IAAF Diamond League Resumes with Exciting Races
posted on 8/23/14
(photo credit: Thinkstock/istock)
After over a month-long break, the IAAF Diamond League series resumed on Thursday at the DN Galan meet in Stockholm, Sweden. The biggest news is Jenny Simpson's dramatic victory in the 1500.
In the final 50 meters, Simpson passed race favorite Netherlands' Euro champ/world leader Sifan Hassan and then outkicked Genzebe Dibaba to the line. Her victory isn't a complete surprise as it is her second Diamond League win. Simpson came very close to the American record earlier this summer, and it looks like she still might have a shot in a well-paced race this year.
Galen Rupp was less successful after a long break, during which he became the father of twins. He ran aggressively in the 5000m, but faded in the last 500 to 4th place, with 2012 World Junior 5000m champion Muktar Edris taking the race in a world-leading 12:54.83. He was followed by Thomas Longosiwa (12:56.16), Commonwealth and African champ Caleb Ndiku (12:59.17) and Rupp (13:05.97). Some are saying Rupp just isn't a good 5000 meter runner compared to his ability in the 10,000. While that is historically true, he also has some blazing fast PRs in the mile (3:50.92 indoors), 3000m (7:30.16 American Record indoors) and 2 miles (8:07.41 American Record indoors). He clearly has the speed and strength to potentially break Bernard Lagat's American Record of 12:53.60. He was rusty and had a bad race on Thursday. Unless he's still getting up several times a night to help with the babies, he's likely to run much faster in his next race.
The next Diamond League even is Sainsbury's Birmingham Grand Prix tomorrow, featuring elite fields in the men's and women's 2 miles, a relatively rare event. Mo Farah should be the favorite in the men's race, and the women's race features Mercy Cherono, Genzebe Dibaba and Viola Kibiwot. The world record of 8:58.58 is held by Meseret Defar. Despite the talent of the field, it's only a slim chance that it will be broken. With the increasing prize money in the Diamond League races, most of the races are run like championships -- conservatively and uneven with surges meant to break the other competitors, not help drag them to fast times.
While multiple rabbits are usually hired to pace most of the races, if fast times were really a priority, they would offer large bonuses for records. I believe only then would you see runners working together to keep the pace even and quick. No matter what the times, there should be some exciting races coming at the end of the Diamond League season. After Birmingham, there's only Zurich (Aug. 28) and Brussels (Sep. 5). Currently both Mary Cain and Jenny Simpson are on the start list for the 1500 in Zurich. David Rudisha, Asbel Kiprop, Nijel Amos and Duane Solomon are all entered in the 800, and Rupp will get another shot at the 5000 record.
Tony has been a runner for over three decades, competing in cross country and track in high school and college, and road races for various clubs. He's served as team captain for several Corporate Challenge teams at YMCA of the USA, and has informally coached many friends over the years.
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