Elaine Thompson-Herah, photo by British Athletics Collection/Getty Images
Noah Lyles takes Birmingham, how will this newfound speed affect the long sprinter? photo by British Athletics / Getty Images
Which Mo will we see in 2022? Mo Farah racing 10k in May, first since last July 2021, photo by London 2017
This is the second edition of Deji’s Doodles. And I have an apology to make, I missed posting this last week, so we have one today and one tomorrow! Deji gets us to thinking about the sport in ways we had not considered, and he picked 3 fine topics in numero deux.
Thompson-Herah’s rare loss in a race, Lyles’ surprise win in Birmingham and Farah is back to racing
The last one week in the Track and Field indoor season has given us interesting subplots as the fastest woman alive, Elaine Thompson-Herah got beat by Ewa Swoboda in Torun, while Noah Lyles showed us that he might have something in the bag over the shorter distances. Meanwhile, we will finally see Sir Mo Farah race again, this time at the Vitality London 10k race in May.
What to make of Elaine Thompson-Herah’s indoor season?
The reason for any athlete running the indoor season can vary massively. Many use it to break up the long winter training, to acquire vital competition experience, to improve confidence, to test their levels of fitness, and also, for the top athletes, to earn some money.
Darryl Neita, Elaine Thompson-Herah, Mujinga Kambundji, Muller Indoor GP 2022, photo by British Athletics Collection/Getty Images
Which do you think fits Elaine Thompson-Herah’s two races on the indoor circuit this season? She is the fastest woman alive after her 2021 exploits over the 100m, and justifiably, she wants to make her mark over the 60m. Prior to running at the Müller Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham, Thompson-Herah had last competed over the 60m three years ago.
Considering her form from last season, Thompson-Herah entered the indoor season hoping to break Irina Privalova’s record of 6.92 that had stood for 29 years. Her Personal Best (PB) stood at 7.02 from fives years ago. In Birmingham, the track and runways are fast, the prize money is good and the competition is hot. She cantered through to win in 7.08. Not a sniff of the World Record, but enough prize money to take home.
Enter Torun. A duel with the fastest woman, Ewa Swoboda, over the distance this year beckoned. It was expected to propel her to dip inside 7 seconds officially. Swoboda had other ideas as her bullet start left Thompson-Herah in her wake, winning with 7.03 to Thompson-Herah’s 7.04.
Afterward, she tweeted that her attention will now move towards the outdoor season. Her short season indoors might not have wowed us, but there was a strong inclination she wanted to use it to test her fitness.
In the end, the indoor circuit is always more relaxed and the athletes have one eye on their performances, but they know in the back of their mind it is the summer that counts.
Does Noah Lyles really have a future in the shorter sprints?
Back to the why some athletes never really get into their groove running indoors, and probably isn’t the best way to evaluate the true quality of the athlete? Isn’t it rather strange that the greatest sprinter to have ever walked the earth, Usain Bolt never competed indoors?
2022 Muller Indoor GP, photo by British Athletics Collection/Getty Images
Some might boil it down to preference, but there is always a feeling that racing indoors should mainly be used as an indicator for your performance outdoors. Noah Lyles is one such sprinter. Seen as a 200m specialist, he doesn’t boast the best of start, but probably has one of the best top-end finishes in the world at the moment.
It is rather strange seeing him race over the 60m this year. He, however, seems to be smoking it. His progress from 6.62 to 6.55 over the last month lays bare how much of an improvement he’s having in the first half of his races if he transitions into the 100m outdoors.
His PB over the 100m is at 9.86m, but he isn’t the sort of athlete to run a lot of 9.8s over the course of the season, mostly falling around the 9.9s range for most of his races. This year might prove pivotal, considering he might want to double at the World Championships outdoors.
Can he be confident of outrunning either Trayvon Bromell, Christian Coleman, or even Ronnie Baker who on their good day can consistently run inside 9.9s over the 100m? His display this season proves he certainly has the guts to do so. Time like they say, reveals.
Don’t expect much from Mo Farah at the Vitality London 10k race in May?
Europe’s greatest ever long-distance runner, Mo Farah confirmed during the week that he would return to racing at the Vitality London on May 2. For an athlete who has one of the most illustrious CVs over his racing career, and has won this race eight times there is a distinct possibility he might not even win.
Mo Farah, 2021 British Trials, 10,0000m, photo by British Athletics Collection / Getty Images
After fracturing his left foot last year, and considering he didn’t qualify for the Olympics, Farah has had to adjust his training massively in other to recover as fast as possible. Already 39, the double-double Olympic Gold medalist still has his eyes fixated on the big Marathons, this race offers him the chance to gain much momentum and evaluate his level of fitness without putting much pressure on him.
Farah has one of the best images when it comes to distance running as he is up there with the likes of Kenenisa Bekele and Eluid Kipchoge. However, he has already gone through one negative experience in not qualifying for the Olympics, and he would be trying to repair his image as much as he can.
He knows deep down he has to hold up as retirement isn’t in his plan, hence the reason for this race. Farah might not go for the record or even win, but no won brings so much excitement to distance racing the way he does, and that alone is worth watching.