Young Australian miler Matthew Ramsden took victory for the Bolt All-Stars just ahead of Team Australia middle distance runner Jeff Riseley in a brutal elimination mile on the opening night of Coles Nitro Athletics in Melbourne.
The debut for the new concept of track and field was largely a success and one of the most talked about events was the elimination mile, which had fans on their feet with excitement as runners randomly surged around the track.
Leading up to the series at Lakeside Stadium not many athletes knew how the different take on the traditional four-lap race would pan out and the drama it created made for quite the spectacle and lit up social media.
Six runners, one from each team, started the race with the last-placed athlete following the completion of each of the first three laps eliminated.
“I think they (the fans) enjoyed it… but I never want to do it again, it was nasty,” Riseley laughed after the race.
“That was not what I expected.
“The level of guys was pretty spread out and I just assumed that the first two laps would be reasonably even and it would be just a matter of being in front of the last guy.
“But it just turned into, like a 30 second first 200m then a sprint to the finish and it just got harder and harder.
“I think in the end it turned into a bit of a 5k guys race just with the stop-start nature of it and I thought I’d have the kick in the final bit – but gee when you’ve done three laps of fartlek and then you’ve got to try and go it just didn’t turn out that well.
“After the second lap, everyone… was stuffed and we ran that third lap pretty slow so the guys got back on and we had to sprint again.
“After that I knew Matt was going to keep going and gee he ran really well.”
The event was given a glowing review from Usain Bolt who raved about the dramatic nature of the race during his post-race interview after helping his All-Stars win the mixed 4x100m relay.
Comments on the elimination mile spread across social media pages from around the world proving to be a popular Nitro concept – although Riseley was not as charmed immediately after crossing the line in undoubtedly the toughest 4:09 mile of his career.
“Everyone was surging all over the place and going wide it just turned into carnage and with 10 metres to go you’re looking around because you want to rest but you’ve got guys coming all over the place,” Riseley said.
“I’ve never trained for anything like that, I’m in pretty good shape I thought I was going to run pretty well tonight and then just got my mind blown.
“I think someone else can have it on Saturday night.”