EUGENE, OREGON, September 17 — The Prefontaine Classic’s first performance in the role of Diamond League series capper played out in spectacular fashion over two days.
It was “the highest quality non-championship meeting in history based on competition performance ranking scores,” per the analysis of World Athletics. But nobody really needed the statistical calculation to “prove” it.
The peak moments among myriad highlights on the meet’s second day were World Records in the women’s 5000 from Gudaf Tsegay (rather unexpected) and men’s pole vault. Mondo Duplantis was in town, after all, so that one came as less of a shock. It was brilliant, nonetheless.
Full accounts of all the DL Final events will appear in a series of by-event reports coming to trackandfieldnews.com soon. Don’t miss them, for quality at this edition was unprecedented. For now, our reports on the WRs (in chrono order):
DL FINAL distance races at least to some extend tend to reflect end-of-season athlete fatigue and tilting for the series trophy as the No. 1 goal. Not this one as over the last 5 laps it became apparent Gudaf Tsegay, leading World Cross champ Beatrice Chebet, was beating out a torrid yet smooth tempo. Something special was in the still, circa 70-degree air:
A stunning reduction of Faith Kipyegon’s 3-month-old World Record by 4.99 to 15:00.21 as the 14-minute barrier only barely escaped a breach.
Ethiopian Tsegay — 26 years old and with world titles to her name last year (5000 on this track) and this (10,000 in Budapest) — and the field followed elite pacemaking by Sinclaire Johnson and Elise Cranny through 2K in 5:37.5 (consistent 67-point laps).
From there de facto rabbit Birke Haylom drove through 3K in 8:26.1 — under the World Junior (U20) record and Ethiopian Haylom is just 17.
Chepbet followed close as Tsegay led, a picture in power on the track. The tempo drifted into the 68-point range and then with a kilo to run Tsegay shifted down — to 4400 (600 to go) in 65.7 and then 65.4 to 4800 — dropping her Kenyan…