Six world leads in Palo Alto

Six world leads in Palo Alto

Provided by IAAF

Palo Alto, USA - With six world-leading marks registered Sunday (29) evening at Angell Field on the Stanford University campus, the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational competition once again reaffirmed its high position as a mecca for long-distance runners.

The season’s new standards were split evenly among the men’s and the women’s events, with both versions of the 1500-, 5000-, and 10,000m events emerging with new bests for the year. Perfect running conditions with virtually no wind and a 16C temperature were instrumental in these efforts.

Kipyego and Lomong dominate at 5000m

The two 5000m events provided the most audience appeal but for different reasons.

In the women’s race, Sally Kipyego bolted to the lead right from the gun and put on an amazing one-woman unpaced show on the way to a 14:43.11 performance. Halfway through the race, the 26-year-old Kenyan had forged a lead of 35 metres, and she continued to increase her advantage to 65 metres with four laps remaining and to as much as 100 metres with one kilometre left. Final laps of 70.8 and 68.6 helped secure a fast time.

Behind Kipyego, Britain’s Stephanie Twell was the erstwhile leader of the others, but eventually it was Kipyego’s Oregon Track Club teammate Julia Lucas who sprinted away to take second in a PB 15:08.52, ahead of Julie Culley (15:13.87 PB), Barbara Parker (15:14.26 PB) and Twell (15:15.24). In all, six competitors exceeded the 15:20 A-norm for the London Games, with another four dipping under the 15:30 B-standard.

One could only wonder what might have been the winning time in the men’s 5000m had Lopez Lomong not become confused about the lap count. The 27-year-old Sudan-born American ran the penultimate circuit in 58.0, obviously thinking that the race was ending. Throwing up his arms and slowing almost to a stop as he crossed the finish line, Lomong suddenly realized his mistake and with the other runners bearing down on him, albeit from a somewhat safe distance, he built up speed again and finished the race in 13:11.63, still a PB by almost two minutes!

Lomong has spent virtually all of his career until now specializing in the 800 and 1500 distances. Tonight’s showing may point him in a new direction.

Perhaps spurred on by hopes of catching Lomong after his faux-pas, the rest of the lead group pressed onward in a futile attempt to overhaul the American, but in the process, a phalanx of six more tightly-packed runners surpassed the London A-limit of 13:20, with PBs coming from Kevin Chelimo (13:14.57), Britain’s Thomas Farrell (13:15.31), Andrew Bumbalough (13:16.26) and David Torrence (13:16.53).

Big PB for Saina, notable debut for Levins at 10,000m

Another African-born US university student had a breakthrough race tonight as Kenya’s Betsy Saina from Iowa State University raced to the front with 300 metres remaining in the women’s 10,000m to register a 31:15.97 victory. Like Lomong’s performance immediately before her race, it was a quantum leap downward of almost two minutes for the 23-year-old’s career best.

Saina’s former university teammate, Lisa Uhl, had enjoyed the front position for much of the middle part of the race as she moved away from Alisha Williams just after the 4K mark and passed 5K in 15:39. But then, she saw her lead slowly shrink over the next two kilometres as Amy Hastings eventually took the lead at 7000 metres. From then, the lead vacillated among Saina, Hastings and Britain’s Julia Bleasdale until the Kenyan applied her final kick in the last lap.

With a PB 31:19.87 in second, Hastings led a string of personal-best performances from Ireland’s Fionnuala Britton (31:29.22), UK’s Julia Bleasdale (31:29.57), and Janet Cherobon-Bawcom (31:33.50). Early leader Uhl ended in sixth at 31:35.50 but still achieved the important A-standard for the Olympics (31:45).

Of note was the seventh place of Deena Kastor in 31:49.23, which was enough for the B-standard for London. It was the first track race in almost five years for the Athens Olympic marathon bronze winner.

The men’s 10,000m saw Canada’s Cameron Levins continue his rapid ascent among distance runners with a 27:27.96 victory in his first attempt of the distance. The 23-year-old Southern Utah student was part of an eight-man cluster after 8K as the tempo heated up. Laps of 64.9 and 63.6 shook free all but Levins, Kenyan Sam Chelanga and Stanford student Chris Derrick as the bell sounded. With 200 left, Levins applied an incredible sprint—timed at 55.7 for the final lap—to seal the win over Chelanga (27:29.82) and Derrick (27:31.38 PB). Current European 10,000m bronze winner Daniele Meucci of Italy was fourth in a PB 27:32.86.

In all, eight runners dipped under the London A-norm—seven with PBs including Levins’ countryman Mohammed Ahmed (27:34.64)—while an additional nine cracked the B-standard.

Baddeley kicks to 1500m triumph

Both of the 1500m races saw furious finishes that produced world-leading marks. An intra-Britain duel was shaping up in the men’s race as Andrew Baddeley surrendered the lead to Chris O’Hare with 300 left. However, by the start of the final curve Baddeley was back in charge as he clocked a winning 3:35.19 while O’Hare faded to ninth in 3:37.95. In between, seven runners logged PBs, led by Norwegian Henrik Ingebrigtsen (3:36.39), New Zealand’s Zane Robertson (3:36.53) and Kenyan Lawi Lalang (3:36.77).

In the women’s 1500m, Anna Pierce put on a strong finish with 200 left in her winning 4:07.00 performance over Brenda Martinez (4:08.66) and Canada’s Hilary Stellingwerff (4:08.76). It was Pierce’s fastest 1500m in almost two years.

Notable among the other sections of the distance races was the 13:38.59 victory by Jake Hurysz in the B-section of the 5000m. The 19-year-old Colorado student used a 57.0 last lap to pull away for the win and lower his PB by more than 46 seconds.

The top sections of the distance races and some of the B-sections had tempo-setters, many of whom were 'recycled’ runners who had competed earlier in the evening in shorter races. One particular case merits mentioning. After Alan Webb’s 3:38.36 performance for tenth place in the men’s 1500, the US mile record holder paced the 5000m but stayed in the race until the end, clocking 13:49.70 only 75 minutes after his 1500m.

The women’s steeplechase featured a hard sprint at the end between Shalaya Kipp and Delilah Dicrescenzo, won by Kipp in 9:43.09 to Dicrescenzo’s 9:43.28. The times were agonizingly close to the 9:43.0 A-standard for London.

The men’s steeple was won with a strong finish by Kyle Alcorn in 8:26.66 as he outsprinted Alex Genest (8:27.41) off the final hurdle.

Javelin PB for Eaton

Although the Payton Jordan Cardinal meeting specializes in distance events, it contains a full programme with all events being contested.

Daegu shot put bronze medallist Jill Camarena-Williams won her speciality with a throw of 19.54m. Newly-crowned World indoor Heptathlon champion (and Daegu Decathlon silver medallist) Ashton Eaton competed in selected events as part of his spring training, the most notable result being his PB 60.26m in the javelin.

The men’s Pole Vault was won by Robbert Jansen of the Netherlands at 5.50m, a superb effort as he and the others battled a significant cross-wind. Jansen’s final attempt at 5.60m was commendable although unsuccessful.

Stanford’s Amaechi Morton, who competes internationally for Nigeria, won the men’s 400m with 46.12, ahead of Steven Solomon (46.32) and Antoine Drakeford (46.33).

Ed Gordon for the IAAF