Phil Norman took another significant chunk off his own club steeplechase record on Saturday evening in Belgium when he clocked 8:29.37secs in the International Flanders meeting. The qualifying standard for October's World Championships is 8:29.00 so, somewhat frustratingly, he was 0.37secs short. However, the season is still young and he has until early September to make the standard.
Phil sets the pace in Belgium
Though Phil took over six seconds off his PB in Oordegem-Lede on Saturday, the race was far from ideal. With 20 men in the international field and no pace-maker, there was a lot of pushing, changing of rhythm and hazard avoidance. Phil negotiated all this very well to finish 2nd, just 0.1secs behind the Finnish winner.
Phil's next shot at the qualifier is likely to be the European Athletics Classic meeting in Huelva, Spain, in 3 weeks' time. This is where he set his previous PB of 8:35.47secs last summer. It has been a very promising start to the summer for the Tomaz Plibersek-coached athlete.