I had a unique treat. I was fortunate to sit with the BBC radio team and contribute a bit on the 800 meters and 400 meters. I was asked to provide some American color. That, I hope I did. The 800 meters was not the run away that David Rudisha ran in London in 2012, setting the world record. Jonathan Edwards asked me what I thought David could have run, with pace setters in London. I did not guess to say, but, now, I believe, sub 1:40. That, in my mind is no longer possible.
David Rudisha won the race fare and square, following Alfred Kipketer, the young runner from Kenya through 500 meters. A stiff pace was set, so David Rudisha went to the front, chased by Taoufik Makhloufi, the gold medalist from London 1,500 meters, Boris Berian, World Indoor Champ and Clayton Murphy, US Trials champ.
David Rudisha went through the 600 in 1:16, and began to make the final push. Having taken the kick out of everyone but Clayton Murphy, Rudisha defended his gold medal in 1:42.15, the fastest time of year. Taoufik Makhloufi won the silver in 1:42.61 NR. Clayton Murphy just ran up the final straight, like he does, and went from sixth to third, in 1:42.93, a huge PB!
Boris Berian went out hard, but began to fade at 600 meters, and just, unfortunately, had his rough race at an Olympic final. Pierre Ambroise Bosse, FRA, was fourth, and ran his best final in many years, just out of the medals.
David Rudisha is the greatest 800 meter runner EVER!
David Rudisha won from the front in 2012, setting a WR. I remember seeing it, and I was breathless over the last 100 meters! But, Rudisha was injured in 2013, and has slowly built his way back. In April 2014, I asked Wilson Kipketer is he had any worries about David’s return to fitness, and he said, Mr. Rudisha had to take his time and gently return to his level of fitness. 2014 and early 2015 were trying times.
In Beijing, David Rudisha ran on his reputation, going out slow, and taking the win! He could not do that in Rio!
But, while David Rudisha is fit, which David Rudisha would we find tonight? is how I spoke to Jonathan Edwards of BBC radio before the race!
Alfred Kipketer, all of 19, took the lead, and flailed away, running 49.23 for the 400 meters, before Rudisha took over at 500 meters, an hit the 600 meters in 1:16.04, as Boris Berian went backwards. Taoufik Maklhoufi, 2012 1500m Oly champ, was on Rudisha’s back, but could not get any closer. For those who think that Alfred Kipketer and Rudisha spoke, understand tribal politics in Kenya: Rudisha is Masai, his tribe is different from Kipketer. There was no discussion of the races.
David Rudisha, doing his Seb Coe impersonation, was, to use a book title, “running free”, and he won in style, 1:42.15, a seasonal best and world leader. Rudisha unwound that long stride and was flying down the final straight. No way anyone was catching him! Is he the same athlete as in London 2012? Of course not, but his recovery from injuries is a unique path, and the self knowledge from such an experience means that he may be a more mature and smarter as well. His variety of tactics shows that he considers all circumstances before races in the championship realm, which are always much different than racing in the Diamond League.
What happened behind was fascinating! Taoufik Makloufi, ALG, who will be running 1,500m heats on Tuesday, took the silver in 1:42.61, a NR! And our own Clayton Murphy, clawed his way up from sixth and took the bronze in a spectacular PB of 1:42.93!
Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, FRA took the fourth place in 1:43.41!
Clayton Murphy ran a perfect race for him. Staying out of trouble, but close, Clayton Murphy moved up the final straight with that long stride and nabbed third and a huge PB in the process. Before the race, Jonathan Gault, writer for Letsrun.com, asked Clayton Murphy about the race. Murphy noted that he would do what he had to do to be in medal contention. Gault asked if it meant running in the 1:42s, with Murphy in 1:44 PB. Murphy replied that he would run 1:42 if he had to. It was all about the medal. Well, Clayton Murphy achieved that!
This was a mature race for David Rudisha. And as BBC radio’s Jonathan Edwards noted, David Rudisha looked like he could be back in four more years! â€ª#â€Žrio2016â€¬