The first half of the Diamond League’s U.S. doubleheader hits a new blue track at Icahn Stadium in NYC tomorrow. The track is reportedly fast, but wind and showers will likely keep the times in check.
The marquee distance race is the men’s 5,000, as Olympic silver medalist Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia lines up against his shorter, stouter compatriot Hagos Gebrhiwet in the 5000m. Since Gebrhiwet won the 3,000m in Doha, a win in NYC would give him a strong early season lead in the 3,000/5,000m “Diamond Race” (this is the 2nd of 7 meets that count toward the final standings in the 3000/5000m). Gebrhiwet beat Gebremeskel and Galen Rupp indoors in Boston this year, but Gebremeskel has run impressively since, winning the BAA 5k and Carlsbad 5k road races.
For fans of American runners, what may be most interesting about this weekend’s events is not who wins but how some of those who don’t win compete. Ben True, who has had a breakout 2013, will race the 5,000m. Will he clip his 13:14 PR? In the 800m, will Robbie Andrews, Eric Sowinski, and Leo Manzano finish within three seconds of David Rudisha, who doesn’t run his best in the rain? In the women’s 1500m, Sweden’s (via Ethiopia) Abeba Aregawi is the heavy favorite, but will Kate Grace challenge a red-hot Brenda Martinez and achieve the world qualifying standard of 4:05.50? How many seconds will Morgan Uceny slice from her season opening 4:17?
Jamaican fans of track and field are always well represented at the Icahn meet, and the crowd is generally loudest during the sprints. No Bolt, but Jamaicans Nesta Carter, Nickel Ashmeade, and Veronica Campbell-Brown, among others, will bring fans to their seats (as will Tyson Gay in the 100). Jamaican-born USA gold-medalist Sanya Richards-Ross competes in the 400 against Botswana’s Amantle Montsho, among others.
Richards-Ross is coming off a toe injury and has set her goal at 50-point something, which would put her shy of Montsho’s time of 49.88 at Doha (Allyson Felix ran 50.19). At a press conference yesterday, Richards-Ross responded to a question about the popularity of the sport by stating that people don’t always get to know the personalities. She then plugged her own upcoming reality show “Sanya’s Glam and Gold,” Nick Symmonds as the Bachelor, and Lolo Jones on the bobsled.
Notably absent from the meet tomorrow are Mo Farah and Americans Galen Rupp and Bernard Lagat. Farah will be running the Bupa 10K road race in London on Monday. Farah, Rupp, and Lagat will compete next weekend as the Diamond League swoops, or swooshes, to the Nike Prefontaine Classic. The Pre meet will have more distance events and a much deeper field of American and international distance runners. Though the Pre Classic is a Diamond League meet, the 5,000m there does not count towards the final season “Diamond Race” standings (the Bowerman mile will count in the 1500m/mile “Diamond Race”).
Cloud259 will be at the NYC meet this weekend, so look for our tweets and updates!