Kastor ends year in style
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.”
Deena Kastor is confident humidity will not be an issue in Beijing