Susanna Kallur is back on track, by Jonas Hedman


Susan Kallur 1.30.16.jpgSusanna Kallur, 1.30.16, photo by Jonas Hedman

Updated 1.31.16 by editor

Susanna Kallur began her most recent chapter in her return to high level athletics. Right after herworld indoor record in 2008 of 7.68 over the 60 meter hurdles, Susanna was injured in the World Indoor Championships. Since then, she has battled injuries. Many a lesser athlete would have retired, but Susanna Kallur has more hurdles to hurdle before she retires.

This story is from Jonas Hedman, who witnessed the race and wrote about it for RunBlogRun.

Susanna Kallur is back on track

60m hurdles world record holder Susanna Kallur, 34, from Sweden made her fourth comeback in 5.5 years when running 7.42 at 60m flat in her hometown Falun today. She set the still standing world indoor record 7.68 in February 2008 which still stands, but got injured later that winter, had surgery on her left lower leg in November and have had serious problem with it ever since. But today's comeback was a step in the right direction and she was happy with the race which she won, 0.07 ahead of 2014 European indoor championship semifinalist Elin Östlund. The time was slow compared to her nine year old PB of 7.24, but it was her first race in twelve months and first 60m flat race for nine (!) years.

"It's so fun to compete again! I was nervous before the race and the start was a little rusty, but I am quite satisfied with the rest since it was my first race for a long time", says Susanna Kallur.

The small local meeting took place in the athletics indoor arena in Falun, 250km north of Stockholm, where she spend many hours every week and has done for the last 18 years. It was around 500 people watching the race standing just outside, and on both sides, of the sprint straight.

"As late as in November, I felt pain in my leg when I walked, and now I am running 100 percent! It's such a great feeling! The plan is to compete in a few more races at 60m flat this winter and then, during the spring, start running over high hurdles. Right now I am doing mini hurdles just to maintain the rhythm ", noted Kallur.

All Swedish TV broadcasters recorded the race and it was sent live in Swedish television. After the race, Kallur made interviews for about 30 minutes and then realised she hade signed up for an extra race in which she and Elin Östlund became the only participants. Susanna won again, clocking 7.45 to Östlund's 7.59, less than an hour after the first race.

"My one and big goal is to compete in the Olympics in Rio. After this race I feel there is a chance, I feel it's possible and I like challenges", added Kallur after her second race.

Susanna's coach for the last eight years, Torbjörn Eriksson, was also satisfied with her performance.

"She put it together pretty good! I am especially glad that she ran relaxed the whole race, it was a good one from a technically point of view," says Eriksson.

It's 16 years since Susanna Kallur's championship debut at the European Indoors in Gent, Belgium, where she finished seventh at 60m hurdles. In the winter of 2008 she had the season of her life bettering the world indoor record to 7.68, but then got injured at the World indoor championships.

She came back to the Olympics in Beijing but fell on the first hurdle in the semifinal and then had surgery on her lower left leg in New York in November 2008.

Recurring problems with the leg held her back for several years. She ran three race at 100m hurdles in May-June 2010, three at 100m flat in 2014 and her first race with hurdles for almost five years when clocking 8.14 two times in Karlsruhe exactly a year ago. Let's make a wish that the girl who's never giving up will make it this time and reach the start line in the Olympic Games in Rio.

Jonas Hedman

Watch Kallur's comeback race at 60m flat and an interview here (Susanna to the right on lane six):

The results:

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