July 4, 2013
Just two days after Lausanne, the IAAF Diamond League track and field series stops in Paris on Saturday as the 2013 Meeting Areva (formerly the Meeting Gaz de France) takes place.
Below we preview the men’s 1,500, which features America’s best metric milers as the top 3 from USAs plus the American record holder are all competing, and then the men’s steeplechase, where we possibly could see the first non-African sub-8:00 clocking.
Our preview of the women’s action appears in a separate article.
The meet is already sold out so expect over 50,000 fans to be in attendance. Usain Bolt is running the 200.
3:40PM ET: Men’s 1,500: The Americans (And Lalang) Look To Run Fast
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The fourth (Ethiopia’s Mekonnen Gebremedhin) and fifth (Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman) fastest men of the year will square off in the men’s 1,500 with the fifth fastest man Souleiman being the favorite as the 20-year-old Souleiman already has beaten Gebremedhin in both Doha and Eugene this year.
Gebremedhin was an Olympic finalist last year and this field actually includes five of the top eight from the London Olympics:
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But let’s be honest. For the vast majority of LetsRun.com’s predominately American-based audience, this race is about one thing and one thing only – the chase for times by the American-based athletes.
None of the top three from the US champs in Matt Centrowitz, Leo Manzano or Lopez Lomong have the “A” standard of 3:35.00 (Manzano doesn’t have the “B” of 3:37.00), so as of now Centrowitz is the only one going to Moscow. Centrowitz doesn’t need the “A,” but if he gets it, it will help Lomong and Manzano as the US can send any of the following: one “B,” one “A” and one “B,” and two “A”s and one “B.”
American 1,500 record holder Bernard Lagat, who is now a 5,000 man, is here as well. In winning the 5,000 at the US championships over Galen Rupp, Lagat showed he’s still got good wheels as he ran his last 1,600 in 3:55.05.
The Americans won’t be the only ones looking for a fast time. NCAA superstar Lawi Lalang of Arizona runs in the Diamond League for the first time. Could he become the fastest collegian in history? The great Jim Ryun ran 3:33.1 in the summer way back in 1967 and Mt. St. Mary’s Kip Cheruiyot ran 3:33.07 in 1986, so if the clock is 3:32 when he finishes, no one has ever run faster before running out of collegiate eligibility.
Update: An emailer has written in and corrected us:
On Thu, Jul 4, 2013 at 11:44 PM, < ******> wrote:
Nick Willis ran faster than 3:33 before running out of collegiate eligibility in 2004 he went 3:32. He was redshirting outdoor but he then competed in 2005 for Michigan so it’s not accurate to say no one has broken 3:33 before running out of eligibility.
Quick Take #1: We almost forgot – the winner of Sunday’s meet in Birmingham, Aman Wote, is here as well.
3:06PM ET: Men’s Steeplechase: Olympic Gold And Silver Battle As Ezekiel Kemboi Looks To Return To His Winning Ways And A European Looks To Break 8:00.00 For The 1st Time
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2004 and 2012 Olympic champ Ezekiel Kemboi looks to return to his winning ways after losing to teen sensation Conseslus Kipruto in Eugene and Oslo. Kipruto, who is undefeated on the year, is wisely taking this one off as his times have gotten slower each time he’s run this year and the Kenyan Trials are next weekend.
This will be far from a cakewalk for Kemboi, however, as this field has two worthy challengers in it. France’s two-time Olympic silver medallist Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad is here and in good form. After setting a personal best on Monday in the 1,500 at 3:33.12 (previous PR of 3:33.86), he said his goal is the European record of 8:01.18 in Paris. If he does that, he could be the first non-African under 8:00.00.
32-year-old Paul Kipsiele Koech, the third-fastest man in history, who has broken 8:00 each of the last two years and is the second-fastest man in the world this year, is here as well after finishing second to Kipruto in both Shanghai and Eugene.
Koech has scratched. Koech did not attend the press conference but is in the field.
Quick Take (QT) #1: American record holder Evan Jager isn’t here, but if he was, he’d have the fourth-best seasonal best time (8:08.60) of the year of anyone in the field, showing he’s a real medal threat in Moscow. We imagine Jager will be taking a little time on the July 4th holiday weekend to at a minimum look at the results of this one.
QT #2: Paul Kipsiele Koech hasn’t broken 8:00 yet this year. No one in the world has. But if he does break 8:00 in Paris, he’ll tie Saif Saeed Shaheen (who originally was known as Stephen Cherono) for the most sub-8:00s in history. Only 33 times has a human broken 8:00 and 19 of them have been done by Kipsiele Koech or Shaheen.
Most Sub-8:00s In History
Saif Saeed Shaheen/Stephen Cherono – 8/2 – 10 total
Paul Kipsiele Koech – 9
Moses Kiptanui – 3
Brahim Boulami – 3
It’s worth noting that the great Kemboi has only done it
once twice in his life. Additionally, 2008 Olympic champ Brimin Kipruto, who might have challenged for gold last year had he not fallen at the Olympics, has also only done it once. Speaking of Kipruto, he raced twice in May but hasn’t been seen since. Will he show up at the Kenyan Trials next week.
QT #3: Only 10 men have ever broken 8:00.00 and 9 of them were born in Kenya (Shaheen switched his allegience to Qatar in the middle of his career). The one non-Kenyan on the list was EPO cheat Moroccan Brahim Boulami. So if the Reims-born Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad breaks 8:00.00, he’ll set all sorts of firsts.