LACAZE MOVES UP TO THIRD ON AUSTRALIAN ALL-TIME LIST
Written By Grace Kalac
Genevieve LaCaze has finished third in the Women’s 3000m Steeplechase at the Stockholm Diamond League meet overnight in a seven second personal best of 9:23.19, moving her up to third on the Australian All-Time list. Fellow Australian athlete Madeline Hills finished 5th in a time of 9:28.75.
LaCaze, in the form of her life, has posted personal bests in 2016 over the 800m (2:04.77), 1500m (4:10.20) and 5000m (15:27.13) distances in addition to the Steeplechase. Last night marked a staggering sixth personal best in six consecutive races. LaCaze attributes her stellar current form to over a year’s worth of consistent training following a few unlucky years of injury.
“We have managed to produce quality over quantity in my program as well as layer months and months of work,” said LaCaze.
“I’m finally getting to see my potential when I’m not interrupted. I’m producing so much momentum this season that my confidence in racing is continually growing.”
Following a personal best of 9:30.52 in the 3000m Steeplechase at the Oslo Diamond League last week, LaCaze knew she was capable of running faster. In preparation for Stockholm, she watched replays of her Oslo race numerous times to ensure that any weaknesses were targeted during her next attempt over the steeples.
“Oslo was a great step forward for me but it also was a race where I knew there was a lot more in the tank. I didn’t execute that race and did too much work too early,” LaCaze said.
“I knew that if I raced a lot smarter, I could run a lot faster. The mental aspect was there, I just needed this race to put it all together.”
Her aching desire to execute a perfect race was achieved last night in Round 8 of the Diamond League, where LaCaze raced impressively and finished fast.
“With 800 metres to go I felt so strong and comfortable,” said LaCaze.
“With 200 metres to go I felt I had way too much left so I just went and kicked home going into the last water barrier. It is definitely the best I have felt at the end of a steeple! Crossing the line was an exciting feeling – I knew it was a huge run!”
LaCaze will now travel to Finland to race the 5000m in pursuit of the Olympic Qualifying time of 15:24.00, before travelling to Mount Laguna, California, for one last altitude stint before Rio.
With Hills and LaCaze now positioned second and third respectively on the Australian All-Time list, there will undoubtedly be some exciting Australian performances in the Women’s 3000m Steeplechase at Rio.
Other Australian results in Stockholm include Rio-bound duo Brett Robinson and Luke Mathews, who competed in the Men’s 5000m (14th 13:58.84) and B 800m (4th 1:48.19) respectively. Jenny Blundell, still chasing Rio selection, finished 11th in the Women’s 1500m in a time of 4:07.84. Brianna Beahan won the Women’s 100m Hurdles B race in a time of 13.54.
On the field, Benn Harradine, who has been selected to compete in Rio in the Discus, finished 3rd with a throw of 60.85. Fellow Rio-bound thrower Damien Birkinhead threw 17.38 in the Men’s Shot Put to finish 9th. Long Jumper Brooke Stratton has continued her promising form in the lead up to the Olympics, recording a jump of 6.61 which placed her 4th.
WATCH THE RACE BELLOW
FULL POST-RACE RT INTERVIEW WITH GEN
RT: What do you attribute your recent success to? i.e. What has changed in both your training habits and your training and racing mentality?
Honestly, not a huge amount has changed with my training, it’s more that Nic Bideau and I worked out a way to keep me healthy and train consistently for over a year now. I have had an unlucky few years of injury since 2013 and when I was constantly starting from scratch each year it got hard to build to where I wanted to be with the time I had. Now that we have managed to produce quality over quantity in my program as well as layer months and months of work, I’m finally getting to see my potential when I’m not interrupted. I’m producing so much momentum this season that my confidence in racing is continually growing!
How were you feeling in the lead up to the race following a personal best at Oslo last week?
Oslo was a great step forward for me but it also was a race where I knew there was a lot more in the tank. I didn’t execute that race and did too much work too early. I went back and re-watched it so many times afterwards and knew that if I raced a lot smarter, I could run a lot faster. The mental aspect was there, I just needed this race to put it all together.
Can you talk us through last night’s race a little bit; how you felt both mentally and physically throughout the race particularly in that last lap?
I knew it was going to be quick up front. The conditions were not fantastic so I was hesitant in the first 1km about where to move and position myself. It was messy and literally a huge pack of girls ran together for the first few laps on top of each other. On lap 4 I got to the water jump and as I landed there was just too many girls in the water and I got knocked to the infield. This is why I was initially disqualified. I remember thinking I had to stay relaxed and back off a little otherwise I would waste too much energy pushing and shoving, so my early splits were much slower then Oslo. With 800ms to go, I felt so strong and comfortable with the pace change. I managed to stay relaxed and aim at really closing in the last lap since it had been my weakness in my last few races. With 200m to go, I felt I had way too much left so I just went and kicked home going into the last water barrier. It is definitely the best I have felt at the end of a steeple! Crossing the line was an exciting feeling – I nearly held off for second but got out kicked just after the last barrier but I saw the clock in the low 9.20s and knew it was a huge run!
When is your next race and what are your short-term goals in the lead up to Rio?
I actually have a really quick turnaround as soon as I land back in London. I am heading to Finland early Saturday morning to race a 5000m on Sunday. It’s a low-key meet but I am hoping to run the Olympic standard there if all goes to plan. I will race another two times in Finland over the next 2 weeks then head back to altitude in July for my final bit of preparation for Rio.
RT: THANK YOU!