EUGENE, Oregon — Galen Rupp broke his own American record in the 10,000 meters, finishing in 26 minutes, 44.36 seconds at the 40th annual Prefontaine Classic on Friday night.
Rupp was looking to challenge the mark of 26:48 he set in 2011, and had asked organizers for a fast race. He got it: His finish in the Diamond League event was the second-fastest run on American soil.
Rupp took over the race for the final two laps, building a sizable gap with his challengers and putting the crowd at Hayward Field on its feet. Upon crossing the finish line, he was embraced by coach Alberto Salazar.
”I felt great, so I went for it,” he said of his all-out sprint for the record.
Rupp claimed the silver medal in the 10,000 at the London Olympics, behind training partner Mo Farah.
Farah, who made his debut in the London Marathon last month, was among those who watched the race, shouting ”C’mon Galen!” on the final lap. Both Rupp and Farah train under Salazar.
Rupp is a local favorite because he grew up in Portland and went to Oregon. Hayward is the home field for the Ducks.
”Anytime I get to run here it is really special for me,” he said.
Fellow Nike Oregon Project athlete Mary Cain, the talented middle-distance runner who is wrapping up her senior year in high school and has been focusing on her finals, finished eighth in her 800 section in 2:02.31.
Last year at the Pre, Cain broke the high school record in the 800 in 1:59.51, placing fifth in an elite field that included Olympic bronze medalist Yekaterina Poistogova. The teenager from New York became the first American woman in the youth, junior, and high school categories to go under 2 minutes at the distance.
Cain went on to become the youngest US athlete to compete at the world championships in Moscow. She decided last fall to skip a college track career and go pro, training under storied marathoner Alberto Salazar with the Nike Oregon Project.
Maggie Vessey turned heads in the 800 with a unique outfit that featured a diamond-patterned long-sleeve top and briefs with cutouts trimmed in teal.
In the International men’s 800, Job Kinyor moved up from fourth with less than a lap to go to win in 1:44.70, besting Elijah Greer of the Oregon Track Club.
Reese Hoffa won his third straight Pre Classic shot put title with his best throw so far of the season at 71 feet. Ivana Spanovic of Serbia won the women’s long jump in 22-7.
The Prefontaine Classic, the third race in the IAAF Diamond League series, is named for the legendary Oregon runner Steve Prefontaine, who died in 1975.