Goule-Toppin overjoyed after national record run in 800m
A national 800 metres record has Natoya Goule-Toppin super excited about the upcoming Olympic year. Goule-Toppin became the first Jamaican women to go faster than one minute 56 seconds with a third-place finish in 1.55.96 at last weekend’s Diamond...
A national 800 metres record has Natoya Goule-Toppin super excited about the upcoming Olympic year. Goule-Toppin became the first Jamaican women to go faster than one minute 56 seconds with a third-place finish in 1.55.96 at last weekend’s Diamond League final in Eugene, Oregon.
“It’s sweeter than when I ran 1.56.15,” she said yesterday in reference to the old mark she set in Paris five years ago. She placed third to Olympic champion Athing Mu and Olympic and World Championships runner-up Keely Hodgkinson who set United States and British records – 1.54.97 and 1.55.19, respectively.
The 32-year-old Goule-Toppin and her coach Mark Elliot knew the race would be quick once they saw Mu’s name on the entry list.
“Coach was like yes this is a good field, this is one of the best fields that we have ever had, because I think this is the first time that all four of us, including (World champion) Mary (Moraa), were able to compete against each other this year,” she said.
United States 400m runner Kaylin Whitney set the pace with a 55-second first lap, with Hodgkinson leading Mu and Goule-Toppin at 57.2. “Everybody nowadays in the 800m can come through in 57, 58. So with the rabbit going out at 55, it gave us the pace for all of us to go out, even though a lot of them were still there with 300m to go,” the 2019 Pan-American Games gold medallist observed. “I realised actually at the end there were like three races going on; Athing and Keely, me by myself, and then the rest of the persons with Mary leading it. So that really helped a lot to pull us away from the crowd and traffic and everything.”
The record was compensation for her unexpected semifinal exit at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, last month. “At Worlds, I came through in 61. It’s just that the tactics didn’t come out right on that day, but I knew I could have done well,” she said ruefully.
The record gave her a grandstand finish to a difficult year. A stress fracture delayed her racing and training. A car accident and hamstring trouble after a 51.76 second 400m trip threatened her campaign.
Now the bright lights are shining on Goule-Toppin again.
“So to be able to finish out the season in 1.55, I am super happy, looking forward to 2024 because I know I can go faster than even running 1.55 based on my training and you know what my coach and I saw. So I’m super pumped and I’m super excited for 2024 to see what God has in store for me.”