With no Diamond League in the schedule, there was no central meeting point for the elite in track and field. Instead, the fastest in the world split up between not one but two street meets and a couple other interesting locations: a distance carnival in Los Angeles, a sprint-heavy meet in Jamaica, and a race in England that had a bar on the track.
Here are the highlights:
Miller-Uibo, Wilson, Hunter Roll In Boston
The sprinting events in Boston took place on a straight track in the middle of Copley Square. The fields were smaller than normal and some of the events were off-distance, but there were compelling races. In the women’s 150m, Shaunae Miller-Uibo continued her undefeated 2018 running 16.23, the fastest time ever recorded on a straight track. Last year, Miller-Uibo set the world record for a 200m on a straight track.
WORLD RECORD ALERT 🚨 @Hey_ItsShaunae clocks 16.23 to better Tori Bowie‘s record set at last year‘s @adidasBoostBos by 0.07.— adidas Boost Boston (@adidasBoostBos) May 20, 2018
Told ya these last two events won’t disappoint 😉#TakeChargeBoston pic.twitter.com/vn3eW6WaB0
Steven Gardiner was also able to build on his early-season momentum. Gardiner won the 200m in 19.88, ahead of Alonso Edward and Jereem Richards who were both clocked at 20.03. Gardiner now has two sub-20-second clockings on the year (though this one was on a straight track) and two sub 44-second 400m performances.
The men’s 150m went down to the wire with Noah Lyles catching Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake at the line to get the victory. Mitchell-Blake looked to have the victory secured, but Lyles powered through the final meters to overtake Lyles just before the finish.
In the 100m races, Tori Bowie won the women’s competition in 11.05, while Zharnel Hughes ran 9.99 to beat Akani Simbine’s 10.03.
Training partners Ajee Wilson and Charlene Lipsey had a productive week. On Monday at Swarthmore College, Wilson ran 4:05.18 and Lipsey ran 4:07.73, both personal bests. Five days later at the Adidas Boost Boston Games, Lipsey cut more time off that PR, running 4:04.98 to finish second to Dawit Seyaum. Wilson opted to race the 800m where she took the victory in 1:59.27 ahead of Natoya Goule’s 1:59.43.
Twenty-year-old Drew Hunter set a personal best in a winning effort in the men’s mile. Hunter clocked a 3:56.72 to beat Chris O’Hare (3:57.17). Hunter was in fourth place with 400 meters remaining before passing Brimin Kiprotich, Charles Simotwo, and O’Hare in the final lap. The final 400m split for Hunter was 55.26.
Farah, Dibaba, Ta Lou Star In Manchester
Across the Atlantic Ocean, another street meet took place at the Great Manchester City Games. In the 150m, Marie-Josée Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast beat Allyson Felix. The time wasn’t as quick as Miller’s in Boston with Ta Lou turning in a 16.60 to Felix’s 16.72. Despite the loss, a good result for Felix to keep it close against the world leader in the 100m.
#CIV’s Marie-Josee Talou (@majo10s70) wins the women’s 150m at the @ArcadisGlobal Great City Games Manchester today in 16.60 seconds.— AthleticsAfrica 🌍 (@athleticsafrica) May 18, 2018
American @allysonfelix came second in 16.72 ahead of Brits @BiancaaWills (17.09) and @FinetteAgyapong (17.24)#GCGM2018 #AthleticsAfrica pic.twitter.com/hnFW3Z6wNl
Manchester also played host to a road race with some very big names. In the men’s race, Mo Farah outkicked Moses Kipsiro in ho-hum Mo Farah fashion. The race was his first competition since the London Marathon.
The next big news around Farah will most likely be when he chooses which fall marathon he will run. Galen Rupp announced last week he’d be defending his title in Chicago. Farah has only ever run the London Marathon and equal arguments can be made for all three of the major marathons in the fall. But a matchup with Rupp would be particularly appealing. Once Farah left the Nike Oregon Project, it seemed likely that the two wouldn’t race each other until the 2020 Olympics. But Farah said this week that his fall marathon choice is between New York and Chicago, increasing the odds we could see him race Rupp.
In the women’s race in Manchester, Tirunesh Dibaba won the race for the third consecutive year, easily dispatching Joyciline Jepkosgei 31:08 to 31:57. Jepkosgei looked like a good match for Dibaba after her 2017 season where she set world records on the road at 5K, 10K, 15K, 20K and the half marathon distance. But Jepkosgei has been beatable in 2017. On Sunday, after a fast start, Dibaba was able to reel her in and take a comfortable victory.
Centrowitz Doubles, Brown Wins Again
The most traditional competition of the weekend took place at the USATF Distance Classic in Los Angeles. Matthew Centrowitz doubled in the 800m and 1500m and looked the best he has all year, winning his section of the 1500m after racing the 800m earlier in the meet.
After a season beset with injuries in 2017 and a slower start to 2018, there were some questions about how close Centrowitz is to the form he had in 2016. It’s too early to tell exactly where he is and, given that there is no championship this year, we may end the season not having a definitive answer.
Though he has a 3:30 personal best, his best work comes in championship settings. Centrowitz is a racer, not a time trialer. He’s poised, savvy, and is at his best at the most important moments. In the six global 1500m championships since 2011, Centrowitz has made the final in five of them. He’s won three medals and finished fourth on one occasion. Without the benchmark of a championship to use, it will be challenging to know exactly where Centrowitz stands.
On Thursday, he finished about a second behind the race winner, Craig Engels (1:47:40) in the 800m. In his section of the 1500m, he ran 3:38.99 to take the victory (Johnny Gregorek won the other section in 3:36.95, beating Jordan Gusman and Hassan Mead).
In the women’s races, Ce'Aira Brown cranked out another strong performance this year with a 2:00.38 victory in the 800m. The 24-year-old has now run under 2:01 three times this season, including a personal best of 1:59.70. And with the fast times comes victories over some established names. On Thursday, Brown beat Hanna Green, Brenda Martinez, and Laura Roesler.
Odds and Ends
Richard Ringer of Germany took victory in the men’s race at the Night of the 10,000m PBs competition in London. Ringer ran 27:36.52 to edge out France’s Mirad Amdouni, who ran 27:36.80. The event has gained popularity because of the intensity of the spectators and the presence of a pub on the track (there might be a correlation between the two).
Group of 8 runners out front in the men’s B race, all heading for low 29 mins at 6000m. It’s cooler now, can they hold the pace through the beer tunnels....🍺#nightof10kpbs #highgate10k #lovelifelove25laps pic.twitter.com/cNam5WnYSI— Night Of The 10k PBs (@NightOf10kPBs) May 19, 2018
British runners placed fifth, sixth, and seventh with Alexander Yee (27:51), Andy Vernon (27:52), and Chris Thompson (27:52) all breaking 28 minutes. Chemtai Lonah Salpeter won the women’s race in 31:33.
Twenty-year-old Christopher Taylor of Jamaica beat Lashawn Merritt in the 200m at the Kingston World Challenge. Taylor ran 20.49 to Merritt’s 20.70. Elaine Thompson took the women’s 100m in 11.06.
While much of the American mid-distance action was focused in Los Angeles and Boston, Brandon Lasater of the Atlanta Track Club ran 1:45.85, smashing his personal best of 1:47.09. The time is the fastest by an American professional runner this outdoor season.
Dream 800 results pic.twitter.com/km1YohpgtK— Atl Track Club Elite (@ATLtcElite) May 20, 2018