DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA – Maggie Vessey’s appearance at the IAAF World Championships in Track & Field got off to a great start on Thursday morning in 800 meter qualifying at Daegu Stadium in Daegu, South Korea.
Vessey braved oppressive heat and humidity to place second in her heat in 2:01.32, and gain an automatic qualifying spot in the semifinals of the 800, which will be held on Friday evening. Overall, Vessey’s time placed her 11th among the 24 runners who moved out of the first round.
Running in the first heat of the day at 11:40 am, Vessey got off to a quick start in the first 200 meters of her race, and positioned herself right behind the leaders and on the outside of lane one.
As the race pace slowed, she maintained her position and refused to get boxed in by runners on her outside. She moved quickly to the front of the pack on the final backstretch and closed strongly, running a 28.6 time for the final 200 meters. Vessey said she was happy with her race strategy and its execution.
“I knew that there were four runners in my heat who had run under two minutes (this year) and that four of us would advance. So I just wanted to keep those runners around me and if anyone else moved up, make a move. It played out really well.”
Vessey said her relatively long, five-week break from racing did not negatively affect her in the race.
“I know from training that I have more left (for the next round) and I know that I am going to have to give it. I felt pretty sharp, you know, because you’re at Worlds and there’s that element of nerves and adrenalin that will give you that needed boost.”
When asked what she is looking for in the next round, Vessey said, “To qualify. To execute my race plan. You know, to execute my race plan (in the semis) whatever happens, that is my goal.
Vessey, who has been coached since October 2010 by Rose Monday, said she splits her time between San Antonio, Texas, where Monday is based, and Santa Cruz.
“I spend most of my time in Santa Cruz, but I did some fall base training in Texas. I kind of mix it up a little bit, it’s nice.”
She said she had stepped up her training mileage and intensity under Monday, and feels good about the results she is seeing.
“I’m doing hour-long runs, tempo runs, aerobic threshold runs, a lot of stuff that is difficult and uncomfortable for me, but, man, it feels so much better out on the track. So, I’ll keep doing it. I’ll suffer for it.”