May 2, 2015
Nassau, Bahamas – The US came through as the heavy favorite and delivered gold in the women’s DMR tonight at the 2015 IAAF World Relays Championships in a new world’s best of 10:36.50, smashing the old record of 10:42.57. Coming in, we expected the USA of to dominate, and dominate they did. Our only question was, “Could they have the best runner on all 4 legs?”
In the end, they did not but it was close as 1200 opening leg runner Treniere Moser handed off in second after a 3:18.38 opening leg, just .27 seconds off the lead. After that, it was all USA as each of the remaining US runners was the best on their individual legs.
The race went out slowly, with the leaders coming through the first lap of the opening 1200-meter leg in just 69 seconds. Kenya and Poland sat in first at that point, with the U.S.’s Treniere Moser chilling in the back of the pack. The pace accelerated slightly on the second lap, with Moser moving up to second behind Kenya’s Selah Jepleting Busienei (2:01.17 pb, 4:08.85 pb) as they came through 800 in 2:15.
Kenya and the U.S. remained in the lead for the next 200 meters, but as they entered the final turn, France’s Renelle Lamote (2:01.87 indoors this year, 2:00.06 last year) sprinted to the front and it was Lamote who handed off in first, with the U.S. and Kenya close behind.
The French lead would be short-lived, however, as 2012 Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross grabbed the baton for the U.S to run the 400 leg. Within 100 meters, she had the lead and would split 50.12, giving Wilson a large 2.73 second gap to work with. Given how big the gap was, if you were watching it live, you probably wondered if Richards-Ross had run sub-49, but the reason why she handed off with such a large lead is no other 400 runner ran faster than 52.59 (Kenya) . The other teams were pretty awful – France (53.12), Australia (53.31), Poland (54.12), Germany (55.94).
With Wilson and Rowbury handling the 800-1600 legs, the only suspense over the final two legs was whether the U.S. would get the world record of 10:42.57, run indoors this year by the team of Sarah Brown, Mahagony Jones, Megan Krumpoch and Brenda Martinez. Wilson did her job, running a strong 2:00.08 (58.50 first lap) solo 800 leg and handing off to Rowbury, who had to run faster than 4:34 on the anchor leg to get the world record. After running relaxed for the first first 1200, Rowbury kicked home with a 65-second final lap to cap off a 4:27.92 anchor leg and deliver a comfortable win for the Americans.
A weakened Kenyan team put together a solid performance for second in 10:43.35 with Poland taking bronze in 10:45.32, but there was only one team that was ever going to win on this night.
Our quick take analysis and then results appear below.
Quick Take #1: Could any country have beaten this U.S. lineup, even at full strength?
On paper, the Americans were heavy favorites and they ran like it today. Richards-Ross, Wilson and Rowbury were all clearly the strongest women on their legs, so that left it to Moser to simply keep it close through 1200, which she did.
Kenya wound up a distant second, but this clearly wasn’t their A team. A squad of Faith Kipyegon (3:58 last year), Hellen Obiri (3:57 last year), 2013 800 World Champ Eunice Sum (1:57 last year) would really give the U.S. a run for their money even though they’d be losing ground on the 400 leg. That Kenyan team probably beats tonight’s U.S. squad as Kenya’s advantage at 1200 would probably be enough to counteract the U.S.’s advantage at 400.
Apart from Kenya, we can’t think of any country that could beat the U.S – unless doped up Russia starts showing up again soon. And even Kenya probably wouldn’t be able to touch a full-strength U.S. team (sub in Jenny Simpson for Moser) as the two teams would be close to even on the 800, 1200 and 1600 legs but the U.S. would still have a massive advantage at 400.
Quick Take #2: The U.S. is halfway to a distance sweep
Last year, Kenya won the first two distance relays on Saturday night and was only denied a distance sweep by the U.S. women’s 4×800. Now it’s the Americans who are halfway to a distance sweep after two comfortable wins in the men’s 4×800 and women’s DMR.
The U.S. women are heavy favorites in the 4×800, which means that all that stands between the U.S. and sweep is the men’s DMR. As we noted in our preview, with no Asbel Kiprop or Ronald Kwemoi on the Kenyan team, Kenya is vulnerable and the U.S. has a legitimate shot at the win. Can the U.S. get the sweep, or will Kenya play spoiler as the Americans did last year in the women’s 4×800?
Quick Take #3: The US Team Was Rightfully Pumped for a World Record
While we expected the US team to get a World Record, they had to go out and do it which they did. And they celebrated like a team that had done something no one else in the world had done. Despite all of her accomplishments, Sanya Richards Ross has never been on a world record setting team. She jumped at the opportunity to run the 4×400 here saying, “Was it difficult (decision) to run with Ajee, Treniere and Shannon?… It was a no brainer for me.” She said, “It was an honor to partner with these ladies. I’ve never run a distance medley relay…It’s just an honor to have a world record.. I’ll never forget this moment.
A problem with many of the women’s world records was they were set in the doped 1980s and they are almost untouchable. Shannon said, “To have one of these around your neck, to see the flag, to have a world record, in distance running, that’s not a common opportunity especially with some of the records that are on the books. I feel so honored to be a part of this team.”
As for her leg, she was just trying to have a sense of pace the first 800 and then bring it home the second half which she did nicely. Up next is her first altitude stint of the year, and the Hoka One Occidental High Performance Meet, then the Prefontaine meet.
Shannon nearly won the Diamond League finale last year and has refound success at 1500 after switching to coach Alberto Salazar last year. On last year she said, “Last year I did a good job of proving I still have what it takes.” For this year, “The podium is my goal, the top of the podium is my goal. Teh main goal is Roo the following year so I’m trying to build for that.”
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