Farah takes 5000m victory at Prefontaine Classic in Eugene
Competing over 5000m for the first time in 2017, Sir Mo Farah was one of many Britons to impress at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, as the third IAAF Diamond League meeting of 2017 lived up to its billing with some memorable performances across the board.
In a 29-strong 5000m field which contained seven athletes to have gone inside 13 minutes for the distance, Farah and compatriot Andrew Butchart let the race unfold before them as a strung out field were led through 2000m in a swift 5:11.80 before the pace inevitably gave for a brief pause.
As Farah moved to the front with around 600m to go, two-time IAAF World Cross Country champion Geoffrey Kamworor was amongst a group of four who attempt to step on the gas in a bid to overtake.
Ultimately the outcome of the rave came down to a sprint finish over the final 400m, with the final lap expert Farah using all of his experience to move away from the field over the final 100m to stop to the clock at 13:00.70, a world leading time and an impressive outing in his first race over the distance this year.
Further back in the field, and also racing over the distance for the first time following a 3000m outing earlier this month in Doha, Olympic Games sixth placer Butchart crossed the line in 13:11.45, his second fastest ever time over the distance and a mark comfortably inside the qualifying standard for August’s IAAF World Championships in London.
In the 110m Hurdlles, a non-Diamond Race event, Andy Pozzi picked up where he left off in Loughborough last weekend as a near-perfect race up hurdle ten saw the 25-year-old post an equal lifetime best of 13.19 – yet another qualifying mark for London’s IAAF World Championships - as he finished fifth in a race won by Olympic champion Omar McLeod in a world lead of 13.03.
After getting out well, the European Indoor champion looked smooth and in the mix for second alongside the group of three behind McLeod, only for a stumble following hurdle ten to cause him to slow before the line and lose a couple of finishing places over the final five metres or so.
The men's International Mile saw Chris O'Hare continue the fine form which saw him run a lifetime best of 3:34.35 over 1500m just over a week ago as he lowered his previous best of 3:56.35 by over three seconds for 3:53.34 to be the second over the line. Elsewhere in the race of note, Denmark’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen set a world age-16 best as he became the youngest athlete to go inside four minutes for 3:58.07.
After spells out at altitude training in Arizona, Laura Muir and Laura Weightman contested a hotly anticipated 1500m against some of the world’s best. With conditions heating up towards the back end of the program, Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon of Kenya took the race on and led at the bell with just over 3:00 on the clock.
The final lap saw Muir dig in deep as Kipyegon streaked away, only to lose second place on the line to Helen Obiri, with her time of 4:00.47 a strong season opener over the distance following her double gold on the European Indoor stage in March. For Weightman, a time of 4:10.50 for 13th served to back up her superb debut over 5000m last week as she builds towards the coming months.
The final race of the evening, the Bowerman Mile, saw Brighton Pheonix athlete Charlie Grice test himself against a host of middle distance heavyweights, with a quick-fire final lap pace seeing a Kenyan 1-2-3 sprint for the line which was won by Ronald Kwemoi as Grice claimed tenth in 3:53:62, just under a second shy of his best from last year.
In the straight-line sprints, sub-10 men CJ Ujah and Adam Gemiili showed well with 9.95 and 10.03 respectively, with only a slightly heavy tailwind of +2.4 denying Ujah a revision of his personal best by a hundredth of a second.
Over 400m, Olympic finalist Matt Hudson-Smith posted 46.08 for seventh on his debut at the Prefontaine Classic, with victory going to LaShawn Merritt in 44.79 as the field encountered tough headwinds on the home straight.
In the women’s 800m, up against all three medallists from last year's Olympic Games, Lynsey Sharp clocked 2:01.23 in her first 800m outing of the year on the outdoor circuit, with victory going to South Africa’s Caster Semenya in a swift 1:57.78.
Full results from the Prefontaine Classic can be found via: https://eugene.diamondleague.com/program_results_eugene/