Bernard Lagat winning the 10,000m at the 2016 Payton Jordan Invitational (© Spencer Allen/Image of Sport)
The local headlines in California were dominated by Bernard Lagat's world M40 masters' best of 27:49.35 in the 10,000m, but Irene Cheptai’s 31:13:58 also commanded a huge amount of attention at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Stanford, USA on Sunday (1).
Lagat, the 2007 world 1500m and 5000m champion, was making his debut over 25 laps of the track. After comfortably ticking off 66 and 67-second laps for the majority of the race, the 41-year-old produced a last 400m of 58.81 to hold off Suguru Osako down the home straight, the Japanese athlete clocking 27:50.25 for second place.
Cheptai, like Lagat, was making her debut over the longest championship event on the track and led home 18 finishers within 32 minutes.
At the bell, a three-strong leading group was led by Japan’s Ayuko Suzuki but she didn’t have the speed over the final 400m of Cheptai – who had run the latter part of the race without one shoe – and her Kenyan compatriot and former African junior 5000m champion Caroline Chepkoech, who was also making her debut over the distance. Chepkoech finished second in 31:16.38 with Suzuki third in 31:18.16.
There were three world-leading times in Stanford. Kenya's Sally Kipyego won the 5000m in 14:58.60 while the women’s 1500m was won by Australia’s Linden Hall, who took almost six seconds off her previous best with an impressive win in 4:04.47, pulling away from her rivals over the final 200 metres.
In a separate 1500m race, 18-year-old Christina Aragon showed that she could potentially be a factor over the distance at the IAAF World Junior Championships Bydgoszcz 2016 later this summer when she took more than five seconds off her best with a winning time of 4:11.24.
Canada's Matt Hughes clocked a world-leading 8:22.31 to win the men's steeplechase, while NCAA silver medallist Courtney Frerichs took two seconds off her PB to win the women's event in 9:29.31.
Izaic Yorks won the men’s 1500m in 3:37.74, defeating a field that included the well-known US internationals Evan Jager, Dan Huling and Lopez Lomong.
Yorks heard the bell with Jager on his heels but put daylight between himself and the US 3000m steeplechase record-holder over the final 300 metres.
USA’s Shadrack Kipchirchir, part of the US Army’s world-class athletics performance project, made a big improvement over 5000m to win in 13:18.52.
Chrishuna Williams won the fastest women’s 800m race on the programme in 2:00.58, getting the verdict from Justine Fedronic, who was second in 2:00.64, with Maggie Vessey third in 2:00.82.
The Payton Jordan Invitational is traditionally a distance running extravaganza but there were some eye-catching performances in the women’s sprints.
Ashley Henderson, just 20 and a student at San Diego State University, sped to a personal best of 22.64 with a gentle breeze of 1.0m/s on her back.
Henderson just held off Daye Shon Roberson, who was just 0.01 in arrears, the latter having won the 400m earlier in the day in 51.42.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF