Milburn 45.19 world lead

Saturday, 09 February 2008

400m breakthrough for Milburn in Sydney

Joel Milburn at the Zatopek classic in Melbourne (Getty Images)

Sydney, Australia - The imminent arrival of World champion Jeremy Wariner to compete in Australia flushed out a new 400m star when Joel Milburn broke through to win the New South Wales state championship.

Milburn, 21, a psychology student at Macquarie University in Sydney, wasn’t even Australia’s fastest over one lap this domestic summer season and until the state final he had been constantly frustrated in his attempts to clock even Athletics Australia’s Olympic B-qualifying time of 45.95sec.

Coming into Saturday night’s race at Sydney Olympic Park, Milburn’s personal best was the 46.18 he clocked in the same stadium at the Sydney Track Classic on January 12 this year.

Then suddenly, racing from lane four in glistening black bike shorts, Milburn jumped into the lead on the new world rankings with his 45.19 - a call-out to Wariner who will arrive in Sydney this Wednesday with training partner Darold Williamson.

Williamson will race 400m at the Sydney Grand Prix next Saturday night with Wariner contesting the 200m, but if there is a chance to topple the world titleholder in his parade event it may fall to Milburn at the Melbourne Grand Prix on the following Thursday, 21 February when Wariner makes his 400m debut for 2008.

“He (Wariner) is coming up at the start of his season so he won’t be in that good a shape yet. He’ll definitely be strong but not at his best yet,” Milburn said last night.

"Before tonight, racing Wariner would have been a lot more daunting.

“I knew I was capable of the time I just ran, but lining up against the Olympic favourite with a best time of 46 seconds, it would have made the idea seem more difficult.”

Much the same could have been said both of Milburn’s Beijing Olympic team selection prospects and even of Australia’s chances of repeating their Athens Olympics podium finish in the 4x400 Relay.

Only two weeks ago in Canberra, Milburn started an Australian foursome who ran a very creditable relay time of 3:01.52 - with Milburn clocking only 46.1 on his opening leg.

His huge improvement has massive implications for the relay nicknamed The Silver Bullets after they ran a surprising second to the USA in Athens.

And Athletics Australia may now review their selections for the World Indoor Championships in Valencia for which national (outdoor) titleholder Sean Wroe was the only 400m runner nominated.

If anyone needs the international experience right now it is Milburn who last represented internationally at the World Youth Championships in Sherbrooke, Canada where he captained the Australian under-18 team.

Milburn’s time yesterday was one of the fastest ever clocked by an Australian in Sydney, the fastest in this arena being the 45.07 by Commonwealth Games gold medallist John Steffensen at last year’s Sydney Track Classic.

But if Steffensen returns to competition in the Sydney Grand Prix next Saturday in the same shape, it may take a 44 effort to win.

Steffensen has entered the event, on the proviso his troublesome hamstrings don’t play up again as he tries to regain some speed in the middle of making a belated start to his general preparation phase in this Olympic year.

Milburn though is the revelation of the Australian season and his breakthrough performance will capture the imagination of local fans.

He attributes his barrier-smashing run - not to mention his undefeated season to date - to his coach, Penny Gillies, a hurdler at the Munich and Moscow Olympics.

“Penny was shocked I think, but I knew this time was coming,” said Milburn, who wears a diamond stud in one ear and five stars in the formation of the Southern Cross tatooed on his right shoulder blade.

“The work is really balanced. There’s no session when we do real hard and sharp speedwork. I used to get injured doing work like that. She’s a really good judge. She builds into it. All credit to Penny.”

Milburn said one of her sessions which he enjoys most is a 250m sprint in the rhythm of his 400m race, two minutes rest and then four 40m sprints, each with a 10m walkback before turning to sprint the next 40m.

Gillies brought off a nice double at the state titles when Olivia Tauro, 18, another of her Olympic 400m hopefuls, won the women’s 100m in 11.73 (headwind 0.8m/s).

Matt Shirvington looked vastly improved from a technical standpoint, winning the men’s 100 title in 10.51, a time slowed by a cold 1.7m/s headwind.

While Milburn’s time in beating Athens Olympic relay anchor Clinton Hill (45.88) made him the first new male name on the list of A-qualifying performers this domestic season, World Junior discus throw champion Dani Samuels also joined the A-list with a personal best throw of 61.38m last night.

Samuels finished far ahead of Korea’s Lee Yeon-kyung (49.24m) and appears to have benefitted from the inspiration and technical advice she received late last year on a visit to Sydney of American former world recordholder John Powell.

In very competitive 800m title races, Lachlan Renshaw, 21, took the men’s crown in 1:48.27 even-splitting the laps to beat Nick Bromley (1:48.47) in a disappointing time, while newcomer Trychelle Kingdom, just 18, from Tuross Heads on the NSW far south coast, won the women’s two-lap title in 2:08.46 from Sydney’s Brooke Simpson (2:08.81) in a race marred by a couple of bad falls.

Mike Hurst for the IAAF

Sounds like a Kit Kat workout, have you worked with this camp Kit Kat? Is this a GPP workout or more SPP?

Well I didn’t see this coming…

Hats off to the boy. Let’s see if he can back it up.

thats a pretty hot 400 for this early(assuming the build is more for Bejing than March), well clear of the equivilent indoor times from US collegians.

Joel Milburn spent some time at the AIS but struggled to break 46.5 there. Since he returned to Sydney he has now gone 46.18 and now 45.19.

Last year Mark Ormod left the AIS after an inglorious and uncharacteristically poor relay run at Osaka. He returned to Adelaide after 16 fruitless months at the AIS where he struggled to stay inside 46.5. His PB of 45.62 was recorded whilst training in Adelaide in December 2005.

This time last year a 17 year old Kurt Mulcahy had run 46.03 - but since last season he has moved to the AIS and one year later manages only 46.5 yesterday.

Chris Troode ran 45.4 this time last year - he is currently recovering from injury, and guess what, he also has moved to the AIS.

Apart from an out of shape and out of form Ormrod there were no other AIS 400m runners in Osaka. Until Ormrod came in to replace Steffenson, the relay was made up of non AIS athletes - Wroe, Grant, Mulcahy and Steffenson.

Throw in Casey Vincent who was constantly broken down and Clinton Hill who has only just returned to form after years of injuries and form issues and the AIS has massively under performed in terms of 400m running.

At the conclusion of this season, AA needs to get serious and have an inquiry into the 400m program it has in place at the AIS and bring to account the coach responsible. It clearly has failed for more than 2 years now.

And this is not a reflection on other AIS T&F programs such as the field events and walks which have been success - just the centralisation of 400m resources where it appears the funds could be better utilised supporting those coaches producing 400m results like Penny Gillies.

Supposedly more a pre-season or transition phase session. But You could nicely incorporate this sort of work any time during the competition phase and I used things similar in design and concept in cycles throughout the GPP.

This coach Penny Gillies was herself coached for sprints by Nancy Atterton who produced some outstanding 400 boys, including the 1986 inaugural world junior champion of 400m named Miles Murphy. He once ran 44.7 and raced in Europe during the mid to late 1980s with a few placings, mainly in Britain. He was a contemporary of Darren Clark who himself was briefly coached by Atterton.

So in saying that Penny would have a good resource of information to call upon and she would have been coaching on the same tracks that Clark himself trained on for many years. When you see Clark doing this sort of stuff, you may consciously or unconsciously absorb the ideas of these split-runs.

Thanks KK, yes that would make sense.

I bet there was a +5 tailwind down the back straight.

Were you there for that 400?

Strongest wind I’ve seen from looking at the results I was sent was a -1.7 for the men’s 100 final (-0.8 for the women’s 100m race scheduled a few minutes earlier).

Most Aussies, especially someone who has never made a senior national team, will be fully peaked for their national selection trials for the Beijing team. He wouldn’t have been holding anything back at all. I doubt he’ll go much quicker, but hard to know unless there are 100m segmental splits available from the race. I had a message that Milburn lagged a far bit behind Clinton Hill approaching the 200m, but maybe that’s why Milburn apparently finished so well right to the line.

By all accounts conditions for 400m were perfect and Milburn was fit enough and fresh enough to take advantage. That’s what he and his coach understood about the Aussie selection criteria.

It’s no use to you winning the Olympic trial if you haven’t got the Olympic time.

And therefore a -5m/s in the home straight.

Or there was a big slow tornado that perfectly covered the track and felt like a tailwind on every point on the track. :slight_smile:

I know that wind. It was blowing in Canberra for the 85 World Cup and gave Koch a nudge around in 47.60! Hot damn that was a performance.

Centralized training has never seemed to work all that well for western athletes. I don’t think that it fits our personalities or upbringings very well. The coaches also seem to be politicos who know how to milk the system, such as Charlie’s buddy Brooks Johnson.

Additionally, essential components seem to be missing. And no I’m not talking about a subject that will get me in trouble in this forum.

But in some events, like distance running, road walks, jumps (such as West Australian Institute of Sport coach Alex Parnov producing the No.s 1 & 2 male vaulters in the world in 2006 - Steve Hooker and Paul Burgess) it can work well.

I think it often gets back to the coach.

A lot of your finest coaches are mavericks who will not bend to suit the suits that operate these, often, government funded institutions. Sometimes you get a coach who is so charismatic and so firm that he bends the administration. Such a coach is Parnov.

But Joel Milburn was at the Institute of Sport in Canberra for 18 months before he got kicked out. Don’t know why, but there’s enough maverick and wildman in him by all accounts to ensure he enjoys a successful and fun career internationally, starting in Beijing this year.

I couldn’t agree more. From what I can tell from being around and training at the AIS track since 2003 it seems to me they have a thing about doing high intensity and low reps workouts – I regularly see these guys resting for upwards of 10 minutes in between sets.

For example, last week I saw a certain 400m runner with a scholarship at the AIS having a session of 4x150m with around 10 minutes rest in between sets. I timed him at 16.4 on the third.

This appears contrary to what the Clyde Hart and John Smith school of thought is.

I’ve personally found that doing slower pace, but little rest in between reps is a better way to progress as a 400m runner.

What do you guys say?

I agree. We do combo of 16x200m down to 5x200 with 2-2.5min. breaks running it in 36sec. down to 25 secs. with tempo sessions 2x per week 10x200m @70% with walk back.

Also, 300’s, 350’s and 400’s with a few 450’s is in play.

The 200m runs are very effective.