Craig Mottram winning the World Cup in Athens, September 2006! courtesy of PhotoRun.net.
There are races in one’s athletic career that standout. Craig Mottram, the giant of Australian distance running, has been fortunate enough to have several of those races. I had seen Mottram run cross country and track races, but his fabulous bronze medal in Helsinki in 2005 at 5,000 meters, put him in the focus point of many of the athletics media. Mottram watched the field from the first moment in that twelve and one half lap race, and as are most world championship races, the Helsinki 5,000 meters was a war of attrition. Watching Mottram’s huge frame charging down the final two hundred meters on that cool day four years ago opened many athletics fan’s eyes: this Mottram has some wheels!
Consider this for a moment. Craig Mottram is a bit over six foot, four inches. The average European distance runner is five eight to five-ten. The average Ethiopian or Kenyan is five five to five ten. To his competitors, Mottram is just plain huge, and that huge heart, and pair of legs can tear through a close to four minute mile at the end of a bone crushing 5,000 meter race.
In September 2006, I watched Craig Mottram, after a long season where he had set an Australian 3,000 meter record indoors in Boston, then run the Commonwealth Games, then raced the European circuit. In the end of September, Craig Mottram took Kenenise Bekele through seven and one half laps of pure hell. Once Mottram knew he had Bekele, the tall Australian started running sixty second laps for 400 meters. I remember writing down in my notes, ” Is Mottram nuts?” With about six hundred to go, Mottram relaxed a bit, then took off over the last four hundred meters. Bekele made a move, but by three hundred meters, both knew what was going on-Craig Mottram had defended his World Cup of Athletics title with the top performance in that two day meeting in Athens in 2006. My final notes were, “What is Mottram like when he is rested?”
2007 and 2008 were years of highs and lows. Just before the Osaka World Champs, Craig ran some superb races, but an injury slowed his progress, and Mottram was not the one to challenge Bernard Lagat in the 5,000 meters. Some good races in 08, and in Beijing, Craig was just not himself.
I must admit, I like Craig Mottram. I like his sense of humor, his work ethic, and his racing style. My gut tells me that Craig has endured the ‘Trials of Miles’ and we shall see some more good ones coming from this engaging global sports star.
The late, great coach, Arthur Lydiard, the man who demystified distance running, noted in one dialogue that big athletes needed to do the extra work to get super fit. However, once they get fit, a big guy can take an amazing amount of training and racing. Watching Mottram romp through the parks of London, or finish a track session, gives one the impression that the Kiwi coach had this giant Australian in mind in the previously mentioned dialogue.
Craig Mottram has just signed with the adidas brand. A good move for Craig, and a good move for adidas. A long history for the three stripe brand in Australia, and an opportunity for Mr. Mottram. Craig does engage the athletics media, athletics fans with his honesty and opinions. But another reason for this athlete to continue to race around the world, to paraphrase a poet, ” Mottram has miles to go before he sleeps.”
I have seen Craig Mottram run brilliant races. However, the great one, the defining one, is still inside him. Someday, Craig Mottram will show the sports world, but mostly himself, how the rest of a championship field will feel, as, six laps out, Mottram takes the entire field apart over 5,000 meters, churning out one tough lap after another. The pace increases, and one, by one, his competitors make the distance runners compromise: where their lungs, heart and legs will not follow their brain’s commands anymore. Hitting the final two hundred meters, Mottram realizes that the field is behind him, with no hope of catching up. As the Australian enters the final straightaway, one eight-foot stride at a time, Craig Mottram raises his arm high above him, smiles, crosses the finish line and collects a fine medal for his fine country.
Mottram on track in 2009 with adidas
Australian middle distance running star, Craig Mottram, has kick started his 2009 track campaign by signing with adidas.
With his focus firstly on the Australian domestic athletics season, and then the upcoming World Championships in Berlin in August, Mottram is hard in training and is thoroughly enjoying his new adidas running shoes and apparel.
By signing with adidas, Mottram joins an elite group of well credentialed athletes including arguably the greatest distance runner of all time Haile Gebrselassie, Australian hurdlers Sally McLellan and Jana Rawlinson and Olympic Gold Medalists, Veronica Campbell-Brown (200m), Dayron Robles (110m hurdles) and Wilfred Bungei (800m).
Mottram will train in the supportive adidas Supernova shoes and will look to race in the adizero shoes, the same footwear as worn by Gebrselassie in his world record breaking marathon runs.
Mottram said he was looking forward to a close association with adidas as he embarks on one of the most important phases of his career. â€œI am really excited to be partnering with adidas, who are known not only their great running shoes and apparel, but also for their fantastic support of the athletes they sponsor,â€ he commented. â€œI have already started training in the adidas Supernova shoes which are great, and in this heat the adidas ClimaCoolÂ® technology has helped me out a lot during my training.â€
Simon Millar, adidas Marketing Director – Sports Performance, commented. â€œWe are thrilled to have such a fantastic athlete join us at adidas,â€ Millar commented. â€œCraigâ€™s standing as Australiaâ€™s best distance runner is well known, and we look forward to working closely with him as he embarks on the next stage of his career, especially with the upcoming World Championships later this year.â€
Craig Mottram is one of Australiaâ€™s greatest middle distance runners, having won Bronze in the 2005 Helsinki World Championships in the 5000 metres, silver in the same event during the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, and has twice broken the elusive 13 minute mark for the 5000 meters event.
He is the holder of many indoor and outdoor national records for both 3000 and 5000 meters, and is one of the few non-African athletes to consistently challenge for the World Cross Country, World Indoor and Outdoor Championships, as well as the IAAF World Cup.
adidas has a long standing history in athletics dating back to 1928 when their founder, Adi Dassler, supplied Lina Radke with a handmade pair of spikes to wear during the Olympic Games in Amsterdam.Â Lina set a world record in the 800 meters and became the first Olympian to win gold in Adi Dasslerâ€™s shoes.Â Many more heroes of athletics have followed including Jesse Owens, Emil ZÃ¡topek, Al Oerter, Bob Beamon, Daley Thompson, Grete Waitz, Heike Henkel, Haile Gebrselassie and Yelena Isinbayeva.
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