Collen Makaza of Zimbabwe and Susan Harrison of Great Britain brought home gold at the 2nd IAU 50km World Trophy Final in Galway, Ireland on 29th August.
Makaza ran a time of 2:47:21 and Harrison clocked 3:15:42 to take the top titles. The runners were selected on the basis of their times in selections races held around the world.
Runners took advantage temperatures in the low teen on race day to clock some of the fastest 50km times of the year. As a result the race did live up to its pre-race billing of being one of the fastest 50k start lists ever assembled.
In the men’s race the competition was a three-person race for two-thirds of the run with Makaza, Sandile Ngunuzza (RSA) and Joseph Mphuthi (RSA) sharing the workload in the front, until Makaza made the decisive move at 34kms and placed himself solely at the head of the pack. Ngunuzza finished 2nd followed by Michael Wardian (USA), last year’s bronze medallist who had an outstanding second half of the race.
Makaza ran a time of 2:47:21 to grab the top honours. Ngunuzza finished the run in 2:53:05 and Wardian crossed the line in 2:54:56.
In the women’s race Harrison, a 2:38 marathoner, came out on top. She had a strong lead after the first 5km and never relinquished it running consistently through quite a difficult course. She was followed into the finish line by Mary Coordt (USA) and pre-race favourite Irene Kalter (NED).
Harrison ran 3:15:42 to take the gold medal in a very competitive field. Coordt clocked 3:28:30 to take silver and Kalter had 3:34:21 to bring home the bronze medal.
The race was organized on two half marathon loops followed by four short loops around the centre of the city to complete the 50km. The course is undulating but with lengthy flat sections. The most challenging part of the course was a hill present at 13km (and again at 34km) that was a kilometre long. The race was run concurrently with the first Galway City Marathon and Half marathon races.
There were 13 selection races held from Canada and Argentina to Japan and Australia to select athletes for the World Trophy Final. The criteria for selection included a sub 3:20 (men) and sub 3:50 (women) run. The winners of the series races were automatically selected and following the preliminary selections the fastest finishers were invited until the selection pool was filled. In addition a few runners had invitations extended on the basis of their marathon times.
Galway, situated on the west coast of Ireland, is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. It is a short two hour drive from Dublin and is known as Ireland’s Cultural Heart.
The next race on the IAU calendar is the 100km World & European Championships on November 7th 2010 in Gibraltar.
Nadeem Khan for the IAAF
Leading Results – MEN - 1) Colleen Makaza ZIM 2:47:21 2) Sandile Ngunuzza RSA 2:53:05 3) Michael Wardian USA 2:54:56 4) Kaito Iwayama JPN 2:56:19 5) Lucas Nonyana RSA 2:56:56
WOMEN - 1) Susan Harrison GBR 3:15:42 2) Mary Coordt USA 3:28:30 3) Irene Kalter NED 3:34:21 4) Helen Taranowski GBR 3:37:42 5) Adela Salt GBR 3:40:09