Sunday, June 10, 2007

Windy, Drizzly 2007 Prefontaine Classic

Drizzly, windy conditions kept the Prefontaine Classic from being as good a meet as it could have been. Both Alan Webb and Bernard Lagat ran disappointing races, while Matt Tegenkamp and Nick Symmonds both stepped up to the world stage. Let's go over the highlights:

The men's 800m run was taken out with an insane sub 49 second fist lap, leaving Olympic Gold Medalist Yuriy Borzakovskiy of Russia in last place some 15 meters back for most of the lap. With the rest of the entire field, including Khadevis Robinson, suffering from oxygen debt and lactic acidosis during the second lap, Borzakovskiy overtook the entire field. Symmonds stayed on his shoulder, though, and outkicked him for the win in a PB of 1:44.54 to Borzakovskiy's 1:44.71. Robinson finished 3rd in 1:44.99. Symmonds now has to be considered the favorite to win the 800m at the U.S. Championships.

During the men's 2 mile post-race interview, Craig Mottram of Australia colorfully explained that the race came down to the size of certain parts of the male anatomy. His anatomy was apparently the most favorably endowed because he won the race, outkicking Tariku Bekele to win in 8:03.50 to Bekele's 8:04.83. Matt Tegenkamp became America's middle-distance heir apparent, running a 3rd place American record of 8:07.07, smashing Alan Webb's record by nearly 4 1/2 seconds. The three men broke the all-comer's record of 8:07.68, set last year by Eliud Kipchoge at the Pre Classic. Webb had switched to the 2 mile to take advantage of his fitness level and break his record. He looked completely flat, however, and was never a factor in the race. He finished in 9th place with a time of 8:23.97.

Bernard Lagat looked flat, too, being outkicked by Daniel Komen in the Bowerman Mile. Despite not having an answer to Komen's kick, Lagat finished in a fine time of 3:50.56 to Komen's world-leading time of 3:48.28, a U.S. all-comer's record. Lagat has said that the reason he was outkicked by Webb at the Reebok Grand Prix mile was because he had just come down from training at 7,000 foot altitude in Flagstaff, AZ. His 3:50 proved that the altitude training is certainly paying off. Now he just needs to begin his taper to peak in time for Osaka. He is so strong that the National Championships should be his for the taking even without the benefit of a kick right now. Webb can't be discounted, though. After all, he did outkick Lagat a couple of weeks ago. Maybe this was just a bad day for him. It happens.

Other than the top four runners, the Bowerman Mile was just ordinary with 5th through 10th places being run in times ranging from 3:56.21 to 4:00.07. Jim Sorensen might have had an excellent chance at making history in being the first master to break 4 minutes outdoors. Meet director Tom Jordan blew the call by not inviting him to compete.

In the men's shot put, Christian Cantwell continued his domination of the event, posting the world's 3rd furthest throw of the year in 71 feet 7 1/2 inches. Reese Hoffa also threw well with a 71' 0 1/2", the world's 5th furthest throw of the year.

In the women's 800m, Maria Mutola continued her reign as the Hayward Field 800m queen with her 15th straight win at the Pre Classic in a time of 1:58.33. Behind her, Alice Schmidt ran the fastest time by an American this year to finish in 3rd place with a solid time of 1:58.75. Kenia Sinclair of Jamaica finished second in 1:58.61.

Paul Koech of Kenya won the men's 3000m Steeplechase by nearly half a lap. Considering he ran by himself almost the entire way, his winning time of 8:08.10 was outstanding.

The windy, wet conditions were not favorable to sprinters, so there were no notable performances in those events, other than Sanya Richards' comeback with a victory in the 400m dash. She finished her first race of 2007 with a decent time of 50.74. Complete results of the Prefontaine Classic can be found here.

Finish Line Pundit Archives