July 18, 2014
It was worth the wait.
After the mesmerizing 2012 Oympic men’s 800 final, where a record five men broke 1:43.00, track and field fans across the globe expected the men’s 800 to be one of track’s “must-watch” events as world record holder David Rudisha tried to hold off many young and talented rivals such as then 18-year-olds Nijel Amos (silver medallist) and Ethiopian record holder Mo Aman (the only man to beat Rudisha in 2011 and 2012).
With Rudisha and Amos out with injury for most of 2013, it took longer than expected for the 800 to get back to its expected “must-watch” status but it’s officially back at that level after today’s men’s 800 at the Herculis Monaco Diamond League meeting.
Once again, five men broke 1:43.00, only this time it was the runner-up at the London Games, Nijel Amos, who was your winner as he moved past Rudisha in the final 100 to win in 1:42.45 – just ahead of France’s Pierre-Ambroise Bosse. Bosse’s 1:42.53 crushed his own personal best (1:43.76) as well as the Mehdi Baala’s French national record of 1:43.15 as Bosse is now tied for 11th-fastest man in history.
The men with the fastest last laps finished third and fourth but had too much ground to make up as they got gapped on the first lap. Ethiopia’s Aman was third in 1:42.83 just ahead of a fast-closing Ferguson Cheruiyot (1:42.84) as both men ran a last 400 in the neighborhood of 51.8 to 52 flat.
The world record holder Rudisha, who came into the race as the co-world leader with 1500 runner Asbel Kiprop at 1:43.34, ran his best race of the season at 1:42.98 but that only placed him fifth. Once beaten in the final 100, Rudisha let up or he would have run marginally faster. The slight let-up likely cost Rudisha the record of “fastest fifth place finisher in the history of the 800 meters” which American Nick Symmonds still holds from the 2012 Olympics at 1:42.95.
The race started fast as expected. At 200 (24 low) Rudisha was in second behind the rabbit and followed close by Bosse and Amos. Aman was way back in just eighth.
At the bell, the top three of Rudisha, Bosse and Amos in that order had gapped the rest of the field. The rabbit hit 400 at 49.43 and Rudisha was likely just under 50 flat, Aman and Cheruiyot were way back, more than a second behind Rudisha.
By 600 (1:15.85 for Rudisha), Amos had moved into second but the top three were right near each other as Aman had made up roughly half the gap. As they hit the homestretch, Amos soon took the lead and never came back. Rudisha held off Bosse and Aman for more than half of the homestretch before cracking late.
|800 Metres – Men1 Amos , Nijel BOT 1:42.45
2 Bosse , Pierre-Ambroise FRA 1:42.53
3 Aman , Mohammed ETH 1:42.83
4 Rotich , Ferguson Cheruiyot KEN 1:42.84
5 Rudisha , David Lekuta KEN 1:42.98
6 Lewandowski , Marcin POL 1:44.24
7 Rowe , Alexander AUS 1:44.40
8 Osagie , Andrew GBR 1:45.68
9 Kaki , Abubaker 1:46.90
Solomon , Duane USA DNF
Tangui , Sammy KEN DNF
Quick Thought #1: This was a great race.
We’d been waiting for a matchup like this since the Olympics. Fantastic stuff.
Quick Thought #2: It needs to be remembered that Amos, like Rudisha, missed most of last year.
While we think it’s far too early to write David Rudisha off – at age 25, he should have many good years left in him – we also don’t think it’s fair to totally discount Amos’ second win on the year over Rudisha by saying, “but David missed most of last year.”
Guess what? So did Amos, who didn’t run after July 12th.
Now that doesn’t mean they are at equal stages of their comeback. The difference is Amos came back much earlier this year – he was running 45.77 on March 25th- while Rudisha didn’t race at all until May 31st.
We hope Rudisha uses these losses for motivation, not discouragement. He’s headed in the right direction and just ran 1:42.98 – the 14th-best mark of his life. What today’s race showed us is what we knew in 2012 but many casual fans likely didn’t: Rudisha has to be on top of his game to beat Amos. As good as Rudisha’s 1:40.91 was in London, we couldn’t help but think, “Wow, how many people are talking about the 18-year-old that ran 1:41.73 behind him? Rudisha had better watch out.”
QT #3: A breakthrough race for Pierre-Ambroise Bosse
Bosse, who was seventh at Worlds last year, has been running well in 2014 (fourth at Pre, fourth in Paris) but his 1:42.53 second-place finish surpassed anything he’s accomplished to this point in his career. It was a 1.23-second PR (set in this race last year) and he beat everyone except for Amos in a field that included all of the world’s top 800 men. He’s only 22 and now he’s tied for 11th-place on the all-time list. As if the 800 didn’t have enough young talent already.
QT #4: Australia’s 46-year-old national record gets married – Congrats to Alexander Rowe.
For years, fans on LetsRun.com have been amazed that Australia’s national record in the men’s 800 of 1:44.40 has survived since Ralph Doubell ran that to win the 1968 Olympics (2008 talk about it here, 2010 here).
Well the record that has stood the test of time got a partner today as Alexander Rowe, who just turned 22 on July 8th, equaled it by running 1:44.40 for 7th.
Rowe is a great story as he’s sponsorless. He’s got no shoe contract and is getting ready for medical school. And get this, it’s possible that today’s AR cost him money.
A fan from Australia emailed us the other day and said Rowe was going to be docked pay for running in this meet as he emailed, “He’s been fined a third of his funding by Athletics Australia, as racing Monaco will make him a few days late arriving to the Australian holding camp for the Australian Commonwealth Games team.”
We’ve been emailing with Rowe’s coach Justin Rinaldi (JRinaldi on the messageboard) some this week. Rinaldi, who posted some of Rowe’s workouts last year on the 67-page long Sub 1:50 800m Training messageboard thread, had this to say when we asked him about Rowe being sponsorless and whether he ever considered coming to school in the US:
(I’d be) happy to have a chat after the race.
He had a product only deal 18 months ago, but got dropped after he won our Nationals last year! He then went on to run 1:45.44 and make the semi’s at last years world champs. I put up a lot of his workouts on the sub 1:50 thread leading up to the world champs last year – as great as the message board is on letsrun, very few people actually are willing to share (useful) information. It was very refreshing to see Nick Symmonds release that training diary from 2012.
Villanova were interested in him a few years back, but he was keen to stay in Australia and work towards getting in to med school (which he starts next year after completing his biomed degree this year). I have coached him since he was 15 and was more than happy for him to go to school over there, but he has a really supportive family here and attends the best University in our state, so it didn’t really make much sense for him to change that.
2010 (17)1:47.56 -skipped world juniors to focus on last year in high school
2012 (19)1:47.55 – injured
Keep up the great work with the site – amazing to think how wide read it is across the world. You and your brother must be very proud of what you have created. Maybe the next step is a letsrun app for your smart phone?
QT #5: For Duane Solomon, it was a repeat of his disastrous race at the Pre Classic.
At Pre on May 31, the front-running Solomon struggled to get out with the leaders and ended up packing it in over the last lap, finishing last in 1:47.40. Today went even worse for the U.S. champ, as he again struggled to get himself in good position early. More disconcerting was the fact that, once Rudisha, Bosse and Amos broke away, Solomon didn’t look like he had anything left in the tank. Mo Aman went by Solomon on the outside with about 350 to go and once he passed, the floodgates opened. Everyone in the field save for Abubaker Kaki had passed Solomon by the end of the final turn and as he hit the top of the home stretch, Solomon saw that he was not going to be a factor and stepped off the track (he didn’t appear to be injured).
With no Diamond League meets for a month, Solomon now has some time to work on his strength at home before heading back to Europe for some more races.
Discuss this race in our forum: MB: What an 800: Five 142s!!! Amos wins in 1:42.45. 1:42.53 LIKE A BOSSE!!!