2013 Prefontaine Classic Women’s 5000: Tirunesh Dibaba Survives A Scare From Mercy Cherono

Kim Conley PRs To Grab Top American Honors

by LetsRun.com
June 1, 2013

Eugene, OR – In the women’s 5000 at the 2013 Prefontaine Classic, three-time Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba won as expected in 14:42.01, but only after she was given a scare by Kenya’s 2011 World Championships 5th placer Mercy Cherono who was just half a second behind Dibaba in 14:42.51.

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The last lap was truly thrilling to watch as many likely assumed heading into the bell that Dibaba was going to do what she nearly always does – blow people away. But not so fast, Cherono stayed right behind her and with 200 to go, Cherono tried to go by Dibaba but Dibaba wouldn’t give up the lead. Cherono stayed right on her shoulder basically all the way to the finish as she wouldn’t give up but Dibaba was unable to pull away. It’s rare to see two people in such an extended kick, be so close to each other for basically the entire last 400.

Kenyan Margaret Muriuki was a close 3rd in 14:43.68.

For the Americans, 2012 Olympian Kim Conley set a 5 second PR to grab 9th place in 15:09.57. Shannon Rowbury, who went out a bit faster than Conley (was roughly 5 seconds up at halfway) but faded at the end, finished in 15:18.06 for 11th, just .06 over the 15:18.00 IAAF ‘A’ standard (her PR is 15:00). Julia Lucas started with Conley for the first mile and a half, but went way downhill from there as she was last in 15:43.65.

Results and quick takes:

5000 Metres - Women                                           
    1 Dibaba , Tirunesh                ETH   14:42.01          4        
    2 Cherono , Mercy                  KEN   14:42.51          2        
    3 Muriuki , Margaret Wangari       KEN   14:43.68          1        
    4 Diriba , Buze                    ETH   14:51.15                   
    5 Burka , Gelete                   ETH   14:52.93                   
    6 Ayalew , Hiwot                   ETH   14:57.02                   
    7 Oljira , Belaynesh               ETH   15:01.51                   
    8 Masai , Linet Chepkwemoi         KEN   15:02.98                   
    9 Conley , Kim                     USA   15:09.57                   
   10 Utura , Sule                     ETH   15:17.34                   
   11 Rowbury , Shannon                USA   15:18.06                   
   12 Kipkirui , Caroline Chepkoech    KEN   15:37.05                   
   13 Lucas , Julia                    USA   15:43.65
      Pappas , Alexi                   USA        DNF                   
      Vaughn , Sara                    USA        DNF

Qick Take #1: Before the race Dibaba said her main goal was to break Vivian Cheruiyot‘s meet record holder of14:33.96 if the pace and weather were good. The rabbits took her through 1600 in 4:37 (on pace for 14:20), but from there no one wanted to take over the hot pace and by 2400m they were only on pace for a 14:39. What we saw is a common problem with women pacemakers – they often don’t go far enough to really help get it done. 3400m is a long time to set the pace on your own.

QT#2: The last lap was exciting and Cherono definitely made Dibaba work for it as Dibaba closed in 59.86 (29.72 last 200 ht).

QT#3: It’s impressive how far Kim Conley has came in less than a year. Last year she was a big surprise at the Trials making the team by the skin of her teeth with a 5 second PR of 15:19. Now she’s 10 seconds faster and definitely one of the names you have to talk about when you think of the potential favorites to make the US Moscow team. Of the US women, she is second in 2013 to AR holder Molly Huddle who’s run 15:05. (Interview with Conley on the right.)

QT#4: This race boosted the hopes of Conley, but had the opposite effect for Julia Lucas who was 35 seconds slower than her PR and 20 seconds slower than her season best.

Up until this afternoon, Lucas had been enjoying a pretty good season. At Stanford, she ran 15:23 to Conley’s 15:22 and then she ran a 1500 PR at Oxy in 4:05. She can hope this was just an off day and it’s better to have it now than in 3 weeks at the US Championships.

Naturally, Lucas was a little worried about it as she said, “It’s a little bit confusing. I feel like I’m in good shape, but I was really running around in circles like ‘What is going on?’ … There is something I have to fix because you don’t just run 16 minutes; you don’t just run a minute slower than you expect to run for no reason at all.” [She was actually 15:43, so maybe she thought she was slower than she was.]

QT#5: We didn’t get to interview Shannon Rowbury after the race, but we really wanted to because we wanted to ask her what she was doing in this race and what she’s going to do in Des Moines. You don’t often see a 1500 Olympian in the 5k 3 weeks before US Champs for no reason.

Our thought is she’s not sure which event she has the better chance of making the team in and this was a chance to get the “A” standard which she missed by an agonizing .06 seconds. Now she doesn’t have the “A” in the 5k or 1500, but it’s not a big issue as you can chase the standard in Europe after USAs this year.

While we think she might have an easier time making the team in the 5k than the 1500 as the US is less deep in the 5k than the 1500, we hope she does the 1,500 and think she will.

If you make the team in the 5000, the good news is you are on the team. The bad news – you then get slaughtered at Worlds (today’s race visually showed us just how far back the top US women are from the Africans)

In the 1500, she’d have a chance to actually do something. Rowbury was 6th in the World last year in London  (5th pending a doping ban for Turkey’s Aslı Çakır Alptekin) and she medalled in 2009.

QT #6: 9:00 minutes of race highlights below if you’ve got time.

More LRC Pre Coverage:
Highlight:Women’s 800:High Schooler Mary Cain Breaks 2:00 As Francine Niyonsaba Dominates

5k: Mo Farah is Beaten By Edwin Soi as Galen Rupp Finishes Sixth
Bowerman Mile: Silas Kiplagat Steals The Race From Asbel Kiprop at The Line as 9 Guys Run 3:51 or Faster
Steeple: Conseslus Kipruto Survives Ezekiel Kemboi’s Shove; Evan Jager 8:08
Men’s 800: Mohammed Aman Dominates As Nick Symmonds Debuts in Third

1500: Hellen Obiri Wins in 3:58 as Treniere Moser and Sheila Reid Run 4:02

Friday: Kenenisa Bekele Wins 10,000m, But Time Disappoints at 2013 Prefontaine Classic
*Men’s International Mile: James Magut Wins, No HS Sub-4 As Will Leer Gets Top American Honors as Andrew Wheating Runs ‘Scared’
*Men’s National 1500: Garrett Heath Wins, Chris Solinsky’s Lacking Speed And Alan Webb Struggles But Is Happy
*Women’s 800: Phoebe Wright Gets The Win, Ajee Wilson’s Winning Streak Comes To An End And Gabrielle Anderson PR’s

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