2018 Newcastle Diary: Stuart Weir writes about the Great North City Games 500 meters

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The Great North City Games 500 meters had two of the best fields of the weekend. Stuart Weir wrote this column on this fun distance, mostly run indoors, and now, at the end of the season outdoors. Its a fun meeting place for many long sprinters and hurdlers, and some ambitious 800 meter runners.

Cowan2.jpgDwayne Cowan takes the 500 meters, photo by North News

Great North CityGames 500m, by Stuart Weir

One of the fascinations of a street athletics meet is taking athletes out of their comfort zone and indeed out of their normal event. A 500m race of athletes who normally compete at 400 flat, 400 hurdles and 800m brings a sense of intrigue and unpredictability. There was also the question of what footwear was best with the first 350m on road and the final 150m on a track.

Cowan.jpgDwayne Cowan winning the 500 meters, photo by North News

Both the men's and women's races were won by 400m specialists. Dwayne Cowan won the men's 500m in 59.84 from Alvaro de Arriba (Spain) whose time was 59.93. Cowan said afterwards: "In the middle of the season I think the 400 guys would win but at the end of the season, when everyone winding down, so you never know who would win. I wanted to go hard to start but we were squeezed in and there was pushing and I didn't want to anyone so I decided to chill and take it easy. In training I don't third run further than 300m. I stayed in touch without really pushing so when I got the track [last 150] I knew I had a lot left. I haven't raced for a month so I was pleasantly surprised".

anyika.jpgAnika Onuora wins 500m, photo by North News

Anyika Onuora won the women's 500m in 1:06.94 from Lynsey Sharp (1:07.73),saying: "It was a great race and a great way to finally end the season. As much as it hurts I did enjoy the 500 and it's always good to have a bit of fun between the 400 and 800 girls. I didn't really have a race plan and the rain didn't help because I was afraid of slipping and sliding once we got onto the track but actually it was fine. Some of the girls went off fast but I just try to create space for myself. I couldn't go down the middle so I went to the left. Once we got on to the track it was much easier to pull away. It was a little strange not running in a lane. When I was given a leg number, I was thinking what's the point of this, I don't need it. I suppose that's what they do in 800".

So today, the 400m athletes triumphed. When one journalist suggested to Cowan that a 600 might be fairer, he shook his head and said that was definitely too far for him!

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