May 25, 2013
Randall’s Island, NY – As expected, 2013 world leader Abebe Aregawi of Sweden (Formerly of Ethiopia) picked up her second Diamond League victory of the season today at the 2013 adidas Grand Prix at Icann, Stadium on Randall’s Island in dominant fashion.
Aregawi, who had run a 3:56.60 world leader in Doha, won in just 4:03.69 as cold and windy conditions greatly impacted the race. Coming into the race, there was hope that Mary Slaney‘s US all-comers record of 3:58.92 from 1986 would go down, but with the wind and rain, that just wasn’t in the cards for today.
The question of who would finish second was answered by Kenya’s Hellen Obiri, who ran 4:04.84, well ahead of Brenda Martinez, who claimed first American honors in third in 4:06.25. 2009 World Championships bronze medalist Shannon Rowbury was fifth in 4:07.36, former Villanova star Sheila Reid was sixth (4:07.47) as 2011 world #1 Morgan Uceny made a huge step forward by finishing seventh in 4:08.49, as she’d only run 4:17.71 at Drake.
From the gun, the rabbits gapped the field, and they led by more than 10 meters by their first trip past the finish line. Leading the chase pack was the Canadian Olympian and former Villanova star Sheila Reid with Aregawi sitting right behind her. The pack would stay like that through the first half of the race.
The drama coming in was who would get second and who would be the top American, as the field had Olympians Shannon Rowbury and Morgan Uceny, along with Brenda Martinez, who has been killing it in 2013. For the first half, the Americans were all back running around mid-pack, but on the penultimate backstretch, Martinez started going out way wide to go around people.
With 600 to go, she was really moving up on the outside and put herself in good position with one lap to go. At the bell, Reid still led, but Aregawi blew by her to take the lead and started pulling away. The only one to go with her was Obiri, who moved up to 2nd as Reid started fading hard. Behind those two, Martinez was moving up well, passing everyone else and putting herself into 3rd.
The other Americans didn’t move up as well as Martinez did, but definitely fared much better than they had in some other early season races. The 2009 Worlds bronze medallist Rowbury, who ran 4:09 for 4th at Drake Relays after an abysmal 16:08 5k at Carlsbad in April, improved to a SB of 4:07.36.
Quick Take (QT) #1: This was a huge step forward for the 2011 world #1 Morgan Uceny. In addition to the fact that Uceny ran 9+ seconds better than her 4:17 bomb at Drake and much better than her 2:05 800 season opener, she got some confidence by beating some of the US women she will take on at the US Trials, including three who had trounced her at Drake – 2013 US road mile champ Kate Grace, 2012 US Trials 4th placer Gabriele Anderson and Sarah Bowman, who all ran between 4:08.92 and 4:09.38.
QT #2: That being said, this race definitely doesn’t bode well for US medal chances in Moscow this summer. While Martinez finished well here and has been having a great year and is running better than all the other US milers except Jenny Simpson, she got dropped significantly here by both Aregawi and Obiri.
QT #3: No shame here that Rowbury and Grace didn’t get the “A” of 4:05.50 in these conditions. They can take solace in the fact that they beat both Mary Cain and Gabriele Anderson at Drake (both of whom have subsequently gone on to get the “A”).
QT #4: This was a good 2013 individual opener for Kenya’s 23-year-old Hellen Obiri. She seems poised for a second good year in a row. Obiri enjoyed an incredible 2012 as she was the world indoor 3,000 champion and ran 3:59.68 in Rome on May 31st. She’s probably not as sharp as she was last year when she ran 3:59 in Rome (but maybe she is as she did finish within 1 second of a 3:56 runner), but that may be a good thing come Moscow.
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