Last Updated on October 17, 2011 by Jimson Lee
When you analyze the top men’s 800 meters performances over the last 25 years, NINE were set in Rieti.
Canada’s Gary Reed PB for 800m is 1:43.93 from 2006, also set in Rieti.
Rieti was also the venue for Asafa Powell’s 9.74 100 meter WR set in 2007.
If you are a half-miler, you’ll certainly want to be invited and added to the heat sheets! (the fast section, that is)
What is so special about this track? Is there magic in the air?
Is it the track? Super hard Mondo surface?
Time of the Season? (no, not the Zombies song) This meet is held in early September after the World Championships or Olympics. Perhaps some elite 800m runners didn’t make the Finals, so they are still fresh to run another good race? We’ve seen stacked heats and brutal 3 round “semi-finals” where top 2 and next 2 fastest times advance. Finishing 3rd in a 1:45 semi final may result in going home!
Then again, some coaches don’t believe in peaking, as it’s just one long season.
Maybe it’s the wind? A circular wind?
SpeedEndurance.com Myth Busters Team
I decided to go to Rieti just to figure this out.
Before I begin, let’s talk about Italy’s geography. If you take a map of Italy, and fold it in half, and fold it again, once you unravel the map, the intersection of the two creases will be the center of Italy. Yes, you guess it, it’s Rieti! There’s a monument and plaque commemorating this very fact.
Ironically, there’s an Irish Pub next to this square or piazza. Yes, those Irish are everywhere!
TRIVIA: If you take a map of the USA, and do the same from Coos Bay, OR to Eastport, ME, you get Fargo, ND… yes, that crazy movie. Thank you John Steinbeck for pointing that out in Travels with Charley in Search of America.
Back to Rieti…
The warm-up track was interesting.. only half a track like the letter “J”, just barely enough for a 200 meters.
The way the track is set up, 3 quarters of the track has a small hill and river surrounding it. Thus, it acts as a natural wind barrier. It could also act as a natural wind tunnel from the wind coming from the mountains.
This is the view from the 175 meter mark:
If you look carefully, the start of the 100m backstretch is fully exposed to the street level.
This is the view from the backstretch:
The start of the back stretch (as seen from the photo) is exposed to the public (by iron gates, of course… this is Italy, you know) so the wind coming from the mountains can help 800m runners, as it follows them for the next 200m. The homestretch is usually protected from the wind with the grandstand and infrastructure.
So there you have it.
What do you think?
I think it’s the strange combination of powers from pizza, pasta and vino. lol.
Unrelated topic from tallahassee.com:
“The Florida State University athletics department announced Sunday afternoon that it will vacate 12 wins in football, a national championship in men’s track and field and NCAA tournament victories in women’s basketball and baseball as a result of the academic-misconduct case that brought about NCAA sanctions.”
“The men’s track team, which won three straight national championships from 2006 to 2008, will now apparently have to claim back-to-blank-to-back national championships because of the vacation of the 2007 team title.”
Very sad to hear this news but this is becoming commonplace. Can anything be done to lessen the frequency of these sanctions such as better communication and cooperation between the schools and the various sports organizations which govern their programs? Both sides seem constantly to be at odds to the detriment of the students
lesson should be spelled “l e s s e n.”