Pre Classic's Women's Steeplechase sets new Records and Personal Bests, by Lindsay Rossmiller

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Kiyeng_Hyvin-Pre16.JPGHyvin Kiyeng, photo by PhotoRun.net

Larry Eder comments: The women's steeplechase was the best women's steeplechase that I have seen anywhere. Ruth Jebet and Hyvin Kiyeng are two of the most gifted and hard working athletes in our sport. They ran all out and gave the fans a great performance.

Jebet_Ruth-Pre16.JPGRuth Jebet, photo by PhotoRun.net

Running the smartest race of her young life, Emma Coburn took third and set the AR of 9:10.76, a feat she had accomplished in 2014 in July on a glorious Glasgow afternoon. Since the time in Glasgow was not ratified, due to a lack of drug testing, Emma had to wait two more years, and a wonderful race, to set the official AR.

Coburn_Emma1-Pre16.JPGEmma Coburn, photo by PhotoRun.net

Here is Lindsay Rossmiller's fine piece on the race and the amazing performances that the crowd of nearly 12,500 was treated to at the Pre Classic.

Prefontaine Women's Steeplechase Sets New Records and Personal Bests

By: Lindsay Rossmiller

EUGENE, Ore. - As the leaders of the women's steeplechase rounded the final corner and came down the final backstretch, the crowd in the bleachers facing the finish line rose to its feet. Ruth Jebet of Burundi and world-leader Hyvin Kiyeng of Kenya were battling back and forth down the homestretch.

Jebet held off a late challenge by world champion Hyvin Kiyeng from Kenya to become just the second woman to break nine minutes. Jebet won in 8 minutes, 59.97 seconds at the IAAF Diamond League Prefontaine Classic.

The top three women ran under the previous Hayward Field record set by Ethiopia's Sofia Assefa (2014) and seven of the twelve women set new PRs. Kiyeng took second in 9:00.01 to lower her PR for the second time this month.

Third-place Emma Coburn set a new American record (pending ratification) at 9:10.76.

"I felt like I could've gone another lap," said Coburn. "I just felt like I still had more left in me."

In tenth place, Canada's Genevieve Lalonde also set a new Canadian record with 9:32.17 as well as lowered her personal best.

Kenya's Beatrice Chepkoech and American Leah O'Connor made the biggest jumps in improvement. Chepkoech was fourth in 9:17.41 (an improvement of 1 minute, 23.89 seconds) and O'Connor was sixth in 9:18.85 (almost a 13 second improvement).

And while all the runners made it over the barriers, partway through the race, triple jumper Will Claye was so pleased with his jump that he ran out into the track and had to avoid being run over.

O'Connor took her cues from Coburn in navigating a race that was world championship caliber.

"Emma (Coburn) is just a great example so I just tried to relax and know that if she was being patient early, it was a good reason for me to be patient early," said O'Connor. "That's a 13 second PR so I'm just really excited for the rest of the season and feeling a lot better."

After the race Coburn said, "I've just been crying. I'm trying to find someone to give me a drug test so I can make it official. I'm very very excited to take that test and have it be ratified."

In July 2014, Coburn ran a time in Glasgow that would have broken the American record, but did not realize she needed to request to have a drug test administered immediately after in order for it to be ratified. She wasn't going to make that mistake again.

The record was previously held by her former Colorado teammate and part of her current training group, Jenny (Barringer) Simpson.

"There's not a bigger fan in the world of [Coburn] than me and it's just really sweet to see her do so well," said a choked-up Simpson after running the 1500. "I've said this before and I feel this way that you don't get to watch the person prepare to break your records and I see that everyday."

"I think global medals are on the horizon for the Americans," said Coburn. "It's fun to be a part of and I think in general we're really raising the bar."

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