Shanghai Diamond League: Lyles Stuns Coleman, Samba Tops Benjamin

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The second leg of the 2019 Diamond League season made its stop in Shanghai, China, on Saturday, and it was jam-packed with marquee matchups and tight finishes.

Here were the highlights from Act II of the Diamond League campaign:

Men’s 100m - Lyles Stuns Coleman At The Line

In a battle of the United States’ top sprint stars, 200m stud Noah Lyles shocked Christian Coleman in the 100m at the line with an incredible second-half rally. Both men ran 9.86— a PB for Lyles— but they did it in extraordinarily different ways. 

Coleman, the 60m world record holder and reigning Diamond League 100m champ, got off to his typical fast start that left Lyles well back through 50 meters. But that’s when Lyles’ strength kicked in and he began to gain on his American rival. Powering home like a runaway train, Lyles nipped Coleman at the line with his lean topping Coleman’s for the victory.

Women’s 400m - Sydney Debuts With Runner-Up Finish To Naser

Rookie pro and 400m hurdles mega-star Sydney McLaughlin made her Diamond League debut in her second-best event, and she did so with positive returns as she placed a close second in 50.78 to 2018 Diamond League champ Salwa Eid Naser’s 50.65.

McLaughlin’s strength was evident as she appeared to gain on Naser of Bahrain with the line approaching, but she simply ran out of track against the 49.08 performer.

Men’s 400m Hurdles - Samba Runs Down Benjamin In First Meeting

The second and third-fastest men ever in the 400m hurdles— Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba and American Rai Benjamin— met for the first time ever in Shanghai, and their premiere encounter certainly lived up to the hype as Samba caught Benjamin in the final 100 meters to win in 47.27.

Benjamin, running his first 400m hurdles race in nearly a year, his last coming at the 2018 NCAA final where he ran his 47.02 PB, held the lead through eight hurdles, but was unable to hold off the hard-charging Samba and settled for a 47.80 runner-up finish. A decent consolation for the 21-year-old is that the time is the second-best of his career.

Men’s 5,000m - Kejelcha Stays Hot

A loaded field assembled for the Shanghai 5k, featuring three men who broke 12:47 in the Diamond League finale last summer— Selemon Barega, Hagos Gebrhiwet and Yomif Kejelcha— and given this early point in the season, it was no surprise that the race ended up outside of 13 minutes. 

The first meeting of the Ethiopian heavyweights in 2019 went the way of the hottest distance runner on the planet, indoor mile world record holder Yomif Kejelcha, who used a blistering 53-second last lap to hold off Barega for the win in 13:04.16.

The 19-year-old Barega, who ran 12:43.02 in his last matchup with Kejelcha to become the fourth-fastest man in history, ran 13:04.71 on Saturday to finish second.

American Paul Chelimo asserted himself up front in the early part of the race, but he struggled to the finish in 13:13.94 for 12th.

Men’s 110m Hurdles - Emotional Omar McLeod Wins In 13.12

Reigning Olympic and World champion Omar McLeod wasn’t even sure he would be able to compete in Shanghai after learning of the death of his aunt on Friday, but the grieving Jamaican ultimately decided to line up and he won for the fourth consecutive year in the Chinese city in 13.12.

Afterwards, McLeod was overwhelmed with emotion as he sat on the track and bowed his head. 

McLeod was in complete control throughout and was never challenged by runner-up Wenjun Xie of China, who clocked a 13.17 personal best. 2018 Diamond League champion Sergey Shubenkov, an authorized neutral athlete from Russia, looked rusty in his season debut as he placed a distant third in 13.28.

Elsewhere…

- Morocco’s Rababe Arafi won the first Diamond League race of her career in the women’s 1,500m in 4:01.15 as she powered past the quartet of Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay, Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo, Ethiopian Dawit Seyaum and the Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan in the final 100m.

Hassan, who won the Payton Jordan 10,000m in 31:18 just over two weeks ago, was boxed in over the final lap and had to settle for fifth in 4:01.91.

American Alexa Efraimson earned just the second 2019 IAAF World Standard in the 1,500m by an American woman with her 4:04.53 ninth place finish.

- 2018 Diamond League champion Fred Kerley dominated the men’s 400m in 44.81 in a race where no other man broke 45 seconds. The race was absent 43.45 man Michael Norman, who will compete in the 200m on Sunday in Osaka, Japan.

- First year pro Aleia Hobbs of the U.S. won the women’s 100m in 11.03 over Nigerian Blessing Okagbare (11.07) and 2016 Olympic champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica (11.14).

- World record holder Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya won a drama-free women’s steeplechase in 9:04.53 over countrywoman Celliphine Chespol in 9:11.10.

Brown Cuts Men's Track & Field/XC

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2020 Boston Marathon Canceled

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Appalachian State Cuts Men's Indoor Track And Field

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Leo Daschbach Becomes 11th U.S. Prep To Break 4:00 With 3:59.54

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On Saturday night in El Dorado Hills, California, high school senior Leo Daschbach (AZ) became the 11th U.S. prep runner to break 4:00 in the mile with his 3:59.54 clocking.

Is NCAA Track/XC Dying?

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The recent announcements of program cuts to men's cross country at Akron and men's track at Central Michigan have resurfaced a feeling of uncertainty for the future of NCAA cross country and track. Here is a breakdown of where our sport currently stands within the NCAA system.

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Understanding Resting And Maximum Heart Rate

Throughout the past years, business has combined the health and technology industries to create a society where fitness tracking has become a regular pastime. People have become more invested in their health and want fun devices to assist in that. These smartwatches and apps have made it easier than ever to know what your exact heart rate is, how many hours of sleep you get, or how far you run. However, with all the knowledge presented to you, it’s equally important to actually understand what those numbers mean to best achieve all of your fitness goals. A big part of this is knowing the different active and resting heart rate zones. 

Pre-Run And Post-Run Stretches

Stretching before and after your run can add a lot of benefits to your exercise routine. It allows you to warm up your muscles and safely progress into your run and also provides your body time to cool off and continue to activate your muscles. It’s important to set aside a couple of minutes before and after exercising so you can make sure you’re taking proper care of your body. 

The History Of Track And Field

Track and field has been around since the start of the Olympics in Ancient Greece in 776 B.C. It was created alongside religious events and celebrations for the Greek gods where men (no women were allowed) could show off their athletic abilities. From there it spread to the Romans who continued the games until the Christian Emperor Theodosius I banned them in 394 A.D. because of their ties to pagan beliefs. 

Don't Miss The Quarantine Clasico Sub-4 Live On MileSplit

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History could be headed our way on Saturday in California.