Saturday, May 31, 2014

World Record Today?

After last night’s dazzling 10,000m American Record by Galen Rupp, there is heightened anticipation about the possibility of a world record at today’s Prefontaine Classic.

Many look to France’s Renaud Lavillenie, newly minted world record holder in the pole vault, to accomplish outdoors what he did indoors in Donetsk, Ukraine, in January, in front of previous WR holder Sergey Bubka. He ended the venerable Bubka’s nearly 21-year reign as world record holder when he soared to 20’2 ½”, 6.16m.
Key question of the day here in Eugene: which way will the wind be blowing?
In what is still a developing event, the steeplechase could steal headlines today. Emma Coburn (US) ran a brilliant race in Shanghai two weeks ago to win the first Diamond League steeple of the season. World Champion Milcah Chemos (Kenya) leads four women from Ethiopia and Kenya with bests within 11 seconds of the world record. It may be early in the season for a world record; expect at least a very substantial list revision.
The men’s Bowerman mile closes this meet. One of the greatest traditions in track and field, this race is highlighted by one of the finest fields ever assembled outside of an Olympic or World Championships final.
With the last two Olympic gold medalists in the field - Asbel Kiprop (Kenya) and Taoufik Makhloufi (Morocco), and the last two world champions (that would be Asbel Kiprop and Asbel Kiprop) – as well as ever-fast Silas Kiplagat who upset Kiprop by .05 here last year, this race is ripe for at least the fastest-ever men’s mile on US soil. Daniel Komen’s 3:48.28 from this meet in 2007 is nervous.
And the rarely run women’s two mile features 2013 World Championships medalists Belaynesh Olgira and Mercy Cherono; 2007 World 1500m Champ Maryam Jusuf Jamal brings 3:56 speed to this event.
Meanwhile, in the All-Name competition, the women’s steeple features Purity Kirui and Gesa Felicitas Krause. Purity vs felicity? If only Mercy Cherono had entered this event.