Rest Of Distance Action: Genzebe Dibaba, Silas Kiplagat And Eunice Sum Get The Victories With Blazing Times

July 4, 2015

PARIS — What a track meet the Paris Diamond League meeting was. We recap all the non-Evan Jager distance action below.

Full results are here. Highlights: Evan Jager …. if you don’t know what we’re talking about click here. Plus, Genzebe Dibaba with a 61.17 final lap to run 14:15.41 and crush Almaz Ayana, a South African named Wayde Van Niekerk (admit you’ve never heard of him) running 43.97 to beat Kirani James, Orlando Ortega running 12.94 to beat David Oliver’s 12.98, Asafa Powell running 9.81 to turn back hometown hero Jimmy Vicaut‘s 9.86, Eunice Sum running 1:56.99 and Silas Kiplagat winning a 1500m clash. We’ve got distance highlights below. Jager’s unbelievable run gets its own article.

Women’s 5000: Genzebe Dibaba Gets The Win, But Not The Record

Coming in, the women’s 5000 was the most hyped race of the meet as it featured a stellar match-up between Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba and Almaz Ayana in what was billed as a potential world record attempt to get Tirunesh Dibaba‘s 14:11.15 mark from 2008. There was talk of the heat ruining any attempt, but in the end the weather was hot, but so was the pace as the two women went through 2000m in 5:38 (on pace for 14:07.45). However, in the end yo-yo pacing saw the women falter over the final kilometers and Dibaba settled for the win in 14:15.41 after blitzing Ayana on the last lap. A PB, but more than three seconds off her older sister’s record.

Quick Thought #1: Terrible Pacing

A world record in any situation is going to be tough, but any chances of it going down tonight in Paris were more or less blown when the pacer took the field out in a “dawdling” 2:54.12 first 1000. That’s only on pace for 14:30.60 and not even in the realm of the world record. Ayana tried to make up for it with a 63.7 fifth lap, and they ended up going through 2K in 14:07 pace (2:44.86 for the second 1000). An overcompensation for sure and the two women felt it as the third kilometer slowed to 2:57.19 (8:36.17 at 3000). They pace was all over the place as while lap 5 was 63.7, lap 7 was 73.8 (lap-by-lap splits here).

They sped up a bit in the 4th kilometer with a 2:52.16, but 11:28.33 only had them on pace for 14:20.41. They were still .11 faster than Tirunesh was when she set her 14:11 mark in 2008, but in that race she closed in a ridiculous 2:42.71. Neither of these women had that left in the tank today.

Quick Thought #2: Genzebe Dibaba Breaks Pacing Pact

The IAAF article has quotes from Dibaba and Ayana talking about a plan to trade the lead to help set the record pace, but apparently Dibaba didn’t stick to the plan. Post-race she said, “The pace of Ayana was too fast for me. That is why I went to my race. I knew there was an agreement before but I could not follow that pace. When it was clear there was no world record I concentrated on my win.” Ayana wasn’t happy about this saying, “I’m disappointed because the agreement was not kept. I did more laps than my rival, especially after 2k. Next time I will run different.”

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Quick Thought #3: Finding Pacers This Fast Is Tough

Getting women fast enough to pace a world record is not easy. If you wanted to have someone take Dibaba and Ayana through 3000 it would mean running an 8:30.69. Only a handful of women in the world are capable of running that fast to begin with and they are among the best so will not be available for pacing. Considering that, even getting someone to take these women through 2K is not easy. That said, today’s rabbiting wasn’t even close.

Quick Thought #4: Dibaba Has The Advantage Going Into Beijing/This Race Was Very Good For Jenny Simpson

This race was not only a world record attempt, but a good preview of what’s to come at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing later this summer. After destroying Ayana over the final lap and running 14:15, Dibaba can be considered the favorite. Ayana did a lot more work in this race leading and trying to keep it on record pace so that is a factor, however if she wants a fast pace at Worlds she’ll likely have to set that herself as well. If she lets the race go tactical, Dibaba seems to have the edge where closing speed is concerned. Consider Dibaba just ran 14:15 closing in 61.17. When Ayana ran her 14:14 earlier this year in Shanghai, she closed in 66.26.

The fact that Dibaba won this race is great news for Jenny Simpson. Dibaba has run 3:55 for 1500. Jenny Simpson can’t run 3:55 for 1500. If Dibaba had lost this race convincingly, there was a much high probability that she’d drop down to 1500 for Worlds. The 1500/5000 double is still a possibility for Dibaba but for now Simpson can breathe a little easier as the odds of Dibaba running the event went down.

That being said, Kenyan Faith Kipyegon ‘only’ ran 14:44 in this one. It seems clear that Kipyegon, who is coming back from injury and had run 14:31 earlier this year, is going to do the 1500 at Worlds. She ran 3:56 at age 19 and said she was doing the 5000 for endurance work before being healthy enough to work on the 1500.

Quick Thought #4: These Two Women Are Absolutely Dominant Right Now

With Tirunesh Dibaba and Meseret Defar both taking time away to start a family, Genzebe and Ayana are a level above the rest of the world. World 5000 silver medalist Mercy Cherono was a distant third here in 14:34.22 … barely in the same race as the two Ethiopians. That said, Worlds almost certainly won’t be a 14:15 race, so that leaves more room for others to stay in contention until the end.

Quick Thought #5: Former NCAA Champ Betsy Saina Giving Track One More Chance Before Sticking To The Roads

Iowa State alumni and former NCAA champ Betsy Saina was 10th in 15:07. Not a great result for the 14:39 runner, but this race was mostly just a tune-up for the Kenyan trials where she’ll try and make the team at 10,000. She says for whatever reason her strength is on the roads and she’s going all-out this year to try one more time to make the Kenyan team on the track. Otherwise if it doesn’t work out she’ll stick to the roads.

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5000 Metres - Women                                           
    1 Dibaba , Genzebe                 ETH   14:15.41          4        
    2 Ayana , Almaz                    ETH   14:21.97          2        
    3 Cherono , Mercy                  KEN   14:34.10          1        
    4 Kibiwot , Viola Jelagat          KEN   14:34.22                   
    5 Teferi , Senbere                 ETH   14:36.44                   
    6 Burka , Gelete                   ETH   14:40.50                   
    7 Kipyegon , Faith Chepngetich     KEN   14:44.51                   
    8 Heroye , Alemitu                 ETH   14:44.95                   
    9 Oljira , Belaynesh               ETH   15:05.19                   
   10 Saina , Betsy                    KEN   15:07.90                   
   11 Grøvdal , Karoline Bjerkeli      NOR   15:15.49                   
   12 Gebru , Azemra                   ETH   15:15.77                   
   13 Gudeta , Netsanet                ETH   15:31.25
   14 Mohammed , Alia Saeed            UAE   15:43.15
      Jelagat , Irene                  KEN        DNF                   
      Moreira , Sara                   POR        DNF                   
      Plis , Renata                    POL        DNF                   
      Tverdostup , Tamara              UKR        DNF

Men’s 1500: The Cream Rises To The Top As Silas Kiplagat Gets A Terrific Win

In our preview we mentioned four men who were the big names and most credentialed coming into this race. Well those four men finished in the top four spots tonight in Paris as Silas Kiplagat got the win in 3:30.12 with Ayanleh Souleiman 2nd (3:30.17), Ronald Kwemoi 3rd (3:30.43) and Taoufik Makhloufi 4th (3:30.50). When the rabbit dropped out with 400 to go it was Makhloufi who had the lead over Souleiman with Kiplagat in 4th. Entering the final straight Souleiman challenged and passed Makhloufi, but not before Kiplagat passed them both. In the end it was a nail-biter, but Kiplagat go the win by .05 of a second, running 53-low for his final lap (the official last lap from leader-to-leader was 53.79, but Kiplagat was back in 4th at the bell).

The top 11 people in this meet all ran faster than Evan Jager‘s previous world-leading 3:32.97.

Quick Thought #1: Centro Has His Hands Full

Matt Centrowitz is firing on all cylinders right now, but all of the big guns minus Asbel Kiprop showed up in this one and showed they are in good form. The attention coming in was on Souleiman and Makhloufi, but Kiplagat got the win here and Kwemoi keeps getting better each race in 2015.

The good news for Centro? There are no rabbits at the World Championships.

Quick Thought #2: Post-Race Interviews With Silas Kiplagat, Ayanleh Souleiman And Taoufik Makhloufi

Kiplagat talks about his come from behind tactics and the Kenyan Trials. Souleiman was happy despite the loss and warned his rivals he’d be coming for them at Worlds. Makhloufi says he wasn’t surprised with the 2:13.08 1000 he ran a few days ago because he knew he was that fit based on his training and expects to run under 3:30 (his PR is 3:30.40). He also commented briefly on training with Mo Farah in Ethiopia in the winter and Farah’s current drug allegation struggles.

1500 Metres - Men                                             
    1 Kiplagat , Silas                 KEN    3:30.12          4        
    2 Souleiman , Ayanleh              DJI    3:30.17          2        
    3 Kwemoi , Ronald                  KEN    3:30.43          1        
    4 Makhloufi , Taoufik              ALG    3:30.50                   
    5 Biwott , Robert Kiptoo           KEN    3:31.39                   
    6 Iguider , Abdalaati              MAR    3:31.51                   
    7 Magut , James Kiplagat           KEN    3:31.76                   
    8 Cheboi , Collins                 KEN    3:31.88                   
    9 Wote , Aman                      ETH    3:32.03                   
   10 Özbilen , Ilham Tanui            TUR    3:32.68                   
   11 Ingebrigtsen , Henrik            NOR    3:32.85                   
   12 Seurei , Benson Kiplagat         BRN    3:35.14                   
   13 Amdouni , Morhad                 FRA    3:35.17
   14 Dahmani , Samir                  FRA    3:37.05
      Kipkoech , Nicholas Kiplangat    KEN        DNF                   
      Som , Bram                       NED        DNF                 

Women’s 800: Eunice Sum Dominates PR Brigade; Molly Ludlow And Chanelle Price Both Bounce Back From USAs With PRs

No surprises with the final result here as the big favorite Eunice Sum dominated the race to win by .71 of a second over Cuba’s Rose Mary Almanza. What was less expected were the blazing fast times set by almost everyone in the field. Sum lead the way with 1:56.99 as the top five women all set PRs. Almanza at 1:57.70, Switzerland’s Selina Buchel with 1:57.95 and then USA’s Molly Ludlow and Chanelle Price with 1:58.68 and 1:59.10.

Quick Thought #1: Some Redemption For Molly Ludlow And Chanelle Price

Both Americans bounced back from the disappointment of not making the World team at USAs by setting PRs here in Paris. Ludlow was absolutely ecstatic to break the 1:59 barrier and gave a great interview. Price was a little less thrilled with her result, but still happy to get a PR and was sure that she’d be able to get into the 1:58 range later this summer.

800 Metres - Women                                            
    1 Sum , Eunice Jepkoech            KEN    1:56.99          4        
    2 Almanza , Rose Mary              CUB    1:57.70          2        
    3 Büchel , Selina                  SUI    1:57.95          1        
    4 Beckwith-Ludlow , Molly          USA    1:58.68                   
    5 Price , Chanelle                 USA    1:59.10                   
    6 Poistogova , Ekaterina           RUS    2:00.03                   
    7 Józwik , Joanna                  POL    2:00.09                   
    8 Lupu , Nataliia                  UKR    2:00.54                   
    9 Arzamasova , Marina              BLR    2:00.94
   10 Saunders , Claudia               USA    2:02.55
      Usovich , Ilona                  BLR        DNF
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