Glasgow Diamond League Day 1 preview
If you’re in school, first of all, cherish it. Second, here’s a spoiler alert to your workweeks of the next sixty years: right after Friday lunch, your thirst for quality time-wasting and pretend-working will be nearly impossible to slake. With the weekend firmly in your sights, you’ll take to the internet looking to run out the clock like an unscrupulous soccer side in extra time.
Today's Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix Diamond League is dead in that unproductive sweet spot— 1:04 to 2:48 PM on the East Coast. Kudos to the meet directors for having so much compassion for American office workers.
Men’s 400 hurdles (1:04 Eastern)
After Javier Culson got the best of Michael Tinsley two Diamond League Meetings in a row, the American finally over his Puerto Rican rival at Paris DL, clocking a seasonal best of 48.25 to 48.45, respectively. Tinsley is now number two in the world, but Culson's 48.03 win at the adidas Grand Prix still holds the top spot. Don't forget about Jamaica's Roxroy Cato, whose 48.48 at the Jamaican National Championships slots him in at number four in the world.
Now 400mH specialist Ashton Eaton, who won the Oslo Diamond League 400mH, will also feature. He was sixth at Paris DL.
The big question that will never be answered is whether Eaton could have beaten Johnny Dutch at the U.S. Championships? The two boast seasonal bests only 0.01-seconds apart.
Women’s 1500 (1:37 Eastern)
With Hellen Obiri, Sifan Hassan, and Abeba Aregawi in the field and decent weather in the forecast (68 degrees, minimal wind, no rain), Kelly Holmes’s 3:58.07 British soil record may be in mortal danger. Fans of American women’s mid-distance may lament the absence of Jenny Simpson from the field, but it’s the absence of another American athlete that may preserve Holmes’s record. Best Pacer In The World® Phoebe Wright** isn’t contracted to rabbit the race, and in 2014, that means a scattershot tempo and mediocre times. We’ll see if Lydia Wafula is as skilled at pacing the 1500 as she is at longer distances— this year in Doha, she paced Obiri’s stunning 8:20 3k and was an extremely effective hare in a 1500 last year in Stockholm.
There are four Americans in the field: Molly Beckwith-Ludlow, Morgan Uceny, and Nike Oregon Project teammates Treniere Moser and Jordan Hasay. Beckwith-Ludlow told Flotrack in Lausanne that her plans for Glasgow were to pace on Friday and race Saturday’s 800, but after chopping ten seconds from her 1500 PR in Lignano, it appears MBL has shifted her focus for this meet.
Coming at the metric mile from the opposite direcion is Jordan Hasay, whose last race was a close loss to Kim Conley in the 10k at nationals. Hasay’s best is only 4:10, but the universal constant of NOP athletes is raw speed***. She’ll be able to mix it up and walk away with a PR that starts with 4:0.
Moser was a tenth of a second behind Beckwith-Ludlow in Italy; after she was clearly the second-best American woman at 1500 meters last year, her form has been a little bit of a question mark in 2014. Same for 2011 and 2012 US champ Morgan Uceny, who set a 4:04 SB in Paris.
Historical note: two US women have grabbed global medals at the last three world championships, but the only one to also win the US title in her medal year was Shannon Rowbury in 2009. Uceny (2011) and Moser (2013) won in Simpson’s medal years.
*and just in time, as Scotland may be seceding
**Wright has paced the last two world leaders in 2014 and told me in Cork that most of the current Americans have run their PRs in races she paced.
***hot, nasty, bad-ass speed.
Men’s 5k (1:58 eastern)
With Mo no mo’, the distance race of the weekend is Friday night’s 5k. Edwin Soi and Yeniw Alamirew are the heavy favorites: one betting site we sought out for strictly educational purposes only even listed odds for those two.
LetsRun thoroughly covers the 2014 travails of Ethiopian global medallists Dejen Gebremeskel (#5 5k man ever), Hagos Gebrhiwet, and Tariku Bekele; one of that trio certainly has the pedigree to make Friday night his comeback race.
Bernard Lagat has mentioned in the past that after this Olympic cycle, he’d consider moving up to the 10k or even the roads. But after his nightmarish 13:31 at Pre, the tonic for Lagat this summer has been moving down. Two European 3ks tuned Lagat to the point where he was able to easily outkick Hassan Mead and Schumacher teammates Andrew Bumbalough and Ryan “Andrew Bumbalough” Hill to win his 7th national title in the 5k.
Those three names— second through fourth places at USAs— are also the other three Americans on tomorrow’s startlist. Mead could be the next member of the suddenly crowded sub-13:00 American club, though Ben True, his 13:02-mate at Payton Jordan, didn’t fare particularly well in Paris.
If 13:31 was a nightmare for Lagat in Eugene, there’s probably not a word that would be appropriate to describe Hill’s 13:57 there. Like Lagat, though, Hill seems fully bounced back— he only lost to Mead by four-tenths of a second in Sacramento.
With all the attention justifiably lavished on Galen Rupp and Lagat in the event, one could be forgiven for missing Bumbalough’s steady rise. That steadiness stands in contrast to his teammates Hill, Chris Derrick, German Fernandez (who both broke the 5k American Junior record in a very short span in 2009), and Chris Solinsky, all of whom meteorically shot into the consciousness of the American distance fan. Bumbi has racked up a handful of runner-up finishes and hovered in the 13:15/fringe team qualifier range for a while; Friday could be his chance to come to forefront.
Here's the US top ten list. With the #10 time now outrageously at Mead's 13:02.80, it's hard to imagine anyone but Mead editing the list in Scotland.
Women’s 4x100 (2:18 Eastern)
I’m ashamed to admit that I’m in Glasgow, have Twitter, Google, and message boards at my disposal and I can’t figure out if the American studs entered in the open sprints are running Friday’s relay. Carmelita Jeter (100), Allyson Felix (200), Tianna Bartoletta (long jump) are all here and comprise 3/4 of the quartet who broke the 4x1 world record in London two summers ago. One thing hinting against this being a star-studded race: Jamaica isn’t entered.
Men’s 100 (2:48 Eastern)
This race features American Mike Rodgers, Trinidadian Richard Thompson, St. Kitty Kim Collins (who at 38 is sprinting’s Bernard Lagat), Jamaicans Nesta Carter, Yohan Blake, Nickel Ashmeade, and my first down payment on a bridge.