Ten Story Lines Heading Into Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games

  • submit to reddit

By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
July 23, 2013

The opening distance event reads like an American Championship. If everyone on the start list appears on the line, there will be eight Americans running seven and one half laps around Olympic Stadium. Gabriele Anderson, Kim Conley, Jordan Hasay, Tara Erdmann, Brie Felnagle, Molly Huddle, Chelsea Reilly, and Shannon Rowbury are all entered. Rowbury and Anderson made some noise last week over 1500m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco; can they have the same success at double the distance?

If Erdmann does indeed start, the question will be how well her legs have recovered from last week’s attempt at the World Championships ‘A’ standard for 10,000m. Unlike that time trial, she’ll have Oregon Project teammate Hasay by her side in London.

The favorite has to be Rowbury, with a personal best of 8:31.38 that leads the field. Other athletes entered in the event include Spain’s Dolores Checa and Great Britain’s Emelia Gorecka, the recent European Junior champion at 3000m.

The Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games celebrate last year’s Olympics, yet also looks forward to Rio de Janeiro 2016, and when the IAAF World Championships come to London in 2017. Young talent will be showcased on the women’s side, particularly in the middle distance disciplines. Though Jessica Judd and Mary Cain won’t be up against one another –Judd’s in the 800m while Cain in the 1500m– both will surely draw their fair share of attention. Recent British medalists Emelia Gorecka (gold at the European Junior Championships 3000m) and Laura Muir (European Under-23 championships bronze medalist for 1500m) will also be racing in the 3000m and 1500m, respectively. Judd and Muir will represent Britain at next month’s IAAF World Championships. In both London and Moscow, Judd will face American 19-year-old Ajee’ Wilson.

Article continues below player

A sub-four minute time is surely possible in the women’s 1500m. Only four women have gone under the time this year, led by Abeba Aregawi of Sweden. However, none of those women will be in London. Americans Mary Cain and Treniere Moser have shown promise in tactical races this season, but Cain hasn’t yet raced a fast-from-the gun 1500m, while Moser finished last in Monaco last Friday in a modest 4:07.42. Cain’s personal best and American Junior Record of 4:04.62 could quite well be broken if the pace is honest. Former world #1 at the discipline Morgan Uceny still is looking to return to 2012 form.

Sifan Hassan, Mary Kuria, Ibtissam Lakhouad, and Renata Plis could all find themselves in front. Lakhouad is the only one in the field to have previously gone under four minutes, a 3:59.35 performance in Lausanne in 2010. Britain’s Laura Muir, the European Under-23 championships bronze medalist for 1500m, is using the race as a tune-up for the IAAF World Championships, where she’ll be in the 800m.

The women’s 800m could be the best preview of the kind of times expected in Moscow next month. Eight athletes in the race have run under 2:00, including Brenda Martinez, who’s gone 1:58.18 this year. NCAA Champion Natoya Goule of Jamaica, British darling Jessica Judd and national champion Marilyn Okoro, and American Ajee’ Wilson will face-off. Martinez has the fastest 2013 time of the bunch, and is coming off a personal best 1500m of4:00.94 in Monaco.

The men’s 800m is set to be a GBR vs. USA show, as both nation’s IAAF World Championships representatives in the discipline are entered. The USA has the edge, as Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds have both run under 1:43 in the Olympic Stadium before, with Brandon Johnson timing a season’s best 1:43.84 in Madrid this month. For Team GB, Andrew Osagie and Michael Rimmer will lead the charge; both are 1:43 athletes. Fellow countryman Mukhtar Mohammed is also entered, though will not be competing in Moscow next month.

The 1:59:40 GOAT shirts are here
Posted in: Other