Rupp, Gatlin, Rushida on tap for 40th Prefontaine Classic
EUGENE, Oregon — American record holder and Olympic bronze medalist Galen Rupp returns home to Oregon for the 40th annual Prefontaine Classic.
He’ll run in the 10,000 meters Friday night and has asked organizers for a fast pace, suggesting he’ll take a shot at besting his mark of 26 minutes, 48 seconds.
The 10K is one of the highlights of the Pre, the third event on the IAAF Diamond League schedule.
Another is Saturday’s 800 meters, which will feature world record holder and Olympic gold medalist David Rushida. The Kenyan is making his debut at Hayward Field after pulling out of last year’s Pre because of a knee injury that sidelined him for most of last year.
The field includes Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia, who won at the 2013 world championships in Rudisha’s absence, and 2012 Olympic silver medalist Nijel Amos of Botswana.
The women’s 200 is expected to be a showdown between Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix and Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who won at the world championships last year when Felix crumbled to the track with a right hamstring injury.
Felix, who has collected six Olympic and 10 world championship medals in her career, returned from the injury at the Diamond League stop in Shanghai earlier this month and finished fifth.
”My main goal this season is to have a healthy year and return to top form,” Felix wrote on a Twitter chat with fans this week, adding that she plans to add a few more 400-meter races to her schedule.
Justin Gatlin, who has the world’s best time in the 100 this season, headlines the event at the Pre, challenged by fellow American Mike Rodgers and Jamaican Nesta Carter.
Gatlin, the gold medalist from the 2004 Olympics, cruised to victory in the 100 meters in Shanghai, finishing in 9.92 seconds. Nesta was second and Rodgers was third. Last week Gatlin ran a 9.87 in Beijing, the fastest finish in the world this season.
He will be going for his fifth 100m title at the Prefontaine.
Jordan Hasay, one of the most decorated athletes to run at Oregon, returns to Hayward Field for the first time since she graduated and turned pro, taking part in the Pre’s first-ever 2-mile race. She’s in a field with Sally Kipyego, who won the silver medal in the 10,000 meters at the London Games.
Mary Cain, the talented middle-distance runner who is still wrapping up her senior year in high school, is expected to run in the 800 meters.
Last year at the Pre, the teenager from Bronxville, New York, 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. She 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 U.S. 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.