By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2020 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(20-Mar) — The most important athletics meeting in the United States dedicated to distance running, the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford University, has been cancelled. The event, scheduled for Friday, May 8, was part of the overall cancellation of spring sporting events at Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Unfortunately, the meet is indeed canceled,” said Brian Risso, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications in an e-mail to Race Results Weekly.
The cancellation is a big blow for distance runners hoping to qualify for the Olympic Games. The unique climate in Palo Alto allows for still, dry, and cool conditions at night, conducive to running fast times. Traditionally, the meet produces dozens of Olympic or World Athletics Championships qualifying marks each year, especially at the 10,000m distance which is rarely run outside of major championships. At the meet in 2019, 14 men and 11 women achieved 2019 IAAF World Championships qualifying marks across three disciplines. In the women’s 10,000m, 12 athletes broke 32:00, and a total of 22 broke 33:30. Sixteen men ran under 13:30 for 5000m.
In the race for Olympic Games qualifying, so far only 25 men from 10 countries, and 27 women from 12 countries have achieved the Olympic standards for the 10,000m: 27:28.00 for men and 31:25.00 women. Among those are only two American men, Lopez Lomong and Shadrack Kipchirchir, and three American women, Emily Sisson, Molly Huddle, and Marielle Hall.
In past years the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., part of the Wanda Diamond League, has put on a 10,000m the night before the main meeting called “Distance Night at Hayward.” That meeting remains on the schedule for Saturday and Sunday, June 6 – 7, but no 10,000m is scheduled there, at least for now.