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The one unexpected consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic and the social distancing protocols that go along with it is the quality time trial efforts that are happening.

Mo Ahmed. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

Recently, many athletes have been running faster than otherwise expected. Perhaps this is due to less pressure on “race day” and less formality to distract the mind. Or perhaps athletes are able to race at the pace that their training has indicated and not anyone else’s.

Canadian Mo Ahmed dropped a new national 5,000m record of 12:47.20 last week. He bettered his own record down from 12:58.16. It is the fastest North American 5,000m all-time and puts him in the top-10 worldwide.

Likewise, American Shelby Houlihan improved on her own national record with a 14:23.92. In that same trial was Karissa Schweizer who improved her own mark finished just three seconds back at 14:26.34.

Shelby Houlihan. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

The Bowerman Track Club athletes were at it again Tuesday when Ahmed ran an event he rarely contests in the 1500m, finishing in the time of 3:34.89.

Schweizer moved to top-10 female all-time for an American with her 4:00.02.

Full results here>>

On Monday Michael Norman in Fort Worth, Tex ran a stunning 9.86 in the 100-metre event. This performance would have been the second-fastest during 2019.

He is now the first person to run the trifecta of sub-9.90 for 100m and sub-44.00 for 400.

See results here>>

Another potential side effect of the pandemic may be that some athletes have had a period of training, where they held off race-specific and peaking workouts and therefore better timed their peak.

The timing of a peak can be a juggling act. There is a myriad of things that can derail great fitness including the complexities of travel, changing time zones, and the stresses of an important track meet. No doubt there is more to come.

SHOESTRINGS: Canadian Gabriela DeBues-Stafford is moving camps from Scotland to the US. She is leaving the high-performance group in the UK, which includes Laura Muir and will join the Bowerman Track Club in Portland, OR sometime apparently in the fall. DeBues-Stafford. The 24-year-old in 2019 and 2020 has run six national records indoors and outdoors in the 1500m, the mile (1609m), and 5,000m events. She will join fellow Canadian Mo Ahmed who is currently with the club.