Can Bolt Break the 400 meters? by Alfons Juck, Notes by Larry Eder


The story of the 400 meters in 2008 was La Shawn Merrit versus Jeremy Wariner. The battle supremes between the two superstars gave the event some real excitement. Well, know that both will be back in 2009. But in 2010, according to a quote from Bolt's coach, Glenn Mills, Usain should be able to make attempts on the 400 meter world record!

The 400 meters is one of the toughest races on the track. In the past, great 200 meter runners, such as Michael Johnson, dominated. Jeremy Wariner, trained until last year by MJ's coach, benefitted from that historical approach as well.

Now, with Usain Bolt, we have the anomaly. Not since Lon Myers in the nineteenth century, do we have someone so dominant over the 100 meters, 200 meters, and if, the big IF here, he trains over 400 meters, the 400 meters.

Bolt is a young, healthy man of immense talent and drive. He trained well, for a full year, under Coach Mills in 2009 and dominated his events. Coach Mills is taking his time and being cautious with Bolt moving to the 400 meters. Bolt's speed will help, but the training has to be there and the drive has to be there. Put those together, and the right race, and we will see some scintillating 400 meter races in 2010!

EME NEWS (NOV 30, 2008)



KINGSTON (JAM): Best Athlete of the planet Usain Bolt may attempt to become the first man in history to hold every world record between 100 and 400 metres with an attempt on the one-lap distance in 2010, his coach was quoted. At the Olympics in Beijing Bolt set world records for the 100m and 200m, as well as the Jamaican team who set a new mark for the 4x100m relay. His next major target after the 2009 World Championships in Berlin may now be Michael Johnson's record for 400m of 43.18, set in 1999 when winning the world title in Seville. In an interview broadcast on Radio Jamaica, Bolt's coach said that he would support him if he wanted to chase the mark. Glenn Mills said: „At this point in time in his career, I don't have a problem with him concentrating on the 100 and 200, since he is not motivated to run the 400 as an event I am not going to pressure him so to do. But he could attempt it in 2010," informs


MIAMI (USA): Another top athlete out of indoor season and European Indoor Championships. British Olympic high jump silver medallist Germaine Mason successfully underwent an operation on his right knee in Miami. Jamaican-born Mason who became a British citizen in 2006, was the surprise second placer behind Russia's Andrey Silnov in Beijing and competed there with his knee strapped up. The 25-year-old jumper now plans recuperating in Florida for the next six weeks. He is currently number four in the World Rankings still beeing compiled by Hungarian group around Attila Spiriev at


ADDIS ABABA (ETH): Ever silver holder and now also a proud husband of best female distance runner Sileshi Sihine informed that he would not run Cross Country this winter. It is after suffering back problems last year. He also has more plans towards marathon. „If things go the same next year I will be moving to marathon in 2010," said Sihine and was meaning that it will happen in case he doesn't get the gold medal in Berlin at World Championships over 10 000 m.


BRUSSELS (BEL): 20 years old Borlée twins, Kevin (45.11) and Jonathan (44.88 NR), semifinalists in the 400 m and fifth with Belgium 4x400m relay team in Beijing, announced they chose Florida State University to prepare for the 2009 season. The currently most talented European quartermilers, who are coached by their father Jacques, have to commute 80km a day to train in good conditions due to the lack of training facilities in French-speaking part of Belgium. Their choice was motivated by the will to avoid too big time difference with Belgium. FSU's top track programme and facilities as well as the good relationship they've established with the coaching team during a visit at the end of October were also determinant. "They made everything to make us feel comfortable. While we had some worries before leaving, they've all disappeared since our visit," Jonathan Borlée declared. The twins (Kevin in second year of physiotherapy and Jonathan in second for economic sciences) initially plan to stay in FSU from January to June 2009, and will decide afterwards on an extension. The FSU is offering them each a scholarship worth 25,000 USD for their studies, training and accomodation during that period. The last step for the twins is now to pass the NCAA eligibility clearing house and the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) before they can fly to the United States on January 5, Belgian media inform.


SOLIHULL (GBR): Olympic and world 400 m champion Christine Ohuruogu was named the British Olympic Association's athlete of the year at the UK Athletics' awards in Solihull. She is also expected to be among the British medal contenders for the London Games in 2012.


BEIRUT (LIB, Nov 30): As good as his word, Alemayehu Shumye of Ethiopia won the BLOM Beirut Marathon on Sunday morning, obliterating the course record by over four minutes in the process, with 2:12:47. It was his third out of three marathons of his career. As Pat Butcher writes, he also won by over three minutes, with Michael Kipkorir of Kenya second in 2:16:15, and another Ethiopian, Hussen Adem third in 2:16:44. All three were inside the previous record of 2:17:04, set by Paul Rugut of Kenya, in the inaugural race in 2003. It was quite fresh, around 12 degrees at the 7 am start, but the sun in clear blue Mediterranean skies made the finish temperature of 18 degrees seem much hotter. The women's race was dominated by the Ethiopians, Alemtsehay Hailu winning in 2:37:20, from Tadelech Birra, 2:37:58, with Wudnesh Nega third in 2:39:09. Including fun-runs, five and 10k races, it attracted close to 30,000 people on Sunday.

MELBOURNE (AUS, Nov 30): Haile Gebrselassie ran the fastest-ever 15 km on Australian soil, winning Sunday's first Great Australian Run on the streets of Melbourne. Catherine Ndereba won the women's race, and both athletes were victorious by wide margins. Gebrselassie, 35, the marathon world record holder, was trying to break Felix Limo's world record of 41:29 set in Nijmegen in 2001, but he did not come close. Gebre claimed after the race that he should have come earlier because of the jetlag. "It was not easy really. The course is not so bad, the only problem was that I could not sleep the last two days because of the time-difference and jet lag," he was quoted. It was his first Australian appearance since Sydney 2000 Games. The Ethiopian with two Olympic 10,000m gold medals ran 42:40, more than half a minute up on runner-up Patrick Makau of Kenya (43:15). The surprise third place finisher was Australia's Collis Birmingham, who clocked 43:35, well ahead of hometown favorite Craig Mottram, who finished fourth in 44:08. It was a rare loss by Mottrame to another Australian runner. Best European, the Austrian Gunther Weidlinger was excellent fifth (44:17). Tanzanian Marathon Commonwealth champion Samson Ramadhani finished 13th (45:46). Ndereba, 36 and twice the world marathon champion, clocked 50:43 in her racing debut at the 15 km distance. She finished a comfortable 44 seconds ahead of New Zealand steeplechaser Alice Mason (51:27), while Australia's Lisa Weightman came home third in 51:31 ahead of Japanese Kaori Yoshida (51:44). Australian marathon record holder Benita Johnson was a disappointing fifth (52:09), while Beijing Olympic Marathon gold medalist Constantina Dita of Romania was sixth (52:33). Nearly 3000 runners finished the race which both began and finished in Albert Park. Race Results Weekly and David Martin are informing.

FIRENZE (ITA, Nov 30): Kenyans dominated the 25th Firenze Marathon. Samson Kirwa Kiprono debuted with a win in 2:12:37 just one second ahead of John Birgen (2:12:38) with Paul Ngeny beeing third (2:13:36). Morrocan-born Italian Migidio Bourifa achieved 2:13:44 as fourth. Briton Andi Jones missed his PB only by two seconds as 7th (2:17:51). In women race home runners showed best shape with Giovanna Volpato clocking 2:34:14 after surgery and ahead of Alice Braham of Great Britain (2:35:24, PB) and Marcella Mancini (2:36:30) in cold and rainy day. Some 9000 runners participated.

MT. OBUDU (NGR, Nov 29): Austrian European and World mountain winner Andrea Mayr won also the richest Mountain Running Race in Nigeria at Obudu Ranch. At 11.25 km with 810 m difference she clocked 52:14 ahead of Kenyan Angelina Mutuku (52:17) and Ethiopian Rehima Kedir (52:51). Fourth was the current World Half Marathon silver medalist Aselefech Mergia of Ethiopia. Abebe Dinkesa was the male winner after 42:42. Winners will get 50 000 USD each, total Prize Money was 227 000 USD. „I never expected to win this race. It was so hot and other high quality runners in the field. I was running my pace from begin and in first part around eighth position," she was quoted after her strong finish in last 200 metres.

SAN SEBASTIAN (ESP, Nov 30): Morrocan Abdelkadir Lamachi (PB 2:11:08) won the 31st Donostia Marathon with 2:15:15. Second Kenyan Hosea Kogei achieved 2:16:13. Some 3300 runners participated. Spanish Ana Casares won the women category with 2:37:22 and just missed her PB of 2:36:58 from Berlin 2007. Winners got 6000 E each.

LIVERPOOL (GBR, Nov 29): World junior 1500 metres champion Stephanie Twell dominated her older and more experienced rivals to win the senior race at the McCain Cross Challenge meeeting in Liverpool on Saturday, writes David Martin. The teenager who will chase a third successive European junior gold medal at next month's championships in Brussels, finished 11 seconds ahead of Hayley Yelling (27:20) in a time of 27:09 with Louise Damen finishing third in 27:29. Andy Vernon with an intelligent run where he only came to the fore at the business end of the race won a sprint to the line by just a second ahead of Frank Tickner in 29:34 with Keith Gerrard like the winner still an under-23-athlete third in 29:36. This was the main qualification race for British athletes for European CC Championships.

VOLVIC (FRA, Nov 29): Kenya's Nicholas Kamakya claimed the win at the Volvic cross-country, finishing ten seconds ahead home runner Said Berioui (22:59-23:09). James Theuri was third with 23:15. Kenyan Paris marathon winner Martha Komu and French Sophie Duarte, 3rd and 7th last week-end in Allonnes were above the field in the women's race, but the local-based Kenyan had the last word, edging Duarte by 10 seconds (17:04-17:14). Third Ugandan Adero Nyakisi achieved 18:19 ahead of Margaret Maury (18:36). The event was one of 6 used to select the French team for the European championships next month in Brussels.

BASEL (SUI, Nov 29): Swiss distance ace Viktor Rothlin was again best European at a road race in Switzerland. In the Basel City Run he was fifth at 10 km with 29:05. The marathon Olympic sixth placer beat his main home rival Philipp Bandi (29:07). Austrian Martin Proll was seventh (29:15) and German Falk Cierpinski tenth (29:22). But the top four places went to Africans. Ethiopian Tolossa Chengere clocked 28:56 only by 0.01 ahead of Job Tanui (28:56) of Kenya and Eritreans Abraham Tadese (28:59) and Simon Tesfay (29:04). Swiss Olympian Sabine Fischer confirmed good shape by winning the women 7.8 km in 25:19 ahead of Karolina Jarzynska of Poland (25:26).

BARCELONA (ESP, Nov 30): Spanish runner Jose Rios won the 85th annual of Jean Bouin race in Montjuic Parc of Barcelona with participation of 8000 runners. He clocked 27:46 at 9.3 km course. It was first Spanish win here since 2002 (Isaac Viciosa) after five years of African domination. Second was Morrocan Marouad Marofit (28:04). Kenyan steeple Olympic medalist Eunice Jepkorir won the 6.25 km in 21:07 ahead of Natalia Rodriguez (21:17).

TORRES VEDRAS (POR, Nov 30): Home wins at Torres Vedras CC race in Portugal. Antonio Silva clocked 31:51 and beat by one second Pedro Ribeiro (31:52) and Rui Teixeira (31:53). In women race Sara Moreira had a clear win after 19:09 ahead of Marisa Barros (19:25) and former Olympic winner Fernanda Ribeiro (19:33). The event was last qualification for home runners for European CC Championships in Brussels.

TOLEDO (ESP, Nov 29): At walking event Lithuanian Sonata Milusauskaite won the 5 km race in 23:10 beating Ainho Pinedo (23:12) and Florido Rocio (23:16). Francisco Arcilla was the best man (21:21).

NAMYSLOW (POL, Nov 29): Marcin Chabowski won the Polish U23 Cross Country Championships clocking 17:44 at 5 km. Aleksandra Jawor was the best woman at 4 km (13:36).

MERU (KEN, Nov 29): As IAAF informs, former World junior champion Pauline Korikwiang (29:26.7 at 8 km) signalled her season's intentions with a brilliant run to win the senior women's eight-kilometre race at the third Athletics Kenya cross country championships meeting at the eastern Kenyan town of Meru. Armed Forces Cross Country champion, William Chebon, sprung back into the limelight by taking the senior men's 12-kilometre title in a see-saw race (37:11.4). Second Stephen Thuku (37:15.3) beating Joseph Kimisi for third (37:33.3).Alex Oloitiptip (25:09.5 at 8 km) and Nelly Chebet (21:47.3 at 6 km) conquered the Kenya Methodist University course to win the junior titles. With Athletics Kenya having said that athletes must compete in at least four races of the six-meet national series to qualify for selection to next year's IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Amman (March 28), Korikwiang is taking no chances and has pencilled the Kisii (December 13) and Eldoret (January 10) meets next month in her calendar. Kenya's five-time world Cross Country champion Paul Tergat was among the spectators at the meet after which he expressed his displeasure at the apathy shown towards the series by the country's elite athletes.

ELDORET (KEN, Nov 30): 2007 World Cross Country silver medallist from Mombasa Moses Mosop (36:34.6 at 12km) sent a strong signal of his intention to make the Kenyan team for next year's edition in Amman, Jordan (28 March) by taking a dominant victory in the men's senior contest at the third edition of the annual Wareng Tuskys Cross Country race. As IAAF informs, Olympic 1500m silver medallist Asbel Kiprop, a former World Cross Country junior champion, could not keep up with the fast initial pace and dropped out after two laps of the senior race. Second was Peter Muriuki (37:18.5), who is coached by Yobes Ondieki, 1991 World 5000 champion and the first athlete to run 10,000m under 27 minutes. Third Hosea Macharinyang (37:31.6) ahead of Wilson Kiprop (37:37.8). Levi Matebo who made for headlines during the track season (13:03 at 5000 m in Heusden at age of 18) was 8th (37:57.7). Helah Kiprop carried the senior women's 8km race in 28:33.8 after battling with Florence Kiplagat, who was 5th at the 2007 World Cross in Mombasa, and Lineth Chepkurui, 12th at this year's World Cross in Edinburgh, for better part of the race. Chepkurui finished second in 28:35.8, and Kiplagat third in 28:53.1. The senior women race had one other notable athlete, 800m/1500m runner Florence Jepkemboi who finished in 5th position in 29:39.5. Another 800m runner Pamela Jelimo, who this year became the Olympic gold medallist and Golden League Jackpot winner, launched her serious competition campaign at the Wareng race last year before venturing into the international scene, and great things are similarly predicted for the inexperienced Jepkemboi. The junior men 8km race was comfortably won by Josephat Bett in 24:52.1. The junior women 8km race was easily won by World Junior 3000m champion Mercy Cherono in 21:10.3.

CALI (COL, Nov 28-29): During last two days of National Games the sprinter Daniel Grueso confirmed good shape after clocking 100 m national record with 20.67 win at 200 m. Darlenys Obregon achieved 23.40 in women 200 m race. South American High Jump record holder Gilmar Mayo went over 221 cm. Very solid the level in men´s javelin. Noraldo Palacios achieved 78.99 ahead of Arley Ibarguen (78.04) and Johnny Viafara (77.45) with national record holder Dayron Marquez only fourth (76.67, but recently 82.20). Oscar Candanoza won the 400 m Hurdles in 50.55.

LIMA (PER, Nov 28): Nearly 500 athletes are competing at South American U17 Championships in Peru. During first day the talented Long Jumper from Panama Jamal Bowen leaped to 782 (+1.2). Observers are saying, he should be next Irving Saladino.

YOKOHAMA (JPN, Nov 23): Ethiopian steeple record holder and Olympic fourth placer Jakob Yarso improved to excellent 27:32.52 at 10 000 m here. In another race at the meet Kenyan Philes Ongori clocked 30:29.21 together with men. It could be her new PB and fifth fastest time of the year if not running with the males.

TOKYO (JPN, Nov 29): 17-years old Kenyan world junior steeple champion from Bydgoszcz Jonathan Ndiku debuted at 10 000 m with excellent 28:08.28.

Used with permission of Alfons Juck, EME News.

For more on our sport, please click to

Leave a comment

Wake up to RunBlogRun's news in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter and we'll keep you informed about the Sport you love.

Subscribe to RunBlogRun's Global News Feed

* indicates required