The women’s 400 metres in Beijing is shaping up to be a two-way battle between Shaunae Miller of The Bahamas and American Allyson Felix in the event. Both athletes are now ranked one and two, respectively, going into the championships. The Bahamian won in 49.92 seconds at the Lausanne Diamond League Meet while Felix clocked 50.05 to win at the United States National Championships. Felix, who has won multiple titles in the 200 metres and who got a wild card to compete in the event in Beijing after being the Diamond League winner last year, opted for the 400 metres instead. World leader Francena McCorory who had her worst race this season at the American Trials where she finished fourth, will now only have relay duties to do. With McCorory out, Felix who finished a close second in the on-lap event four years ago in Daegu, behind Amantle Montsho of Botswana, could see this an easier option than the half-lap event. She could regret this decision, however, as she has Miller to contend with. Like Felix, Miller is blessed with good 200m and clocked a best of 22.14 when winning at the Jamaica Invitational meet in May. As the only sub-50 second 400m runner in the field, Miller must be confident going into the event as she is both a former World Youth and World Junior champion. Two years ago as a teenager, she finished fourth in Moscow in the 200m. Without a doubt, Felix is one of the most talented athletes in the world and has played important roles on the United States 4×100 and 4x400m relay teams. She must be pretty confident here and a repeat of her 2011 form in the event where she clocked a personal best of 49.59 could see her getting the better of Miller. Jamaica’s Stephenie McPherson and Shericka Jackson should also do well with McPherson poised to win a bronze medal. For gold it looks a straight battle between Miller and Felix, and Felix is given the slight edge to take home her first major 400 metres title. But if she puts a foot wrong, Miller will definitely take full advantage. MY TOP THREE: 1. Allyson Felix (USA), 2. Shaunae Miller (Bahamas) 3. Stephenie McPherson (Jamaica). -Raymond Graham MILLER CONFIDENT
Wednesday, May 23, 6:30pm – 8:00pmOld North Speaker SeriesOccupational Hazards: 20 Years as Old North’s LeaderSpeaker: The Rev. Stephen T. AyresCo-sponsored by the Old North CongregationRegister hereThe Vicar of the Old North Church has two occupations, as spiritual leader of a North End congregation and as director of one of the most famous historical sites in the nation. Have you ever thought about the occupational hazards involved in leading two distinct, but intertwined institutions? The Rev. Stephen Ayres is both the vicar of the Old North Church and the Executive Director of the Old North Foundation. Vicar Ayres has led thousands of worship services, preached over one thousand sermons, married nearly a hundred couples, baptized over a hundred babies, and presided over dozens of funerals. At the same time, Vicar Ayres has helped transform the Old North Church from a brief stop on the Freedom Trail into a respected and professional historic site that teaches history and civic values to hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.Questions to be addressed in the lecture include:*Advertisement* What is a vicar and what does that occupation entail?How do the values inherent in a spiritual calling impact the practice of managing a historic site?Given the American tradition of separation of church and state, how can one person occupy a sacred and secular calling at the same time without going crazy or at least driving his spouse crazy?Afterwards, please join us for an outdoor reception in the Washington Courtyard while hearing about Old North’s upcoming projects.The Rev. Stephen T. Ayres has served as Vicar of the Old North Church since 1997 and as Executive Director of the Old North Foundation since 2012. Vicar Ayres was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1980 and has served parishes in Missouri, New York, and Massachusetts. He has an undergraduate degree in Comparative Religion from Hamilton College, an M.Div. from the Episcopal Divinity School, and an MA in Urban Policy from Tufts University. While at Old North, Vicar Ayres hosted the state wide prayer service after 9/11, gave the opening prayer at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004, and gave the infamous tour of the church to Sarah Palin, after which she promptly flunked her history quiz. In the course of raising millions of dollars to preserve the Old North, Vicar Ayres led the effort to change federal preservation policy, enabling active historic houses of worship of all faiths to access federal preservation grants. He lives near the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown with his wife Lisa and son Matthew.