Bernard Lagat leading in the Two Miles at the 2013 Millrose Games (© Kirby Lee)
One of the best 5000m fields in the world this year will be in the at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, USA, on 1 June and the IAAF Diamond League race will feature top Americans Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp.
Lagat and Rupp are very familiar with the famous Hayward Field track, which will be the stage for the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships
The former, who famously won the 1500m and 5000m double at the 2007 WIAAF World Championships, now holds no fewer than seven US records, including the 1500m, 3000m and 5000m outdoors, is a regular competitor at the Prefontaine Classic; while the latter spent his college career at the University of Oregon, for whom Hayward Field is the home track, before moving into the professional ranks and setting the current US record over 10000m and also getting a silver medal over the same distance at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
However, the Prefontaine Classic organisers have put together a star-studded field to challenge the two domestic stars.
Thomas Longosiwa, the 2012 Olympic Games 5000m bronze medallist, and his fellow Kenyan Isiah Koech, who is still just 19 but who finished fifth in London, will be on the start line.
Koech has the fastest personal best in the field at 12:48.64, the second fastest ever time by a junior.
Two more runners who have gone faster than 12:50, and who both know the energy that Hayward Field fans provide after running in last year’s Prefontaine Classic, will also be present: Kenya’s John Kipkoech and Ethiopia’s Yenew Alamirew.
In addition, Kenya’s Edwin Soi, the 2008 Olympic Games 5000m bronze medallist and Azerbaijan’s 2013 European Athletics Indoor Championships 3000m gold medallist Hayle Ibrahimov will also be running.
The field includes two more athletes who were part of last year’s outstanding Kenyan Olympic Trials 10km at Hayward Field: Emmanuel Bett and Mark Kiptoo. Despite not making Kenya’s London-bound-team both men proved their world-class credentials at other times in the season.
Keep an eye as well on Kenya’s 18-year-old talent Albert Rop, Mexico’s London finalist Juan Luis Barrios of Mexico, and another Kenyan, the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships 10000m bronze medallist Geoffrey Kirui.
The 5000m race at the 39th Prefontaine Classic was the signature event of man the meeting honours: Steve Prefontaine, fearless front runner and former US record holder for the distance, who died in 1975 in a car accident at the age of just 24.
It was won last year by eventual double Olympic Games gold medallist, Great Britain’s Mo Farah, in a US all-comers record of 12:56.98.
And what of Mr Farah at the 2013 Prefontaine Classic? In an intriguing development, Mo has said he will decide the week of the meeting between running the 10000m on Friday or the 5000 on Saturday.
Organisers for the IAAF
2013 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 10 May
Shanghai, CHN – 18 May
New York, USA – 25 May
Eugene, USA – 1 Jun
Rome, ITA – 6 Jun
Oslo, NOR – 13 Jun
Birmingham, GBR – 30 Jun
Lausanne, SUI – 4 Jul
Paris, FRA – 6 Jul
Monaco, MON – 19 Jul
London, GBR – 26-27 Jul
Stockholm, SWE – 22 Aug
Zürich, SUI – 29 Aug
Brussels, BEL – 6 Sep