Eugene: Mo Farah Tops a Pre Classic 5K Packed with Medalists
More than half the field own an Olympic or World Championships medal in events also including the 10k, steeplechase, half-marathon and cross-country.
The 5k – the favorite race distance of Steve Prefontaine – has plenty of talent on its own, beginning with every Olympic medalist from Rio.
Mo Farah, 34, of Great Britain now has nine major gold medals – four in the Olympics and five in the World Championships, and eight from an uncanny collection of double 5k/10k wins at the last two Olympics and last two World Championships. He is aiming for another such double at this summer’s London Worlds.
Farah’s success at the Pre Classic mirrors his other global success. He has racked up four Pre Classic victories – the still-standing 5k meet record of 12:56.98 in 2012, plus three wins in the 10k (the three fastest of his career).The most decorated British athlete yet, his range includes being the fastest British 1500-meter runner (3:28.81) and second fastest in his only marathon (2:08:21)
Paul Chelimo, 26, was the surprise silver medalist in Rio. Having earned U.S. eligibility just a year earlier, he made history with the first Olympic 5k medal by an American since Bob Schul won the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
Chelimo was the only runner challenging Farah on the homestretch in Rio, and his 13:03.90 was a PR by over 15 seconds.
Hagos Gebrhiwet, 23, already has three major medals – his Rio Olympic bronze adding to the silver he won in the 2013 Moscow World Championships and the bronze in Beijing. In 2012, he set the still-standing world Junior record of 12:47.53 – still his PR and the best of anyone in this year’s field.
At 19, Yomif Kejelcha has already raced to unprecedented history, and twice it was at Hayward Field. At 16, he was the youngest winner ever in this event at the World Junior Championships in 2014, held at Hayward Field. In 2015 he made his biggest splash, winning the Pre Classic and becoming the youngest 5K winner by four years. A fantastic season saw him winning the IAAF Diamond League as well.
Wisconsin alum Mohammed Ahmed, 26, is the fastest in the world thus far at 13:04.60, set indoors in February. Earlier this month, the Canadian lowered his 10k PR by over half a minute to 27:30.00 at the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford. Ahmed was 4th in the Rio 5k, his country’s best finish in the event. He was third in last year’s Pre Classic 5k with a PR 13:01.74.
Geoffrey Kamworor, 24, has the most major golds of anyone in the field except Farah. In March, the Kenyan won his second World Cross Country crown. Last year he won his second World Half-Marathon title. On the track, he has run PRs in all three of his appearances at the Pre Classic, including last year’s runner-up finish at 12:59:98.
Olympic steeplechase gold medalist Conseslus Kipruto, 22, won his first Pre Classic in 2013 at age 18. It was then a meet record 8:03.59. His venture this year into the 5k will be the first since his only known attempt at the distance, 13:47.5 in the high altitude of Eldoret in Kenya
Second-fastest in the field is Isiah Koech at 12:48.64. Koech was the bronze medalist in the 2013 Moscow World Championships and has four top-8 finishes in the World Championships and Olympic Games. He is still only 23 years old.
Joshua Cheptagei, 20, of Uganda was only 19 when he finished 6th in the Rio 10k and 5th in the 5k – a combination bettered only by Farah. He has recorded PRs many times already at Hayward Field, starting with a World Junior 10k gold in 2014.
Albert Rop, 24, will be running in his sixth Pre Classic. Born in Kenya, his 7th place finish in the Rio 5k is best ever for Bahrain in this event.
Andrew Butchart, 25, was Britain’s fastest last year besides Farah and finished 6th in the Rio 5k. This year, he has already set a PR by some seven seconds in the 1500, and his first attempt in the mile in early February was a world-leading 3:54.23.
Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku, 24, earned the silver medal in the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. The Kenyan won the Pre Classic 5k in 2014, the year he also won the Diamond League title. In his first Pre Classic appearance in 2011, Ndiku joined the sub-3:50 club with a 3:49.77 in the Bowerman Mile. It is still his fastest mile ever.
Americans will provide a special mix in addition to Chelimo.
Ryan Hill, 27, was silver medalist in the World Indoor 3k in Portland in 2016. He was runner-up in the NCAA indoor mile for North Carolina State in 2013.
Ben True, 31, has finished as high as 6th in the World Championships 5k (2015) and World Cross Country Championships (2013). Last August, he became the first American man or woman to win the Beach to Beacon 10k, the race started by Joan Benoit Samuelson in 1998. At 13:02.74 he’s the ninth-fastest American ever.
Also in the all-time U.S. top 10 is Hassan Mead, 25, who was 11th in the Rio 5k and also a finalist in the 2015 World Championships.
Eric Jenkins, 25, won NCAA titles for Oregon in 2015 indoors in the 3k and 5k. He won his first attempt this winter at the famous Wanamaker Mile in the Millrose Games in February, followed by a best-ever 5k at the end of the month. Is he still in shape? Earlier this month at Stanford, he scored a PR in the 800 and less than hour later ran his second-fastest 1500 ever!
|Men’s 5000 Meters||Personal Best|
|Isiah Kiplangat Koech||Kenya||12:48.64|
|Mo Farah||Great Britain||12:53.11|
|Paul Kipngetich Tanui||Kenya||12:58.69|
|Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku||Kenya||12:59.17|
|Andrew Butchart||Great Britain||13:08.61|
|William Malel Sitonik||Kenya||13:19.83|
|Djamal A. Direh||Djibouti||13:21.50|