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Carlsbad 5,000 : Scott Gets a Big Kick Out of This Victory

<i> Times Staff Writer</i>

Europe had always been a place where Steve Scott could regain his confidence. No matter how poorly he raced in the early American outdoor season, Scott would find his kick, his strength and his winning spirit in the European summer season.

This summer, however, he seems to have found it at home. Scott successfully defended his title at the Carlsbad 5,000-meter run Sunday, and, in the process, made an encouraging move toward challenging for the World Championships later in the summer. A prospect that didn’t look good a month ago.

“I’ve always raced well over there (Europe),” said Scott, the American record-holder in the mile. “No matter how badly I raced here, I would go to Europe and perform.”

So after his second-place finish to Jim Spivey in 1,500-meter run in the U.S. outdoor championships last month, Scott packed his bags.

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But this trip to Europe would be different. He was slowed by a pulled buttocks muscle and tendinitis in his left hamstring, and could not race himself back into shape. After disappointing races in Norway and Finland, Scott took the first plane home. Never in his years of racing in Europe had he left so abruptly.

“I figured I’d be better off training at home and getting ready for the World Championships than staying and racing,” Scott said.

Sunday, Scott saw the first signs that the return to his home in Fallbrook was the right choice.

He used a strong finishing kick to overcome a good field of experienced road racers to win the Carlsbad race. Scott’s time of 13 minutes 36 seconds was four seconds off the world record of 13:32 he set in last year’s race, but it was a positive victory, nonetheless.

Scott led a tight pack home, as the first five finishers were bunched within four seconds. Gidamis Shahanga of Tanzania was second (13:37), Wilson Waigwa of Kenya third (13:37), Vince Draddy of San Diego fourth (13:38) and Geraldo Alcala of Mexico fifth (13:40).

Lorraine Moller of New Zealand won the women’s division in 15:35. Moller broke away from the women’s field after running the first mile in a fast 4:46. Lisa Weidenbach, the 1985 Boston Marathon champion from Battle Creek, Mich., was second (15:53). She finished one second ahead of the third-place finisher, Sue Addison of Louisville, Colo.

Scott stayed a step or two off the pace of Rich Brownsberger of El Cajon, who took the leaders through the first two miles in 4:20 and 4:30. Brownsberger soon dropped off the pace (he finished 14th in 14:07) as Scott and the others took over. But Scott moved into the lead as the pack turned from Carlsbad Boulevard onto Elm Street for the downhill sprint to the finish.

The pulled buttocks muscle early in the season and the tendinitis that developed before his trip to Europe kept him from training the way he had wanted to.

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“When I went to (the nationals), I didn’t have that confidence that you have when you know you’re ready.”

His sluggish times in Europe further diminished his confidence.

“It wasn’t the times that bothered me as much as how I ran,” Scott said. “I got passed by like four people in the last 200 meters that I had no business losing to."Scott’s pulled buttocks muscle has healed and he is continuing his training program to prepare for the World Championships Aug. 29-Sept. 6.

“Actually, I’m lucky the World Championships are late in the season,” Scott said. “In another six weeks, I’ll be ready. This race showed me I’m on my way.”

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