Pre Recap: Genzebe Dibaba (14:19.76) Misses WR but Gets Dominant Win, Ezekiel Kemboi Is Back, Evan Jager Impresses, Gatlin 19.68, Felix over SRR

May 30, 2015

EUGENE, Ore. — The 2015 Prefontaine Classic is in the books, and what a meet it was. We’ve covered several of the major storylines in other articles — great showings by Americans Matthew Centrowitz and Jenny Simpson in the mile/1500, a HS/U.S. Junior 1500 record by Alexa Efraimson and wins by world champs Mo Aman and Eunice Sum in the 800 — but there is still plenty of stuff to talk about, including a world record attempt by Genzebe Dibaba in the 5,000 (she fell eight seconds short, running 14:19.76) and a pulse-pounding men’s steeplechase that saw Ezekiel Kemboi hold off Jairus Birech and Evan Jager narrowly miss his American record. We recap all that and much more below.

Men’s 3000 Steeplechase: Ezekiel Kemboi Is Back

Kemboi and Birech were level as they hurdled the final barrier Kemboi and Birech were level as they hurdled the final barrier

Kemboi struggled with injuries in 2014 but any questions about whether the 33-year-old was still a global force in the steeple were answered in the affirmative today as he ran a U.S. all-comers record of 8:01.71 to edge out Jairus Birech. Evan Jager ran his fastest opener ever, narrowly missing his American record by running 8:05.28 for fourth.

The pace was quick throughout with Birech sitting on rabbit Haron Lagat until Lagat dropped out with three laps to go (4:51). At that point, Biech and Kemboi had begun to separate from the field, and Jager was in just 9th, at the back of the main pack. Jager, sensing the race was getting away from him, knew he needed to pick it up and with two to go, he was up to fourth behind Conseslus Kipruto. Those two were still 15 meters down on Birech and Kemboi, however, who came through in 5:56.

The dance is back The dance is back

Birech continued to drive the pace, leading Kemboi at the bell (7:01), and as they reached the end of the backstretch on the bell lap, Jager, now in third, was actually gaining on the leader and the deficit was down to fewer than 10 meters. That was the leaders’ cue to take off, and both Birech and Kemboi launched into their kicks with 200 to go. Both kicked furiously off the water jump and Kemboi swung wide on the final barrier in an attempt to pass Birech. He edged ahead only slightly however, as Birech was full of fight. The two battled stride for stride over the final 100 and in the end Kemboi was your winner by a narrow margin of just .12. Kemboi, who normally likes to drift into the outer lines to celebrate his victories, could only afford to make it to lane three in this one, though he did cap it off with a dance in front of the Hayward Field faithful. Kipruto wound up running Jager down for fourth place.

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Pl. Athlete / Team Cnt. Birth Result Score
1. Ezekiel KEMBOI KEN 82 8:01.71 1250 WL
2. Jairus Kipchoge BIRECH KEN 92 8:01.83 1250 SB
3. Conseslus KIPRUTO KEN 94 8:05.20 1234 SB
4. Evan JAGER USA 89 8:05.28 1234 SB
5. Paul Kipsiele KOECH KEN 81 8:13.95 1194
6. Jonathan Muia NDIKU KEN 91 8:18.38 1174
7. Hillary Kipsang YEGO KEN 92 8:18.99 1171 SB
8. Donald CABRAL USA 89 8:19.24 1170 SB
9. Roberto ALAIZ ESP 90 8:19.85 1167 PB
10. Matthew HUGHES CAN 89 8:20.34 1165 SB
11. Barnabas KIPYEGO KEN 95 8:21.93 1158 SB
12. Abel Kiprop MUTAI KEN 88 8:25.64 1141
13. Daniel HULING USA 83 8:25.75 1141
14. Bernard NGANGA KEN 85 8:33.98 1105

Quick Take #1: Birech-Kemboi is going to be a treat this year

Usually when Kemboi is at the top of his game, he’s untouchable, but Birech, who won six times on the Diamond League circuit last year, is a real threat to him and gave him all he could handle today. Kemboi traditionally peaks very well and if he can reach another level in Beijing, perhaps he will dominate once again. But Birech also ran his best at the end of the year in 2014 (a world-leading 7:58.41 at the DL final in Brussels on September 5). Watching these two training partners battle this season — the NBC Sports broadcast talked about a potential World Record attempt — and at Worlds in August will be special and a welcome change from last year, when Birech dominated almost every major race.

Quick Take #2: A fantastic opener for Evan Jager

Here are Jager’s season-openers since he took up the steeple in 2012:

2012: 8:26.14
2013: 8:08.60
2014: 8:06.97
2015: 8:05.28

He’s managed to get better every year so far and is on track to do so again in 2015, missing his PR by just .57 of a second today. Though Conseslus Kipruto came back on him over the final 200 today — a mistake that would have cost him a medal in a championship race — Jager usually get betters as the season goes on and today’s result, against most of the world’s top steeplers, is a sign that he will be a legitimate medal threat in Beijing.

Women’s 5,000: Genzebe Dibaba’s WR attempt falls short; but she runs fastest time in US history

Dibaba won by Dibaba won by over 12 secondsWith a rabbit (or perhaps a race with Almaz Ayana), it’s possible Dibaba could have taken down sister Tirunesh’s 14:11.15 world record (or at least come closer to it),

Genzebe Dibaba came up short in her world record attempt here and its hard to blame her as as she was all alone after just 1800m into the race. Running a world record is hard, running most of the race all alone is almost impossible.

Dibaba ran admirably during the second mile, passing through 3200 in 9:07 (her first 1600 was 4:35), less than three seconds off WR pace. She couldn’t sustain the pace over the final mile, however, slipping to 69.7 on from 3200 to 3600, then 70.1 and 71.1. At the bell (13:13.4), it was clear the world record was off the table, though Dibaba still had a shot at a PR with a 65-second last lap. She couldn’t quite manage that, running 66.4 for her last lap to finish in 14:19.76, an outdoor PR (her indoor PR is 14:18.86).

A solo 14:19 — putting Dibaba fourth on the all-time outdoor list — is still an incredibly impressive performance and nothing for Dibaba to be ashamed of, though it was obviously a bit short of her goal.

Results and quick takes.

Pl. Athlete / Team Cnt. Birth Result Score
1. Genzebe DIBABA ETH 91 14:19.76 1242 PB
2. Faith Chepngetich KIPYEGON KEN 94 14:31.95 1218 PB
3. Vivian Jepkemoi CHERUIYOT KEN 83 14:46.69 1189 SB
4. Sally KIPYEGO KEN 85 14:47.75 1187 SB
5. Alemitu HAROYE ETH 95 14:48.52 1185
6. Irine Chebet CHEPTAI KEN 92 14:53.32 1176 SB
7. Viola Jelagat KIBIWOT KEN 83 15:00.69 1162
8. Yelena KOROBKINA RUS 90 15:18.80 1127 SB
9. Marielle HALL USA 92 15:23.33 1118
10. Meraf BAHTA SWE 89 15:46.97 1074 SB

Quick Take #1: Genzebe Dibaba’s strong season continues

Dibaba may not have gotten the WR but she shouldn’t be walking around with her head down after this one. She is three-for-three in 2015, breaking the world indoor record (14:18.86) in February, just missing the road 5k record in Carlsbad in March and setting an outdoor PR with her 14:19.76 today (previous best: 14:28.88). Countrywoman Almaz Ayana, who ran 14:14 in Shanghai two weeks ago, seems like the only woman in the world capable of hanging with Dibaba right now, though unfortunately we may have to wait until Worlds to see them square off.

Today’s time was the 5th fastest 5000 ever run outdoors (6th fastest ever counting Genzebe’s indoor 5000) and a time that her older sister, Tirunesh has only beaten once – when she ran the 14:11.15 WR.

Jenny Simpson fans, we do have some bad news for you. The 1500/5000 double is very much doable for Dibaba at Worlds. The 1500 finishes the day before the 5000 heats and then there are two days off before the 5000 final.

Quick Take #2: An impressive 5,000 debut by Faith Kipyegon

Kipyegon, a two-time world junior XC champ and the Kenyan record holder at 1500 (3:56.98) projected as a good 5,000 runner and she delivered in her debut, running 14:31.95 to put her #21 on the all-time list. Still only 21, Kipyegon, the Commonwealth Games 1500 champ, will now have to decide between the 1500 and 5,000 at Worlds.

Quick Take #3: Vivian Cheruiyot is making good progress

Cheruiyot isn’t back to the form that saw her win world titles at 5,000 and 10,000 in 2011, but she acquitted herself well in her first track race since 2012, running 14:46.69 for third. Cheruiyot took a long time to come back from giving birth in 2013. This was a sign that she is on the right path, but she’ll need to keep improving if she wants to medal at Worlds again.

Men’s 100: Tyson Gay Runs His Fastest Time Since Drug Suspension

Gay ran 9.88 and got the win in his first non-relay race of the year. 9.88 is his fastest legal time since his 9.86 in Kingston on May 4, 2013 (Gay ran 9.93 last year). Gay was clearly pleased with the result and in his post-race interview with Lewis Johnson, apologized to his supporters for making a mistake (his positive drug test) and said that whatever supplements he puts in his body going forward “is on me.”

Su Bingtian became the first Asian-born athlete to break 10.00, running 9.99.

Pl. Athlete / Team Cnt. Birth Result Score
1. Tyson GAY USA 82 9.88 1239 SB
2. Michael RODGERS USA 85 9.90 1232 SB
3. Bingtian SU CHN 89 9.99 1201 PB
4. Kim COLLINS SKN 76 9.99 1201 SB
5. Nesta CARTER JAM 85 10.02 1190
6. James DASAOLU GBR 87 10.13 1153 SB
7. Richard THOMPSON TTO 85 10.27 1106
8. Justin WALKER USA 90 10.28 1103

Men’s High Jump: Mutaz Essa Barshim Jumps a World-Leading 2.41 meters

After flying 9,000 miles from Qatar to compete, Barshim only took three jumps, clearing 2.28, 2.35 and 2.41 before calling it a day. He didn’t make any attempts at a world record, to the disappointment of the crowd. Not sure why. If he had made attempts at 8 feet this would have been the first meet where someone attempted 20 feet in the pole vault and 8 feet in the high jump. If you know why Barsham didn’t jump email us at

Update: We’ve received several emails informing us Barshim apologized to the crowd after the event for not attempting the WR. He said he was having cramping issues in his calf and didn’t want to risk injury. He was dealing with it throughout the event as he got a calf massage in between jumps. Very classy move to offer the crowd an explanation.

Pl. Athlete / Team Cnt. Birth Result Score
1. Mutaz Essa BARSHIM QAT 91 2.41 1278 WL
2. Guowei ZHANG CHN 91 2.38 1251 PB
3. Erik KYNARD USA 91 2.35 1224 SB
4. Ivan UKHOV RUS 86 2.32 1197 SB
5. Daniil TSYPLAKOV RUS 92 2.28 1161 SB
6. Andriy PROTSENKO UKR 88 2.28 1161 SB
7. Jesse WILLIAMS USA 83 2.24 1126
7. Donald THOMAS BAH 84 2.24 1126
7. Derek DROUIN CAN 90 2.24 1126

Women’s Triple Jump: Caterine Ibarguen Wins #24 in a Row

It came down to her final jump, but Ibarguen got it done, leaping 15.18 to get the victory over Russia’s Yekaterina Koneva. This was the first time two women had broken 15.00 in the same competition since the 2008 Olympics.

Pl. Athlete / Team Cnt. Birth Result Wind Score
1. Caterine IBARGUEN COL 84 15.18 +2.1 1209
2. Yekaterina KONEVA RUS 88 15.04 +1.7 1197 WL, PB
3. Olha SALADUKHA UKR 83 14.48 +1.5 1141
4. Keila DA SILVA COSTA BRA 83 14.21 +2.1 1111
5. Yosiris URRUTIA COL 86 14.03 +1.7 1095 SB
6. Yanmei LI CHN 90 13.61 +3.2 1043
7. Amanda SMOCK USA 82 13.59 +1.0 1054

Men’s 110 hurdles: Pascal Martinot-Lagarde Wins His Season-Opener

Martinot-Lagarde, Track & Field News’s World #1 last year, ran a world-leading 13.06 in his first race of 2015. World record-holder Aries Merritt of the U.S. was second in 13.12, his fastest time since July 2013.

Pl. Athlete / Team Cnt. Birth Result Score
1. Pascal MARTINOT-LAGARDE FRA 91 13.06 1234 WL
2. Aries MERRITT USA 85 13.12 1222 SB
3. David OLIVER USA 82 13.14 1218 SB
4. Orlando ORTEGA CUB 91 13.14 1218 SB
5. Sergey SHUBENKOV RUS 90 13.28 1191 SB
6. Andrew RILEY JAM 88 13.28 1191 SB
7. Aleec HARRIS USA 90 13.39 1170
8. Wenjun XIE CHN 90 13.39 1170

Women’s Javelin: World Champion Christina Obergfoll Wins

Obergfoll only needed two throws to get the win, throwing 63.07 meters.

Pl. Athlete / Team Cnt. Birth Result Score
1. Christina OBERGFÖLL GER 81 63.07 1113 SB
2. Kara WINGER USA 86 62.85 1109
3. Madara PALAMEIKA LAT 87 62.85 1109
4. Elizabeth GLEADLE CAN 88 61.46 1084
5. Barbora ŠPOTÁKOVÁ CZE 81 59.84 1054 SB
6. Linda STAHL GER 85 58.64 1033
7. Mariya ABAKUMOVA RUS 86 57.24 1007
8. Martina RATEJ SLO 81 55.15 969

Men’s Pole Vault: World Record Holder Renaud Lavillenie Gets An Outdoor PR And Diamond League Record With 6.05m

Only world outdoor record holder Sergey Bubka has ever gone higher as this 6.05m mark moves Renaud Lavillenie to tied for second all-time outdoors. Lavillenie’s previous outdoor best was 6.02m, but he has the world indoor record (and best mark overall) with 6.14m. After clearing 6.05m Lavillenie moved the bar up to a world record 6.16m, but took three attempts and was unable to get over. 2014 NCAA and USA champion Sam Kendricks was second in 5.80m. Renaud’s younger brother Valentin was 4th with a 5.70m outdoor PR.

    1 Lavillenie , Renaud              FRA       6.05          4        
    2 Kendricks , Sam                  USA       5.80          2        
    3 Holzdeppe , Raphael Marcel       GER       5.80          1        
    4 Lavillenie , Valentin            FRA       5.70                   
    5 Lisek , Piotr                    POL       5.70                   
    6 Filippídis , Konstadínos         GRE       5.40                   
      de Oliveira , Augusto            BRA         NM                   
      Xue , Changrui                   CHN        DNS

Women’s 400: Allyson Felix Gets A Big Win Over Sanya Richards Ross

We know Allyson Felix can dominate at the 200m, but she isn’t as consistently good over 400m. Here she ran a good time to beat a great field including Olympic champ Sanya Richards-Ross. Richards-Ross was trying to become the first woman to run under 50-seconds 50 different times, but fell short so will have to wait until next time. Felix also revealed that she’ll be trying to double-up in both the 200 and 400 this year at Worlds.

    1 Felix , Allyson                  USA      50.05                   
    2 Richards-Ross , Sanya            USA      50.29                   
    3 McPherson , Stephenie Ann        JAM      50.40                   
    4 Francis , Phyllis                USA      51.37                   
    5 Hastings , Natasha               USA      51.71                   
    6 Williams-Mills , Novlene         JAM      51.89                   
    7 Grenot , Libania                 ITA      51.91                   
    8 Day , Christine                  JAM      52.29


Men’s 400 Hurdles: Johnny Dutch Gets The Win As USA Goes 1-3

2014 US champ Dutch got the win in 48.20 just beating out Bershawn Jackson by .02. Behind them there was a decent gap to Michael Tinsley in third. Olympic bronze medalist Javier Culson was well beaten in 6th and Jamaica’s world junior champ Jaheel Hyde, who has a 49.01 pb, made his Diamond League debut as the last finisher. Welcome to the pros, Mr. Hyde.

    1 Dutch , Johnny                   USA      48.20          4        
    2 Jackson , Bershawn               USA      48.22          2        
    3 Tinsley , Michael                USA      48.79          1        
    4 Hussein , Kariem                 SUI      49.24                   
    5 Mägi , Rasmus                    EST      50.08                   
    6 Culson , Javier                  PUR      50.10                   
    7 Hyde , Jaheel                    JAM      50.80                   
      Gordon , Jehue                   TTO        DNF

Women 100 (International): English Gardner Barely Wins In A Quick 10.84

Gardner and Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson both clocked 10.84, but Gardner was given the win and the world lead. However, her WL didn’t last long as it was beaten by three women in the main 100m race. Still, a great time and new PB for Gardner who hadn’t broken 11-seconds since 2013.

    1 Gardner , English                USA      10.84                   
    2 Thompson , Elaine                JAM      10.84                   
    3 Santos , Rosângela               BRA      11.04                   
    4 Tarmoh , Jeneba                  USA      11.06
    5 Duncan , Kimberlyn               USA      11.22
    6 Pierre , Barbara                 USA      11.24
    7 Silva , Ana Claudia              BRA      11.30
    8 Whitney , Kaylin                 USA      11.49

Women’s 100: Shelly-Ann Gets The Win In A World-Leading 10.81

Jamaica’s Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was challenged here as she and Murielle Ahoure both ran 10.81, but Fraser-Pryce got the win. Ahoure will still be happy with setting a national record for the Ivory Coast. USA’s Tori Bowi was 3rd just off her 10.80 PR.

    1 Fraser-Pryce , Shelly-Ann        JAM      10.81          4        
    2 Ahouré , Murielle                CIV      10.81          2        
    3 Bowie , Tori                     USA      10.82          1        
    4 Okagbare , Blessing              NGR      10.87                   
    5 Jeter , Carmelita                USA      11.02                   
    6 Baptiste , Kelly-Ann             TTO      11.08
    7 Bartoletta , Tianna              USA      11.09
    8 Ahye , Michelle-Lee              TTO      11.90

Men’s 400: Kirani James Beats LaShawn Merritt Again

James broke 44-seconds for the 5th time in his career. While Merritt lost, he did get a seasonal best (previous best 44.80) and snap a streak of two straight races over 45.

Afterwards, Merritt said he is on the right track with new coach Brooks Johnson and is aiming to being his best at Worlds.

    1 James , Kirani                   GRN      43.95          4        
    2 Merritt , LaShawn                USA      44.51          2        
    3 Brown , Chris                    BAH      44.54          1        
    4 Masrahi , Yousef Ahmed           KSA      44.75                   
    5 Haroun , Abdelalelah             QAT      44.80                   
    6 McQuay , Tony                    USA      44.81                   
    7 Makwala , Isaac                  BOT      45.33                   
    8 Maslák , Pavel                   CZE      45.66

Men’s 200: Justin Gatlin Ties His PB

Usain Bolt had better start training as Justin Gatlin is in unreal form as he equaled his PR with a 19.68 win. He was in a class of his own winning by a ridiculous .36-seconds.

Talk about Gatlin’s race on the message board: Gatlin says F*ck the haters – 19.68.

    1 Gatlin , Justin                  USA      19.68          4        
    2 Jobodwana , Anaso                RSA      20.04          2        
    3 Ashmeade , Nickel                JAM      20.18          1        
    4 Young , Isiah                    USA      20.24                   
    5 Forte , Julian                   JAM      20.41                   
    6 Mitchell , Curtis                USA      20.44                   
    7 Edward , Alonso                  PAN      20.63                   
    8 Roberts , Gil                    USA      20.88



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