The Manchester Mix-Up

I was dumbfounded to read about the organizing gaffe at the 2012 Manchester GreatCity Games. Jessica Ennis, the poster girl of Britain’s Olympic campaign, had just run a personal best in the 100m hurdles – albeit over nine flights of hurdles, instead of ten. Naturally, Ennis was “annoyed.” The diminutive heptathlete had beaten the 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper and 2011 World Championships silver medalist Danielle Carruthers.

Read: “Jessica Ennis denied personal best at Great CityGames in Manchester”

Things could have been much worse for Ennis and the rest of the hurdling ladies in Manchester. The race organizers could have set some of the hurdles closer than the standard marks, like what happened at a regional track meet in Anchorage, Alaska.

The sprint hurdles is all about rhythm, speed and constant repetition. Hurdlers take three steps in between barriers as fast as possible. Once the barriers are moved closer (or farther) – unbeknownst to the athletes – a hurdles crash is a certainty. The boys in Anchorage were fortunate to finish the race without any bones. In hindsight, Ennis et. al were much more fortunate than the lads in that Anchorage race.

With the London Olympics barely three months away, the Manchester mix-up is a black eye for the novel street-racing event.

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