Prefontaine Women’s Steeple And 2-Mile: Emma Coburn Goes For DL Victory #2; Shannon Rowbury Vs. Jordan Hasay

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May 29, 2014

We broke the down the stacked women’s 1500m with Jenny Simpson, Abeba Aregawi, and Brenda Martinez here, and the women’s 800m with Chanelle Price, Mary Cain, and Maggie Vessey here. The women’s 2 mile and steeple are the other distance events and we preview them below.

Women’s 2 mile (12:44 p.m. Saturday): Jordan Hasay and Shannon Rowbury take on Mercy Cherono and Viola Kibiwot

You don’t see women’s 2 mile races very often. Initially, we wondered if the 2 mile and not a 3000 or 5000 was being run because it was going to be some sort of record attempt. We haven’t seen any mention of a run at the world or American records (the world record is 8:58.58 by Meseret Defar, while the American record is 9:21.35 by Amy Rudolph) so we imagine it’s on the schedule simply because often early on the DL circuit, as the runners work their way into top fitness, you’ll see a 3000.

However, the American record is a possibility here.

Kids Don't Try This at Home

Kids Don’t Try This at Home

Because the 2 mile is run so infrequently, there’s actually a huge gap between the #1 (8:58.58) and #2 (9:14.09) fastest times in history, and with Kenyan studs Mercy Cherono (world 5k silver, 8:21.14) and Viola Kibiwot (4th at worlds, 8:24.14 in Doha) both in the field, the winner could definitely move up to #2 on the all-time list.

Defar’s 8:58.58 2 mile is roughly equivalent to an 8:19 3000m which no one has run this decade. Cherono however ran 8:21.14 in Doha, which shows how fit she is.

From an American perspective, the biggest storyline is the battle between Shannon Rowbury and former Oregon Duck Jordan Hasay. Hasay smoked Rowbury at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix 2 mile in February, 9:36 to 9:52, but Rowbury beat her when it counted, taking second to Hasay’s fourth at USA indoors to clinch a spot on the world indoor 3000 team. More recently, Rowbury won the Oxy 5k in 15:20 while Hasay was 3rd in 15:29. The American record of 9:21 might be in Rowbury’s reach. That’s roughly 8:40 for 3000m which Rowbury has run under three time sin her career. Rowbury is definitely a stronger bet to threaten it than Hasay. Rowbury’s 8:31.38 3000 PB is definitely superior to the AR.

BELETE Mimi09.06.1988BRN5th at Shanghai DL in 1500 (4:01); 8th at Doha 3k (8:30)
CHEPTAI Irine04.02.1992KEN10th at World Cross last year but last by a lot at Doha 3k (9:17)
CHERONO Mercy07.05.1991KENWC 5k silver medalist ran 8:21 3k at Doha DL; 4:07.4 split for gold medal-winning Kenyan 4×1500 at World Relays
DESALEGN Betlhem13.11.1991UAE13 Asian champ at 1500/5k was 6th at world indoors 3k
DIRIBA Buze09.02.1994ETH20-year-old world junior 5k champ was 5th at worlds in 5k last year
FELNAGLE Brianna09.12.1986USAFormer NCAA champ at UNC was 6th at Oxy 1500 in 4:07.42
HASAY Jordan21.09.1991USA10:07.65Ran 9:36 2 mile indoors; 31:39 10k at Payton Jordan, 15:29 5k at Oxy
HASSAN Sifan01.01.1993NEDBreakthrough year for former Ethiopian. 5th at world indoors, big PBs at 1500 (4:01) and 5k (14:59).
JAMAL Maryam Yusuf16.09.1984BRN2-time world 1500 champ had off year in ’13; world indoor bronze but just 8:47 for 3k at Doha DL
KIBIWOT Viola Jelagat22.12.1983KEN9:18.264th in WC 5k final last year; ran 4:01 for 4th at Shanghai DL
KIPYEGO Sally19.12.1985KEN11 WC/’12 OG silver medalist at 10k; won Payton Jordan 10k in 30:42; ran 9:21 2 mile indoors
KUIJKEN Susan08.07.1986NEDFormer NCAA champ at Fla. St. was 8th in 5k at worlds last year
MURIUKI Margaret Wangari21.03.1986KEN5th at World Cross last year; won 10k road race in Germany last month in 31:16
OLJIRA Belaynesh26.06.1990ETHWC bronze medalist at 10k; coming off 11th-place finish at Boston Marathon (2:24)
PLIŚ Renata05.02.1985POLHasn’t raced since getting 7th at world indoors 3k
REILLY Chelsea09.05.1989USA13 U.S. indoor 3k champ ran just 4:13 for 1500 at Oxy
ROWBURY Shannon19.09.1984USAFormer 1500 specialist moving up in distance. 8th at world indoors 3k; won 5k at Oxy in 15:20.
SAEED MOHAMMED Alia18.05.1991UAE12th at last two world indoors at 3k
SAINA Betsy30.06.1988KENFormer NCAA champ at Iowa St. coming off 30:57 10k PB at Payton Jordan
THWEATT Laura17.12.1988USA15:04 at Payton Jordan 5k

Women’s 3000m steeplechase (1:09 p.m. Saturday): Emma Coburn Looks For Diamond League Victory #2

This is basically a rematch of the Shanghai Diamond League race from two weeks ago. In that race, American Emma Coburn ran a PB of 9:19.80 (also a world #1) to notch the first-ever Diamond League win for an American women in the 3000m steeplechase, defeating a field that included the top five from last year’s world championships. We’ve got two questions heading into Pre, and they both involve Coburn.

That's what we call a huge lead

That’s what we call a huge lead

1) Can Coburn repeat her Shanghai performance and get her second straight Diamond League win?

We talked to Coburn after her victory in Shanghai and she said that it came as a surprise to her. Well it came as a surprise to everyone else, too. Before Shanghai, Coburn wasn’t a slouch on the global level (9th at ’12 Olympics and 13th at ’11 worlds before she got hurt in ’13), but no one was picking her for the win. Coburn won in Shanghai because several of last year’s top steeplers weren’t fit (Milcah Chemos, Lydia Chepkurui, Etenesh Diro) and the ones that were didn’t go with her once Coburn formed an early gap. With 1k to go, that gap had grown to over 12 seconds and it was too late for the rest of the field to catch her.

There’s no way that the field will allow that to happen at Pre, and that means winning will be a lot more difficult for Coburn. We’re not saying it’s impossible, but Coburn will have to run great to beat the second and third-place finishers from Shanghai, Ethiopians Sofia Assefa (bronze at worlds, 9:09 PB) and Hiwot Ayalew (4th at worlds, 9:09 PB). We’d also imagine that Chemos, Chepkurui and Diro will all be in better shape than they were in Shanghai.

2) How close can Coburn get to Jenny Simpson’s American record of 9:12.50?

Coburn ran a solo 9:19.80 in Shanghai (previous PB: 9:23.54) to become the #2 American of all time. With a couple of women to race, we could see her chopping a few more seconds off of that at Pre. In our chat with Coburn last week, she said that she didn’t think she could get the American record at the moment, but if she can get down to 9:15-9:17 at Pre, Coburn could have a real shot when she heads to Europe to race in Paris (July 5), Stockholm (August 21) and Zurich (August 28).

If she runs 9:15, Coburn likely will be top 3 and in the hunt for the win no matter what anyone else does or doesn’t do.

ARISTARKHOVA Natalya31.10.1989RUS9:30.642013 Russian champ makes ’14 debut here
ASSEFA Sofia14.11.1987ETH9:09.009:25.76Bronze at last two global champs; second in Shanghai DL on May 18
AYALEW Hiwot06.03.1990ETH9:09.619:27.254th worlds, 5th Olympics, World Cross silver in 2013. 3rd in Shanghai.
CHEEVER Jamie28.02.1987USA9:29.139:55.834th at U.S. champs last year; just 10:05 in Shanghai
CHEMOS Milcah24.02.1986KEN9:07.149:38.21Defending world champ wasn’t in top shape in Shanghai (9:38)
CHEPKURUI Lidya23.08.1984KEN9:12.559:38.82Same as Chemos. WC silver medalist ran poorly in Shanghai (9:38).
CHEROTICH Fancy10.08.1990KEN9:28.049:41.229:41 in Shanghai and 9:51 in Beijing three days later
COBURN Emma19.10.1990USA9:19.809:19.802-time U.S. champ coming off biggest win of career in Shanghai
DIRO NEDA Etenesh10.05.1991ETH9:14.079:36.455th at worlds last year, 7th in Shanghai (9:36)
FRANEK Bridget08.11.1987USA9:29.539:56.72Former NCAA champ at Penn St. ran 4:20 1500 on May 9. 9:56 win in only steeple on April 18 at Oregon Relays.
GHRIBI Habiba09.04.1984TUN9:08.3711 WC/’12 OG silver medalist ran 4:10 for 1500 two weeks ago.Only two races in 2013.
HIGGINSON Ashley17.03.1989USA9:34.499:35.72Former Princeton star made first senior worlds team last year; 15:34 at Payton Jordan 5k.
KIRUI Purity13.08.1991KEN9:19.429:25.682010 World Junior champ was 4th in Shanghai; ran 9:25 to win in Beijing three days later
KRAUSE Gesa Felicitas03.08.1992GER9:23.5221-year-old was 9th at WC, 8th at OG; outdoor opener.
MCCOLGAN Eilish25.11.1990GBR9:35.8210th at WC; making 2014 debut. Daughter of 1991 10k world champ Liz McColgan.