Nike Prefontaine Classic-Bekele Stuns, Walker is Stunned as 14,000 plus track fans get to worship their favorite sport!

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The Pre Classic is the focal point of Track City, USA-Eugene, Oregon. At Hayward Field, 14,442 fans were able to witness many of the best athletes in the world. For the first time, Kenenisa Bekele, the world record holder at 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters, came oh so close at his favorite distance, the 10,000 meters. Brad Walker gave the crowd an American record at the pole vault.

We know several things now: The improvements at Hayward, in the new track, new display screen are fantastic and will add to the enjoyment of the U.S. Olympic Trials! And now for the the Pre Classic, version 34:

Nike Prefontaine, v.34
June 8, 2008

A true dress rehearsal for the coming Olympic Trials. The Nike Prefontaine, version 34 was a huge celebration of what is great with our sport. A record of 14, 442 paying customers watch the best athletes in the world run, jump and throw. Here are my highlights ( complete results follow at end):

Men's 10,000 meters-Bekele is Amazing!

The morning session of the Prefontaine was spectacular. In Kenenisa Bekele's first outdoor appearance EVER in North America, Bekele treated the crowd to the fourth fastest 10,000 meter in global history and the fastest 10,000 meters ever run in North America.

Bekele was lead by Luis Luchini through laps of 64, for 400 meters, 2:06.9 for 800 meters and 3:10 for 1200 meters ( having hit the one kilometer mark in 2:39.5. Boaz Cheboiywo of Kenya, took Bekele through 2 kilometers in 5:16.7, 3 kilometers in 7:58.1. Abrehem Feleke of Kenya, who had been running with Cheboiywo and Bekele just behind the pacers took Bekele through fourth kilometers in 10:34.1 and five kilometers in 13:09.9!

Kenenisa Bekele was by himself now, with 150 meters on the field and growing. He was relentless, pushing and pushing, sweat coming down his face, as the sun shone strongly, but the morning stayed cool. Bekele has 5 to 7,000 fans cheering for him the entire race. As he ran past the back stands, the cheering was very loud and as he hit the finishline stands the cheering would start again, as he kept clicking off 63.6 to 654 per lap.

Bekele hit six kilometers in 15:49.1, ( he had run 15:44.6 in his world record run), seven kilometers in 18:29.4 and eight kilometers in 21:10.2, ( in his record he had run 21.04.6). Announcer Scott Davis kept the fans and the runners up on their splits, and Bekele continued to push , hitting 9 kilometers in 23:51.2, just six seconds off his world record pace.

Kenenisa Bekele was a study of focus, smooth short stride, pumping arms, as the crowd cheered and his heart pumped, pushing, pushing for the fast time. Bekele hit 9200 meters in 24:22.9, and he did not slow down.

Running a 64 lap, Bekele hit the bell in 25:26.1 and gave it all he had, finishing with an incredible 59 second last lap ( 2:03 last 800 meters!) to run 26:25.97, the number four time in history, and breaking the stadium record, from 1982 of one Henry Rono, who ran 27:29 holding off Alberto Salazar in an Oregon Twilight Meet.

Bekele had just run 8 seconds above his world record, in his first sojourn over 10,000 meters of the year. He ran 13:09.9 and 13:16.07 for his first and second 5,000 meters, to give North America its first sub 27 minute 10,000 meters!

But, dear readers, that was not all. Abdi Abdirahaman had been running with Ibrahim Jeilan, Maregu Zewdi, Mark Kiptoo and Tadessa Tola, the first three from Kenya and the last from Ethiopia. In a tight, tight race sofor second, Jeilian took second in 27:13.85, Zewdie was third in 27:14.13, Mark KIptoo was third in 27:14.67, Tadesa Zola was fifth in 27:15.17, Kiplimo Kimutai took sixth in 2&16.49 with Abdi Abdirahman in seventh in 27:16.99, only three seconds off the American record of the injured Meb Keflezighi.

All in all, the fans were treated to the seeing a view of the most dominating long distance and cross country runner of the last half decade, Kenenisa Bekele. Bekele did not disappoint his many fans, and added to his legend with this solo 10,000 meters!

Women's 5,000 meters-Defar tries to answer Friday nights world record

On Friday night, in Oslo, at the Biseltt Games, Tirunesh Dibaba broke the world record of her teammate, Meseret Defar, running the 5,000 meters in 14:11.15. That probably as the end of a world record attempt here for Defar.

Running a fine race, hitting the 1600 meters in 4:36.1, 3200 meters in 9:15, Defar kept going, winning by nineteen seconds, in 14:38.73. This was the third fastest women's 5,000 meters ever run in North America.

The battle for second was the most exciting part of this race, as the dimunitive Vivian Cheruiyot held off the challenge of Kara Goucher, 14:57.43 to 14:58.10, a seasonal best for Goucher and putting her under the magical 15 minutes this year with Lauren Fleshman ( New York) and Jenn Rhines ( Bislett).

Women's 100 m hurdles--Hayes Remembers What Year it is...

Joanna Hayes, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist who has been injured for most of the past three years, knows how to peak. Running in a 3.1ms wind, Hayes took a very close race with Dawn Harper, 12.53 to 12.59. In third was Lacena Golding-Clarke of Jamaica in 12.65.

Men's 400 meters--La Shawn Merrit Just Does it!

La Shawn Merrit has had one busy week. Last Sunday, running in the first Golden League meet of the year, Merrit and Jeremy Wariner had one of the classic footraces of all times, running neck and neck for the last 120 meters, until Wariner just ran out of gas, with Merrit taking the win in 44.04 to 44.07.

Last Friday night, at the second stop of the Golden League in Bislett Games/Oslo, Jeremy Wariner ran 43.98 to take the world lead again.

La Shawn answered that with a solo 44.65 to take the Nike 400 meter dash, hitting the 200 meters in 21.98 (hand timed), with Angelo Taylor, the busiest man on the track, taking second in 45.14. Renny Quow of Trinidad ran 45.41 for third and World Indoor Champion at 400 meters, Tyler Christoper ran 45.52 for fourth.

World Champion 400 m hurdles Kerron Clement ran 45.77 for seventh place.

The times were nothing to write home about, but the truth, dear readers is this--the men's 400 meters will be a brutal, captivating series of rounds. And it will take some very, very fast running to get to the final of the Olympic Trials at 400 meters. Wariner or Merrit? Do not have a clue, my friends, but it will be some great foot racing, and that is why 18,000 people will be in Eugene for ten days at the end of the month.

Men's 110 M Hurdles, Liu Xiang has a false start?

Last week, Liu Xiang of China did not run, due to a stressed hamstring. This year, Liu
was not certian and many were surprised to see him line up. However, the hurdle gods were not going for it. Two false starts, the second place on lane four, the lane of said Olympic and world champion Liu Xiang, so he was disqualified. Liu knew, after the race was called back, as he placed his hands on his hips and was obviously disappointed.

Once the race got off, Anwar Moore made quick work of , the race, hurdling a fine 13.09 for first place. David Payne ran 13.28 for second with Antwan Hicks taking third in 13.30.

The man with the hands of 1.4 billion Chinese pushing him, Liu Xiang, has had a rough week. We wish him a quick recovery and will see him in about two months.


Women's 100 Meters-Edwards gets a flyer

After a false start, Torrid Edwards, in lane four, seemed to get a better start than the rest of a the field and executed perfectly! She stayed on her game throughout the race, running a fine 10.94. Sherone Simpson of Jamaica was second in 10.99. Simpson was joined at the hip by Kerron Stewart of Jamiaca in third in 10.99, with Allyson Feix of the US in fourth in 11.06. Carmelite Jeter was fifth in 11.07 and Lauryn Williams ran 11.31 for sixth place.

Women's 400 meters-Sanya Richards is looking good!

Sanya Richards went out a little too fast in this one, and hit the 200 meters with a strong lead, which she kept, for the win in 50.10, .01 better than her run in Reebok NY last weekend. Running an excellent second was my fellow flyer from Denver to Eugene, Mary Wineberg, who ran very close to her personal best, with a fine 50.32. Shericka Williams of Jamaica was third in 50.34 with Novleen Williams in 50.92.

After the race, as I was chatting with Coach Clyde Hart, Sanya's coach, he noted that she had got a little excited and went out too fast. He smiled, and noted, " We will have her ready for the Trials..." that is an understatement.

Sanya had told me on Saturday at the press conference that she was only going to run the 400 meters at the Trials. " The coaches told me that I did not have to run the 100 meters or 200 meters to be considered for the 4 x 100 meter relay." Her goal is to run for three gold medals, in the 4 x 100 meters, 4 x 400 meters and the 400 meters. A tough dream, but she can do it, with the depth of those events in the US. Big issue: Jamaica and a couple of Brits.

Women's 1,500 meters

Gelete Burka of Ethiopia ran from the lead and did not stop, hitting the 800 meter sin 2:05 and not looking back. Burka hit the tape in 4:00.44 with Nancy Lagat of Kenya in second in 4:03.88. Right on her back was Christin-Wurth Thomas, who charged the last lap and finished in a fine 4:04.88, showing her fitness level and putting her in the real fight to make the team at 1,500 meters. Erin Donahue of the US took fourth in 4:07.65, with Lauren Fleshman, who had dabbled in last place for much of the early race, in fifth in a fine 4:09.43. Amy Mortimer ran 4:09.81 for sixth, with Carmen Douma-Hussar of Canada in eighth in 4:11.44.

Men's Shot-Adam Nelson

Adam Nelson, the method actor of the shot put, gave Hayward Field its 70th, 71rst and 72nd throws over 70 feet. His best, a behemoth 72-07, or 22.12 meters only stands behind his 73-6 indoors as his best of the year. Reese Hoffa was second in 71-03.5, and Dan Taylor was third in 67-08.5.

Men's Pole Vault-An American record!

After some broken poles and a few close calls, the pole vault was decided as a win by Brad Walker over Derek Miles and Tim Mack. 40 year old Jeff Hartwig was fourth in 18-4.5.

Brad Walker cleared 5.70 meters on his second attempt, then passed at 5.80 and cleared 5.90 on his first, to take the win.

Now, Walker got serious. The silver medalist in Valencia, asked for the bar to be raised to 19 feet, 9 3/4 inches or 6.04 meters. Walker too his run, hitting the box, and pushing himself over the bar, clearing 6.04 meters, a new American record, on his first attempt! The crowd went crazy with thunderous applause as Walker lay silent on the pit , trying to take it all in.

After that, Walker tried gamely at 6.14m or 20 feet, two and one half inches, height never cleared by pole vault deity Sergei Bubka, who is the only person who has jumped higher than Brad Walker now.

Men's Two Mile-Lagat is on form

This event was made for the Prefontaine. And the field was packed! Bernard Lagat, 2007 World Champ at 1,500 meters and 5,000 meters, Rhashid Ramzi, World Champ at 800 and 1,500, Helsinki, Paul Koech, Chris Solinsky, two time NCAA champion, Craig Mottram, Helsinki bronze medalist at 5,000 meters.

The early pace was brutal, 59.9, 1:59.6, 3:00.4, then 4:03.81 for the 1,600 meters. Mottram was up front with Ramzi, Koech, Solinsky all in tow. Mottram slowed the pace, down, hitting 2 kilometers in 5:09, 1.5 miles in 6:14, and 1.75 miles in 7:15.

The race was on, as Mottram slid back, Ramzi, Koech, Solinsky tried to move, with Lagat on the outside.

Bernard Lagat ran this race like the veteran he is, running a final lap in the 56 range, taking the win in 8:12.45. Rhashid Ramzi was second in 8:13.16, Paul Koech of Kenya was third in 8:13.31 and Chris Solinsky showed his fitness in 8:15.77 for a personal best.

Solinsky ran a solid race. He stayed out of trouble, but seemed to be awed a bit by the field and when he made his move with 150 meters to go, he was pretty spent, but held on gamely for fourth in a stellar and dangerous field. He should be ready for the Trials as well.

Mens' Mile, Webb does not impress

The mile was pretty fast this year, with the rabbits hit 53.9 and the half way point in 1:52.9. Alan Webb was way back as the field continued to push. The third lap slowed down, and after the bell, it was Shedrak Korir, Daniel Komen, Belal Mansoor Ali and Nicolas Willis. With 300 meters to go, Willis took off like a bat out of hell and ran through the turn, increasing his pace so that off the top of the turn he had the lead, which he held.. and held....as Shedrak Kibet Korir pushed into a new gear and moved on Willis, catching him at the tape. Korir won 3:50.49 to 3:50.66 for Willis to 3:50.95 for Komen. All nine finishers were under 3:58.16 with Alan Webb in seventh in 3:55.47, looking a few weeks out of racing fitness.

Webb, the American record holder in the mile, has had a rough early season that may play into his season. His 3:55 shows that he needs two to three weeks of focused training because there are six guys right now, seriously trying for three Olympic positions.

Men's 200 meters-Wallace Spearmon is serious!

After taking fourth in the 100 meters in 10.24, a newly shorn Wallace Spearmon took the 200 in 20.14 over Shawn Crawford, the 2004 gold medalist, who ran 20.25. Spearmon has raced well this spring and looks ready, really ready for the Olympic Trials.

Spearmon is on his game. He ran the turn very well and came off the turn in control and running through the tape, with no histrionics. Spearmon is ready to race for the Trials and the race between he and Tyson Gay should be exciting.

Women's 800 meters

In a race that came out of central casting, Maria de Lourdes Mutola took on Alice Schmidt, Hazel Clark, Shannon Rowbury, Nicole Teter, and Chanelle Price, the prep phenom, and won, in her fifteenth win at Pre, in 1:59.24. Seven runners under 2:01.70 with Price running 2:01.03, the number two prep time over 800 meters ever!

Nike has announced a Maria Mutola Award for the best performance at Pre. This year, it goes to Brad Walker, and his new American record.

There is so much that can be said about the Prefontaine Classic. The new track, done by Beynon Surfaces, looks fast and clean. The new stands and the new scoreboard add to the authenticity of Hayward Field and its claim as the focal point of Track City, USA-Eugene, Oregon. See you all back in seventeen days!

08/06/2008

Prefontaine Classic

Eugene, OR, 08/06/2008

Men' results

100 Metres - Men Wind: -0.5 m/s

Pts

1 Brown , Darrel TRI 10.07 10

2 Williams , Ivory USA 10.10 8

3 Demps , Jeffery USA 10.19 7

4 Spearmon , Wallace USA 10.24 6

5 Crawford , Shawn USA 10.24 5

6 Frater , Michael JAM 10.24 4

7 Martin , Rodney USA 10.27 3

8 Jelks , Mark USA 10.31 2

200 Metres - Men Wind: +1.6 m/s

Pts

1 Spearmon , Wallace USA 20.14 10

2 Crawford , Shawn USA 20.25 8

3 Carter , Xavier USA 20.29 7

4 Martin , Rodney USA 20.31 6

5 Berrian , Chris USA 20.45 5

6 Williams , Christopher JAM 20.74 4

7 Bailey , Ryan USA 20.78 3

8 Brown , Joel USA 21.02 2

400 Metres - Men

Pts

1 Merritt , LaShawn USA 44.65 10

2 Taylor , Angelo USA 45.14 8

3 Quow , Renny TRI 45.41 7

4 Christopher , Tyler CAN 45.52 6

5 Kikaya , Gary COD 45.55 5

6 Neville , David USA 45.74 4

7 Clement , Kerron USA 45.77 3

8 Williamson , Darold USA 46.93 2

800 Metres - Men

Pts

1 Yego , Alfred Kirwa KEN 1:44.01 10

2 Kamel , Yusuf Saad BRN 1:44.18 8

3 Robinson , Khadevis USA 1:44.55 7

4 Symmonds , Nick USA 1:45.01 6

5 Reed , Gary CAN 1:45.68 5

6 Kombich , Ismael Kipngetich KEN 1:46.07 4

7 Scherer , Matthew USA 1:46.11 3

8 Yokota , Masato JPN 1:47.35 2

9 Shaw , Brandon USA 1:49.00

Blount , Elliot USA DNF

One Mile - Men

Pts

1 Korir , Shedrack Kibet KEN 3:50.49 10

2 Willis , Nicholas NZL 3:50.66 8

3 Komen , Daniel Kipchirchir KEN 3:50.95 7

4 Ali , Belal Mansoor BRN 3:53.12 6

5 Lomong , Lopez USA 3:53.97 5

6 Rankin , Jon USA 3:54.68 4

7 Webb , Alan USA 3:55.47 3

8 Kipchirchir , Alex KEN 3:57.43 2

9 Leer , Will USA 3:58.16 1

Kivuna , Jackson Mumbwa KEN DNF

Elliott , Kevin USA DNF

Tegenkamp , Matthew USA DNS

Sullivan , Kevin CAN DNS

Two Miles - Men

Pts

1 Lagat , Bernard USA 8:12.45 10

2 Ramzi , Rashid BRN 8:13.16 8

3 Koech , Paul Kipsiele KEN 8:13.31 7

4 Solinsky , Chris USA 8:15.77 6

5 Mottram , Craig AUS 8:18.19 5

6 Kosgei , Shadrack KEN 8:21.34 4

7 Shaheen , Saif Saaeed QAT 8:22.86 3

8 Asmerom , Bolota USA 8:32.16 2

9 Birmingham , Collis AUS 8:40.22 1

10 Puskedra , Luke USA 8:46.41 1

Riley , Jonathon USA DNF

Kithii , Josphat Mitunga KEN DNF

Bak , Ryan USA DNF

Wall , Scott USA DNF

Moran , Ed USA DNS

10,000 Metres - Men

Pts

1 Bekele , Kenenisa ETH 26:25.97 10

2 Jeilan , Ibrahim ETH 27:13.85 8

3 Zewdie , Maregu ETH 27:14.13 7

4 Kiptoo , Mark Kosgei KEN 27:14.67 6

5 Tola , Tadese ETH 27:15.17 5

6 Kimutai , Kiplimo KEN 27:16.49 4

7 Abdirahman , Abdihakem USA 27:16.99 3

8 Kosgei , Barnabas Kiplagat KEN 28:15.66 2

9 Harroufi , Ridouane MAR 28:20.67 1

Cherkos , Abreham ETH DNF

Luchini Jr. , Louis USA DNF

Cheboiywo , Boaz KEN DNF

Regassa , Tilahun ETH DNS

Meftah , Abdellatif MAR DNS

Kipngetich , Robert Sigei KEN DNS

110 Metres Hurdles - Men Wind: +2.7 m/s

Pts

1 Moore , Anwar USA 13.09 10

2 Payne , David USA 13.28 8

3 Hicks , Antwon USA 13.30 7

4 Brown , Joel USA 13.45 6

5 Shi , Dongpeng CHN 13.50 5

Liu , Xiang CHN DQ

Wilson , Ryan USA DNF

High Jump - Men

Pts

1 Silnov , Andrey RUS 2.31 10

2 Harris , Tora USA 2.30 8

3 Williams , Jesse USA 2.25 7

4 Thomas , Donald BAH 2.25 6

5 Mason , Germaine GBR 2.20 5

6 Nieto , Jamie USA 2.20 4

7 Ukhov , Ivan RUS 2.20 3

Pole Vault - Men

Pts

1 Walker , Brad USA 6.04 10

2 Miles , Derek USA 5.80 8

3 Mack , Timothy USA 5.70 7

4 Hartwig , Jeff USA 5.60 5.50

4 Buller , Russ USA 5.60 5.50

6 Skipper , Tommy USA 5.45 4

7 Hollis , Mark USA 5.45 3

Pauli , Jacob USA NM

Triple Jump - Men

Pts Wind

1 Gregório , Jadel BRA 17.26 10 +1.3

2 Curry , Rafeeq USA 17.11 8 +2.1

3 Sands , Leevan BAH 16.94 7 +0.0

4 Bell , Kenta USA 16.66 6 +0.6

5 Willis , Lawrence USA 16.28 5 +1.7

Davis , Walter USA DNS

Shot Put - Men

Pts

1 Nelson , Adam USA 22.12 10

2 Hoffa , Reese USA 21.73 8

3 Taylor , Daniel USA 20.63 7

4 Armstrong , Dylan CAN 20.40 6

Cantwell , Christian USA DNS

Scott , Dorian JAM DNS

Women' results

100 Metres - Women Wind: +1.3 m/s

Pts

1 Edwards , Torri USA 10.94 10

2 Simpson , Sherone JAM 10.99 8

3 Stewart , Kerron JAM 10.99 7

4 Felix , Allyson USA 11.06 6

5 Jeter , Carmelita USA 11.07 5

6 Williams , Lauryn USA 11.21 4

7 Dowdie , Peta-Gaye JAM 11.31 3

8 Osayomi , Oludamola NGR 11.32 2

400 Metres - Women

Pts

1 Richards , Sanya USA 50.10 10

2 Wineberg , Mary USA 50.32 8

3 Williams , Shericka JAM 50.34 7

4 Williams , Novlene JAM 50.92 6

5 Floyd , Ebony USA 51.25 5

6 Hastings , Natasha USA 51.34 4

7 Woods , Shareese USA 52.36 3

8 Tanno , Asami JPN 52.54 2

800 Metres - Women

Pts

1 Mutola , Maria de Lurdes MOZ 1:59.24 10

2 Schmidt , Alice USA 2:00.01 8

3 Clark , Hazel USA 2:00.51 7

4 Rowbury , Shannon USA 2:01.03 6

5 Teter , Nicole USA 2:01.07 5

6 Price , Chanelle USA 2:01.61 4

7 Cummins , Diane CAN 2:01.70 3

8 Sato , Miho JPN 2:06.75 2

Hardy , Melanie USA DNF

1500 Metres - Women

Pts

1 Burka , Gelete ETH 4:00.44 10

2 Lagat , Nancy Jebet KEN 4:03.80 8

3 Wurth-Thomas , Christin USA 4:04.88 7

4 Donohue , Erin USA 4:07.65 6

5 Fleshman , Lauren USA 4:09.43 5

6 Mortimer , Amy USA 4:09.81 4

7 Tomashova , Tatyana RUS 4:10.49 3

8 Douma-Hussar , Carmen CAN 4:11.44 2

9 Clement , Treniere USA 4:11.87 1

Corrigan , Lisa AUS DNF

Green , Nikeya USA DNF

Jamal , Maryam Yusuf BRN DNS

Legesse , Meskerem ETH DNS

5000 Metres - Women

Pts

1 Defar , Meseret ETH 14:38.73 10

2 Cheruiyot , Vivian KEN 14:57.43 8

3 Goucher , Kara USA 14:58.10 7

4 Jepchumba , Peninah KEN 15:17.59 6

5 Clarke , Georgie AUS 15:36.82 5

Komyagina , Olga RUS DNF

Galaviz , Lisa USA DNF

Ferrell , Catherine USA DNF

Begley-Yoder , Amy USA DNF

100 Metres Hurdles - Women Wind: +3.1 m/s

Pts

1 Hayes , Joanna USA 12.53 10

2 Harper , Dawn USA 12.59 8

3 Golding-Clarke , Lacena JAM 12.65 7

4 Lopes-Schliep , Priscilla CAN 12.72 6

5 Foster-Hylton , Brigitte JAM 12.75 5

Cherry , Damu USA DQ

Long Jump - Women

Pts Wind

1 Maggi , Maurren Higa BRA 7.02 10 +3.3

2 Jimoh , Funmi USA 6.85 8 +2.6

3 Kotova , Tatyana RUS 6.69 7 +0.0

4 Upshaw , Grace USA 6.68 6 +2.6

5 Lebedeva , Tatyana RUS 6.62 5 +1.4

6 Richmond , Rose USA 6.53 4 +1.9

7 Bobby George , Anju IND 6.47 3 +1.4

8 Madison , Tianna USA 6.04 2 +2.2

Discus Throw - Women

Pts

1 Brown-Trafton , Stephanie USA 63.50 10

2 Pospíšilová-Cechlová , Vera CZE 63.10 8

3 Powell Ross , Suzanne USA 61.89 7

4 Breisch , Becky USA 61.73 6

5 Söderberg , Anna SWE 61.63 5

6 Thurmond , Aretha USA 61.01 4

7 Lewis , Gia USA 54.29 3

Hammer Throw - Women

Pts

1 Heidler , Betty GER 73.93 10

2 Brkljacic , Ivana CRO 73.73 8

3 Campbell , Amber USA 68.11 7

4 Henry , Britney USA 67.83 6

5 Hart , Bethany USA 67.21 5

6 Hopping Veress , Sarah USA 67.04 4

7 Smith , Loree USA 66.33 3

8 Kuzenkova , Olga RUS 62.96 2

9 Hinchcliffe , Brittany USA 61.97

10 Soong , Cari USA 60.13

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