2017 Great City Games Diary: Stuart Weir writes about two exciting races!

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GNCG2017-119.jpgLynsey Sharp, warming up for 500 meters, photo by Dan Vernon Photography

GNCG2017-106.jpgThe battle for women's 500 meters, photo by Dan Vernon Photography

GNCG2017-152.jpgThe battle for women's mile, photo by Dan Vernon Photography

RunBlogRun opines on Stuart Weir's second piece on Great CityGames: Stuart Weir wrote this piece on his two favorite races at the City Games. Stuart follows all of the athletes, so he has great affinity to athletes who have battled challenges and overcome those challenges. We learn about the athletes when we read Stuart's columns, and that is the key: insight into why these athletes run, jump and throw in this silly world.

Two exciting races, by Stuart Weir

The race of the day was the women's 500 meters on a straight course, starting on the road and ending on the (straight) 150 meter track. The runners were a combination of 400 and 800 runners. Was 500 a fair compromise? I suggested to 800 runner, Lynsey Sharpe, that 600 might have been fairer for her. She initially agreed but then pointed out that the additional 100 meters would be all uphill. On second thoughts, Lynsey decided, she was happier running 500 meters than 600 starting with an uphill 100. Perri Shakes-Drayton said that she often ran 500 meters in training but that was one lap plus 100 meters. On a straight course it was much harder to judge distance.

Sharpe looked strong but was overtaken late in the race. Her own assessment was: "I think I went out too hard. I felt really good until 150 to go". Anyika Onoura seemed to have the race won until Perri Shakes-Drayton came with a late surge to win in 1:06.69 with Onoura second in 1:06.70.

No one will begrudge Shakes-Drayton the victory. In the 2013 World Championship, she was in a medal position in 400H when she was injured so severely that she did not run at all in 2014 or 2015 and only 5 times, all in a 3 week period in 2016. This season she battled her way into the medal-winning GB 4 by 400 relay squad at London 2017. She was delighted with the win saying: "I am enjoying my moment. I'm in a good place. Today to get the win gives me confidence". She added that after all she had gone through she was thankful just to get a lane in the race. She also said that she was looking forward to her first winter without rehab since 2012.

The performance of the day was by Melissa Courtney of Great Britain who won the road mile in 4:33.83 defeating Kenyan, Winny Chebet (4:34.42), Katie Mackey (USA) and seven other British runners. She said of the race: "Everyone just knew Winny Chebet was the quickest. So she was definitely one of the favourites but I had a really good run on Wednesday night so I knew I was in good shape. I just thought I'd try something different and just go for it. I thought: 'If it pays off, it pays off.

If it doesn't, then what have I got to lose really'". It paid off, big time, Melissa.

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