2012 Pre Classic "Hollister Night at Hayward", Friday Night Free with the World's Best, Even More Stars Added, release, note by Larry Eder

2012 Kenyan Olympic Trials candidates.jpg
Kenyan 10k Olympic Trials Candidates, arriving in Portland International

Tirunesh Dibaba, AVIVA London 2010, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

Phillips Idowu, photo by PhotoRun.net


Maggie Vessey, photo by PhotoRun.net

Stephanie Brown-Trafton, 2011 WC, photo by PhotoRun.net

The NIke Pre Classic is now a two day affair, with the Hollister Night at Hayward, a celebration of our sport, dedicated to a man who spent much of his life at the tiniest of track meets, road races and cross country events, from Turku, Finland to Seaside, Oregon. 

The Kenyan 10,000m Olympic Trials for men, and the women's 10,000 meters should be two of the highlights of Friday night.

Runblogrun will be there, both nights, covering the events on Live Blog, and providing geeked out reports


              Eugene, Oregon - Only at the Prefontaine Classic can the impossible be possible.  Two Samsung Diamond League events get even stronger with world-class additions, plus two of the world's strongest long-distance nations confirm that Eugene is the place to be in terms of how to get to the 2012 London Olympics.  Admission is free for the Friday portion called "Hollister Night at Hayward."

              That a world-class meet would provide free admission to many of its events is a generous offer from meet organizers and long-time sponsor NIKE.  It is a direct result of the respect and love for Geoff Hollister, a beloved Oregonian who helped to make NIKE and instilled a strong spirit to many who wear the Swoosh.  Hollister died earlier this year on Feb. 6 after battling cancer for many years.  He was 66.

              The 38th Pre Classic is a major stop on the road to the 2012 London Olympics and part of the elite Samsung Diamond League of international meets.  This year's Pre event will be held over two days, June 1-2 at Hayward Field.  Eight of the 24 events will be held on Friday

The Rich Get Richer - Men's Triple Jump and Women's Throws

              Three already outstanding fields have received major improvements.

              The men's triple jump will add yet another world champion.  Phillips Idowu of Great Britain, the 2009 World Champion and 2008 Olympic silver medalist, will join Americans Christian Taylor (2011 World Champion) and Will Claye (2012 World Indoor Champion) in a pre-London showdown.  Idowu owns a PR of 58-5.25 (17.81), while Taylor has a best of 58-11.25 (17.96) and Claye has a best of 58-1 (17.70).

              Even more pre-London drama should come in the women's discus throw with the confirmation of Cuba's Yarelis Barrios, owner of four Olympic or World Championship medals, including the 2008 Olympic silver behind American Stephanie Brown-Trafton, also a leader in the field.

              The women's hammer field will be enhanced with Yipsi Moreno of Cuba, a two-time World Championships gold medalist and four-time Olympic or World Championships silver medalist.  She joins a stellar field including three other former World Championships gold medalists: world record holder Betty Heidler of Germany,Tatyana Lysenko of Russia, and Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland.

Men's 10K - Kenyan Olympic Trials

              Athletics Kenya (AK) has selected 15 of its best to send to Eugene to race for its three berths in the London Olympics men's 10K.  The event is like none other in history - Kenya hosting an event outside its borders on turf that many know very well.  AK hosted a mid-April event at the high-altitude site of Nairobi as part of its selection process.

              Ten of Kenya's entrants have PRs under 27 minutes - a staggering number for any other country in the world.  The incredible field in order of their personal bests:

Kenyan Men's 10K Olympic Trials
Micah Kogo 26:35.63 - 2008 Olympic bronze medalist. 5K PR 13:00.77.  6th in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.

Lucas Rotich 26:43.98 - 22-years old - 5K PR 12:55.06. 3rd in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.

Josephat Bett 26:48.99 - 3rd in last year's Pre 10K.  5K PR 12:57.43.  5th in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.

Eliud Kipchoge 26:49.02 - 2003 World Championships 5K gold medalist.  5K PR 12:46.53.  2nd in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.

Moses Masai 26:49.20 - 2009 World Championships bronze medalist.  4th in 2008 Olympic Games.  5K PR 12:50.55.  1st in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.

Paul Tanui 26:50.63 - 21-years old - finalist at last year's World Championships (9th).  7th in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.

Emmanuel Bett 26:51.95 - 8th in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.

Mark Kiptoo 26:53.64 - 5K PR 12:53.46.  4th in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.

Geoffrey Kirui 26:55.73 - 19 years old.

Titus Kipjumba Mbishei 26:59.81 - 21 years old - 5K PR 13:00.04.

Bitan Karoki 27:13.67 - 21 years old - won 2011 Kenyan 5K - 9th in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.

Wilson Kiprop 27:26.93 (at altitude) - 2010 African Championships gold medalist at 10K and half-marathon. - 10th in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.

Mike Kigen 27:30.53 - 5K PR 12:58.58.

Kevin Chelimo 27:30.50.

Denis Masai 27:32.97 - 20-years old - 2010 World Junior gold medalist.

Women's 10K - "de facto" Ethiopian Olympic Selection Race

              The women's 10K at Pre is not an official Ethiopian Olympic Trials event, but it might as well be as that country's best are approaching Eugene as a stepping stone to the London Olympics gold.

              Reigning Olympic gold medalist Tirunesh Dibaba, world record holder in the 5K (14:11.15) and second fastest ever at 10K (29:54.66), is aiming for more glory in Eugene and would prefer another sub-30 effort.

              She will be joined by several other Ethiopians, including two-time OlympianWorknesh Kidane (30:07.15), 2009 World Championships bronze medalist Wude Ayalew (30:11.87), 2009 World half-marathon bronze medalist Aberu Kebede (30:48.26), 21-year-old national champion Belaynesh Oljira (31:17.80), 19-year-old Tigist Kiros Gebreselasse (31:20.38), and Sule Utura (32:06.89).

              Runners from other countries will also compete, including Kenya's Pauline Chemning Korikwiang (31:06.29), a former World cross country champion.

International Mile - The Return of Matthew Centrowitz

              American Matthew Centrowitz, bronze medalist in last year's World Championships 1500 meters, returns to Hayward Field to headline the International Mile.  The former University of Oregon star aims to better his mile best of 3:53.92, set earlier this year indoors in winning the venerable Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games.

              Also among the world-class field is Ethiopian Aman Wote (fourth in the World Indoor Championships 1500 earlier this year) and Americans Jeff SeeWill Leer, andDorian Ulrey. 

Women's 1500 Meters - World Champ Jenny Simpson among Three Fastest Americans

              The first American to win a World Championships 1500-meter gold medal since Mary Decker in 1983, Jenny Simpson is the fifth-fastest American ever with a best of 3:59.90.  She will be joined by third-fastest American ever, Anna Pierce (3:59.38), and the seventh-fastest American all-time, Shannon Rowbury (4:00.33), as well as CanadianSheila Reid (last year's NCAA 1500 and 5000 champ at Villanova) and 18-year-old Ethiopian Tizita Bogale (4:03.94).

Women's 800 Meters - Fastest Americans Since Turn of the Century

              Finalists at World Championships last summer in Daegu, Americans Alysia Montano and Maggie Vessey are also two of the fastest in U.S. history - Montano No. 5 at 1:57.34 and Vessey No. 8 at 1:57.84.  The two highest ranked Americans will be joined by 2008 Olympian Alice Schmidt and fellow American Erica Moore, bronze medalist at this year's World Indoor Championships.
             Complete, updated fields will be posted at www.PreClassic.com.
             With the latest additions, 93 athletes in this year's Pre Classic have won 111 Olympic or World Championships gold medals.  Meet organizers expect the greatest collection of talent ever for an invitational on this continent, as the 93 athletes account for 271 medals (111 gold, 88 silver, 72 bronze).  And more events are still to be announced.

             Webcast of Friday's Hollister Night at Hayward will be available beginning at 7:30 p.m. PT at www.PreClassic.com.
             Tickets for the 38th annual edition of the Prefontaine Classic, to be held June 1-2 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., are on sale now from www.preclassic.com and from 1-800-WEBFOOT.  Sponsored by NIKE continuously since 1984, the Prefontaine Classic will be shown live to an international audience and on NBC from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 2.

            The Prefontaine Classic is the longest-running outdoor invitational track and field meet in America and is part of the elite Samsung Diamond League of 14 meets held worldwide annually.  Last year's Pre Classic results ranked highest among all of the 14 meets, according to All-Athletics.com, the official data Partnerof the Samsung Diamond League.

            Steve Prefontaine is a legend in the sport of track & field and is perhaps the most inspirational distance runner in American history.  He set a national high school 2-mile record while at Coos Bay High School that lasted nearly two decades.  While competing for the University of Oregon, he won national cross country championships (3) and outdoor track 3-mile/5000-meter championships (4) every time he competed, and never lost a collegiate race at any distance.  As a collegiate junior, he made the 1972 U.S. Olympic Team and nearly won an Olympic medal, finishing 4th in the 5K at the 1972 Munich Olympics, at age 22.  After finishing college in 1973 and preparing for a return to the Olympics in 1976, he continued to improve, setting many American records.  His life ended tragically on May 30, 1975, the result of an auto accident, at age 24.  The Pre Classic began soon after and has been held every year since.
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