others learning the business. Probably not a problem on the beeb, where they show relatively so little athletics that they can just play the whole race again, and they won’t have commentated on more than a handful of jumps and throws so can just bang the commentary on afterwards. Here, they’re covering just about everything, slotting in field event attempts in a quiet moment or track restart, so talking once a result caption has disappeared, or giving a stream of chat as a race finishes and the athletes tie up makes for extra editing work.

Statue in a park
Park on the way to the stadium.

Annoyingly good, saves people time and money. Whether enough time to allow Jim and Ted to catch the 10pm bus back I’m not sure. I went and joined the crowds at the metro station and was back by 10.

Summary: 1:33:15, 18.66km.

WC day 4

WC day 4
Dolgoprudny, Russian Federation

Dolgoprudny, Russian Federation

I was relaxed about my start today, wanting to get a run in and not get out of bed enormously early. I set off around 8.30 and crossed the river. If the stadium is at the bottom of a U shape caused by the river, the hostel is near top left, so crossing allowed me to run down the left edge all the way to the parkland that borders the ‘sparrow hills’ area. The mascot is a sparrow, maybe relatedly. The distances here are huge, great long roads-the equivalent distance on a map of Helsinki might be 5 minutes walk, here it is 10 minutes run. Pedestrian crossings give you a countdown and I nearly didn’t make one the other day across Smolensky Boulevard – it felt easy enough to halfway till I realised I had somehow only 5 of 30 seconds left and 5 lanes of 9 (it’s 9 lanes on both sides) still to cross.

Clearing a height
Clearing a height.

The run was similar. I only ran down to the river, along a bit while waiting to cross the road then crossed the river and had already covered a mile. Staying this side of the river, the stadium is under 2 miles away, but by the time I was opposite it on the other side of the wide river I was over 3 miles in. I crossed at Vorobyovy Gory station which has a bridge running alongside the station. It’s the most convenient for the media entrances, but I came out of the wrong side yesterday and wondered what all the parkland was. That at least primed me for my crossing today. I continued, 5 miles in, along the front of the stadium, encouraged by some spectators. Well, who knows who I might be? I wasn’t running particularly well, until I spotted a group of athletes coming towards me, warming up for the 5 grand-couple of Australians and one gb vest, though I don’t know who he was, given that only Mo was going for us. I passed another group, again multinational, which kept me thinking about my form, trying to look the part.

Group of Ukrainians on the far side of the otherwise empty stadium
Huge group of Ukrainians.

Once I was done and showered I didn’t make it to the station till 10.16. First 5000 heat at 10.20, oh well. I didn’t rush, catching the second tube and reading on the way. An elderly supporter next to me went to exit at Sportivnaya, recommended for spectators, and was stopped by a local, who wanted him to get the next one. I guess it is slightly more convenient for most, and he took it in good part. I took the time to pick up some water and a daily programme and made it into the stadium. Oh look, Farah and Rupp lining up. Sometimes life works with you. With five to go through plus five fastest losers both were in a group of five that moved away from the rest and qualified looking comfortable as the front three, two Kenyans and an Ethiopian, raced off to the finish. The women’s 20km walk finished on the track too, slightly chaotically. Russians were 1,2,3 coming into the stadium, with cones marking off for them to do one lap outside the cones and 3/4 inside. But there was no finish marked so the first placer held hands up and stopped once she crossed the line and had to be rushed on, with 2nd closing, while 3rd place came into the stadium and stopped, looking round. Next time I looked she had pulled out, with china taking bronze, though it is possible the Russian has just heard she was disqualified. That was the track action done, though still with high jump and triple jump qualification and the heptathlon javelin throw going on for action left, right and centre. Rumours that US high jumper Erik Kynard plans to call his son Far are unconfirmed.

The evening session was packed with finals, though spotting a male Spanish discus thrower called Jennifer in the final nearly topped it all. Is there a Spanish Johnny Cash? The Russian walkers’ gold and silver got a huge cheer, but that for Sergey Bubka, presenting the pole vault medals, was greater, topped only by the reception for Isinbaeva. It got louder through the evening as others fell by the wayside and once the track races were moved out of the way. The 400 seemed odd, James nowhere near it, and the two 800s were exciting in different ways. Huge PBs from all three heptathletes in the hunt for bronze meant it went to Schippers, who held third beforehand but was the slowest of the three. She finished behind Johnson-Thompson and Rath but was near enough to stay ahead overall.

5000m heats in the sunshine
Mo and Rupp ease through.

Then Isinbaeva. She fouled once each at different heights on the way up but then cleared 4.82 comfortably and was the only one clear at 4.89. Cue raucous celebrations, but there were still medal ceremonies and the like to finish us off. She knows how to manage a big moment, though, and took on a world record height, given 5 minutes for each attempt, which made sure she had the stage to herself. She didn’t clear, but could then do a lap of honour, plus several cartwheel-back flip combos, while her song (! Lyrics not testing, ‘Isinbaeva…Isinbaeva’ repeat to fade) played over the pa. If she retires I guess she’ll find some way to stay in the public eye. She was the only athlete I’ve yet seen in an in field interview who took the microphone rather than just talk into it. It’s possible she might be a bit of a diva if not given centre stage, mind.

Summary: 1:05:12, 12.66km.

WC day 3

WC day 3
Dolgoprudny, Russian Federation

Dolgoprudny, Russian Federation

After the hectic weekend schedules, today was more relaxed by far. The heptathlon started early, but otherwise there were some hurdle and steeplechase heats, discus qualifying and everything but the heptathlon high jump was done by a little after 12, with the evening session not starting till 18:45. Time to wander, to snooze, to raid the meeting room fridge for supplies.

Champions League trophy
Champions League trophy.

Today is much cooler than the previous few, after storms overnight. It started overcast, even, though it was sunny from midday or so. I watched the morning session with a fellow ware jogger who was sadly off back home later in the day, then went to say hello to dad upstairs while the heptathlon high jump finished. He had learned that the IAAF lounge offered much better food-thought there must be some somewhere, the portions in the press box are small and, though cheap, nothing to write home about. So in that spirit I’ll say no more. We were, only at 1:45, too late for food there and I followed dad and Katherine back to the meeting room, where they prepared for the evening session. Katherine also worried about how unpopular she’d be after breaking the pot for the coffee machine, and I just lounged about, enjoying listening to experts talking about sport, athletes and working in the media.

For the evening session I asked editor Fred if there was anything he needed me for, but unless they have an idea already it really is a case of “what do you think might be good”. Um. fastest women in the world? We filmed some mixed zone ‘ambience’ shots after the 100m semis and then I was free to watch.

Crowd shot in a mostly empty stadium
Colours and some life.


Adams won the shot, though the joy on the face of the German, Schwanitz, who threw a pb in the final round to take silver was something to see. The 400m was the race of the championships so far. Hastings inside her went off fast, with a reaction time of .163 as against .247, and passed Ohuruogu, but the latter always paces her races well and by 200m she was back in front of Hastings and beginning to reel others in. By now Montsho was well clear but with 80m to go I was sure Ohuruogo would take her. With 10m to go it was on a knife edge and as Ohuruogu dipped, almost bending double it seemed, it looked like the erect Montsho had taken it. The athletes paced, smiling, as they waited for the adjudication… Gold! Montsho, with hindsight, may not have quite driven for the line, perhaps sensing no one around her for some time, but Ohuruogo took a national record of 49.41 and first place. Sensational to watch – the way she races is always exciting, but that was something else.

Outside that, La villenie did not win, David Oliver did, emotionally, whilst Richardson hit the final hurdle to lose bronze. The pole produced a pb to take hammer gold while Johnson-Thompson pbed in the 200.

Plus, at 5 dad and I wandered back to the IAAF lounge to find, after a wait, the food just as good as I’d been promised, plus there’s a bar there. I must not rinse the lounge. Now I’m introduced to the team and feel no shame in raising the meeting room fridge and know where there’s good food for the price of a wave of my badge, I’m set. Dad engaged a delegate from Nevis and st kitts, and made me once again envious of that depth of knowledge; world, cricket, athletics, it does make conversation go with a flow.

View of the stadium from the other side of the river
Overcast stadium.

Summary: Rob said I couldn’t count on a British winner, but two nights out of three will do. Reading: don Quixote, though slowly.

World Championships, first day

World Championships, first day
Moscow, Russian Federation

Moscow, Russian Federation

A hot day dawned. I was up early, but not too early. It was only when Katherine was talking about fitting-breakfast – in worries before athletics that I realised why I had it in mind that we’d have a very early start. When I looked at the timetable I was in Britain, and it gave British timings; but since then, Brussels, Helsinki and St Petersburg have all stolen an hour. 6:xx starts become 9:xx, much more acceptable.

Opening ceremony. People holding up oversize balls and jumping
Jumping balls.

Despite having a borrowed metro pass in my pocket I decided to walk this morning. It looked possible, it might set me up for a run a similar way and I might get breakfast on the way. Other than picking up a small blister, 1 and 3 worked out fine, and 2 will look after itself if I can find time. Going to have to make an early start tomorrow.

Maybe. Walking in I was on the wrong side of the stadium, so I headed in the right direction and found the warm up area in my way. No barrier, and I spotted plenty of athletes out first thing, including a posse of Chinese race walkers banging out laps. Interestingly (shush) the race walking course is now much shorter than it used to be and they do laps. They used to have a course like a marathon one, but it was too bad for credibility, plus people would only get red carded when near the stadium, soul destroying. Now there isn’t the same feeling of ‘but I wonder how many infractions happened away from judges’. As I left a couple of the US team passed by, turning out to be half their decathletes, Taiwo and Nixon. The latter is a junior but was the star of the day, pb in the shot and long jump, plus went highest in the high jump to end in second place, only denied first by Olympic champion Eaton performing, finally, to expectations in the 400, a couple of seconds (or 100 pts) better than anyone else.

Opening ceremony
Opening ceremony.

Later on, pre marathon, I went for a wander and the warm up area was nearly empty. Other than one tall Jamaican with his cans on, jogging languidly. Too far away for it to be as cool as wandering past David Oliver yesterday as he waited in line at the hotel.

The marathon was superb, as Rob would say, led from the start by the Italian 36 year old who accelerated at 30k, couldn’t lose Kipketer but did for everyone else and celebrated her silver quite rightly. Shame she couldn’t win it, but her tactics worked in getting her a medal. She burned off the other African runners, too, so the heat favoured East Asians and great to see a Japanese picking up bronze.

Commentary positions at the front, blue track of the stadium and multi-coloured seats behind
Panorama of the stadium from the commentary positions.

The decathlon was enthralling, the throws diverting – especially the French ‘Bigot’ attempting to qualify in the hammer, the long jump qualification dramatic – defending champion tied for 12th-and-last qualification spot, going through because her second best jump was better, having jumped the same distance twice. So to Mo. Lots of talk about how the big groups of Ethiopians and Kenyans might try to take the big last lap out of his legs, and whether it was possible to take it out fast enough that he wouldn’t be able to use his kick. As for Mo, who knows what he might do, ostensibly on his own with no teammates to help, but with training partner Rupp in the field. A huge field, too, and as Mo slipped right to the back from the outset it looked a big gap to the front, and I wondered how he would spot it if someone did take the pace on. The Kenyans and Ethiopians spent a few laps sorting themselves out but were all up the front, with an Eritrean the only other. After a mile or so Mo reassured nervous watchers that he was there, moving to the front seemingly just to say hello before immediately slipping back to the middle of the 25 or so strong field. There he stayed, Rupp just ahead and it was noticeable that they were tracking the front group while Mo was allowing Rupp an extra 50cm or so of space – no worrying about footfall, where those up ahead were more bunched. A couple of times Mo moved nearer the front, seeing or feeling a change in pace, but again settled back before taking the lead a couple of times and immediately slowing it slightly. He hit the front with intent with 2k to go, and this time whenever anyone drew level he went with them, forcing them to run wider. 1200 to go, and really it’s playing to his last lap strengths, though the other US runner took the lead with 1k to go, before being swallowed by the pack. At the bell Mo was where he wanted to be, with Jeilen and Tanui chasing. Full gurn territory, but he was equal to everything they had, crossing first with arms spread.

Brilliant. Still Usain Bolt to come, and he casually took first in the final heat of the day, with semis tomorrow. Finally we had the opening ceremony (!) which looked pretty enough, and I headed back. More of the same-but-different tomorrow.

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