It is shaping up to be perhaps the most competitive race on the card in the 2011 Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field, the 4th stop on the prestigious Samsung Diamond League circuit.
Meeting in the 2-Mile on Saturday, June 4th will be a roster of the world’s best runners racing at a distance that favors many in the field. Pick the winner among these outstanding contenders in a race which is likely to see runners laying down back-to-back 4:02 miles or better:
Bernard Lagat, USA. Double World Champion in ’07 at 1500 and 5000 (think the 2-Mile is the perfect distance for him?), Olympic silver and bronze, also World Championships silver and bronze for a complete set of medals, American recordholder at 5000, 4-time Pre Classic victor, one of the savviest racers of all-time.
Eliud Kipchoge, Kenya. Cagey veteran was the fastest in the world at 5k last year, has already run a personal best 7:27.66 (= an 8:03.4 2-Mile) in 2011, Olympic silver and bronze medalist, World Champion in ’03 and silver medalist in ’07..
Tariku Bekele, Ethiopia. Fastest in the world at 3k last year, 2008 World Indoor Champion at 3k, ran 8:04.83 for 2-Miles at Eugene in ’07, won last year’s Pre Classic 5000 in a Meet and Field Record of 12:58.93.
Alamirew Yenew, Ethiopia. Ran 7:27.26 for 3k (= 8:03.2 2-Mile) to win the 2011 Doha Samsung Diamond League 3k, has also run a world-leading 7:27.80 indoors this year, took the measure of Kipchoge and runnerup Edwin Soi.
Edwin Soi, Kenya. Set a personal best of 7:27:55 behind Yenew, Olympic 5K bronze medalist from Beijing.
Matt Tegenkamp, USA. The American recordholder at 2-Miles with a best of 8:07.07 set at the Pre Classic four years ago.
David Bett, Kenya. Perhaps the darkhorse pick of the field, the World Junior Champion at 5000 last year, still only 19 years old.
Chris Solinsky, USA. American recordholder at 10k at 26:59.60 set last year, has run 12:55.53 for 5k and owns 3 of the 5 fastest American times ever.
Galen Rupp, USA. Oregon alum was 5th in the World Indoor Champs 3k last year, 8th in the 2009 World Championships 10k, set an American Indoor Record at 5000 in February.
Mo Farah, Great Britain. UK’s best may have a shot at Steve Ovett’s venerable 8:13.51 national record from 1978, which was a World Record at the time.
Mark Kiptoo, Kenya. Third-fastest 5k runner last year, with 12:53.46.
Collis Birmingham, Australia. National recordholder at 10,000 meters.
Isaiah Kiplangat Koech, Kenya. Wunderkind ran 12:53.29…indoors! and he was (and still is) only 17, setting a World Junior Record.
Chris Thompson, Great Britain. Ran the fastest 10k by a European at Stanford earlier this month, finished 2nd in the Great Manchester Run on Sunday.
Lukas Verzbicas, USA. Ready to take a shot at breaking the national high school record of 8:34.40.