On Saturday the speed burners did their thing at Penn and Drake. On Sunday it was the distance runners turn, as several took to the track Sunday evening in the cool weather in Palo Alto. The results produced several world leaders and some interesting stories.
First the new world leaders:
- 4:07.00 – Anna Pierce (USA)
3:35.19 – Andy Baddeley (GBR)
14:43.11 – Sally Kipyego (KEN)
13:11.63 – Lopez Lamong (USA)
31:15.97 – Betsy Saina (KEN)
27:27.96 – Cameron Levins (CAN)
Those are the new leaders, now let’s take a look at the results – because some good stuff happened at Stanford – especially for middle distance runners. I’m going to start with a non world leading performance as Morgan Uceny won the 800 at 2:02.46. Not a world leader, but in the top 10 currently – and that’s a good thing for a top miler as it shows that her speed is coming along. Also working on her speed, was Christin Wurth Thomas who ran 2:04.80 for 8th. It’s good to see our top milers working on their speed. Uceny will be tough to beat if her kick is sharp, and Wurth Thomas is going to need to be able to hold off a charging field. So running the 800 was good work for both.
One of those that will be charging at Thomas in Eugene should be Anna Pierce and it’s good to see Pierce at the top of the 1500 list. Mostly because the mark was her best time since a 4:04.52 on Aug 6, 2010 – her 2010 seasons best. Pierce had a down season last year with a best of only 4:10.38. Hopefully this signals a return to 2009 form – the year of her 3:59.38 PR. Take note that while Uceny and Thomas moved down to the 800 for speed work, Alice Schmidt (4:09.68) and Geena Gall (4:12.67) moved up from the 8 to the 15 with good results – both look to be stronger this year, Gall setting a PR and Schmidt just off her 4:08.09 best. While third in that 1500 was Brenda Martinez (4:08.66) demonstrating that she may be ready to fulfill some of that promise from her indoor performance in Albuquerque this winter. The middle distance events on the women’s side in Eugene are going to be hot.
Speaking of promise, everyone seems to be waiting for a breakthrough from Alan Webb, who has been running quite a bit this spring as he looks to find his form. Webb was in the Palo Alto 1500, the race where Baddeley ran his WL. Webb was again a non factor as he could only manage 3:38.89 in 8th place. Not quite the kind of performance that would cause me to consider him a threat for London. I know he’s the AR holder and at one time was considered a shoo in for an Olympic medal. But at this point I think he’s running out of time as the clock is no longer his friend. I don’t want to stick a fork in Webb just yet, but it’s just not looking good, especially as other milers are beginning to show signs of improvement.
For example, the clock had a completely different story for Lopez Lamong. Sally Kipyego winning the 5k and setting a WL was to be expected of Kipyego who’s one of the early London favorites. But Lamong doing the same was totally unexpected for a man that many assumed would be battling for a ticket to London in the 1500. But Lamong’s huge PR put him ahead of 3rd place Matt Tegenkamp – considered to be one of our best over 5k/10k – and close to the 13 minute barrier. Suddenly Lamong is looking like a Bernard Lagat clone – and now I’ll be curious to see what he decides to run in Eugene. Does he stick with the 15; move up to the 5, or attempt to double in both? At 3:32.20 he’s certainly fast enough to make the 1500 team and be competitive in London, but taking that speed up to the 5k could put him in Lagat/Farah territory – and that could make him a medal threat.
The same can be said for David Torrence, another miler who sits at #2 on the world list for 1500 (3;35.66), as he was 6th in the Palo Alto 5k at 13:16.53. With a 1500 best of 3:34.25, Torrence’s 5k raises the question of whether or not he may have a better shot in the longer race – or if his success there means a possible drop in his 1500 PR? At the very least it makes him someone to keep an eye on as we approach the Trials.
After this weekend the Trials look a bit more interesting in the middle distance / distance ranks as both the 1500 & 5000 just got more competitive. If a couple of these milers decide to move up the 5000 could have a nice injection of speed – perhaps Lagat will have some company on that last lap! Overall some very nice results coming out of Stanford.