Woken up at 4 AM by the thundering claps from the sky and a terrential downpour I feared the worst for the 61 comptetitors that would toe the line at 8:30 AM. Fortuntately as I peered out at 6 AM conditions appeared better. By 6:30 it was cool and overcast, but undecided if the rain was complete.
Luckily for all, the skies cleared and the temperatures hovered in the mid sixties. There was even a squiggie guy not asking for $. What more could we ask for?
How about a four time Olympic race walking Champion?
The stadium was relatively quite as the pack took an early trip around the stadium. How different a few hours would make. Jockeying for position really didn't matter. We've said it before and we'll repeat it at every 50km; the 50km doesn't start until 40km into the race.
USA's John Nunn, the sole American competing, looked comfortable coming out of the stadium. After a great Olympi Trials performance and a solid race at the Olympic Games hopes were high Nunn would turn in another fine performance.
Once out of the stadium two Russians Ivan Noskov and Mikhail Ryzhov lead the way.
Behind them was the speedy Yohann Diniz from France.
And of course, then there was the pack. A pack full of Olympic, World Cup and World Championship medalists.
Further back walkers like Australia's Chris Erickson were hoping to have a breakout day.
Everyone seemed content to let the Russians have their way. A confident gesture considering they have the home crowd advantage.
Jared Tallent was the first to break ranks and try to reel the Russians back in.
Yohann Diniz was also unwilling to let the Russians walk away and he laid chase to Tallent as well as the two leaders.
Everyone else played the waiting game.
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