May 4, 2014
The women’s 5,000 at the 2014 Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational was won by the Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan (formerly of Ethiopia) in a world-leading time of 14:59.23. Sweden’s Meraf Bahta (formerly of Eritrea) was second in a national record of 14:59.49. Leading the Americans was Brooks Beasts’ Katie Mackey in 15:04.74, just beating out Boulder Track Club’s Laura Thweatt (15:04.98). GB 20-year-old Emelia Gorecka was 5th in 15:07.45 as Stanford’s Aisling Cuffe set a new school record and put herself 3rd on the all-time NCAA list with a 15:11.13.
The race started off with consistent 72 to 73-second pacing by the rabbits which took the field through 800 in 2:24 and 1600 in 4:50, before dropping out at 2K. From that point on Thweatt led every step of the race until the last lap keeping the pacing consistent as they went through 3200 in 9:41 and were at 13:57 with 1-lap to go as 5-women were still together.
Immediately at the bell Hassan went to the lead and was followed by Bahta and by 200 the other three were way back as these two would battle it out for the win. Bahta challenged Hassan on the home straight, but Hassan held her off to win by .23-seconds closing with a 62-second last lap. Mackey just got Thweatt for 3rd as Gorecka was a well-beaten 5th.
Quick Take #1: Both Hassan and Bahta recently made nationality changes at the end of 2013 and neither were established elite 5K runners before this race. Hassan didn’t have a PR listed on tilastopaja.org and Bahta’s PR was 15:30.37 from a meet last month (and it was only 15:56 before that). However, they both have quick 1500s to their name with PRs of 4:03.73 and 4:05.11 respectively.
Quick Take #2: This race was a huge breakthrough for Mackey and Thweatt. They had almost identical PRs coming into the race as Thweatt’s 15:23.43 was .22-seconds faster than Mackey’s 15:23.65 and now they’ve left with Mackey being .24-seconds faster than Thweatt. Mackey has been much more of a mid-d runner in the past, focusing on the 1500, but this race indicates her future could be at the 5000. After the race she was ecstatic with the huge PR as she was almost in tears and said on the flotrack broadcast that she had tried to breakthrough in the 5K for a couple years, but hadn’t been able to.
Quick Take #3: Clearly a big day for the two 20-year olds, Gorecka and Cuffe. Gorecka of Great Britain had a 15:34.21 coming in while Cuffe had ran 15:53.95 this past indoor season. Cuffe is now the 3rd fastest NCAA women’s 5000 runner, behind only Jenny Simpson (15:01.70) and Kim Smith (15:09.72). Not only did Cuffe shatter her own PB, but she crushed Lauren Fleshman‘s Stanford school record of 15:20.44. Asked afterwards in a flotrack interview if she felt she was in over her head running in such a fast race, Cuffe said in the beginning she was a bit worried, but then put those thoughts out of her head and didn’t think about the time, but just focused on the people in her race.
Quick Take #4: Great Britain’s Helen Clitheroe ran 15:31.76 at 40-years old. The WR for 40+ year-olds is 15:20.59 and according to mastersathletics.com Clitheroe’s time would put her #2 on the 40-and-over list. Clitheroe ran 15:06 in 2011 at 37-years-old and while she hasn’t run anywhere near that fast at any other time in her career, maybe a masters WR this year could be attainable.
Event 61 Women 5000 Meter Run Section 1 =============================================================== Name Year School Finals =============================================================== Finals 1 Sifan Hassan Global Sport 14:59.23 2 Meraf Bahta Hälle IF 14:59.49 3 Katie Mackey Brooks Beasts 15:04.74 4 Laura Thweatt Boulder Track Club 15:04.98 5 Emelia Gorecka Unattached 15:07.45 6 Aisling Cuffe Stanford 15:11.13 7 Jessica O'Connell Ucac 15:13.21 8 Jessica Tebo Brooks Beasts 15:18.17 9 Kellyn Johnson Naz Elite 15:21.93 10 Riko Matsuzaki Sekisui Kagaku 15:22.67 11 Lucy Van Dalen New Balance 15:22.95 12 Amy Van Alstine Naz Elite 15:22.98 13 Erin Finn Michigan 15:26.08 14 Yuika Mori Yamada Denki 15:30.01 15 Lauren Penney Oiselle/NJNY 15:30.33 16 Nicole Bush New Balance/ 15:31.43 17 Helen Clitheroe Global Sport 15:31.76 18 Jessica Tonn Stanford 15:32.26 19 Katrina Coogan Unattached 15:34.34 20 Ashley Higginson Saucony 15:34.85 21 Nicol Traynor New Jersey-N 15:35.97 22 Angela Bizzarri Brooks Beasts 15:36.78 23 Amanda Winslow Oiselle / Nj-Nytc 15:57.28 24 Laura Nagel Providence 15:58.33 25 Risa Kikuchi Hitachi 16:05.92 26 Akari Ota Tenmaya 16:16.86 -- Alexi Pappas Oregon Track Club DNF