World’s Fastest Teenager Racing at 2013 Pre Classic Women’s 1,500 And Her Name Isn’t Mary Cain

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Press Release from Pre Classic
May 27, 2013

Editor’s Note: This article states that Kipyegon has the World Junior Record at 3:56.98, however the IAAF website lists the World Junior Record for 1500m at 3:51 by China’s Yinglai Lang in 1997.

No, it’s not Mary Cain, the exceptional 17-year old who will race in the IDL 800 Meters at Pre on June 1st.  It’s Faith Kipyegon, who at 19 has already run faster than three of the last four Olympic gold medalists in the women’s 1500 meters on Saturday, June 1st.  She will make her U.S. debut in the 1500 meters at the Pre Classic, after shattering the World Junior Record earlier this month by nearly 3 seconds at 3:56.98, also becoming the fastest Kenyan of any age.  The previous WJR had stood since 2005 and the previous Kenyan record since 1998.  Kipyegon is still eligible to set more Junior-aged records this year.

Kipyegon has an incredible record already.  She won the 2011 World Youth Championships and 2012 World Junior Championships.  Then, earlier this year she added the World Junior Cross-Country gold.

Mary Cain en route to the US jr record and yet she barely is in the same picture as Faith Kipyegon

Mary Cain en route to the US jr record last year and yet she barely was in the same picture as Faith Kipyegon

The Pre Classic presents an interesting challenge for the young Kenyan.  A former Olympic gold medalist and a 2-time World Championships gold medalist lead a world-class field in Nancy Langat of Kenya and Maryam Jamal of Bahrain.  Langat won the Beijing gold, while Jamal took home the 2007 and 2009 World Championships gold medals. Only Jamal (3:56.18) and Russia’s Yelena Soboleva (3:56.43) have faster personal bests in the field.

The field also includes two of America’s fastest in Anna Willard and Treniere Moser.  Willard is a former American record holder in the steeplechase.  She is the fastest American at 1500 since 2000, as her 3:59.38 best trails only Mary Slaney and Suzy Favor Hamilton.  Moser, the last woman to win 3 straight national titles in a decade, has reinvented her career, running her fastest since the most recent of three national championships titles in 2007.

Women’s 1500 MetersPersonal Best
Maryam Jamal (Bahrain)3:56.18
Yelena Soboleva (Russia)3:56.43
Faith Kipyegon (Kenya)3:56.98
Btissam Lakhouad (Morocco)3:59.35
Anna Willard (USA)3:59.38
Hellen Obiri (Kenya)3:59.68
Nancy Langat (Kenya)4:00.13
Mimi Belete (Bahrain)4:00.25
Siham Hilali (Morocco)4:01.33
Hannah England (Great Britain)4:01.89
Eunice Sum (Kenya)4:02.05
Laura Weightman (Great Britain)4:02.99
Mary Kuria (Kenya)4:03.18
Treniere Moser (USA)4:03.32
Sheila Reid (Canada)4:07.07

Fans can follow the event lineups as all announced fields are posted  The direct link to current start/entry lists is HERE and includes updates to previously announced fields.

Tickets for the 39th annual edition of the Prefontaine Classic, to be held May 31-June 1 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., are available now from and from 1-800-WEBFOOT.  Sponsored by NIKE continuously since 1984, the Prefontaine Classic will be shown live to an international audience and by NBC Sports from 1:30 till 3:00 p.m. PT on June 1st.

The Prefontaine Classic is the longest-running outdoor invitational track and field meet in America and is part of the elite IAAF Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually.  Last year’s Pre Classic presented the most 2012 Olympic gold medalists (20) of any invitational meet in the world.

Steve Prefontaine is a legend in the sport of track & field and is perhaps the most inspirational distance runner in American history.  Many call him the greatest ever.  He set a national high school 2-mile record (8:41.5) while at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay, Oregon, that is the fastest ever in a National Federation-sanctioned race.  While competing for the University of Oregon, he won national cross country championships (3) and outdoor track 3-Mile/5000-meter championships (4) every time he competed, and never lost a collegiate race at any distance.  As a collegiate junior, he made the 1972 U.S. Olympic Team and nearly won an Olympic medal, finishing 4th in the 5K at the 1972 Munich Olympics, at age 22.  After finishing college in 1973 and preparing for a return to the Olympics in 1976, he continued to improve, setting many American records.  His life ended tragically on May 30, 1975, the result of an auto accident, at age 24.  The Pre Classic began soon after and has been held every year since.


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