Will Verzbicas break the 2-Mile record of 8:34.40?
Lukas Verzbicas has a great shot at history on Saturday in Eugene.
The Illinois high school phenom enters the Prefontaine Classic 2-Mile with a golden opportunity to break the National High School Record of 8:34.40, set in 2008 at Nike Outdoor Nationals by German Fernandez. Before Fernandez, the record had previously stood since 1979, set by Jeff Nelson (8:36.30).
If Verzbicas fails, it will not be due to lack of competition. Saturday's 2-Mile is absolutely stacked. Outside of Verzbicas, the slowest 5k PR in the field is a 13:16 (Bumbalough)! Furthermore, the race will have three assigned rabbits in Rob Novak, Kyle Miller and Jordan McNamara to try and take the runners through at close to world record pace (7:58.61).
Assuming that the winners are somewhere circa 8:00, Lukas could realistically lose by 200 meters and still set the record! A bigger deterrent than competition for Verzbicas could be having anyone to run with for the last 3 to 4 laps of the race. But if he can sit on the back of the pack and hold on for dear life, the record is in serious jeopardy. Here are the competitors and their PR's...
BEKELE Tariku ETH 8:04 2-Mile / 12:52 5k
BETT David Kiprotich KEN 7:37 3k / 13:06 5k
BIRMINGHAM Collis AUS 7:38 3k / 13:10 5k
BUMBALOUGH Andrew USA 3:38 1500 / 13:16 5k
CHERUIYOT Jonas KEN 7:34 3k / 12:59 5k
FARAH Mohammed GBR 7:38 3k / 12:57 5k
KIPCHOGE Eliud KEN 7:27 3k / 12:46 5k
KIPTOO Mark Kosgei KEN 7:32 3k / 12:53 5k
KOECH Isaiah Kiplangat KEN 7:37 3k / 12:53 5k
LAGAT Bernard USA 7:29 3k / 12:54 5k
RUPP Galen USA 13:07 5k / 27:10 10k
SOI Edwin Cheruiyot KEN 12:52 5k / 27:14 10k
TEGENKAMP Matt USA 7:34 3k / 12:58 5k
THOMPSON Chris GBR 13:11 5k / 27:27 10k
VERZBICAS Lukas USA 4:03 mile / 8:40 2-Mile / 14:06 5k
Remember when the HS 2 mile record was last broken? If not, here's a reminder...
Watch more video of German Fernandez on flotrack.org
For those interested, here are Fernandez's (unofficial) splits from that historic race:
64.5 4:19.4 (1 mile)
63.1 8:34.40 (2 mile)