Boston, USATirunesh Dibaba has seen a lot of record-setting success at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood, with 5000m World record races in 2005 and 2007, but her attempt to add to that resume fell short at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games on Saturday (6) evening as Dibaba ran 14:44.53 in a largely solo performance.
Perhaps the women's indoor 5000m record is approaching maturity after its dizzying descent in the last decade, because even Dibaba needs nearly everything to go right. The plan started going awry for this race when the second of the two planned pacemakers, Korene Hinds, struggled to hang on to the pace early and stepped off at the kilometre mark, with the first pacesetter, Marina Muncan, still in the lead. Muncan carried the pace through 1300m before dropping out, leaving Dibaba alone in the front.
Afterward, Dibaba admitted through a translator that she also had problems with cramps in the section of the race she led on her own, and indeed the pace for the third and fourth kilometres lagged significantly. Dibaba was able to close quickly, holding off the attempt of Kenyan Sally Kipyego to close the gap and challenge Dibaba in the closing laps. Kipyego ran a huge PB of 14:52.67 in second.
"I expected to run well," said Dibaba, "but it didn't come together tonight." Dibaba will pass on the World Indoor Championships in favor of preparation for World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Lagat clocks US indoor 5000m record with 13:11.50
Bernard Lagat continued his run of historic races this indoor season, cutting a whopping seven seconds off the American Record for 5000m with a 13:11.51 victory.
Lagat led the field for much of his first-ever indoor 5000m after pacemakers carried them through 2000m, pulling a six-strong pack including Bekana Daba, Markos Geneti and Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia, Josphat Boit of Kenya, and the former record-holder, Galen Rupp.
When the pace lagged with a kilometre remaining, Rupp took over and brought them back to record pace. Lagat returned to the front with two to go, and that was the move which set off the racing as Daba moved up to Lagat's shoulder. Lagat hit top speed to hold off Daba's challenge.
"Coach Li got me at 27 seconds for the last lap," he said. Gebremeskel took second and Daba third, both credited with 13:11.78. Rupp, in fourth, ran 13:14.21, still a four-second improvement on his former best.
"I don't often lead," Lagat admitted afterward, giving credit to Rupp for bringing the pace back in the final kilometre. "Galen helped, we cut four seconds from the last kilometre. This certainly won't be my last indoor 5000m, it's a lot of fun, and more races with Galen would put me in good shape." Lagat and Rupp both raised the possibility of chasing selection for the U.S. team for Doha. "We would make a great team," said Lagat. "I think we would medal."
Dibaba vs. Rowbury at 3000m, but Gezahegn the winner
It wasn't Tirunesh but younger sister Genzebe Dibaba who, along with fellow-Ethiopian Kalkidan Gezahegn, took control of the women's 3000m shortly before the 2000m mark, with the 18-year-old Gezahegn doing the pace work and Dibaba, the 2008-2009 World Cross Country junior champion, shadowing her. 2009 World Championships 1500m bronze medallist Shannon Rowbury covered their breakaway and with two laps remaining was clearly ready to start the kick for home. When Dibaba and Rowbury moved up on Gezahegn’s shoulder, the younger Ethiopian bolted, and Dibaba and Rowbury had to give chase. Gezahegn gave no ground, crossing the line in 8:46.19, ahead of Dibaba (8:47.01) and Rowbury (8:47.18).
Willis leads six under 4:00 in men's mile
While not quite as epic as the 2006 race which saw 11 men run under four minutes, the duel between Will Leer and Nick Willis of New Zealand in the men's mile drew four more men under the formerly-mythical barrier as Willis posted a world-leading 3:55.26. Willis had been the closest follower of the rabbits early in the race and took the lead when they stepped off, but Leer challenged with 400m remaining and forced the Olympic silver medallist to race hard for the win. Leer took second in 3:55.66.
Top-four, led by Williams, dip under world best in 60m
Ivory Williams scored another narrow win over Michael Rodgers in the men's 60m, this time 6.51 to 6.53. The first four finishers all beat the previous world leading time as there was little to separate the field before the finish line; after Williams and Rodgers, Daniel Bailey was at 6.54 and Travis Padgett 6.55.
Lisa Barber continued an off-year comeback, getting half a stride's lead off the blocks in the women's 60m and holding on to it through the tape to win in 7.22. Barber, who took seven months off in 2009 to recover from injury, said, "I was hoping for a faster time, but I'll take the win." Barber, who made a point of racing in the colors of her NFL team, the New Orleans Saints, listed her goals for the season as "national championship, world championship, stay injury free, and have fun."
Jackson still perfect in 2010
Bershawn "Batman" Jackson, better known for his hurdling heroics, posted another victory over 2009 World 400m medallist Rennie Quow, this time at 400m. Jackson defeated Quow over 600 yards last week in New York.
In Boston as in New York, Jackson got out in the front hoping to stay out of trouble, but when the athletes broke from their lanes and raced for the third turn, more traffic problems let Quow break away in front. Jackson reeled in Quow on the backstretch and then moved ahead on the homestretch to win in 46.86.
"I want to be number one in the world again in the 400m hurdles," said Jackson. "I want to be undefeated this year. I want to run sub-50 in the hurdles. This is all for speed."
Dee Dee Trotter took the women's 400m in 53.08 after a tangle just after the 200m mark. Trotter pushed hard to "win the break" and have the lead going in to the second lap, but couldn't quite get running room. Trotter managed to stay on her feet and pull away on the backstretch to seal the win.
Shalonda Solomon ran away from the women's 200m field, winning in 23.15 with a big push on the backstretch. Trammell and Cherry take sprint hurdles wins
Terrence Trammell continued his domination of the U.S. short hurdles scene, getting ahead of the field in the 60m hurdles before the first hurdle and extending his lead with each of the five leaps. Trammell's 7.49 matched exactly his time from the Millrose Games, a world leader at the time and now just .01 behind the 7.48 run by Dayron Robles in Stuttgart earlier the same day.
Damu Cherry was the women's contest in 8.00.
Johnson again in the vault
Chelsea Johnson had more competition in the women's Pole Vault than she had at last week's Millrose Games, as three other women cleared 4.45m. Johnson was the only one of the four to clear 4.55m, and she went to 4.65m with no misses, but wasn't able to get over that bar.
Jeremy Scott was the men's vault winner, making it to 5.60m which he cleared on his first attempt, but having less luck at 5.70m.