The Five Races We Want to See Most After the World Championships

August 18, 2017

A fantastic 2017 World Championships concluded last Sunday in London. We’ve got our distance running report cards here, some random thoughts on Worlds here with some big-time praise for Sam Kendricks, and below we present to you the five races we want to see after Worlds, four of which we’re pretty sure we’re going to see in the next two weeks.

#1. Isaac Makwala vs. Wayde van Niekerk at 400 in the Diamond League finale in Zurich

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Outside of Gatlin vs Bolt at 100, the sprint matchups fizzled in London. The fans were deprived of the Makwala-van Niekerk 400 matchup in London because Makwala was banned from racing van Niekerk due to the norovirus outbreak. Now it looks to be on in Zurich next Thursday in the Diamond League finale.

#2. A sub-12:50 attempt by Mo Farah and Muktar Edris in the Diamond League finale in Zurich.

We imagine Mo is a little psychologically beaten down after Worlds since he lost.

But he needs to get over it and PR in Zurich in the final track race of his career. Farah should be very proud of Worlds. He showed his supreme shape and only lost because Edris ran amazingly well. He’s got plenty of time to recover as Zurich is 10 days after Worlds (August 24, though Farah will be running a 3k in Birmingham on August 20).

Farah said at Worlds he was in PR 5k shape (12:53) and sub-26:40 10k shape. He wouldn’t have entered Zurich unless he thought he could do something special in his final track race. This is the last time we can call him Mo, as he said he wants to go by Mohamed Farah during his road career.

#3. A sub-8:00 attempt in the steeple by Evan Jager in Brussels

Jager has more than two weeks after Worlds to get ready as the final DL meet of the year is September 1 in Brussels. Jager will be running, the only question is whether world champion Conseslus Kipruto will be running and possibly chasing a world record. With the $50,000 jackpot on the line, we think we’ll see Kipruto in Brussels. Kipruto may be hesitant to go for a world record especially since he was injured heading into Worlds, but Kipruto, like Jager, has never broken 8:00. We hope to see a sub-8:00 at the minimum. No one has broken 8:00 since Jairus Birech did it to defeat Jager in their famous Paris race in 2015.

#4. A world record attempt by Beatrice Chepkoech in the steeple, sub-9 attempt by Emma Coburn

Despite Coburn’s gold at Worlds in the steeplechase, we think Chepkoech is the best steepler in the world right now and it looks like both of them will be racing next Thursday in the Diamond League finale in Zurich. Can Coburn or Courtney Frerichs go sub-9:00? Will Chepkoech challenge the world record (8:52.78 by Ruth Jebet)?

#5. Jenny Simpson vs. Emma Coburn in the steeple in 2018

With no global championship in 2018, how cool would it be to see them race? We were big fans of the Donovan Bailey vs. Michael Johnson 150m race back in the day, where the winner got $1.5 million and the loser $500,000. This would be similar but on a much smaller scale. Include Frerichs and Quigley as well but with the caveat we want it to be Simpson’s first steeple race to create uncertainty. Hold it early in the year before USAs. Sounds like fun, the only question is how much money would it take? Would $100,000 be enough? 

We think the steeple work might actually help Simpson. The focus on the strength would give her a nice base if she wants to chase the AR in the 1500 late into the summer.

More Post-Worlds Coverage: *The Grades Are In: USA Distance Runner Report Cards from the World Championships in London
*Random Thoughts From Worlds: What a Year Sam Kendricks is Having and Hope You Didn’t Bet Big on the Favorites

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