Stuart Weir wrote this piece on the women’s 800 meters, which was a crazy race that resembled a fartlek session.
Mary Moraa’s strange tactics pay off in the 800m
Mary Moraa won the women’s 800 meters using the strangest tactics any of us had ever seen. One sportswriter described it as: “Sprint like mad, look like you’ve given up, steam past everyone, dance”. The Kenyan led through the bell then seemed to have run out of energy, dropping back to last before overtaking everyone to win.
The official race stats show her splits
300m 40.7 leading
400m 56.8 third
500m 1:13.2 eighth
600m 1:27.8 Fourth
700m 1:42.4 Third
800m 1:57.07 First
The result was
1 Mary Moraa (Kenya) 1:57.07
2 Keely Hodgkinson (England) 1:57.40
3 Laura Muir (Scotland) 1:57.87
4 Natoya Goule (Jamaica) 1:57.88
One had to feel for Natoya Goule, who led after 400 and 500m, and was second after 600 and 700, only to be overtaken by Moraa and Muir, losing out on a medal by 1/100th of a second.
The winner described her approach to the race: “I tried to run 57 or 58 seconds for the first 400 but I think I was 56-something [56.8]. When I reached the 500m, I think everybody went past me. But with 200 to go, I closed the gap and then I knew I had to push myself right until the end.”
Keely Hodgkinson said: “The race is still a bit of a blur – I can’t remember what actually happened. I came here to win the gold, but this is an important medal to get in a world-class field. I thought Mary would slow down, but you can’t predict what people will do. It’s often a bit hit-and-miss: you think you’ve got it, and then someone comes past you.”
Laura Muir has identified winning a Commonwealth medal as one of her aims for the season: “It has been bugging me ever since Glasgow , and getting tripped when I was in medal contention. And then not running at the Gold Coast  – it’s been eight years of waiting. To do it in a Scottish vest and complete the set [is fantastic]. And it’s a year to the day since my Olympic medal, so I’m super-happy. It took a good lunge for the line and there was a 100th [of a second] in it, but it doesn’t matter. I got the medal.”
A race which will be talked about for a while.