Francine Niyonsaba runs a WL at 2 miles! photo by Kevin Morris / @kevmofoto
Joshua Cheptegai takes Friday night 5,000m, photo by Kevin Morris / @kevmofoto
Hayward Field is busy in 2022.
The Nike Pre Classic is the event where many athletes checked out the newly renovated Hayward Field. Hayward Field will be the home for the upcoming USATF Champs, NCAA Champs, and World Athletics Outdoor Champs.
This column is from Justin Lagat, our senior editor in Kenya's column on the distance events in Eugene from this past weekends' NIke Pre Classic.
It will be hard to tell the race that was the most thrilling after such an amazing evening of multiple world-leading times at the 2022 Eugene Diamond League.
The first of the distance races of the evening was Berihu Aregawi's spectacular solo run in the men's 5000m race which he won in a world-leading, meeting record and a personal best time of 12:50.05. This was after he took full control of the race just after the last pacesetter took him through the 2000m point in 5:10.56. Ethiopians showed their supremacy in this race as Samuel Tefera followed for second place in 13:06.86 ahead of Selemon Barega in 13:07.30.
Berihu Aregawi, 2022 Nike Pre Classic, photo by Kevin Morris/ @kevmofoto
Then came another thrilling showdown between Faith Kipyegon and Gudaf Tsegay in the women's 1500m in which the two broke away from the rest of the field early in the race, with the pacesetter. Kipyegon stayed just behind Tsegay after the pacesetter had dropped out and waited until the last 200m before unleashing a strong finishing kick that could not be matched by the world indoor record holder. Kipyegon, the two-time Olympic champion and world champion registered a new meeting record and a world-leading time of 3:52.59 against Tsegay's 3:54.21.
Faith Kipyegon takes the 1,500m, photo by Kevin Morris / @kevmofoto
In another one of the most anticipated races of the evening, Jacob Ingebrigtsen appeared effortless as he eased away from Timothy Cheruiyot and Abel Kipsang just after the bell in the men's Bowerman Mile winning the race in a world-leading time of 3:49.76. As the gap was increasing at the front, Oliver Hoare of Australia came strongly from behind to overtake Cheruiyot and Kipsang finishing second in a personal best time of 3:50.65.
Norah Jeruto, photo by Kevin Morris / @kevmofoto
There was a great battle between Norah Jeruto and Winfred Yavi in the closing stages of the women's 3000m steeplechase race as they ran about 50m ahead of the rest. It was Jeruto who seemed to want the victory more as she pushed harder and created a little gap between them after the last barrier. She almost misjudged the finish line as she celebrated with about two meters to go, but realized it early enough before diving across the line and falling to the ground in a new world-leading time of 8:57.97. Yavi followed closely in 8:58.71, which was a personal best time and the first sub 9 minutes for her.
Keely Hodgkinson takes the 800m, photo by Kevin Morris / @kevmofoto
Keely Hodgkinson finally got to earn a world-leading time to suit her recent dominance in the women's 800m as she comfortably won the race in 1:57.72. Ajee Wilson followed in 1:58.06.