Zürich Preview: Can Emma Coburn & Jenny Simpson Win Diamond Race Titles? David Rudisha And Nijel Amos Headline A Loaded 800; Can Galen Rupp, Ben True Or Hassan Mead Go Sub-13:00?

By LetsRun.com
August 27, 2014

The first of two Diamond League Finals will be held on Thursday at the annual Weltklasse meet in Zürich’s Letzigrund stadium and it should be fantastic.

The Diamond League Final is all about the $40,000 Diamond Race. One Diamond League final with half the events is in Zürich this Thursday, and the second DL final is in Brussels next Friday. In case you’re a little unclear on how the Diamond Race works, here’s a quick primer.

– Each event is contested as a Diamond League event seven times over the course of the season. Some events, like the men’s 800, are run at more than seven DL meets, but only seven count as official Diamond League events (e.g. the Monaco 800 was a non-DL event).

– In the first six meets, athletes receive 4 points for a win, 2 for second and 1 for third. In the final, all point totals are doubled (so 8 for a win, 4 for second, 2 for third).

Article continues below player.

– If two or more athletes are tied in the standings after the Final, the tiebreaker goes to the athlete with the most victories in that event this season. If they’re still tied, the winner is whoever finishes higher in the Final.

– The winner of the season-long Diamond Race receives $40,000 and an automatic spot at the 2015 Worlds in that event (as long as the reigning world champion is not from the same country). Second place gets nothing.

Weltklasse Zürich is going to be especially dramatic as Americans Emma Coburn and Jenny Simpson both have a shot for the DL title and for all practical purposes the men’s 800 and women’s 1,500 are likely to be winner take all events where the winner will take home $50,000 and the DL title ($40,000 for DL title, $10,000 for first) and second place will leave with just $6,000 in runner-up prize money.

The meet has attracted a ton of top-tier American and international talent, with CoburnHiwot Ayalew and Sofia Assefa in the women’s 3,000 steeplechase; Simpson, Shannon RowburySifan Hassan and Abeba Aregawi in the women’s 1,500; David RudishaMo Aman, Nijel Amos, Adam Kszczot, Asbel Kiprop and Ayanleh Souleiman in the men’s 800 and Muktar Edris, Yenew Alamirew, Caleb Ndiku, Galen RuppBen TrueHassan Mead and Ryan Hill in the men’s 5,000.

We break down the mid-d and distance action for you below since we believe track and field is way more exciting when you know what the hell you are watching. For each event, we assess the current state of the Diamond Races, but since only the winner of the Diamond Race receives a prize, our standings only include athletes still capable of winning the Diamond Race (all athletes must compete in the Final in a bona fide way to be eligible for the title).

Women’s 3,000 steeplechase (2:14 p.m. ET)

Diamond Race standings

1. Hiwot Ayalew, 15 points

2. Sofia Assefa, 11 points

3. Emma Coburn, 10 points

Coburn will need to win in Zurich, as she did in Shanghai, in order to win the Diamond Race. Coburn will need to win in Zürich, as she did in Shanghai, to have any shot at winning the Diamond Race.

Ethiopia’s Hiwot Ayalew has been on fire since the start of June. She’s won the last three Diamond League steeples, most recently in Stockholm on Thursday, and also added a win at the African Championships on August 14. Her 9:10.64 from Glasgow on July 12 is the world leader; with no World Championships or Olympics this year, all that’s left for her to accomplish is winning the Diamond Race, which will happen if she wins in Zürich on Thursday.

Though Ayalew will be favored to do just that, there are two women who can catch her: countrywoman Sofia Assefa and American Emma Coburn.

Assefa still controls her own destiny; if she wins in Zürich, she will also win the Diamond Race. But after wins at the Pre Classic on May 31 and in New York on June 14, Assefa has slowed down in Europe, with a third in Paris and a fourth in Stockholm. A victory certainly isn’t out of the question (she was less than a second behind Ayalew at the African Championships) but based on current form, Ayalew will likely beat her.

Coburn still has a chance to become the first American long-distance DL champion in history, but she doesn’t control her own destiny. First, Coburn has to win, otherwise she cannot overtake Ayalew for first. And if Coburn wins in Zürich, Coburn needs help as she needs Ayalew to finish lower than second. If Coburn wins and Ayalew is second, Coburn would have 18 and Ayalew 19. Thus Coburn has to hope for a great race and victory and some help from Assefa and/or Tunisia’s Habiba Ghribi, who put up a good fight before succumbing to Ayalew in Stockholm.

Really, it’s remarkable that Coburn is even in contention for the win at the Final considering that prior to 2014, no American woman had ever scored even one point in the women’s steeple in the Diamond Race. Last week in Stockholm, Coburn had her worst race of the year in Stockholm as a slow second kilometer doomed any hope of a PR and she had to settle for third. But her time of 9:20.31 would have been the second-fastest in American history before this year and Coburn was still competitive at the bell even when it was clear she didn’t have her best stuff. Zürich will be Coburn’s last chance to get in a fast steeple this year and though her season is already an unqualified success, it would be nice if she could end it with another American record and, more importantly, a win. No matter what happens, Coburn has gained valuable experience on the circuit this year and will enter the Worlds year of 2015 as a medal favorite.

ASSEFA Sofia 14.11.1987 ETH 9:09.00 9:11.39 OG/WC bronze medalist has faded a little; was 4th in Stockholm on Thursday
AYALEW Hiwot 06.03.1990 ETH 9:09.61 9:10.64 5 straight wins, including African Champs + Stockholm
CHEPKURUI Lidya 23.08.1984 KEN 9:12.55 9:24.07 WC silver medalist was only 8th in Glasgow DL; 10th in Stockholm
COBURN Emma 19.10.1990 USA 9:11.42 9:11.42 Her 9:20 3rd place in Stockholm was her worst race of the year (not bad)
DIRO NEDA Etenesh 10.05.1991 ETH 9:14.07 9:19.71 11th in Stockholm
EL OUALI ALAMI Salima 29.12.1983 MAR 9:21.24 9:21.24 African Champs bronze medalist; 7th in Stockholm
FOUGBERG Charlotta 19.06.1985 SWE 9:23.96 9:23.96 Euro silver medalist was 9th in Stockholm
GARCIA Stephanie 03.05.1988 USA 9:24.28 9:24.28 PRed for 5th place in Glasgow in last steeple; 4:31 at Falmouth Mile.
GETNET Tigist 07.07.1997 ETH 9:28.36 9:28.36
GHRIBI Habiba 09.04.1984 TUN 9:08.37 9:18.39 Olympic silver medalist regained old form with 2nd in Stockholm
JEBET Ruth 17.11.1996 BRN 9:27.90 9:27.90
KIRUI Purity 13.08.1991 KEN 9:19.42 9:23.43 Commonwealth champ was just 6th at African Champs
KIYENG Hyvin 13.01.1992 KEN 9:22.05 9:22.58 5th in Stockholm
KUDZELICH Sviatlana 07.05.1987 BLR 9:30.54 9:30.54
PRAUGHT Aisha 14.12.1989 USA 9:34.69 9:34.69 PRed to get 4th at USAs; just 4:47 at Falmouth Mile

LRC Prediction:  Ayalew wins the DL title, Coburn fails to PR.

Women’s 1,500 (2:38 p.m. ET)

Diamond Race standings

1. Abeba Aregawi, 12 points

2. Sifan Hassan, 10 points

3. Jenny Simpson, 9 points

4. Hellen Obiri, 5 points

Could Simpson become just the second American distance runner to win a Diamond Race title? Could Simpson become just the second American distance runner to win a Diamond Race title?

Only one American man or woman has won the Diamond Race in an event longer than 400 meters – Morgan Uceny in the 1,500 in 2011 (ironically, Simpson has the only gold for an American mid-d/distance runner at Worlds in that span – and it came in the same event, in the same year). That could change on Thursday on Zürich.

American Jenny Simpson, coming off a win in Stockholm on Thursday in which she looked very strong, has a good chance to become the second. To do that, she’ll likely have to win the race, as she trails both Abeba Aregawi and Sifan Hassan in the standings (she could finish second and still win the Diamond Race but would need both of them to have a bad day (Aregawi would have to finish worse than third and Hassan worse than second).

Simpson’s last two 1,500s have been fantastic (the 3:57 in Paris and the win in Stockholm) but if she is to win in Zürich, she will have to improve upon her poor record in Diamond League Finals. Check out what she’s done the last three years (she didn’t run the DL Final in 2010 as she was injured):

Year Result
2011 13th, 4:03.68
2012 7th, 4:08.38
2013 10th, 4:10.70

Why will Simpson run better at the DL Final in 2014? Two reasons.

1. This has been Simpson’s best Diamond League season yet.

Simpson ran two DL 1,500s in 2011, four in 2012 and three in 2013. Zürich will be Simpson’s sixth DL race of 2014 and she hasn’t had a bad one yet: a win, two seconds, a third and a fourth to go with two PRs. Simpson has never run as consistently well, start to finish, as she has in 2014 and based on that it makes sense that she’ll close out her DL season with a strong performance.

2. Simpson excels in slower, tactical races.

Ever since Jenny Simpson ran 3:57.22 in Paris, the talk has been of Simpson going after Mary Slaney‘s American record, which Simpson missed by .10 on that day. While we’re sure Simpson would like to get the record in Zürich, and an AR very well could be worth more than the $40,000 DL jackpot for Simpson as a result of shoe contract bonuses, we highly doubt it happens as Simpson isn’t likely to get any help from the competition. The DL Final on Thursday is the rare non-Worlds or  non-Olympic race where place REALLY matters. It most likely will be a race where the winner will take home $50,000 and second place will get just $6,000 (more on that below).

Because of the high stakes (and perhaps the fact it’s at the end of a long year), the DL Final often runs more like a championship race than a time trial (the last two have been won in 4:05). That in many ways is good news for Simpson, who is at her best in championship-style races. The winning time was 4:05 when she won Worlds in 2011 and 4:02 when she took silver in 2013; neither of her two DL victories were sub-4:00 races. If the winning time is in the 4:04/4:05 range in Zürich, that will probably help Simpson.

Bonus reason: It’s the week of Simpsons.

FXX has been marathoning every episode of The Simpsons this week and if any American is to win the Diamond Race on Thursday, it’s only appropriate for her last name to be Simpson. If she wins in Zürich, perhaps Simpson will use her winnings to celebrate like Mr. Burns … Excellent!

The Other Contenders

The Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan has been the top 1,500 runner on the planet since her win in Paris on July 5, but it’s actually Sweden’s Abeba Aregawi who leads the DL standings with 12 points as she won two of the first three races in Shanghai and New York. Hassan has been running much better as of late, defeating Aregawi in their last four races, and she has the best chance of defeating Simpson in Zürich. For Hassan to win the Diamond Race, she needs to beat Aregawi and Simpson while finishing in the top three (as long as Hellen Obiri doesn’t win, in which case she’d need to be top two). For Aregawi, it’s simpler: she just needs to beat Aregawi and Simpson (though she must finish top three if Obiri wins).

In reality, those qualifiers probably aren’t necessary. Aregawi, Hassan and Simpson have combined to win 13 of the last 14 Diamond League races, so the winner is almost certainly coming from that group. Any one of the three can clinch the Diamond Race with a win, meaning that it’s essentially a $50,000 race for the winner. One of the reasons the IAAF doubles the points for the last race is to create exciting, winner-take-all scenarios like this so they’ve got to be happy about how the women’s 1,500 turned out this year.

American teen sensation Mary Cain, who initially was supposed to race Stockholm and Zürich, isn’t in the field: MB: Mary Cain – Anyone have any clue why she isn’t racing?

AREGAWI Abeba 05.07.1990 SWE 3:56.54 3:57.57 World champ/Euro silver medalist was disappointing 10th in Stockholm on Thursday
BAHTA Meraf 26.06.1989 SWE 4:03.16 4:03.16 Euro 5k champ was 7th in Stockholm 1,500 in 4:05
BELETE Mimi 09.06.1988 BRN 4:00.08 4:00.08 PR of 4:00.08 in Paris on July 5 but hasn’t raced a 1500 since
HASSAN Sifan 01.01.1993 NED 3:57.00 3:57.00 World leader/Euro champ was third in Stockholm
JAMAL Maryam Yusuf 16.09.1984 BRN 3:56.18 4:04.10 2-time world champ was only 10th in Birmingham 2 mile on Sunday
JELAGAT Irene 10.12.1988 KEN 4:02.59 4:04.07 3rd in Birmingham 2 mile in 9:12
KIBIWOT Viola Jelagat 22.12.1983 KEN 3:59.25 4:01.31 5th in Stockholm 1,500 then 2nd in Birmingham 2 mile
MÅKESTAD BOVIM Ingvill 07.08.1981 NOR 4:02.20 4:04.11 Only 13th in Stockholm
OBIRI Hellen 13.12.1989 KEN 3:57.05 3:57.05 Only 6th at Commonwealths but rebounded to win African Champs
ROWBURY Shannon 19.09.1984 USA 3:59.49 3:59.49 Has been running great in ’14, most recently a 4th-place finish in Stockholm
SEYAUM Dawit 27.07.1996 ETH 3:59.53 3:59.53 World Junior champ took silver at African Champs
SIMPSON Jennifer 23.08.1986 USA 3:57.22 3:57.22 U.S. champ won in Stockholm; can she close out season with DL title?
SUM Eunice Jepkoech 10.04.1988 KEN 4:01.54 4:01.54 800 world champ was 2nd in Birmingham 800 in 1:59
WEIGHTMAN Laura 01.07.1991 GBR 4:00.17 4:00.17 Commonwealth/Euro medalist was 14th in Stockholm in 4:14
WRIGHT Phoebe 30.08.1988 USA 4:08.60 4:22.26 Rabbit

LRC Prediction: Hassan takes the race and DL title. We know Simpson beat Hassan last week but Hassan did a lot of the work trying to bridge the gap to early leader Genzebe Dibaba. Here Hassan can simply focus on sitting in the pack and beating Simpson and Aregawi, which we think she’ll do.

Men’s 800 (3:08 p.m. ET)

Diamond Race standings (only includes those racing the DL Final)

1. David Rudisha, 8 points

2. Nijel Amos, 6 points

T-3. Asbel Kiprop, 4 points

T-3. Adam Kszczot, 4 points

6. Andre Olivier, 3 points

T-7. Mo Aman, 2 points

T-7. Ayanleh Souleiman, 2 points

T-11. Marcin Lewandowski, 1 point

Amos won the most competitive 800 of the year in Monaco on July 18. Amos won the most competitive 800 of the year in Monaco on July 18.

This is what the IAAF envisioned when it doubled points for the DL final. Of the 11 runners in the field (not counting the rabbit), eight can leave Zürich with the Diamond Race title. Four runners (David RudishaNijel AmosAsbel KipropAdam Kszczot) can clinch it with a win while four others (Andre Olivier, Mo Aman, Ayanleh SouleimanMarcin Lewandowski) could win if they get some help.

You might be wondering why Aman (wins in Doha and Rome) and the world’s best 800 runner this year, Amos (wins at Pre and Monaco), only have a combined eight points, and the answer is that the 800s in Doha, Rome and Monaco were all non-Diamond League events. So even though Amos won the race of the year where five men broke 1:43, it didn’t count for anything in the Diamond League standings.

What we’re left with is a total free-for-all with $50,000 and a bye to Worlds on the line (side note: it would be interesting if Kiprop won as the 1,500 is his best event and he may not even use the bye into Worlds). It’s highly unlikely that Olivier or Lewandowski will win the Diamond Race; not only would they have to record an upset win, but they’d need the Rudisha and Amos to both run poorly. The other five – Rudisha, Amos, Kiprop, Kszczot, Aman and Souleiman – are all capable of winning the race in Zürich, even though Aman and Souleiman would need a bit of help to win the Diamond Race.

So who to pick?

Nijel Amos: The Best 800 Runner Of 2014

If you judge the season as a whole, it makes most sense to go with Nijel Amos. There were two other stacked 800s in the year, at Pre and in Monaco, and Amos won them both. He’s the world leader at 1:42.45, defeated Rudisha to win the Commonwealth Games title and two weeks ago beat Aman to win the African Championships. He was only fifth in Stockholm, which isn’t a great sign, but everyone has a bad race from time to time. Plus that race was a slow one as no one went with the rabbit. With Rudisha in the field, this one isn’t going to go out in 53 like Stockholm. Amos’ body of work over the entire season suggests that he has been the best 800 runner in the world in 2014, but the 800 is a notoriously fickle event. Amos deserves to be the favorite but if we were offered Amos vs. the field, we’d definitely take the field.

Adam Kszczot: Coming On Strong

Kszczot has looked very good recently, following up a dominant win at the European Championships with a victory over Souleiman, Bosse and Amos on Thursday in Stockholm. Kszczot has had a great year so far, with World Indoor silver in March to go with Euro gold, and a win in the DL Final would arguably surpass both of those accomplishments.

The worry with Kszczot is that he may not succeed in a fast race. His victory last week came in a negative split race and he’s only broken 1:44 twice in his life (most recently in May 2012). In fast races earlier this year at Pre and Paris, he was just 5th and 8th, respectively. In his last race, on Sunday in Birmingham, he got spanked by David Rudisha in a 600 because he didn’t get out hard enough and wasn’t able to make up the deficit. With Rudisha and his personal rabbit Sammy Tangui in the field in Zürich, a fast race is likely, which may spell doom for Kszczot.

David Rudisha: The Comeback

After missing an entire year from late-May 2013 to late-May 2014 with a knee injury, Rudisha has had a solid year, though it still ranks as sub-par compared to his stretch of global domination from 2010 to 2012. He’s the Diamond League leader with wins in New York and Glasgow and he broke 1:43 in Monaco. Still, he’s clearly not the invincible Rudisha of old as he’s been reeled in on the last lap, notably at Pre and in Monaco. That didn’t happen when he was breaking world records.

It would be a surprise to many if Rudisha won in Zürich, because unlike his wins in New York and Glasgow, the field contains both Aman and Amos, two men against whom he is a collective 0-5 in 2014. Perhaps Rudisha can get off the skid and beat one of them, but it’s doubtful that he’ll be able to beat both with how well they’ve been running.

Mo Aman: The Smart Choice?

No 800 runner has been more consistent over the last two years than Aman. He lost just one race in all of 2013 and hasn’t finished lower than third in an 800 since the 2012 Olympics (and he was only third once). With Amos back on the circuit this year, Aman hasn’t won as frequently as in 2013, but he’s still been at or near the top in each of his nine 800s (including indoor) in 2014. Like Rudisha, he’s struggled against Amos, losing their last three matchups, but if Amos has a bad day as he did in Stockholm, Aman will be ready to pounce.

The other reason to pick Aman is that he always runs well at the DL Final. Look at what he’s done since his DL debut in 2011.

Year Result
2011 2nd, 1:44.29
2012 1st, 1:42.53 (PR)
2013 1st, 1:42.37 (PR)

Two wins and two PRs in the last two DL Finals have propelled Aman to two straight Diamond Race titles. If you believe in history repeating itself, Aman is the smart choice in Zürich. Remember, he shocked Rudisha in 2012 to grab the $40,000 prize in Rudisha’s first race after the World Record in the Olympics (LRC Archive: David Rudisha Gets Beat by Mohammed Aman in Zürich).

Asbel Kiprop & Ayanleh Souleiman: The 1,500 Guys

Kiprop and Souleiman both have a shot at winning Diamond Race titles in the 800 and 1,500 since the 1,500 final isn’t until next week in Brussels. They’ve each only raced one DL 800 this year, but because no one has seized control of the Diamond Race, both have a fair shot at winning the Final. It won’t be easy as all the top 800 specialists are in Zürich, but both looked good in the mile in Birmingham on Sunday (going 1-2) and have run well in their lone DL 800s (a then-world-leading win over Amos in Paris for Kiprop; a 2nd in Stockholm on Thursday for Souleiman). Perhaps Kiprop and Souleiman will be less nervous on the start line with the knowledge that they have another crack at the Diamond Race title next week in Brussels?

AMAN Mohammed 10.01.1994 ETH 1:42.37 1:42.83 Consistent performer hasn’t been lower than 3rd in a 800 since ’12 Olympics; 2nd at African Champs
AMOS Nijel 15.03.1994 BOT 1:41.73 1:42.45 Commonwealth/African champ/world leader was just 5th in Stockholm
BOSSE Pierre-Ambroise 11.05.1992 FRA 1:42.53 1:42.53 Rebounded from last at Euros for 4th in Stockholm
CHERUIYOT Ferguson Rotich 30.11.1989 KEN 1:42.84 1:42.84 4th in last three races: Monaco, Commonwealths, African Champs
KIPROP Asbel 30.06.1989 KEN 1:43.15 1:43.34 Looked great in winning mile in Birmingham on Sunday
KITUM Timothy 20.11.1994 KEN 1:42.53 1:43.65 Disappointing 8th in Stockholm after 1:43 in season debut
KSZCZOT Adam 02.09.1989 POL 1:43.30 1:44.15 Won 800 in Stockholm; 2nd behind Rudisha in 600 in Birmingham
LEWANDOWSKI Marcin 13.06.1987 POL 1:43.79 1:44.24 3rd in Stockholm 800; 4th in Birmingham 600
OLIVIER Andre 29.12.1989 RSA 1:44.29 1:44.42 Commonwealth bronze medalist was 3rd in Birmingham 600
RUDISHA David 17.12.1988 KEN 1:40.91 1:42.98 WR holder was 2nd at Commonwealth Games in last race on 7/31
SOULEIMAN Ayanleh 03.12.1992 DJI 1:43.63 1:43.69 2nd in Stockholm 800 and Birmingham mile
TANGUI Sammy 16.09.1984 KEN 1:49.39 Rabbit

LRC Prediction: This is a hard one to predict. Rudisha hasn’t had a big 800 win all year but is improving. In the biggest 800 of the year in Monaco, while only 5th, he did run 1:42.98 when Amos ran 1:42.45. He was 0.53 behind Amos there, but narrowed the gap to just .30 behind at the Commonwealth Games on July 31. It’s been four weeks since then. Plus Rudisha should be on top of his game and ready to go in his first 800 since July 31 as he skipped the African Championships, whereas Amos ran the African champs and then bombed Stockholm.  Without Stockholm, Amos would be the easy pick. But was Stockholm a sign he’s tired?

One guy who isn’t likely to be tired is Aman, who lost the African champs but has been loading up for this one since then.

And then Souleiman and Kiprop have no pressure.

We imagine an 800 guy will win. Which one? We want to sleep on it and will tell you later in the week. What do you think?

Tell us on the message board: Big Drama in Zurich: Who takes home the men’s 800 DL title and $50,000 – Rudisha, Amos, Aman, Souleiman or Kiplagat?

Men’s 5,000 (3:24 p.m. ET)

Diamond Race standings

1. Yenew Alamirew, 14 points

2. Caleb Ndiku, 7 points

3. Edwin Cheruiyot Soi, 6 points

On the strength of early-season wins in Shanghai and Oslo, Ethiopian Yenew Alamirew can lock up his second straight Diamond Race title with a third-place finish in Zürich. The only way he loses is if either Caleb Ndiku or Edwin Cheruiyot Soi wins the race and Alamirew finishes outside the top three. Though the Diamond Race isn’t as compelling as some of the other events in Zürich, the race itself has plenty of story lines.

The 5,000 has been an unpredictable event this year as it’s very hard to tell from week to week who is going to run well. Take a look at the top three finishers in the last three DL races.

Alamirew blank Alamirew won last year’s Diamond League Final in Brussels.

Stockholm (August 21)

1. Muktar Edris
2. Thomas Longosiwa
3. Caleb Ndiku

Glasgow (July 11)

1. Hagos Gebrhiwet
2. Yenew Alamirew
3. Edwin Cheruiyot Soi

Paris (July 5)

1. Edwin Cheruiyot Soi
2. Yenew Alamirew
3. Paul Tanui

Alamirew has certainly been the most consistent guy on the circuit the past two years. Here’s a great stat for you – he’s finished in the top two in each of his last nine DL 5,000s. He hasn’t been nearly as good in championship races (5th in African Champs on August 14, 9th at Worlds last year), but Zürich is a rabbited race so he should be fine. Given his track record in DL races, it would be a surprise if he doesn’t leave Zürich as the Diamond Race champion.

We do have a little bit of doubt about Alamirew’s fitness. His last DL race was way back on July 11. His next race was a disaster – 5th at the African champs on August 14th. In the six weeks since July 11, did he lose fitness or was that simply a bad race?

Even if he does win the DL title,that doesn’t mean Alamirew is going to win the race. Based on last week’s evidence, it’s hard to argue against 20-year-old Ethiopian Muktar Edris, who used a quick final 200 to run to a world-leading 12:54.83 victory. That race represented a 9-second PR and a major breakthrough for Edris, and though he looked like the real deal, the winner in Glasgow (Hagos Gebrhiwet) was just 7th in Stockholm, so there’s no guarantee Edris will be in contention in Zürich.

Others likely to contend for the win include Commonwealth/African champ Ndiku, who has run well ever since winning World Indoor 3k gold in March; Soi, who was top-three in both Paris and Glasgow and Longosiwa, who has been top-five in his five DL races so far this year.

The Americans

The Amercan storylines have been the same for most of the DL 5,000s this season.

1. Can Galen Rupp get the American record of 12:53.60?

2. Can Hassan Mead and Ben True become the seventh and eighth Americans to break 13:00?

Those questions were more relevant earlier in the season when Rupp’s 26:44 10,000 and Mead/True’s 13:02s were fresh in the memory. Rupp has no doubt had the best Diamond League season of his career, with top-four finishes in all three of his races, but he hasn’t come close to that American record, with a 13:00.99 in Paris his best mark on the season. Part of that is due to the fact that the DL races were slow until Stockholm, but when that one went quickly, Rupp couldn’t hang at the end and only ran 13:05.

Many US fans believe because Rupp ran 26:44 that he should be able to run 12:53, but famed coach Renato Canova isn’t so sure. Canova chimed in on a great LetsRun.com message board post on this topic earlier this week and said he doesn’t think Rupp’s 5,000 PR is too far off what it should be:

Renato Canova: Can you explain why Galen Rupp can run 26:44 for 10,000 but only 13 flat for 5k?

Running 12:53 in Stockholm would be a big ask, but it’s certainly a good goal in 2015, especially when you factor in that Rupp will be able to train with Mo Farah a lot more than he has this year.

As for Mead and True, we hate to say we told you so, but right after they ran their PRs at Stanford on May 4, we cautioned that 13:02 in May does not guarantee a sub-13:00 later in the summer. It would be great for American distance running if one or both could get under in Zürich, but since Stanford, they’ve combined to break 13:13 just once – Mead did it in Stockholm last week, running 13:07.

Both are probably still in 13:02 shape, but it goes to show how different Stanford is from a Diamond League race. At Stanford, the race was catered perfectly for Mead and True as rabbit Dan Huling took them through 3,400 meters on pace for a time in the low 13:00s and they ran 13:02 to go 1-2. In Diamond League races, if the winning time is in the low 13:00s, it’s usually because the field went out slowly and closed like crazy over the final kilometer. They could still get under in a DL race, but would probably have a better chance in a Stanford-type race where the primary goal would to get them under 13:00.

8-time NCAA champ Lawi Lalang also is in the field looking for his first career sub-13:00 as well. He’s more likely to go sub-13 than either True or Mead.

ALAMIREW Yenew 27.05.1990 ETH 12:48.77 13:00.21 2 wins, 3 seconds in 5 DL races; 5th in African Champs on 8/14
CHOGE Augustine Kiprono 21.01.1987 KEN 12:53.66 13:06.71 Coming off 13:06 win in Heusden on 7/19
EDRIS Muktar 14.01.1994 ETH 12:54.83 12:54.83 20-year-old announced arrival with 12:54 world leader in Stockholm
GEBRHIWET Hagos 11.05.1994 ETH 12:47.53 13:06.88 WC silver medalist won in Glasgow on 7/11 but has otherwise been disappointing
HILL Ryan 31.01.1990 USA 13:14.22 13:14.31 3:39 1500 on Saturday in Antwerp
IBRAHIMOV Hayle 18.01.1990 AZE 13:11.34 14:00.24 Euro silver medalist
KANGOGO Cornelius 15.12.1993 KEN 13:11.14 13:11.14
KOECH Isiah Kiplangat 19.12.1993 KEN 12:48.64 13:07.55 WC bronze medalist took silver at Commonwealths, African Champs, but not great on DL
LALANG Lawi 15.06.1991 KEN 13:00.95 13:03.85 8-time NCAA champ won 1,500 in Antwerp on Sat. in 3:38; 6th in Paris 5,000
LEVINS Cameron 28.03.1989 CAN 13:15.19 13:15.38 Commonwealth 10k bronze medalist was just 10th in Stockholm in 13:25
LONGOSIWA Thomas Pkemei 14.01.1988 KEN 12:49.04 12:56.16 Olympic bronze medalist was 2nd in Stockholm in 12:56
MEAD Hassan 28.08.1989 USA 13:02.80 13:02.80 Closed well to take 6th in Stockholm in 13:07
MERGA Imane 15.10.1988 ETH 12:53.58 13:11.94 Only 10th in Paris DL; 5th in 10k at African Champs
NDIKU Caleb Mwangangi 09.10.1992 KEN 12:59.17 12:59.17 Commonwealth/African champ was 3rd in Stockholm
RONO Geoffrey Kipkoech 21.04.1987 KEN
RUPP Galen 08.05.1986 USA 12:58.90 13:00.99 Competitive for much of the race in Stockholm but faded over final 2 laps to 4th
SOI Edwin Cheruiyot 03.03.1986 KEN 12:51.34 12:59.82 Won in Paris; 5th in Stockholm
TANUI Paul Kipngetich 22.12.1990 KEN 13:00.53 13:00.53 WC 10k bronze medalist hasn’t raced since 3rd in Paris on 7/5
TRUE Ben 29.12.1985 USA 13:02.74 13:02.74 8th in Stockholm last week
VERNON Andy 07.01.1986 GBR 13:11.50 13:11.50 Double Euro medalist was 6th in Birmingham 2 mile on Sunday in 8:27

LRC Prediction: Alamirew wins the DL title, Edris the race. We think Rupp’s 13:07 last week was the result of an overly ambitous pace and some rust. With the rust gone, we say Rupp ends his 2014 season with a sub-13:00 but not the American record. No one in the world has run sub 12:53 this year and Rupp is far from the best 5,000 guy on the planet.


Want More? Join The Supporters Club Today
Support independent journalism and get:
  • Exclusive Access to VIP Supporters Club Content
  • Bonus Podcasts Every Friday
  • Free LetsRun.com Shirt (Annual Subscribers)
  • Exclusive Discounts
  • Enhanced Message Boards