2018 Rome DL Diary: a tale of two 400H races


P1080223.JPGGeorganne Malone, Rome Golden Gala victor, 400m hurdles, photo by J. Stuart Weir

P1080226.JPGAbderrahman Samba, after winning 400m hurdles and setting second NR of year, photo by J. Stuart Weir

P1080229.JPGKarston Warholm, after his NR in second in 400m hurdles, photo by J. Stuart Weir

The 400 meter hurdles was designed by a sadist. Combining the 400 meter, one lap of the traditional metric track outdoors, and adding ten hurdles make it a little a study in exhaustion. The need to pace oneself, and also prepare oneself with horrific workouts, has many observers who suggest that the 400 meter hurdler may be the fittest athlete on the track, up to the 400m hurdles. The 1972 Olympic champion, the late John Akii-Bua, allegedly ran in a weighted vest (25lbs of lead) over 42 inch hurdles, set up five to a lap over 1,500 meters. I recall hearing of his workout where he ran in the vest up 800 meter hills up to 20 times.

Here is Stuart Weir's piece on three of our fittest intermediate hurdlers...

A tale of two 400H races.

Qatar's Abderrahman Samba set a Diamond League record in the men's 400m hurdles with 47.48 beating world champion Karsten Warholm, who set a new European Under 23 record with 47.82. Aged just 22, Samba repeated his victory in the Doha Diamond League. Samba said: "It's a big feeling for me to break not only my personal best but also the Asian record, the national record and the Diamond League record. I now hope every race will feel like this. "

"I say thank you to my rivals for pushing me - I told Karsten thank you especially. We are now giving the 400m hurdles the attention it deserves. Next, I will race in Oslo - I take every race very seriously and the big goal is always to run fast. I don't know how fast I can run but we will see in the near future".

In the women's race Georganne Moline won the race from lane seven with Janieve Russell (Jamaica) second and reigning Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammed third. This was the third race in the Diamond series with Muhammed winning in Shanghai and Russell in Eugene. The smart money would have seen a repeat victory on the cards.

Moline understands that thinking, saying: "I definitely wasn't the favorite but I used that as motivation. But I know what I'm ready to do. I know what I do in practice. I just tried to keep my nerve and do what I do in practice. It was exciting. Towards the end it wasn't my cleanest race but I had a first clean hurdle and I felt that that if I did that I could come home and strong like a usually do. And that was exciting. In the last three races I've had problems with the first hurdle".

Even running from lane seven with little idea what was going inside her, did not faze her: "I would have preferred an inside lane so I could see other people but I just focused on my own lane".

Finally a moan. At the Commonwealth Games, I watched south African Wenda Nel win her first major medal. I know that she wanted to run in Rome but was on able to get a lane. Nel has the fifth fastest time in the world this year. The organized of the Golden Gala reject her entry and invite six athletes who have not run as fast this year. Had Nel been in the race and run or 2018 SB she would have been fourth. Hopefully the new world rankings will work in athletics as the do in tennis and golf to ensure that places in Diamond Leagues are allocated on merit and performance.

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