Ex-Olympian heads strong event line-up
BY MARTIN AGATYN
23 Dec, 2010
FORMER Olympian Georgie Clarke will spearhead the strongest field for a Tasmanian 1600m handicap running event for a number of years at next week's The Eli Devonport Carnival.
And, in what will be an Australian first for a professional 1600m handicap event, runners will be handicapped on time rather than over distance.
Clarke, from Geelong, is a former Australian 400m and 800m champion and a former world junior 800m champion and an accomplished middle distance runner.
The Devonport Carnival has not held a women's 1600m event for several years and female athletes were amalgamated into an open field against the men until this year.
An upsurge in entries prompted organisers to again schedule a women's event, with the added interest of the timed handicap.
The format will require all runners to cover the entire 1600m, compared to the normal distance format, where the front marker, if handicapped at 150m, would only be required to run 1450m.
Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania elite athlete co- ordinator Rod Walker said the timed handicap format would give great encouragement to the back markers and hopefully produce a closer and more exciting finish.
"We are trying it with the women's race this year and depending on how it goes, we might consider it for a future men's event," Walker said.
"I don't believe it's been done in professional running in Australia before, but it's something I remember from my amateur athletic days when I was competing in an amateur carnival at Forth in the 1970s," he said.
Georgie Clarke won't be the only top female middle distance runner contesting the Devonport 1600m handicap and she will be joined by former Devonport and now Brisbane-based runner Nicole Perry and Australian 3000m champion Mel Daniels, of Hobart.
In recent years the Devonport Mile (men's 1600m) has been a blue ribbon event on the Basslink Christmas Carnivals Series, attracting the likes of Craig Mottram and Collis Birmingham, but this year at least, the women will take centre stage.
Last edited by Admin on Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:35 pm; edited 1 time in total