While the men's 200m race at the Prefontaine Classic is getting all of the "Clash of the Titans" hype, the race to watch is the men's 2 mile run. Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, 24, is scheduled to run his first outdoor eight-lapper ever on June 10th (Live NBC, 1:00pm - 3:00pm PST) in Eugene. This race will also be the first time the world's best distance runner has run on American soil.
In all, six runners could break the U.S. 2 mile all-comers record (fastest performance attained within a country without regard for the nationality of the runner) of 8:07.68, set last year by Eliud Kipchoge at the Pre Classic. Bekele, Kipchoge, Benjamin Limo, Craig Mottram, Sileshi Sihine and Abraham Chebii have all run 5000m times that are equivalent to a 2 mile time of 8:05 or better. According to Race Director Tom Jordan the race isn't being billed as a record-breaking attempt, but the talent in this race is too deep to disregard the possibility of a world record. The current world record in the 2 mile run is 7:58.61, set by Kenya's Daniel Komen back in 1997. Bekele, who holds world records in both the 5000m and 10000m runs, should be the class of this extraordinary field.