He has just published his 800m national form guide on Runners Tribe.com, and I reckon it's worth repeating on Pro Track.
Here it is:
By Justin Rinaldi
Didn't have as much time to go too indepth this year, so please forgive any errors. ** indicate may prefer the 1500 over the 800
Lachlan Renshaw 1.45.66 (pb)
Defending national champion has been in the best shape of his life this year. Made the bold move in December and relocated across to the US to train with the powerful OTC group in Eugene, which includes US national champ and #6 world ranker Nick Symmonds. The change in training, with a greater focus on endurance is paying dividends as he has already produced a pb in Melb this year and backed that up with a great 1:46.06 in Sydney. He is clearly a different athlete than the one we saw 12 months ago, but one feels the results at nationals will be the same…..first.
James Gurr 1.46.52 (pb)
No longer just a jumped up 400m runner, Gurr has confirmed himself as a true 800m man with 3 runs under 1:47 in the past 12 months. Unlike Renshaw, Gurr’s focus this year was on regaining some of the speed he lost while based in college in the US under Coach John Marshall (1:43.92 pb). Ran his fastest 400 since 2006 (46.53pb) with 47.03 at the recent NSW state champs (should have been sub 47 if he ran all the way to the line). Likes to run close to the front (lead last years final) and if he gets the tactics correct on the day, could pull off the win.
James Kaan 1.46.74 (pb)
2nd in last years final and a big pb in Sydney, shows that Kaan is equally adapt to running both the 800 and 1500 on a national level. Kaan also dipped under 3:40 with a 3:39.87 pb in Melb, so the options are open for him come nationals. Running a heat and final of an 800 will suit Kaan well, so I believe he’ll chose this event over the 1500 and again will be right in the mix. Will need to be right up there with 200 to go if he wants to win, as his come from behind tactics lend themselves more to the minor placings rather than the top spot. Will be in the hunt, that’s for sure.
**Nick Toohey 1.47.72 (pb)
Moved his focus to the 1500m last year and has continued to do so this year running 3:39.87 pb in Sydney…which is exactly the same time as Kann’s! Unlike Kaan, I’d be very surprised to see him line up in this event. Can win a medal, just not in this event, so watch for him to flash home late in the 1500m final.
Ryan Foster 1:47.83 (1:46.78 pb)
The smooth striding Tasmanian Foster, has been based in the US at Penn Sate for the past 3 years and has had a string of impressive races while over there. Ran a big 800m pb of 1:46.78 in the NCAA finals in 2009, backed that up with a 3rd place in the 800m indoor final in 2010 (behind Andrews and Wheating) and followed that up with another 3rd this year in the Indoor NCAA mile. Foster is also the Australian Indoor record holder for the 1km with 2:19.60. Has only run one outdoor 800m this season, but has run 2:19.96 and a 3:58 (mile) indoors, so is in good shape (a slight hamsring injury preventing him from running a fast 800 indoors this year). Probably accustomed to a fast first lap more than anyone else in this field, so if the pace is on, he’ll be very dangerous. Would like to see him work a little on his closing speed in a slower race to become a more well-rounded tactician. May opt for the 1500.
**Jeff Riseley 1.47.95 (1:45.48 pb)
Has the fastest 800m pb of all active 800m runners in the country and showed with his recent win in Perth, that if he runs, he is very hard to beat over two laps. That said, unless he attempts the double in Melbourne (last person to win the double in the same championships was Simon Doyle at the 1990 Commonwealth Games trials in Sydney Dec 89), I can’t see him choosing this event over the 1500m where he is a shoe in for the win.
Matt Hammond 1.47.96 (1:47.82 pb)
Missed Melbourne this year due to illness and was probably sill a little under done when he toed the line in Sydney. Had a good double at the NSW champs winning the 800 from the front and backing that up with a 3:49.20 pb in the 1500m heats a few hours later. Has been there or thereabouts for the last few years, but both injury and illness have prevent ‘the finger’ from making any major break throughs. Digging deeper, neither his 400 (48.76) or 1500 bests standout compared to those ranked above him, so while seeing him as a certainty for the final, a top three position looks unlikely at this stage.
Tristan Garrett 1:48.16 (1:46.66 pb)
Had a massive breakthrough last year with his 1:46.66 pb in Melbourne, but has struggled since to reproduce that kind of form. That said, his 1:48.16 run in Melb this year is in fact his 2nd fastest time ever! Switched coaches over the winter and is now being guided by Nic Bideau, so it may take sometime for his body to adjust to the increased endurance focus. Has run 47.00 for 400 and if he gets too far away from that speed he’ll need to make massive inroads to his 1500m capabilities before he becomes consistent at 1:46. Not in the shape to make the final at this stage.
Johnny Rayner 1.49.0h (pb)
Not 100% sure about the timing on the 1:49.0 run at the recent VMC meet (I got 1:49.2), but his run in Perth (1:49.27) confirms the current Vic Champ is a real talent. Suffered an injury (hamstring) over winter while away with the World Junior 4x4 squad and has switched his focus from AFL (was hoping to get drafted) to track and field this year. Closes well in the last 100m and this should see him make his way in to the final, provided he runs with confidence and puts himself in the top 4 with 200 to go. Running a hard heat and final may prove to be too much at this stage, but one to watch in the coming years.
Lee Berry 1.49.09 (1:48.70 pb)
Ran his pb to come 5th in last years final, but has not been sited since February due to injury. His absence opens a spot up in the final.
James Boden 1.49.21 (1:48.98 pb)
Has spent most the summer without a track in his home town of Adelaide, which has forced him to travel a lot in search of races. Ran a 47.97 400m pb in Perth and attempted a 400/800 double at the Vic Champs, but was found wanting in both finals. Finally has the chance to run a race at home this week over 800m, so there is chance his pb may be approved upon. An outside chance of making the final
**Jordan Williamsz 1.49.25 (pb)
A great racer and is not without a chance of sneaking in to the final. More a 1500m runner and may lean towards that event instead. Not 100% sure if he’ll even be running the Open championship as he may have decided to call it a year after winning under 20 Nationals last month.
Jace Collingridge 1.49.54 (pb)
If you are watching an ALF game being played in Perth and see someone flashing around the boundary line, it’s probably young Jase. The young 20 year old has made some great improvements to his pb over the summer, with not much comp over the in the west (no offence to De Bore intended). Not sure if his ALF commitments will allow him to compete in the nationals and even if they do, he may have to do so after umpiring, so his legs will hardly be fresh. I know how fit these boundary umpires can be, but I think the work load for his young body will be too much for him at this stage to be a factor. Might miss the final by a whistle!
Adrian Plummer 1:49.56 pb
Matthew Fox 1:49.93 (1:48.36 pb) Qld Champ, should make the final this year if he can handle the cold Melbourne weather.
Edward Vinning 1:50.0h (pb) Last years Vic Champ
Alex Rowe 1:46.28 (pb) Injured
Nick Bromley no result (1:47.05 pb) The first time in 8 years that the 4 time National Champ will not be in an Australian 800m final. The front runners can breathe a little easier knowing that Bromdog will not be flashing home over the top of them.
My Top 3