Track is my field: Mark Cullen's international track and field website featuring storytelling, commentary, and predictions and event analyses for the Olympics and World Championships. I'll be writing from the 2018 European Championships in Berlin in August. I'm active on Facebook and Twitter: @trackerati.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Distance Dominates

On an evening when distance dominated at Eugene's Prefontaine Classic, few distances were more impressive than Joe Kovacs’ 72’ 7” final round throw in the shot put.

In a scintillating series in which three of his throws would have won, Kovacs reinforced his position as the leading putter in the world this year and the favorite to make the deep US World Championships team.

Germany’s two-time World champion David Storl kept the heat on with his 71’11” in second, while the rest of the stellar field finished over two feet behind Kovacs, so dominant were the leading pair.

Tianna Bartoletta mastered swirling winds with her 23’4” long jump win. Canada’s Christabel Nettey took second in 22’ 11 1/4”; the rising star’s personal best remains fractions from long jumping’s 23’ and 7 meter stratosphere. Surprising in 5th was World and Olympic champion Britnney Reese.

With his scintillating 27:07.51 10k, Cam Levins smashed the Canadian record of 27:23.63 set by Simon Bairu in 2010. Levins moved through the field dramatically from 7k and stormed to a fourth place finish.

“It’s my first outdoor record, and I’m feeling good,” said Levins. Levins spoke with Bairu before the race and said of his record, “It’s going down!” Right he was.

Next up for Levins is the Portland Track Classic 5k with the goal of achieving the World qualifier.

Mo Farah outkicked Paul Tanui and Geoffrey Kamworor for the win, but was disappointed in the time of 26:50.97. 

Tanui and Farah helped each other by exchanging the lead when the pacers were not as effective for as long as hoped. “We had a chat at the beginning of the race and said, ‘Let’s help each other,’ said Farah. “We wanted to run a fast time.”

Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha blew open the men’s 5k with unofficial splits of 55-62 - before the last 200! Last year's World Junior champion is undefeated on this track.

In spite of his third place finish, Galen Rupp felt that this 5,000m in particular was helpful in establishing where he is in his season, especially after his first scheduled race was cancelled due to lightning wto weeks ago. 

“I was really happy that it ended up being tactical,” Rupp said.  “It’s good practice for the meets coming up, which are probably going to be tactical, too.”  

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