2014 IAAF World Relays Diary: Kenya's Women destroys 4 x 1,500 meter WR by 33 seconds! by Larry Eder

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Thomas A. Robinson Stadium, 
photo courtesy of The IAAF World Relays

Kenya's women were the stars here. The men were expected to set a WR in the 4x800m and it did not happen. In twice the distance, Kenya's women were the distance stars. USA team has to be congratulated for getting silver after a near catastrophe. 


2014 IAAF World Relays Diary: Kenya's women destroy 4x1500m WR by 33 seconds! by Larry Eder

Amazing what happens when Kenyan women get the respect that they deserve. And after their 4x1,500m WR, they deserve it.

Mercy Cherono just ran 8:21.14 in Doha on May 9. Faith Kipyegon ran 8:23.55 in the same 3,000m a Cherono. Oh, in May 2013, Faith ran 3:56.98 in Doha for the 1,500 meter in 2013! Then, the third leg for Kenya was Irene Jelegat (2:02.99, 4:02.59 and oh, 8:28.51, also in Doha). Add to that, anchor, Hellen Obiri, who won the Doha 3,000m in a new Kenyan record of 8:20.68 and has run 3:58.58, and 2:00.54 for the 1,500m and 800m, respectively. 

Put that up against the USA team of Heather Kampf (2:00.07 for 800m and 4:07:15 for 1,500 at Drake! Katie Mackey, coming off a fourth last week at Oxy in the 1,500 m in 4:07.8, and a PB in the 5,000m at Payton Jordan (May4) in 15:04.74. Mackey has 2:02 speed for 800m and has run 4:04.60. She has some wheels. Third leg for the US was Kate Grace, coming off a PB of 4:07.35 for 1,500m at Payton Jordan. Anchor for the US was World Champs bronze medalist Brenda Martinez, who has alb of 1:57.91 for 800m and 4:00.94 for the 1,500m.

The USA team is pretty darn good for US, but with the emergence of the Kenyan women, it was going to be a battle for second between the US and Australia. Kenya was hell bent on that WR.  

The Kenyans had already broken the WR at altitude last month. In Nassau, while it was warm, this was paradise-no altitude! 

The Kenyan team was relentless. They destroyed the world record by 33 seconds. Not in a long time have we seen such a bashing or such unabashed running in women's distance running. After Doha, and now Nassau, perhaps the Kenyan women will get the respect that they deserve. 

Running 16:33.58, the Kenyan women won $50,000 for the win and $50,000 for the WR! That is a nice $100,000 payday or $25,000 per 1,500m so about $25,000 for each 4:08.33 average split. 

On the first hand off, Heather Kampf passed the US baton to Katie Mackey. Katie Mackey kind of went down, tripping over an Aussie athlete, but pulled a Lasse Viren and came back up, to get the US back into the battle with Australia. Mackey passed the Australian and got the US back into the race. Katie Grace did her job on the third leg and Brenda Martinez just went for it, finishing up a beautiful run by the USA team, of 16:55.33 or an average of 4:13.4 per leg, for their $30,00 payday. The Australians also set a NR in their fine 17:08.65 AR for the bronze and $20,000 US for their payday.

Katie Mackey on the fall in the 4x1500m: "I just did what we did in practice. Looked back at Heather and moved up a little bit to the inside and next thing I know-the Australian is right in front of me, so I kind of tripped and went down. But, my first thought was: this is track, anything can happen, you have to get up and try to get back into the race! 

The four teams in the final all set NRs, with Kenya breaking their own WR. A fabulous relay result for the distances. 

Women's 4 x 1500m, Final, IAAF World Relays, 1. Kenya, 16:33.58 WR, 2. USA 16:55.33 AR, 3. Australia, 17:08.65, AR, 4. Romania, 17:51.48, NR, #worldrelays

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