Sunday, August 11, 2013

Moscow Malaise for Sheila Reid (Чёрт возьми!)
Ex Nova Star Fails to Advance at World Championships

Sapped by a recent illness and running a full 8 seconds off her 1500 meter PR set earlier this year, Sheila Reid failed to advance out of the 1500 meter heats today in Moscow at the 14th IAAF World Championships. Reid (4:10.90) finished 7th in heat #2, one spot out of an automatic qualifying slot in the event's semi-final. The top 6 finishers in each heat gained automatic qualifiers for the semi-final, and the 6 fastest non-automatic qualifiers across the 3 heats would also advance. Unfortunately, her time was not good enough to capture one of the 6 additional spots on time in the next round.

All three heats today went out in similar paces (all within 1 second at the 800 meter mark: 1:07.95, 1:08.07, and 1:08.91, respectively). Heat winning times were likewise similar: the respective winners of the heats went 4:07.66 (heat 1), 4:06.99 (heat 2), and 4:06.78 (heat three).  However, heats 1 and 3 were much more densely packed affairs behind the leaders, as in each case finishers 7-8-9 qualified on time for the semi-finals.  Reid's (heat 2) was mores strung out and no one from this heat (with Reid in 7th) was able to qualify on time.

As Reid explained in her post-race interview (above), her fitness came off track over the past 10-14 days as she fought illness, lost some weight, and made the long trip to Moscow. Her workouts in Moscow, she said, were marked by heavy legs and a lack of energy. She entered her heat concerned about her fitness and ultimately was unable to perform to her normal level. Where a spot in the final seemed a safe bet in her mind two weeks ago, things just didn't come together in the lead-up to the World Championships.

Ultimately, it's unfortunate for Reid to have run the illness-induced clunker of her season at this biggest event of the year, but elite middle distance running has always been marked by razor thin margins in fitness, timing, and good fortune. For Reid to be in such a good position two weeks ago, only to see that evaporate over the past fortnight, is but another example of how thin that margin is for these athletes. Reid commented earlier this year that anything short of an appearance in the 1500 meter final would, in her view, be a disappointment.   At bottom, then, Moscow proved to be a letdown, to be sure, but an experience that will perhaps rebound to Reid as her international career develops.

Heat 2 11 AUG 2013 10:36

Details 1 113 Zoe Buckman AUSAUS 4:06.99 Q
Details 2 945 Jennifer Simpson USAUSA 4:07.16 Q
Details 3 763 Ekaterina Sharmina RUSRUS 4:07.17 Q
Details 4 598 Rababe Arafi MARMAR 4:07.84 Q
Details 5 566 Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon KENKEN 4:08.66 Q
Details 6 187 Mimi Belete BRNBRN 4:09.27 Q
Details 7 215 Sheila Reid CANCAN 4:10.90
Details 8 495 Margherita Magnani ITAITA 4:11.15
Details 9 345 Senbere Teferi ETHETH 4:11.41
Details 10 931 Cory McGee USAUSA 4:12.33
Details 11 843 Betlhem Desalegn UAEUAE 4:12.97
Details 12 596 Eliane Saholinirina MADMAD 4:18.04

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