Lausanne Diamond League 2019 Overview

The Swiss city of Lausanne was the location of the eighth Diamond League meeting of the 2019 season. The headquarters of the International Olympic Committee are also situated there. In the warm 27 °C conditions there was every chance that the competition would heat up.

Self-Belief Extends Winning Streak

After winning all three previous Diamond League meetings this season, in Doha, Rome and Rabat, Salwa Eid Nasar was expected to dominate the one-lap event. She stormed out of the blocks and kept passing athletes on her outside as she approached the final straight. However, Aminatou Seyni of Niger in lane four closed on Eid Nasar, spurring her competitor on, before falling short by two-hundredths of a second. 

In running her season’s best the Bahraini 21-year-old also broke a 23-year-old meeting record, maintaining her dominance in the event. Her season has so far been near perfect, becoming the 400m Arab and Asian champion and improving her season’s best at every meeting she has won. She is certainly the woman everyone is aiming to dethrone.

Grit Sometimes Wins Out

The women’s 800m race was contested between Nelly Jepkosgei of Kenya and Halimah Nakaayi of Uganda. With 200m to go the two East Africans broke away and fought for top spot. Although inevitably strong athletes, their ambitions overwhelmed their thoughts. Their form and technique appeared to be secondary. Their heads shook, arms flailed and facial expressions were anything but relaxed. But both achieved a sub-two-minute time to impress the Swiss crowd.

Sadly, the Swiss athletes could only manage fourth, fifth and seventh on home soil.

Always Aim for the Right Mark

The consequences of not counting the laps you’re racing is that you misjudge your effort and lose the race. That’s what happened to Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet in the 5000m. He shot off halfway through the penultimate lap, only to celebrate and stop. By the time he reacted to his competitors continuing to race he had lost all momentum. He finished in tenth place. What was most shocking was that he is an experienced middle-distance athlete, having won multiple medals at World Championships and taken victories at multiple Diamond League meetings.

Meanwhile in the men’s 200m event Noah Lyles stormed to his second victory of the Diamond League season after his 100m triumph in Shanghai. The charismatic American was looking for a time closer to 19.4 seconds, which he and his coach had been working on. But by focusing on excellence he still managed to finish in 19.5 seconds, winning by almost half a second. He also recorded a new personal best and world leading time in the process. Not only that, he achieved a new meeting record, usurping none other than Usain Bolt’s previous mark.

Discover the World through Running

Run the World (2016) by Becky Wade


Year-long Adventure

In 2012, Becky Wade, a top university track runner from Texas, wins a fellowship to travel across the world. She uses the experience to learn different running practices to incorporate in her own training. She uses public transport to get around, and does not race seriously.

She aims to discover the most effective running plan, balancing the need for freedom and flexible with a demanding volume.


England

Inspired as a spectator at the women’s 2012 Olympic marathon, Wade learns that elite runners do not train and race hard all of the time, but are strategic in their surges.

She also meets Jamaican sprinters, including Usain Bolt, and discovers the fierce and long-standing cross-country rivalry between the Cambridge and Oxford Universities. A positive team spirit is essential to build the necessary relationships to run for others as well as oneself.

Switzerland

Wade explores the beautiful natural landscape of luscious forests and mountain trails in a running-friendly nation. She adjusts to become light and nimble on her feet as she copes with not always knowing her pace and distance.

She discovers that the country has no professional running groups, and yet host unique track events, where athletes run back-to-back events in which they only discover the distances during the last lap.

Ethiopia

Wade learns that this East African country, like Kenya, harbours a culture of qualities perfect for long-distance running, including discipline, resilience and ambition.

During her training she is surprised that runners sometimes cut their runs short, opting to walk for miles back home if they do not feel fully fit. They exercise a heightened awareness of their bodies, encompassed by Haile Gebrselassie, who Wade finds is a rather entertaining dancer.


Other countries Wade discovers include Japan, where she finds the pavements and language difficult to overcome, Australia and New Zealand, where she wins a minor 5k race, whilst training with an athletic club that celebrates varied training and hard efforts, and Sweden and Finland, where she runs with her brother and discovers orienteering.

Recipe for Success

Wade’s journey is also defined by each of her hosts’ choice of diets and cooking rituals. She shares a diverse range of recipes including ugali, kolo, anzac biscuits and ozoni soup.

Through food as much as running, Wade develops close relationships with knowledgeable and humble runners. Her unstructured training of over 550 miles during the year ultimately leads Wade back to the United States, where in December 2013 she runs her first marathon, the California International Marathon. She beats the women’s field in an impressive time of 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Quote from Becky Wade audiobook