The On Track Night Series Continues In Paris With Some Of The World's Best On Show
Paris Welcomes The On Track Nights Series
After very successful events with amazing times, spectacular crowds and incredible races in LA and London, On Track Nights Paris is the next instalment of the innovative running series. This time, athletes took a 12.5 lap tour of the track to try and qualify for Budapest. Amongst the 5,000s, we were also treated to some shorter, punchier 1,500m races and a rare outdoor women’s mile.
Would On Track Nights Paris deliver the goods? Let’s recap the races and find out!
Specs: the Adidas Boston 12 is lighter and lower
At 286g in my size US11 / EU45, the Adidas Adizero Boston 12 is much lighter than the Boston 10. Note that I did not test the Boston 11 (and that was on purpose as I didn’t see much changes compared to the 10). My Boston 10 came in at 333g which added to the clunkiness of the shoe.
The Boston 12 also gets closer to the ground with a 2mm reduction of stack in the heel. It moves from the 39mm heel in the Boston 10 and 11 to 37mm and changing the 8mm drop for a 6.5mm one instead. This remains quite far from the Boston “standards” but it definitely helps on the weight side of things.
First out of the blocks – Men’s 1500m final
The first of 4 elite races of the On Track Nights Paris evening, the men’s 1500m final, got off to a great start. Two pacers would be helping the elites to reach the World Athletics qualification standard of 3:34.20. 15 runners would be taking part. Their season bests ranging from 3:46-3:34. Jimmy Gressier was the only man on the starting line holding the time for Budapest.
With the leading pack of 8 coming through the 800m at 1:53.58, they were well on pace for a 3:32 1500m.
The last pacer stepped off with 400m to go and Gressier took the lead. Coming through the 1200m mark at 2:36.39 he was followed by Narve Nordas and Eliot Giles. Did they have enough left in the tank to pull off a sub 58s final 400m to get a qualifying time for Budapest?
With 200m to go, Nordas takes the lead from Gressier, and Charles Philibert-Thiboutot takes third place from Giles. Rounding the final bend, Nordas picks up the pace building a 1-second gap ahead of Gressier and Charles, finishing in a blistering time of 3:32.39 (PB). Both a PB and a time well below the qualifying standard for Budapest. With Norway having such a strong running team currently, would this be a good enough time to guarantee a spot?
Charles crosses in second in 3:33.45 breaking a long-standing (8-year old) PB set in Monaco in 2015. Then Gressier crosses the line in third right behind Charles in 3:33.90 setting a new personal best. Consequently, all three reached the qualification standards for Budapest. After that, Romain Mornet of France finished in 4th missing it by just 0.09 seconds.
- Narve Gilje Nordas finished in first in 3:32.39 (PB)
- Three athletes hit the Budapest World Athletics standards: Narve Gilje Nordas, Charles Philibert-Thiboutot, Jimmy Gressier. A great start for the elites at On Track Nights Paris
The Women’s Mile – A rare race on European soil
The mile is not a common race outside of the UK and the US. Does this mean On Track Nights Paris would see a range of new PBs?
Chasing the 4:22.00 Budapest World Athletics Qualifying standard, 14 starters had already strung out single file after first 200m. It was tough work trying to keep up with the pacer and the WaveLight which was set to a challenging 4:20.00.
After going through the first 400m in 64 seconds, the leading pack of 5 were a few meters ahead of that target 4:20 pace. The rapid pace of this group led to a sizeable gap developing between the leading group and the rest of the athletes.
Soon, the sound of the bell marked the athletes coming into the final lap of the race. Janat Chemusto still in first, a whole second ahead of Nikki Hiltz who was closely followed by Sintayehu Vissa.
With 200m to go, Hiltz was able to get back on the shoulder of Chemusto, the two just 3 or 4 meters behind that 4:20 pace. Hiltz still looked like they had a lot of energy to give while Chemusto was starting to show signs of fatigue.
With 100m to go Hiltz took the lead from Chemusto, crossing the line in 4:22.07 (WL), after building an impressive second and a half lead on Chemusto in those final 100 meters. Chemusto finished in 4:23.65 (SB). Vissa crossed the line in 4:24.35 (PB), taking third.
Alice Finot, finishing in fifth set a new French national record of 4:26.68.
- No runners reaching that 4:22.00 World Athletics mile qualifying standard
- Nikki Hiltz set a new World Lead of 4:22.07
- Alice Finot sets a new French National Record of 4:26.68
The Women’s 5000m Final – The first of the main features
As 27 athletes made their way to the start line, many of them would be chasing that 14:57.00 World Athletics qualifying time today, and it is sure to be a night with many personal bests.
A feisty start sees the women hitting the first 100m at a rapid pace, well ahead of the 14:40 pace set by the first WaveLight.
Coming through the first 400 meters in roughly 67 seconds, the pack was already stretched out. With 50 meters between the race leaders and the back of the pack. This pace would see them finishing in the low 14 minutes range.
Going through the 2km mark in 6:32.9, the lead group of 6 has dropped slightly from the early 14:40 pace.
11 and a half laps down, one to go. Selah Busienei is still at the head of the lead pack. There are still 4 athletes with her, all looking like they will be getting below the 14:57 qualifying standard. The only question at this point is who will be finishing in the top three in this hotly contested race at On Track Nights Paris.
With 300 meters to go, Medina Eisa makes a move and gains a 4-second lead ahead of second place. She crosses the line in 14:46.60, setting a new meeting record and getting more than 10 seconds below the qualifying time for Budapest.
Sarah Chelangat came in at 14:50.93 (PB), taking second place, with Selah Busienei just behind, taking third in 14:52.37, having led for the majority of the second half of the race, she just didn’t have the legs to keep up the pace for the final lap.
- Medina Eisa crossed the line in first in 14:46.60
- 5 athletes managed to get World Standards: Kedina Eisa, Sarah Chelangat, Selah Busienei, Weini Kelati, Nibret Lemlem
The Men’s 5000m Final – The main event of the evening
Set to a strong target pace of 12:55, the race got off to a false start with athletes desperate for the late race to get underway. After being called back by the officials, they got away cleanly.
With a target pace of 62 seconds per lap, the first 600m was a touch slow at 1:34. With 11 laps to go, there was still enough time to make up for the errors.
The pacer, trying his hardest to keep up the pace, just wasn’t quite hitting the speeds that the athletes had set out to hit. This caused a bottleneck of athletes all waiting for an opportunity to get ahead and push the pace back up to the expected 62s per lap.
This leading group of 14 of the original 34 starters began to stretch out coming into the third kilometre as the frontrunners began to pick up the pace. 5 athletes led with 4 laps to go.
Coming down the final 100 meters, running 4 abreast it could have been anyone’s race, with a photo finish, Levy Kibet manages to get just ahead. Taking first in 13:04.21 (MR), he was followed by Mohamed Ismail in 13:04.39 (PB), and Rodrigue Kwizera in 14:04.57 (PB).
- Levy Kibet finished first in 13:04.21
- 5 athletes got World Standard times: Levy Kibet, Mohamed Ismail, Rodrigue Kwizera, Birhanu Balew, Egide Ntakarutimana bringing On Track Nights Paris to a strong conclusion
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