Many cyclists have a running background which means that when the World Track and Field Championships come around every two years our interest shifts from two wheels to two legs. Currently, the World Championships are being held in Berlin and run through Sunday. You can catch the action on Versus during the week and NBC on the weekend.
As usual, the Worlds are producing some great races and world records. Usain Bolt of Jamaica, the triple gold medalist (100m, 200m, 4x100m relay) from Beijing where he set world and Olympic records in his three events, provided the early excitement with a world record in the 100m running 9.58 which is really, really fast.
Americans have been winning a few races as well, witness Sanya Richards in the women's 400m and Kerron Clement in the men's 400m hurdles, but some of the best performances have occurred in races where the Americans didn't win.
In the 100m, Tyson Gay lost to Usain Bolt, but ran 9.71 which is also really, really fast and a new American record. Only one man has ever run faster than Gay and it shouldn't be too hard to figure out who that is. So, while Gay was unable to defend his 2007 World Championship, he still ran his fastest race ever. Not Bad.
In the distance events, Dathan Ritzenheim finished 5th in the 10000m behind a bunch of Ethiopians and an Eritrean, but his 27:22 is a personal best for the Coloradoan. Then there is Jenny Barringer who looked to be out of contention in the women's steeplechase, but when she crossed the line in fifth, she lowered her American record by a whopping ten seconds.
These performances, while not medal-worthy, are what the World Championships are all about. You come to the Worlds hoping to be able to give your best and while most athletes will not be standing on the podium, if you set a personal best, then you have given all you could.