10 August 2017
McDonald magnificent – World Champs day 6 NSW Wrap
In terribly weather conditions, on day six at the IAAF world championships being held in London, Morgan McDonald, was magnificent in his senior championships debut.
In heavy rain, Morgan McDonald (RBH) had the disadvantage of running in heat two of the 5000m where a slow tactical race resulted in Randwick Botany’s Morgan McDonald just missing progression to the final. The pack, which had remained together past the 4000m mark only broke up in the later stages of the race. McDonald, coasting at the back of the pack, ran conservatively and wisely, until the 4000m point where he moved up to leading few as the pace quickened. Over the next 800m, McDonald was shuffled back to about 14th place, but as he hit the home straight he made a powerful run to the line, passing about seven athletes just missing an automatic top-5 by 0.37 seconds finishing in seventh place in a time of 13:30.37. The second heat was quicker, knocking McDonald out of progression to the final by a few seconds.
In the women’s 3000m steeplechase heats, a former training partner of McDonald, Victoria Mitchell (AEA), competing in her third world championships, the first 10 years ago in 2007, was unsuccessful in progressing to the final clocking 10:00.40 for 11th in heat two.
For many, the name or Morgan McDonald would be unfamiliar. He has for the last few years been based in America at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the state of Wisconsin. Presented here is his profile, which maps out his spectacular pathway over the last few years.
PB/s: 1500m 3:41.80i (New York USA, 6 Feb 2016), Mile 3:55.79 (Dublin IRE, 12 Jul 2017), 3000m 7:51.19i (New York USA, 4 Feb 2017), 5000m 13:15.83 (Heusden BEL, 22 Jul 2017)
A member of one of Australia’s oldest clubs, Randwick Botany Harriers, Morgan McDonald was a leading Australian junior distance runner, leaning more towards the longer distances and cross country. At 16 years, he had already clocked 8:17 for 3000 metres and competed at the 2013 World Cross Country Championships in the under-20 race, placing an outstanding 33rd in his international debut. The same year he completed his high school studies at Newington College, a leading Sydney school. He compiled a strong 2014 track season where he clocked a 5000m PB of 14:07.11 and won the national junior 5000m title. Selected for the 2014 World Juniors in Oregon, he had a model preparation with 1500m/mile PBs of 3:45.92/4:04.01 in the leadup. At the juniors, he placed an excellent 10th in 14:10.08, just outside his PB. He remained in the US and headed to college to study a Business degree (majoring in finance) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Within months he was already competed for the college placing 75th in the 2014 NCAA cross country championships. In 2015 his first track season, and in just his second indoor race, still only aged 18, he sliced 20 seconds off his 3000m PB with a very quick 7:55.20 – an Australian under-20 record. He also ran a mile PB 4:03.81. He again competed at the World Cross Country – U20 race.
In 2016, the Olympic year, he smashed PBs across all his events. Commencing with a 3:57.83 indoor mile including 3:41.80 a 1500m PB en route, 7:52.09 in the 3000m and placed 12th in the NCAA Indoor Championships. He continued that form outdoors in 2016 over 5000m with a 32 second PB of 13:34.78, reduced to 13:29.79 placing fifth in the NCAA Championship. He remained four seconds outside the Olympic qualifier and behind a traffic jam of five Aussies.
He embarked on another tremendous 2017 campaign with a 3000m indoor PB of 7:51.19 in February, but unfortunately a stress reaction in his foot meant a slow start to his outdoor season, but when he did resume competition he was unstoppable. After a win in the 5000m at his NCAA regional (Big 10) in May, he ran four consecutive PBs at 1500m/mile and 5000m in America and Europe. He clocked 13:23.28 in June in Oregon, just missing the 13:22.60 standard for the IAAF World Championships. Next, he clocked a mile PB of 3:55.79, outside the 3:53.40 world championships qualifier. He might have received an IAAF roll down in the 5000m, but by July three Aussies had secured qualifiers, but on the last day to qualify for the World Championships he nailed the standard with a time of 13:15.83, an eight second PB, moving him to number six in Australian history and second amongst Aussie qualifiers for the London World Championships.
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletic NSW
Image: Morgan McDonald (Image courtesy of Getty Images)