We'll now have a look at the distance events or staying races in horseracing parlance.
1500m: The King of middle distance running Hicham El Guerrouj has retired leaving Kenyan-turned-Yank Bernard Kipchirchir Lagat and Kenyan Daniel Kipchirchir Komen at the top of the ranks. I'm guessing that Kipchirchir means Smith in Kenyan. The third highest ranked runner this year is also Kenyan which brings me to the conclusion that Kenya must be a pretty boring place if pounding pavement/dirt track is their prime source of entertainment. Any Aussie who did Little Athletics will tell you that running 1500m sucks balls which is why we have no runners in this event at the Olympics.
3000m Steeplechase: The least high-profile Australian medal hope at Beijing will be Donna MacFarlane; this is because she is in the silly event which is the 3000m Steeplechase. Personally I am looking forward to the 'Chase. With immovable hurdles there is a great chance for some carnage; a poorly timed leap could leave a competitor well and truly impaled. There are also water jumps. I have no idea why. It doesn't make sense to have water jumps unless the runners are wearing bowling shoes which would provide the possibility of more maimings. Another idea would be to fill the water jumps with sting rays. Imagine Donna MacFarlane coming down the home straight to pass an ailing Kenyan, who has a sting ray barb going right through her foot, for the gold!
Apparently they can fly too! The 'Chase would be prime time with stingers flying up out of the water jumps...
5000m: If the lights go out during the 5000m final at the Bird's Nest, that lone runner you'll see is Craig "Buster" Mottram. He is Australia's best athlete by far; he can actually beat the Kenyans sometimes! Buster was disappointing at last year's World's but was carrying a hamstring injury. If he can run 13th while injured, imagine what he's going to do if he's fit for Beijing! Go Buster!
20km and 50km Walk: Walking as a sport is absolutely inane. Especially when it's an ass wiggling, hip swaying nonsense where the athletes are in dire need of a trip to Hog's Breath Cafe. Nonetheless two of the Australian men, Nathan Deakes and Luke Adams, are ranked in the top 10 in the World and are medal hopes. I just can't get excited.
Marathons: Don't expect too much from our marathon team at the games. Lee Troop should stick to the City to Surf. Benita Johnson is having her first crack at the marathon...in the Beijing smog. Not the smartest move I would have thought given the best marathon runner in the world, Haile Gebrselassie, is giving the Beijing marathon a miss saying that if he runs he will probably get emphysema and won't be able to sing Happy Birthday to his kids when he retires.