The women’s 1,500m was the deepest event of the year. Like the men’s 5000m, global athletes are rounding into shape and that 3 athletes went under 4 minutes, and Jenny Simpson quite close, tells us that the seaso is underway.
In his second piece for Rome, our fearless journo Stuart Weir writes about the 1,500m. Stuart is both journo and fan. Spending so much time with the athletes on circuit, he possesses a unique view of these special human beings, who are able to call upon their special talents in front of the world.
A race with Genzebe Dibaba, Jenny Simpson, Gudaf Tsegay and Laura Muir was always going to be a cracker and so it proved. The pacemaker (Noelie Yarigo) took them through 800 metres in 2:09. With a lap to go, Dibaba was in front and looking in control with Tsegay second and Muir third. With 200m to go Muir passed Tsegay and attacked Dibaba but just came up short. Dibaba won in a world lead 3:56.28 with Muir’s time 3:56.73. Tsegay was third and Jenny Simpson fourth.
Dibaba made some ominous comments afterwards: “I was sure that I was in good enough shape to set a world lead but honestly I am ready to run faster”.
Muir told me afterwards: “I am really happy with that, running 3:56, my second fastest time ever. Fastest for three years. I got a scrappy start but I kept my cool and I almost had her at the end but not quite. I just kept pushing and pushing and that is what got me a 3:56. It is great to be running that kind of time so early in the season when I have a lot more training to do”.
Tsegay said: “The pace of 2:07 was no good for me. It was too slow. I would have needed 2:04 [it was actually 2:09].
Jenny Simpson was slightly between opinions in her assessment of her performance, saying: “I am happy with the time which was OK – OK but not great. I got out really well but tactically I was very rusty. I let a lot of people go by and because of that you cannot see what is happening at the front. As a result I never had a shot at top three which is a disappointment. But I managed to made up enough places to be fourth. And I have a lot more races this season to fix things”.
Simpson also commented on the long season, a subject we will hear a lot about in the coming months: “I think that whoever makes it to Doha will have run a lot of races because it is a long season. To cope with that I have opened my season a little later. My next race is in 10 days in Rabat. Then for American athletes the US trials is always a big one so I have not planned my season beyond that”.
— Eilish Mccolgan (@EilishMccolgan) June 6, 2019
Eilish McColgan (GB) was 6th in 4:02.29, following her seventh in the 5000m in Stockholm last week. She has also been selected by GB for the Night of the 10,000. It is great to see this versatile athlete producing a range of good performances early in the season.