IAAF.org: Long Distance Review
Hicham El Guerrouj finally tried the event for the first time
28.12.2003In the third installment of their eight edition review of the highlights of the 2003 Athletics year, A. Lennart Julin and Mirko Jalava review the long distance running events.
MEN - Long Distance
2003 turned out to be a vintage year, not that anybody managed to come even close to the exclusive sub-12:40 territory of Gebrselassie/Komen in late-1990’s - but the number of sub-13:00 performances reached new all-time highs with 13 runners (one more than in 2000) dipping under that mark no less than 24 times (three more than in 1999)!
This was very much an African affair. While the analysis of the 1500m made you wonder where all the Africans had disappeared to, the picture is the completely the opposite in the 5000m. Out of the top-13 athletes Kenya had 8, Ethiopia 3 and Morocco 2! Actually only one – Swiss Christian Belz in place 26 - out of the top-33 on the world list is not African-born!
Long time 1500m-dominator Hicham El Guerrouj finally tried the event for the first time on the international level as a senior with a 12:50 the outcome, losing to Kenyan steeplechase specialist Stephen Cherono.
Following on from that Super Grand Prix encounter in Ostrava came the Golden League meetings in Oslo GL (six at 12:52-12:56), Paris GL (five at 12:53-12:59), Rome GL (three at 12:57-13:00), the Super Grand Prix in London (thrree at 12:57-12:59) and Zurich Golden League (seven at 13:01-13:04)!
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