Sunday, July 4, 2010

Prefontaine Classic

I've watched a lot of Track and Field.  I've been a Hayward Field season ticket holder for many years.  I attended all 8 days of the Olympic Trials and every day of last years US National Championships.  I think this was my 10th consecutive Prefontaine Classic.  Today's Pre Classic was the single greatest day of Track and Field I've aver attended, it could probably be argued that it was the best in US history.  I keep remembering moments that I've temporarily lost in the splendor of others, so I've decided to write it all down while it's fresh.

Jeanne and I got General Admission tickets and got there early hoping to get decent seats in the East Grandstand.  It was already packed when we arrived so we sat in the sun, on the concrete steps, generally the student section.  What a blast!  Several U of O athletes not participating were just hanging out soaking it in and being fans.

Race after race had times so fast, at times, I couldn't figure the splits out.  Last year Maggie Vessey won the Women's 800 here.  this year she bettered her time from last year by more than a second....and finished 9th!  
8 women ran under 2:00 in the 800, including Phoebe Wright of Tennessee finishing 4th breaking the Collegiate record 1:58.22.

Sometimes records get silly, like track records or meet records, but not at Hayward Field.  On American soil records is a little odd, but when you think about how many great runners have run in the US it's amazing to think that no runner has ever gone sub 13:00 in a 5k on US soil.  Tariku Bekele ran 12:58.93 and Dejen Gebremeskel  12:59.30.  Chris Solinski got left for dead with 800 meters to go and finished in 13:08.11

Asbel Kiprop won the mile in 3:49.75.  They actually ran 2 heats of the mile.  10 went under 3:58 in the first and another 10 went under 3:58 in the second.  Andrew Wheating ran 3:51.74 shattering the University of Oregon School record previously held by Joaquim Cruz set in 1984.  AJ Acosta ran 3:53 and Galen Rupp ran 3:57, and I almost forgot about them.

American records are a pretty big deal.  David Oliver tied the American record in the 110 hurdles in 12.90.

I don't know much about the Shot Put.  I know anything over 70 feet is really good.  I know the landing area isn't much further than that.  Christian Cantwell had already thrown over 70 feet and had won the competition.  He threw 73.5 feet on his final throw.

I also don't know much about the Hammer throw but the top two women threw the five best throws ever on US soil between them.

Tirunesh Dibaba set the Hayward Field Track record in the women's 5k in 14:34.07  Shalane Flanagan ran a great race finishing second in 14:49.08

1000 meters isn't run very often but Abubaker Kaki just missed the US soil record in 2:13.62  Nick Symmonds was 3rd in 2:16.35.

Walter Dix won the 200 in 19.72 just ahead of an obviously healthy Tyson Gay 19.76.

Kara Patterson threw 216 feet to win the Javelin.
The meet certainly lacked the drama of the 800 in the Olympic trials, but the performances were absolutely amazing.  I still think about what I saw and can't really believe that many runners ran that fast in one meet!  The whole drive home, I wanted to be let out of the car to run home, it's not that far!

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