The European Athletics Championships has been quite popular in France, as they have hauled in the medals. On Thursday night, France 2 reported four million viewers in the overnights, the largest viewing audience of the evening.
On Saturday morning, France has two hours and twenty-five minutes and fourteen seconds of bliss, as Christelle Daunay, French marathon record holder, won her first European Championship marathon!
The photo and video from Eurosport.fr tells the story. For more, read our piece on how Christelle Daunay won the European Championships marathon in Zurich.
The Women’s European Marathon Championships was held under forbidding skies, that spurted out some rain. None the less, the threat of rain, the wet streets, all added to the color of the event.
The night before, in speaking about Valeria Straneo of Italy, RRW’s David Monte said that Valerie ” would just run until you can not run any more.” Straight forward tactics, but highly effective.
In the Moscow Worlds, Valeria won the silver medal by running off the legs of everyone but one Kenyan superstar. On a hot, shadeless course, Valeria Straneo pushed, and pushed, and took silver.
Today, under an overcast sky, Valeria Straneo pushed the pace.
Straneo took the lead pack through 5000m in 17:20, then, 10,000m in 34:30 (17:10). There were six in the pack then, but the constant pace, with Straneo pushing, Daunay on her shoulder, as they hit 51:42 for the 15k (17:12), Elvan Abeylegasse, and Lisa Nemec were there.
The race was down to Straneo, Daunay and Abeylegasse by 20k, hit in 1:08:50. The halfway point had the trio hit the mark in 1:12:33.
The trio stayed the same through 25k, hit in 1:26:01, as Elvan Abeylegasse started to go off the back, first one second in the 25th kilometer, then, falling back from third to fifth.
The pace looked metronomic. Valeria Straneo, waving to the crowd sometimes, emotionless the other, pushed the pace around that 17:08-17:12 per 5k. Quite deadly, one must say.
Straneo and Daunay passed 30k in 1:43:15. Twenty-six seconds back was Elvan Abeylegasse, and twenty seconds behind her, was Jessica Augusto, POR, spinning her trap. Run too fast early on, and Jessica Augusto will catch you.
As Straneo and Daunay battled on, hitting 35k in 2:00:22, observers wondered out loud, who would win.
It was about two hours, eleven minutes, plus into the race, that Christelle Daunay of France began her gold medal move. Surging hard, Christelle began to put on the pressure. By 40k, in 2:17:01, Daunay had three seconds on Straneo. And Jessica Augusto was seventeen seconds down, lurking in the turns.
Between 40k, passed in 2:17:01 and the finish, hit in 2:25:14, the French record holder put thirteen seconds between her and Valeria Straneo.
Christelle Daunay put in fourteen minutes and fifteen seconds of discomfort to win the European Championships gold. Jessica Augusto brought the lead down to fourteen seconds.
Daunay took gold home to France, embracing her coach, her manager and her team after the finish. Straneo took the silver medal, for the second championship in a year, and Augusto took the bronze home to Portugal.
A fantastic race through the old parts of Zurich, and the support of the fans, and superb TV coverage increased the interest in the race. Maja Nuenschwander, the Swiss woman who placed ninth in 2:31:08 also peeked interest in the women. In tenth, debut marathoner Fionnuala Britton, three time SPAR cross country champion ran 2:31:46.
And how does the new European Champion explain her feelings right now:
“I did it. I highlighted a beautiful career with the most beautiful medal. I am very satisfied. The race was really fast. It was not easy, the time shows it. I had to be there, I had to be patient. I knew that I must rather attack when we were going down the hill. And this is what I did on the last round. It was so hard to get ahead of Valeria. The race was perfect – tactically and time-wise. Some weeks ago I would not have thought that such a thing was possible, I rather went “Oh, lÃ lÃ .” about the course. I am very happy about this title – for me, for France and for those who are close to me. I knew that I was very strong, I knew that everything was possible. And my competitors were very strong, too. I felt very confident about myself and tactically I did the right choice. I had to stay strong, I must not let Valeria pass me, I had to be there, had to be present. My body aches very much in this moment.”
Marathon, Women, European Champs, 1. Christelle Daunay, FRA, 2:25:14, 2. Valeria Straneo, ITA, 2:25:27, 3. Jessica Augusto, POR, 2:25:41, 4. Lisa Christina Nemec, CRO, 2:28:36, 5. Elvan Abeylegasse, TUR, 2:29:46, 6. Anna Incerta, ITA, 2:29:58, 7. Rasa Drausdauskaite, LTU, 2:30:32, 8. Jessica Draskau-Petersson, DEN, 2:30:53, 9. Maja Nuenschwander, SUI, 2:31:08, 10. Fionnuala Britton, IRL, 2:31:46, #zurich2014
Larry Eder has had a 50-year involvement in the sport of athletics. Larry has experienced the sport as an athlete, coach, magazine publisher, and now, journalist and blogger. His first article, on Don Bowden, America's first sub-4 minute miler, was published in RW in 1983. Larry has published several magazines on athletics, from American Athletics to the U.S. version of Spikes magazine. He currently manages the content and marketing development of the RunningNetwork, The Shoe Addicts, and RunBlogRun. Of RunBlogRun, his daily pilgrimage with the sport, Larry says: "I have to admit, I love traveling to far away meets, writing about the sport I love, and the athletes I respect, for my readers at runblogrun.com, the most of anything I have ever done, except, maybe running itself."
Theme song: Greg Allman, " I'm no Angel."
View all posts
Leave a Reply