Kas­tor ends year in style

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT - BY BRIAN SACKS

ATH­LET­ICS DEENA Kas­tor, the most suc­cess­ful Jewish run­ner cur­rently com­pet­ing, has en­joyed mixed for­tunes in the fi­nal two races of her 2007 sea­son.

She won the Amer­i­can Na­tional 10 kilo­me­tre Road Race Cham­pi­onships in Bos­ton from a women’s-only field of 7000.

Lead­ing from the out­set at an ag­gres­sive five-min­utes per mile, she moved away from her ri­vals to win by 40 sec­onds in 32:01.

“Ryan Lampa, statis­ti­cian for Run­ning USA, told me that this is my 23rd na­tional ti­tle,” she said. “I guess I’ve been in this sport a while.”

Six days later, she com­peted over the half-marathon dis­tance in the World Road Run­ning Cham­pi­onships in Udine, Italy. On this oc­ca­sion the race was dom­i­nated by Kenyan-born Nether­lan­der Lor­nah Ki­pla­gat, who won in a world record time of 1:06:25.

Kas­tor at­tempted to stay with the lead­ing group for the first five kilo­me­tres but dropped off the pace and fin- ished in 16th po­si­tion, 3 min­utes and 13 sec­onds be­hind Ki­pla­gat.

Kas­tor will now take a short break and then “nar­row her fo­cus for the Olympic tri­als,” re­fer­ring to the Olympic marathon trial race in Bos­ton in April.

As at the last Olympics, where she won bronze in a su­perbly-judged race, Kas­tor aims to win a place in the Amer­i­can team for the marathon in Bei­jing, so she will need to fin­ish within the first three in Bos­ton.

“It’s go­ing to be a multi-loop course. The crowds can see the race evolv­ing, they can see peo­ple mov­ing up or fall­ing back. It gets them more in­volved, and that means it’s a great way to race. I’ll be tim­ing each loop to see if I’m on pace. It’s bet­ter than judg­ing pace per mile, be­cause each mile is dif­fer­ent.”

Re­fer­ring to the con­cerns about heat, hu­mid­ity and pol­lu­tion in Bei­jing, ` pointed out that the sit­u­a­tion was sim­i­lar in Athens at the 2004 Olympics. “Con­di­tions there weren’t as bad as we thought. The Chi­nese are go­ing to do ev­ery­thing they can; the ath­lete’s job is to get as fit as pos­si­ble, so the con­di­tions don’t mat­ter.”

PHOTO: JOHN RIFKIN

Deena Kas­tor is con­fi­dent hu­mid­ity will not be an is­sue in Bei­jing

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