Race of the Decade: Rudisha Region, Round of 64

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By LetsRun.com
December 11, 2019

We are determining the RACE OF THE DECADE (overview here).

Below you’ll find the matchups for the round of 64 in the Rudisha Region (international distance races) in our Race of the Decade bracket. Voting will be open until the end of the day (midnight ET) on Thursday, December 12.

You can vote on matchups in the other regions by clicking the links below. Seeds are in ().


Race descriptions by Jonathan Gault.

Matchup #1

(1) 2012 Olympics, men’s 800 meters

David Rudisha’s finest hour, which featured two Americans breaking 1:43 and poor Andrew Osagie running 1:43.77 and finishing last, is best described by 17 letters: WR, WJR, PB, PB, PB, NR, SB, PB.

LRC David Rudisha Becomes A Legend By Winning Gold With A World Record In A Truly Historic 800

(16) 2012 Paris Diamond League, men’s 5,000 meters

With apologies to the 2018 Brussels 5,000, this race was better. The winning time in Brussels was faster (12:43 vs. 12:46), but this race set all-time marks for places 4 through 11 and featured a record six men under 12:50 and 11 under 13:00. It was so deep that Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele both ran 12:55 and finished 8th and 9th.

LRC Paris Recap: A Sensational Men’s 5,000, A Troubling Women’s 1,500 And David Rudisha’s 1:41 Highlight The 2012 Samsung Diamond League Paris Track & Field Meet


Matchup #2

(2) 2017 World Championships, women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase

Entering the 2017 Worlds, no American, male or female, had ever medalled in the steeplechase at the World Championships. That changed, dramatically, in London. Pre-race favorite Beatrice Chepkoech forgot to hurdle the first water barrier and, as she tried to catch up following her mistake, fell on another barrier. 

Somehow, Chepkoech fought her way back to the lead by the bell, but she had nothing left. With Olympic champ/world record holder Ruth Jebet struggling, that left the door open for Americans Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs, who blew through it by running huge PRs (five seconds for Coburn, fifteen for Frerichs) to go 1-2 in one of the biggest upsets in World Championship history.

LRC Americans Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs Pull Off Incomprehensible Upset and Go 1-2 in Women’s Steeple

(15) 2016 European Championships, men’s 5,000 meters

They’re not household names, but good luck finding a closer finish. The top three finishers were all given the same time, with fourth-placer Henrik Ingebrigtsen just .01 behind. Morhad Amdouni was .09 behind the winner, Ilias Fifa, yet that was only good for 5th.

LRC Wow: Is This Best Finish To A Distance Race Ever?


Matchup #3

(3) 2017 World Championships, men’s 5,000 meters

For almost six years, Mo Farah had been unbeatable. Starting with the 5,000 meters at the 2011 Worlds, Farah had won 10 straight global track finals, including the 10,000 a week earlier at the 2017 Worlds in his home city of London. Farah, who prior to the meet had announced 2017 would be his final year on the track (spoiler alert: it wasn’t) was trying to go out as a champion, but Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris had other plans, upsetting him at London Stadium and turning Farah’s own Mobot against him in celebration.

LRC The upsets continue: Mo Farah is beaten in men’s 5,000 at Worlds, Muktar Edris dethrones the king
LRC How did Muktar Edris finally beat Mo Farah in the 2017 World Championship 5,000 Final?

(14) 2014 Zurich Diamond League, women’s 1500 meters

The best race of the Jenny SimpsonShannon Rowbury rivalry saw Simpson outlean Rowbury by .01 to win the race and the Diamond League title.

LRC Jenny Simpson Does It – Wins Diamond League Final and Title By Diving Across The Finish Line


Matchup #4

(4) 2016 Olympics, men’s 1500 meters

If you’re an American, you remember where you were when you watched this one. In a tactical masterclass, Matthew Centrowitz won the United States’ first Olympic 1500 gold in 108 years by leading almost wire-to-wire.

Halfway through the race, the tension began building as one question — Can he hold on? — permeated the mind of everyone watching. Yes, he could.

One moment that you may have overlooked from this race: Centrowitz actually lost the lead briefly to Ayanleh Souleiman with 500 meters to go. Centrowitz’s inside pass 50 meters later — which set him up perfectly for the blazing 50.6 final lap — is one of the most underrated tactical moves in Olympic history.

LRC Matthew Centrowitz Goes Wire-To-Wire To Win USA’s First Men’s 1500m Gold In 108 Years

(13) 2012 Olympics, women’s 5,000 meters

Three legends in their prime. Only one could win. In a battle between women who racked up a combined six Olympic and 11 World Championship golds, it was Meseret Defar who won her second Olympic crown by outlasting reigning Olympic champ Tirunesh Dibaba and reigning world champ Vivian Cheruiyot in a clash of the titans.

LRC Meseret Defar Stunningly Stops The Coronation Of Tirunesh Dibaba


Matchup #5

(5) 2019 World Championships, women’s 1500 meters

Two months later, the results still don’t make any sense. Shelby Houlihan ran 3:54, destroyed the American record, and finished fourth. Led by Sifan Hassan’s sublime 3:51, five women broke 3:56, six broke 3:57, and nine broke 4:00 in the deepest non-Chinese race of all time.

LRC Sifan Hassan Completes Historic 10,000/1,500 Double in Style With a 3:51.95!!

(12) 2019 World Championships, women’s 10,000 meters

Sifan Hassan had never run a 10,000 on the track before 2019. But she ended the year as world champion with one of the most unbelievable splits ever recorded in a distance race: 3:59.09 for her final 1500 meters in a 30:17 10k. Props too, to runner-up Letesenbet Gidey, whose 4:03.68 final 1500 would have been the story on any other night.

LRC Not A Typo: Sifan Hassan Wins 10,000 World Title With A 3:59 Final 1500


Matchup #6

(6) 2016 Olympics, women’s 10,000 meters

A world record in an Olympic distance final is rare enough, but what Almaz Ayana did in the first final of the 2016 Olympics was almost incomprehensible. Prior to that race, no one had come within 22 seconds of Wang Junxia’s 23-year-old world record of 29:31.78. Ayana didn’t just break that record in Rio; she smashed it, clocking 29:17.45 thanks to a scorching 14:30 second 5k.

Four of the top five times in history came from this race, as did Molly Huddle’s American record of 30:13.17, which was good for 6th place.

LRC History In Rio: Almaz Ayana Smashes Women’s 10,000 World Record With 29:17.45 In Greatest Women’s 10,000 Ever – Molly Huddle Breaks American Record In 6th

(11) 2015 Paris Diamond League, men’s steeplechase

Despite a brilliant 8:00.45 American record, the question for Evan Jager at Paris 2015 will always be, What if? 7:56 or 7:57 was in play on a day where everything went right for the American — except the final barrier.

LRC In A Brave, Brave Run, Evan Jager Nearly Crushes The World’s Best In Men’s Steeple, Settles For 8:00.45 American Record


Matchup #7

(7) 2017 Zurich Diamond League final, men’s 5,000 meters

Mo Farah, in his final race on the track*, earned some revenge against Muktar Edris, who dethroned him at Worlds just two weeks earlier, by winning a crazy four-man sprint that left Edris, Yomif Kejelcha, and Paul Chelimo sprawled on the track by the finish.

*until his unretirement

LRC The great Mo Farah ends his track career with an epic win after one of the craziest finishes we’ve ever seen

(10) 2012 Olympics, men’s 10,000-meter final

The greatest race in the history of the Nike Oregon Project saw training partners Mo Farah and Galen Rupp go 1-2 in the Olympic final in London, a sentence that would have sounded incomprehensible just two years earlier.

LRC Mo Farah Gets It Done In Front Of The Home Crowd As Galen Rupp Gets Historic Silver


Matchup #8

(8) 2018 Zurich Diamond League final, men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase

If you could pick a distance event where you don’t want to lose a shoe, the steeplechase might be at the top of the list. But barely a lap into the 2018 Diamond League final, Conseslus Kipruto was forced to kick off his left shoe. He kept racing, and despite trailing off the final barrier, Kipruto ran down Soufiane El Bakkali for a famous win, to the delight of athletes watching ahead of the other DL final in Brussels.

LRC Conseslus Kipruto Unleashes Furious Kick to Win 2018 Diamond League Steeplechase Final with One Shoe!

(9) 2019 World Championships, men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase

For the first time since 1987, it looked as if a non-Kenyan-born athlete was going to win a global steeple gold at the 2019 World Championships in Doha. After lying dormant for years, Ethiopia had finally emerged as a steeple power, and Kenya’s best hope, reigning world/Olympic champ Conseslus Kipruto, had been hobbled by injuries — he had finished just two races in 2019 entering the meet. Yet Kipruto, with the weight of a nation on his shoulders, simply refused to lose, outkicking Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma by .01 to ensure the title remained in Kenyan hands.

LRC Conseslus Kipruto Preserves Kenyan Steeplechase Streak by the Tiniest Margin Possible at 2019 World Championships


You can vote on matchups in the other regions by clicking the links below.



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