On to Rio: Mo Farah Delivers a World-Leading 5000m, Molly Ludlow Comes Close
July 22, 2016
The track and field world can now officially shift its attention to Rio. In the final race at the Müller Anniversary Games before 40,000+ fans at the Olympic Stadium, the world’s best distance runner, Mo Farah, brought an end to the Diamond League season before the Olympics in climatic fashion by running a world-leading 12:59.29.
We recap all the Day 2 action from the Müller Anniversary Games below. For Day 1 coverage see:
Men’s 5000m: Mo Farah Delivers Again – This Time a World-Leading 5000 Before the Home Crowd
Mo Farah put on a show in the men’s 5000 this afternoon at the Olympic Stadium in London. Running in the same stadium where he became a British icon by winning double gold at the 2012 Olympics, Farah gave the British fans another performance to remember as he front ran a world-leading 12:59.29. Believe it or not, this was just the fourth sub-13:00 of Farah’s life and his first sub-13:00 since 2012.
“It’s amazing. I got amazing support from the crowd and I just wanted to go for it. It was my last chance to run quick before Rio and I love this track. It has so much meaning to me,” said Farah on the BBC broadcast after the race. “Not many athletes get (to win Olympic gold in their) hometown – oh man it’s amazing.”
Farah was miles ahead of everyone else in this race as fellow Brit Andrew Butchart (13:14.85) outkicked Bernard Lagat (13:14.96) to emerge on top of the racers in the main pack as Isiah Koech was 4th (13:55.44), Ryan Hill 5th (13:15.59) and Ben True 6th (13:16.63).
The conditions were warm in London (83 degrees unofficially at the finish) and the rabbits did a decent job of making sure a sub-13-minute clocking was possible. The first km was 2:36.57 (2:36 is 13:00 pace), and then things slowed slightly as the 2km was hit in 5:14.93 as Farah was with the rabbits and most of the field was still in contention including the leading Americans.
The field was still together until just after the halfway mark when at 2600m the final rabbit Vincent Rono, Mo Farah, Isiah Koech and Stephen Mokoka began to separate themselves from the chasers. Rono was trying to make sure 13:00 didn’t slip away, and a 62.7 final lap before he dropped out at 3000m put Farah in the lead with Koech and Mokoka with him and then a gap of 20 meters to everyone else. Another 62.7 lap put Farah clear of Koech and Mokoka and at roughly 9:55 with 4 laps to go (they had been running over 63 seconds a lap until Rono upped it at 3000. The chase pack was roughly 10:02-3). Could Farah go sub-4:05 by himself to get under 13:00?
Yes. Farah ran the next 800 in 2:05.2 and would need a 1:59.5 the final 800 to go sub-13. He ran his penultimate lap in 61.77 and would need a sub-57.66 to get sub-13:00. Farah continued churning around the track as the London crowd roared its appreciation. Farah pumped his arms hard the final straight and was rewarded not only with a sub-13:00 but the world leader (previous world best was 12:59.43 by Muktar Edris in Eugene).
Farah has made it a habit of delivering on the world’s biggest stage, and while this wasn’t Rio, it was the biggest stage before Rio and Farah did not disappoint.
|1.||Mo FARAH||GBR||83||12:59.29 WL|
|3.||Bernard LAGAT||USA||74||13:14.96 SB|
|4.||Isiah Kiplangat KOECH||KEN||93||13:15.44|
|5.||Ryan HILL||USA||90||13:15.59 SB|
|8.||Paul Kipsiele KOECH||KEN||81||13:23.10 SB|
|9.||Stephen MOKOKA||RSA||85||13:23.66 SB|
|11.||Eric JENKINS||USA||91||13:24.33 SB|
|13.||Edwin Cheruiyot SOI||KEN||86||13:33.97|
|–||Hillary Kipkorir MAIYO||KEN||93||DNF|
Quick Thought #1: It’s going to be incredibly hard to beat Farah in Rio
Even before this afternoon’s race, everyone knew it was going to be hard to beat Farah in Rio. We already knew his speed was good thanks to the 3:31.74 1500 he ran in Monaco earlier in the month. We knew his endurance was good thanks to the 26:53.71 10,000 world leader he ran at the Pre Classic in June. But this afternoon’s race certainly could be viewed as warning shot that Farah was sending to Geoffrey Kamworor and Bedan Karoki, the two men who beat Farah at the World Half Marathon Championships in March, both of whom will face Farah in the 10,000 in Rio.
This afternoon, Farah showed something he’s rarely shown during his career – the ability and desire to hang onto a fast pace. Yes, in an absolute sense 12:59 isn’t fast for someone of Farah’s talent and credentials but it was over 80 degrees.
Farah is clearly much more vulnerable at the 10,000-meter distance, than he is at 5000. In the 10,000 in Rio, there is little doubt that Kamworor and Karoki will relentlessly push the pace. Farah gave himself the perfect mini-trial run for that by getting his body used to being pushed to the limit. Undoubtedly, this race must increase Farah’s confidence for the 10,000. Had he jogged around and outkicked the competition today, he’d have more doubts as to whether he’ll crack under the relentless pressure of Kamworor and Karoki in Rio like he did at the World Half Champs. We imagine he’s feeling quite confident now.
When asked if this was the best preparation he’s ever had for an Olympics, Farah deflected it a bit by responding, “Definitely I’m in good shape. I’m in good shape. I just have to keep doing what I’m doing. Two, two-and-a-half weeks, anything could happen so I just gotta stay patient and stay cool.”
Quick Thought #2: How in the world has Farah only broken 13:00 four times in his life?
That’s what we were thinking after watching this one, but Farah had only broken 13:00 once in 2010 (12:57.94 for 5th in Zurich), once in 2011 (12:53.11 for the win in Monaco) and once in 2012 (12:56.98 for the win at Pre) before today.
Quick Thought #3: A Real Good Race For Andrew Butchart
Not only did the 24-year-old Butchart, who won the British champs this year (Farah didn’t compete in the 5000), surprise for second but he also nearly equaled his 13:13.30 pb. Only two other people in the field were even within 10 seconds of their 5000 pb (Mo Farah was 6.18 off and Ryan Hill was 9.90 off) – no surprise given the warm conditions.
Butchard said afterwards, “I have been at altitude so it felt like I had a little more left in the tank, I broke away and managed to have enough energy to last me until the end. I have never experienced a crowd like this in my life, if I can experience that again in my lifetime I’ll be delighted. I have been at altitude for the last four weeks and know I am in shape, it gives you something of a boost and feel like you can breathe easier. I want to make the final in Rio, I think the race could be something similar to that. I have been to Font Romeu (with Mo) and the guy trains like an animal, and some of the guys racing tonight are extremely talented so I’m delighted to beat them.”
Quick Thought #4: The Americans Disappoint … Or Do They?
As this was underway and the Americans did not attempt to stay on the pace our first inclination was one of disappointment. Here was a race on a big stage right in the 13:00 range, and none of the Americans, including Bernard Lagat, were going with it. But runners are finely tuned machines and know their bodies well. 13:00 in 83 degrees is not 13:00 in the cool confines of Palo Alto. Isiah Koech tried to stay with Farah and he faded to 4th costing himself $3000 in prize money. Stephen Mokoka faded all the way back to 9th.
Women’s Steeple: Olympic champ Ghribi Wins, But Will She Be a Factor in Rio?
This one was for the taking as somehow this field at a Diamond League event with a $10,000 first prize and 40,000+ fans didn’t feature any of the top 10 fastest runners in the world.
The field did feature the reigning Olympic champion Habiba Ghribi of Tunisia, who was the class of the field in terms of accomplishments, and it showed.
The first km was a quick 3:01 and Ghribi was on the rabbit, as was American Stephanie Garcia, the 5th placer at the US Trials. Once the rabbit dropped out at the kilometer mark, Ghribi would pull 10+ meters ahead of Garcia. Ghribi was racing to lower her season’s best and show she’s ready for Rio (Ghribi only had raced once this year, a 9:31.22 clocking a month ago) while Garcia was trying to stay close and possibly sneak the win and a PB (9:23.48). Ghribi maintained her lead until the end and got the win in 9:21.35, while Garcia crossed in second in 9:26.36. Kenya’s Purity Kitui was further back in 3rd in 9:30.85. Jamaica’s Aisha Praught of the Nike OTC was 4th in 9:31.75 in a PB.
The race didn’t go smoothly for everyone. The 4th placer at the US Trials, Shalaya Kipp, whacked her left knee on a barrier and fell during the race but somehow managed to finish fifth in 9:34.12. However, after finishing she was in distress as she sat down and broke into tears. Madeline Hills, who had been with Garcia and Ghribi early, dropped out as did Lenny Waite who went to Rice and lives in the US and is on the UK Olympic team. Waite (born in Scotland) was seen standing trackside with her shoe off in pain.
The good news is both Kipp and Waite indicated on Twitter after the race they are ok.
— Shalaya Kipp (@ShalayaKipp) July 23, 2016
Irritated my fat pad on 2nd water jump. Wanted to finish but the hobble & pain was getting worse & I have a bigger race ahead #RoadToRio
— Lennie Waite (@lenniew8) July 23, 2016
Garcia at one point was DQ’d from the results (for running inside of the line) but was reinstated and gets to keep her $6000 in prize money for 2nd place.
|1.||Habiba GHRIBI||TUN||84||9:21.35 SB|
|2.||Stephanie GARCIA||USA||88||9:26.26 SB|
|4.||Aisha PRAUGHT||JAM||89||9:31.75 PB|
|6.||Sara Louise TREACY||IRL||89||9:39.41 PB|
|14.||Rosie CLARKE||GBR||91||9:51.97 PB|
QT: Can Ghribi be a factor in Rio?
Ghribi was the class of this field but her time here only made her the 12th fastest in the world this year. All 3 Americans in Rio have run faster than her, not to mention Ruth Jebet (8:59.97) and Hyvin Kiyeng (9:00.01).
Can she close the gap 3 weeks’ time? Ghribi seems to think so saying, “It is nice to get a Diamond Race victory but I will be expecting another big performance in the Olympics, I am a championship performer.”
QT: Emma Coburn has a great shot at a medal
Coburn wasn’t in this race but the fact that Ghribi didn’t run very fast by her standards is great news for Emma Coburn’s medal chances. Check out the top 5 in the world standings heading into Rio.
1 8:59.97 AR Ruth Chebet BRN
2 9:00.01 AR Hyvin Jepkemoi KEN
3 9:10.76 AR Emma Coburn USA
4 9:16.87 Etenesh Diro Neda ETH
5 9:17.41 Beatrice Chepkoech KEN
Women’s 800m: Ludlow Almost Gets Her Second Win in London
Molly Ludlow came up just short of the goal yet again.
The American, who finished 4th at the 2012 and 2016 US Olympic Trials (as well as the 2015 US Champs), led the non-DL women’s 800 from the start to nearly the finish before going from 1st to 3rd in the final 10 meters, as Shelayna Oskan-Clarke got the win in 1:59.46.
Ludlow and Brit Lynsey Sharp, who both ran 1:57 in Monaco, were side by side at 200 in this one when no one went with the rabbit, who went out as directed in 56. At 400 (58 mid for the racers), Ludlow led as Oskan-Clarke, the British Trials winner over Sharp, was 2nd and Sharp third. At 600 (1:29.20), the order hadn’t changed and those three ran the final turn single file.
Coming off the final turn, Ludlow had 2-3 meters on Clarke but the Brits weren’t giving up. In the final 50, Sharp started to move up, but as she did Clarke responded and in the final 10 meters she moved by Ludlow to get the win and then just at the line Ludlow lost 2nd as well to Sharp.
Oskan-Clarke was pleased saying, “It was great to win today, this is probably the biggest win of my career. I ran the race well and timed it well at the end. I was in form a few weeks ago but it just takes me a while to get my form out. I am confident of the shape I am in and this is a stepping stone for me.”
|1.||Shelayna OSKAN-CLARKE||GBR||90||1:59.46 SB|
|4.||Winny CHEBET||KEN||90||1:59.88 SB|
|5.||Alison LEONARD||GBR||90||2:00.52 SB|
QT: Oh So Close for Ludlow
Ludlow bounced back nicely from her 4th place finish at the 2012 Trials by winning the 800 at the London Diamond League meet. This year she bounced back by running her PR in Monaco last week, but the win here would have been nice.
Non-Distance Action- Diamond League Events
Women’s 200: Dafne Schippers Crushes Everyone
Dafne Schippers had the lead coming off the turn and then just decimated the field over the final 50 to win the women’s 200 in dominant fashion. Running all the way through the line into a -0.8 m/s headwind, she clocked 22.13. At first glance, that seems well off her 21.93 world lead. However, that’s a little misleading as when you correct for wind her world lead converts to 21.99 and this converts to 22.05.
Tiffany Townsend grabbed second but she was a full half-second behind in 22.63. 18-year-old Kaylin Whitney, the 2014 world junior champ who turned pro last year, was 7th here and showed what a big jump a top junior has to make to competing versus the pros.
Final, wind: -0.8
|2.||Tiffany TOWNSEND||USA||89||22.63 SB|
|4.||Jeneba TARMOH||USA||89||22.81 SB|
Men’s Shot Put: Joe Kovacs Wins and Breaks 22m
American Joe Kovacs wasn’t sure if he should come to London but with his eye on the Diamond League points title (and the $40,000 that comes with it) he did and he was rewarded with a win and big fourth-round throw of 22.04m. Finishing second was the man battling him for the DL points title, Tom Walsh (21.54m).
“I wanted to make sure I got the Diamond League points, obviously it’s also great preparation for Rio. I debated about coming here with one eye on the Olympics, but it’s been such a great test at what’s been a great meet – this place is amazing and I’m excited to hopefully come back here next year,” said Kovacs. “I’m happy to have got that 22m mark, I came into the meet quite confident as leader in the competition, and I really had to make sure Tom Walsh didn’t take maximum points off me, he got second today and had some great throws, so I’m pleased to have beat him. I skipped Oslo & Stockholm, so I had to make sure I made those points up.”
|2.||Tom WALSH||NZL||92||21.54 SB|
|3.||David STORL||GER||90||21.39 SB|
Women’s Pole Vault: Stefanídi Wins Again As Murer No Heights
Greece’s Ekateríni Stefanídi continued her winning ways. Stefanidi, who had won her previous two meets (European champs and Monaco DL), got the win by clearing 4.80m. Reigning world champion Yarisley Silva of Cuba was 2nd (4.72m).
“It is something like my 15th time in a row over 4.80m so I am really in the best shape of my life. I am happy to win another Diamond League meeting, more points added to my record,” said Stefanídi. “I am getting over the big bars so my goal is to do the same in Rio. I can’t control what anyone else does so I will just look to get as close as possible to my PB in Rio.”
One of the biggest hometown heroes at the Olympics will certainly be Brazil’s Fabiana Murer. Murer didn’t get the pre-Olympic boost in confidence she was looking for as she no-heighted. In Rio, Murer will have the best seasonal best of any of the vaulters (4.87m) as world leader Yelena Isinbayeva (4.90m) won’t be competing.
Women’s Discus: Perković Remains Undefeated
The perfect season of Sandra Perković, the 2012 Olympic and 2013 World champ who is the world leader this year, continued as she won with a second-round throw of 69.94m. All six of Perković’s throws were better than the 2nd place throwers. “I love this stadium, I won here four years [ago] and there’s always a special feeling competing here. This victory is very important for me especially going in to Rio after this competition,” said Perković.
|1.||Sandra PERKOVIĆ||CRO||90||69.94 MR|
Men’s Long Jump: Gao Xinglong Wins
China’s Gao Xinglong, who was 4th at Worlds last year, got the win with a modest 8.11m ahead of 2013 NCAA champion Damar Forbes of Jamaica and American Mike Hartfield.
Men’s 400 Hurdles: Kerron Clement Wins With A Seasonal Best
Javier Culson had the lead heading into the last hurdle but Kerron Clement, who at the Olympic Trials won his first US title in 10 years, came on strong to get the win in a seasonal best 48.40 to Culson’s 48.63 (also a seasonal best). It was a real high-quality affair as the top 5 all broke 49.00.
World leader Johnny Dutch, who threatened to retire after a disappointing 5th place showing at the US Trials, certainly didn’t rebound like Keni Harrison as he was a nonfactor in 49.60.
|1.||Kerron CLEMENT||USA||85||48.40 SB|
|2.||Javier CULSON||PUR||84||48.63 SB|
|4.||LJ VAN ZYL||RSA||85||48.92|
Non-Diamond League Events
Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast had a tremendous day. First she ran a 10.96 PR into a headwind in the prelims to surprise herself and then she followed it up with another 10.96 into a headwind (.7 m/s) to win the 100m over double Olympic champ Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. SAFP, Ta Lou, and Michelle-Lee Ahye were together late but SAFP faded and Ta Lou had the most to get the win.
SAFP did not look like an Olympic champ as she didn’t have much the final 20m. However, she is lightly raced this year and said, “It’s my third 100m this season, so far I’m happy. I ran 11.06 today, now I’ll focus on the journey ahead and continue to work hard. [Speaking on injuries] Sometimes you never know what will happen; sometimes things don’t go to plan, but it is what it is, injuries have just been part of the journey so far. Success is all about picking yourself up, I’ve been blessed so far to have had a wonderful career. [Speaking on competing well at big competitions] I’m confident in myself in that regard, but I already know how tough the Olympics will be, mentally I’m prepared for it, but whatever happens there I’m glad to have made it.”
Final, wind: -0.7
|1.||Marie-Josee TA LOU||CIV||88||10.96 PB|
Heat 1, wind: +0.2
|6.||Rosângela Cristina OLIVEIRA SANTOS||BRA||90||11.24|
|7.||Ana Claudia LEMOS||BRA||88||11.27|
Heat 2, wind: -1.3
|1.||Marie-Josee TA LOU||CIV||88||10.96 PB|
Men’s 110 Hurdles: European Champ Dimitri Bascou Wins
Dimitri Bascou, who is sixth in the world this year at 13.12, won easily in 13.20 as was expected given he had the best personal best of the competitors in the final by a lot. Brit Andy Pozzi had a huge pb in the rounds (13.19, previous pb was 13.31) to move into the top 10 on the 2016 World list but he didn’t race the final.
Final, wind: -1.0
Men’s 400: Matthew Hudson-Smith Wins But Doesn’t Break 45
In this non-DL race, Trinidad’s Deon Lendore had the lead hitting the homestretch but British champion Matthew Hudson-Smith was the best man over the final 100 and got the win in 45.03 to Lendore’s 45.34. 2014 and 2016 European champ Martyn Rooney was tossed before this one even began thanks to a false start.
Women’s Long Jump
Multi-eventer Katarina Johnson-Thompson won with a big seasonal best of 6.84 (previous sb was 6.55). She’s got to be feeling good heading into Rio as she PR’d in the high jump yesterday (1.95m).