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Jonathan meets B qualifying standard

29 April 2003

Decision looms for Jonno

Decision time looms for Hutt Valley harrier Jonathan Wyatt after running a qualifying time for the Athens Olympics marathon, and being named in the team for the world track and field champs in the 10,000m in the same week.

On Monday morning (NZ time) Wyatt finished seventh in the Hamburg marathon in Germany. His 2hr 13min run (a personal best by 1min 20sec) was 1min 50sec inside the `B' qualifying standard for Athens, though if another NZ athlete betters the A standard, they will be automatically selected at Wyatt's expense.

The next day, Athletics NZ released its team for the world track and field championships in Paris in August. Wyatt, who captured the New Zealand 10,000m title with a 27 min 56.79sec run in Inglewood in February, has been named to run the 10,000m on the track in Paris.

However, with his sights firmly set on the Athens marathon, Wyatt may opt to skip the Paris event in search of an A standard in the marathon in one of the Northern Hemisphere autumn races.

Jonno ran in a high quality field on the flat, fast Hamburg course on the weekend, and ran with a large bunch until it began to split up at 25km. At that stage Jonno was running in ninth position but picked up two places as the field battled into a strong headwind in the closing 10km that took its toll on many of the leaders, and was reflected in the second half splits.

The marathon was won by Spaniard Julio Rey, who outsprinted compatriot Javier Cortes to the finish line Sunday to finish in a course record time of 2 hours, 7 minutes, 46 seconds. Rey beat Cortes by two seconds in breaking the mark of 2:09:57 set by Argentina's Antonio Silio in 1995. Simon Lopuyet was third at 2:11:04 as Kenyans swept the third through sixth places, with Wyatt seventh.

Jonno comments: "I'm very happy I made the long trip to Hamburg, as I put myself in the best possible position to run fast and sometimes on the day it either happens or it doesn't in spite of all the best preparation."

During his build-up, Jonno had run a 5km road race in San Diego and a strong 10km road race in Germany 8 days before, running 28min26sec for 6th place.

Incidentally, Jonno's time was the fastest marathon run by a New Zealander since 1996, when Wellington's Shaun Wade ran 2:10.59 in Houston, Texas.