World Record Attempts at Pre Classic Fizzle as Niyonsaba Comes Closest

by LetsRun.com
May 28, 2022
EUGENE, Ore. – World records are world records for a reason, they are very hard to come by.

A glittering new Hayward Field, pacing lights, great weather, and all the money Nike has its disposal could not guarantee a world record or even a world best in the three attempts at Friday Night’s distance night at Pre.

The three record attempts were in the women’s 2 mile, the women’s 5000m, and the men’s 5,000m, and we chronicle them in that order. 

Women’s 2 mile – Francine Niyonsaba comes up .50 short.

Francine Niysonaba was chasing the clock. Well actually, she was chasing the pacing lights on the inside of the track.

The lights represented Meseret Defar’s 2-mile world best of 8:58.58 set in 2007.

Niyonsaba went ahead of the rabbits after 900m into the race and was just running with the lights. She got ahead of world record lights and in retrospect maybe that was a mistake as with 800m to go she started dropping behind the lights and her chance at the record looked to be slipping away. However, she rallied a bit the final 200m to make it close, crossing the line in 8:59.08, to become only the second woman under 9 minutes, but .50 short of the world record.

Niyonsaba had put up her hands at the finish to celebrate her victory but disappointment appeared on her face, as it was clear she wanted the world best, which survives another day.

Considering she ran 9:00.75 last year at Pre in a race without wavelight technology, in her first year as a 5000m runner, we don’t blame her for thinking she could have broken the record tonight.

1 14 BDI
8:59.08
WLMR
2 13 KEN
9:14.71
SB
3 9 MEX
9:15.74
SB
4 10 GER
9:16.73
SB
5 6 USA
9:17.62
SB
6 8 USA
9:18.73
SB
7 12 KEN
9:19.01
SB
8 1 USA
9:20.17
SB
9 4 USA
9:20.19
SB
10 5 USA
9:35.67
SB
11 3 USA
9:40.44
SB
12 2 USA
9:41.11
SB
DNF 16 USA
DNF 18 KEN
DNF 15 KEN
DNF 17 USA
DNS 7 ETH
DNS 11 KAZ

Quick Take: Don’t get ahead of the pacing lights

The pacing lights are a relatively new thing but the more we see them, we don’t think athletes should venture too far in front of record pace. Even or negative splits are the way to go. Picking up ground on the last lap when you’ve been going slightly slower than record pace the entire way is easier than trying to pick it back up after you’ve fallen off of record pace.

Quick Take: Helen Schlachtenhaufen comes up just shy of the American outdoor record

The top American in this race was Dartmouth alum Helen Schlachtenhaufen, who ran 9:17.62 to finish 5th. Granted the event isn’t run much outside of the Pre Classic, but that’s the second-fastest time ever by an American woman outdoors, behind only Jenny Simpson’s 9:16.78 from 2018 (though Elle Purrier St. Pierre has run faster indoors, 9:10.28).

Women’s 5000: Letensebet Gidey Doesn’t Get Record and Gets Beat by Ejgayehu Taye

This was billed as a world record attempt by Letensebet Gidey. Gidey, the current world record holder, who has run 4.5 seconds faster than any other woman for 5k, gave it a brave fight, but in the end once she really fell off of record pace, she didn’t have a lot left and was beaten by Ejgayehu Taye (who holds the world record for 5k on the roads at 14:19).

Article continues below player

Like this article? Subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on social

The latest running news, sent to your inbox weekly or when urgent news breaks.

You have been subscribed.


The field started a little behind the pacing lights, and then Gidey put in some effort trying to get on the lights, even running a 66.88 on the 7th lap. But by lap 9, the fatigue had started to set in and she slowed to 69.51. The record was gone, now it was about trying to win the race vs Taye, who had remained off of Gidey but within striking distance. On the homestretch for the penultimate time, Taye would go by Gidey and it was no contest from there on in as she ran 14:12.98, to become the 5th fastest of all time. Incredibly, the top eight women all-time in this event all hail from Ethiopia.

Place Country
Times SB PB
1 ETH
14:12.98
WLMRPB
14:14.09
2 ETH
14:24.59
SB
14:06.62
3 ERI
14:36.66
NRPB
15:38.10 14:55.56
4 ETH
14:44.73
PB
15:02.27
5 KEN
14:44.89
PB
15:03.84 15:03.84
6 ETH
14:47.37
SB
14:49.64 14:26.80
7 KAZ
14:52.64
SB
15:08.97 14:51.72
8 KAZ
15:05.68
SB
14:27.55
9 KEN
15:35.98
15:25.56 14:55.32
DNF BRN
15:51.04 15:16.70

Men’s 5000: Joshua Cheptegei Has to Settle for the Win and Going Sub-13:00

Joshua Cheptegei had the hardest task of the night trying to break his own 12:35.36 world record. He never was on pace. The first rabbit Craig Nowak was on pace, but Cheptegei was a bit off the pace but within striking distance of the lights. But by 2k (5:04.18) there wasn’t a lot of room for error, and Cheptegei would slow to 7:41 at 3k and any chance of the record was gone as Cheptegei needed to be running 60 seconds per lap and he was running over 63 seconds.

It was about holding off 12:58 5,000m runner Milkesa Mengesha for the win at this point and Cheptegei summoned a 57-second final lap to get the win in 12:57.99.

# Country
Time SB PB
1 UGA
12:57.99
WL
12:35.36
2 ETH
13:01.11
SB
12:58.28
3 KEN
13:10.61
SB
13:14.51 12:55.88
4 ETH
13:12.88
SB
13:22.85 12:54.22
5 GBR
13:15.31
PB
13:18.57
6 MAR
13:24.21
PB
14:28.39 13:26.34
7 KEN
13:25.19
13:12.43 13:04.44
8 ESP
13:25.33
SB
13:17.95
9 KEN
13:25.82
SB
13:01.68
10 USA
13:48.79
SB
13:24.94
DNF USA
13:02.80
DNF GBR
14:04.24 13:52.29
DNF BRA
13:54.30
DNF USA
DNS KEN
13:14.85 13:14.85

Joshua Cheptegei said he realized 3 laps in there was no chance for the record

Cheptegei said afterwards he felt some wind on the backstretch, a sentiment also expressed by British Olympian Sam Atkin who ran an outdoor pb in 5th in 13:15.31, and realized three laps in it wasn’t possible to run fast tonight. On paper (56 degrees, 2 mph), the weather looked nearly ideal, but the wind may have become a tiny bit of a factor as the temperature dropped. Sitting in the press tent, we could feel it during the race whereas the flags in the stadium were dead still during the women’s 2 mile attempt. DarkSky listed wind gusts of 6 mph out of the NW when the men’s 5000 started and the runners are headed north on the backstretch running into the most open end of the stadium.

Cheptegei also said he felt cold and said in Monaco you know you’re always going to get good weather whereas here it’s unpredictable. He also wondered if perhaps the track here isn’t fast for long distance races and might be better suited for the 800 or mile.

We asked him if he really felt the WR was a possibility and he said yes. He had compared his splits in practice between now and 2020 and thought they were better.

 



Like this article? Subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on social

The latest running news, sent to your inbox weekly or when urgent news breaks.

You have been subscribed.