By LEN JOHNSON
Steve Moneghetti lined up for the 1993 Zatopek race having won the previous four Zatopeks. He hoped to equal Ron Clarke’s record of five wins in the big race and surpass Clarke by doing it in consecutive races.
Gary Staines, an English runner then based in Australia, wanted to stick with ‘Mona’ and get the qualifying times for the following years Commonwealth Games and European championships.
Ultimately, both were upstaged by Paul Patrick, an emerging young runner who all-but clinched Australian Commonwealth selection with a sensational win, breaking 28 minutes in his first 10,000 as a senior athlete.
There were no such upsets in the women’s race, Carolyn Schuwalow racing to her second victory in three years, and third overall, ahead of young Sydney runner Michelle Dillon and New Zealand’s Barbara Moore.
Moneghetti was already a Zatopek legend. Having run his first Zatopek in the lower grades in 1979, he was now lining up for his 12th. He had worked hard, as they say, to become an overnight sensation.
“It’s funny, at one stage I had run eight Zatopeks in a row without winning,” Moneghetti said pre-race. “Now, I’ve won four in a row.” Against his chances in 1993, he had run a marathoin in Beijing just eight weeks earlier.
Staines had been a silver medallist in the 5000 metres at the 1990 European championships and a finalist in the 5000 in both the Seoul 1988 Olympics and Tokyo 1991 world championships.
Patrick, however, was no mug. Just turned 22, he had finished fifth in the 5000 at the 1990 world junior championships. He had also run a 10,000 back then, but this would be his first as a senior. His form was good, having soundly defeated Staines and Moneghetti over 5000 metres just a couple of weeks before the Zatopek.
There was also a host of other contenders – Pat Carroll, four-time winner Andrew Lloyd and New Zealand trio Robbie Johnston, Kerry Rodger and Phil Clode.
Carroll, indeed, led for the first six laps before Moneghetti took up the pace. “I didn’t want to take the lead that early, but it was unfair to let Pat do it all,” he said post-race.
A series of surges broke up the field but could not dislodge either Patrick or Staines. Inevitably, it seemed, one of the two would finish quicker than Moneghetti. Surprisingly, it was not 3:53-miler Staines, but Patrick.
Taking the lead along the final back-straight, Patrick sprinted home to win in 27:59.64, with Staines (28:02.24) and Moneghetti (28:03.65) second and third, respectively.
Patrick became the sixth Australian to better 28 minutes (there are now 18) and the first to do it at their first senior attempt (he is still remains the only one).
“All credit to ‘Mona’,” said Patrick. “He did all the work. I sat on him and I knew I could outkick him. I was mentally strong. I felt fine, even through the surges.”
Schuwalow, too, ran with qualifying times on her mind, not an assault on her race record of 31:54.95 set two years earlier. She shared the pace with Michelle Dillon healthy man en route to winning, 32:28.50 to 32:35.40. Both women bettered the Commonwealth qualifying time.
“I’ve been doing 110 miles a week in training,” said Schuwalow, who was building towards a marathon debut.
The 20-year-old Dillon, running her first 10,000, was content to take up Schuwalow’s offer of pace-sharing. “She’s had a lot of experience, so I figured she knew what she was doing,” she said.
Patrick did not achieve his aim of selection in the 5000 metres for the Commonwealth Games the following August in Victoria (Canada). He finished eighth in the 10,000, one place ahead of a promising Kenyan named Daniel Komen who had run the first mile of the race in close to four minutes.
Steve Moneghetti won the marathon.
Injury kept Carolyn Schuwalow from running the Commonealth Games, but Michelle Dillon finished seventh in the women’s 10,000 in 33:19.01. She subsequently represented Great Britain in two Olympic triathlons, 2000 and 2004.
Gary Staines finished 15th in the 10,000 metres at the Helsinki 1994 European championships.
For Zatopek:10 2013 ticket and event information visit www.athsvic.org.au/zatopek.