The first elite meet held in the Adi Dassler Stadium is now half over! And two world leads out of the first night as well. Most importantly, the rain gods held off until just after the end of the meeting. This is how I saw it!
The adidas BOOST Meeting was an idea whose time has come. That one of the true heritage brands of sports footwear, adidas, had a wonderful track, named Adi Dassler Stadium, and had not hosted a track meet, surely seemed like something was missing.
Well, the first athletics meeting is now through one day, and the Adi Dassler Stadium hosted a meet of fast races, both short ones and long ones, which enthralled and entertained the crowd of two thousand plus fans.
What was wonderful to me about the meet? That the crowd was both young and old, with the very young children enjoying the meet as much as the teenagers.
The 400 meters was the first events, and David Verburg and Tony McQuay gave the crowd something to enjoy. David Verburg is a 44.41 400 meter runner, and Tony McQuay has run 44.42. This evening saw David Verburg get out very well, his head twisting, and his arms pumping, and his effort bringing him home first, in 45.41, winning over Tony McQuay, who ran 46.11.
In the women’s 400 meters, it was Jessica Beard who broke the tape, running 52.78 over Maureen Jelegat, who ran 54.20. Beard looked in charge the entire way, running down the final stretch to the applause of the crowd.
The weather then looked menacing, and one wondered, as the clouds became darker, how the meet would fare?
The 200 meters for men was next, as Alonso Edwards, the Panamanian star who has taken so many wins over the past few years, won the race in 20.72. Alonso came off the turn in the lead, and held, it, evan as he was challenged by German Alexander Gladnitz, who ran 20.79.
The 10,000 meter races were what captivated the fans so much. The mens race got off fast, hitting the 1k in 2:43.86, and just kept from there.
It was obvious that Emmanuel Kipsang, the Kenyan Army Champion, Tebalue Zawude, the African 10,000m champion, Lauil Gebreselasse, the African 10,000m silver medalist, Bahranian Hassan Chahdi, as well as Vincent Chepkok, who has a 26:51 underneath him.
As the five of these runners churned around the track, the race announcer called all the fans to join him in lane three on the track. And most of them did, providing the battling runners clapping an encouragement. When Kipsang, then leading, hit the 5000m mark, in 13:45.06, one knew that this could be a fast race.
The goal seemed to get the World leader, and the pace kept getting quicker and quicker. Right before 4000 meters, Mr. Chepkok fell off the back, who would go on to finish fourth in 27:54.99. Hassan Chahdi made it through 6000 meters, and then, fell back, holding on to fifth place in a new NR for Bahrain of 27:56.48.
And now, running faster than their first half, Luil Gebreselasse, Emmanuel Kipsang and Tebalue Zawude traded laps, pushing the pace, and trying to break each other.
8 kilometers was passed in 22:00, and Kipsang, Gebreselasse and Zawude were all there, not giving anyone a centimeter. The crowd was enjoying it and the rain was staying away, even though the clouds a bit away showed that the rain was inevitable.
The pace continued to get faster as we saw that we had a time under 27:30 and a chance for the new World Lead. The announcer, in German, kept the fans abreast of the race, and the clocks at both ends of the field showed anyone interested that the race was still anyone of the threes.
Each lap brought the three runners closer to their goal, and as the race came to the final lap, Kipsang charged to the front. The African Champs silver medalist, Leil Gebreselasse battled by, and pushed the back straight, finally gaining some room on Kipsang, with Zawude holding close, but not in contention.
The fans loved it as Leil Gebreselasse won in a personal best of 27:19.71! In second, also in a personal best, was Emmanuel KIpsang, who ran 27:22.99. In third, was Ethiopian Tawude Zawude, the African champion, who ran 27:25.10.
The women’s 10,000 meters was also billed as a strong race. Meseret Defar had to pull out just before the race, as Dr. Muller, a reknowned athletic specialist, noted that she had an issue with a shin and pulled her from the race.
The field came down to Ganet Yanew, Netsanet Gudeta and 2011 World Junior Champ Goytetom Gebrselase.
The first kilometer had the presense of the Hahner sisters, Lisa and Anna, who ran with the leaders for the early bit and retired from the race. They were recovering from recent marathons and their presence was to reach out to the fans.
Into the second kilomter, Yanew, Gudeta and Gebrselase seperated themselves and started running 3:03 to 3:07 per kilometer. By 3 kilometers, it was clear that the runners were going for a fast time, as they hit 9:18, and were off! 12:21 for 4 kilometers and 15:26 for the halfway point showed that this was a 31 minute pace or faster.
It also showed that the fans, cheering on the track as they did in the men’s 10,000 meters, might see a second world leader of the night. That this was happening, in the first track meet held at Adi Dassler Stadium surely put a smile faces of adidas Sports Marketings’ Mike McManus and Spencer Nel.
Ganet Yanew and Netsanet Gudeta were keeping the kilometers rolling at 3:03 to 3:05, and it took a toll, as Goytetom Gebrselase fell off the back. Goytetom had 100 meters down on Yanew and Gudeta by seven kilometers.
The pace was impressive: 15:26 for 5000 meters, 19:33 for 6 kilometers, 21:37 for seven kilometers, and eight kilometers hit in 24:43. Yanew would lead, then, Gudeta would lead. Knowing a bit more about Ganet Yanew’s racing, I was siding with Yanew, but Netsanet Gudeta had some more moves up her proverbial sleeves.
The 10,000 meters is the longest race on the track in most major meetings. Twenty five laps at close to one’s best even pace is the way to run a good 10,000 meters. Running with a couple of well matched rivals is another key to making a fine 10,000 meters, and this race had them all wrapped into one race.
As Gudeta and Yanew came closer and closer to the finish, the fans were excited and knew that a possible World Leader was at hand. The World Leader at the time was 31:04 and the two Ethiopian rivals were runnng right under 30:40 pace.
With one lap to go, after 24 laps, the distance between Yanew and Gudeta was centimeters. They started the bell lap together and Yanew and Gudeta tried to break each other but it was just not happening. As the two rivals came off the final turn, Netsanet Gudeta made a final push, and broke Ganet Yanew, with Gudeta taking the fine win in a PB of 30:56.27 and Ganet Yanew was second in 30:58.26, also a PB.
And for the second time that evening, the adidas BOOST Meeting had a world leader!
As the women’s 10,000 meters finished, the rain came down. And the fans cleared out, thankful that the rain had held and that they were witnesses to the first of many elite track meets held at the Adi Dassler Stadium.
Earlier in the day, a pole vault competition was held at the adidas Outlet Store in Herzogenaurach. A crowd of perhaps three hundred enjoyed the women’s pole vault, barbeque and enjoying the sun, as it was held in the late afternoon. The runway and standards fit well in the parking lot. Again, young families showed up, as it was pure entertainement for the children. Regine Kramer, who I watched vault for a while, cleared 4.30 meters for the win.
A fine first day for a new meet, by any standards. The facility makes sense and the fans showed up. Looking foward to seeing day two, just hours away!