Linden Hall (Vic) returns to Hayward Field this weekend to race at the Prefontaine Classic, the place where she set her personal best last year before going on to make the semi-finals at the Rio Olympics.
As was the case in 2016 the field for the women’s 1500m is loaded with world-class runners including Rio Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon (KEN), silver Olympic medallist in the 5000m Hellen Obiri (KEN), British 1500m record holder Laura Muir (GBR) and American sub-4 duo Shannon Rowbury and Jenny Simpson.
While the star line-up may not intimidate Hall this year, it has only been in the last 12 months that the Victorian made big gains in the middle-distance world.
Her run at the Pre Classic last year of 4:01.78 placed her fifth, just a few tenths of a second behind 2011 world champion and Olympic bronze medallist Jenny Simpson, one of six on this year's start list who have broken four minutes.
“I’ve been looking forward to heading back to Hayward Field for this meet since I left last year,” Hall said.
“I have nothing but great memories from the meet last year.
“This year feels really different though, my expectations are higher compared to last year where just getting a start was almost enough in itself.
“Over the past 12 months I guess I’ve began to feel as though I belong in races like this with the top girls and looking to be as competitive as I can be.”
Last year’s result put Hall third on the Australian all-time rankings for the women’s 1500m and within a second of Sarah Jamieson’s national record at 4:00.93 set in 2006.
Two weeks ago, she ran 4:07.59 in the Shanghai Diamond League meeting, less than a tenth of a second outside the qualifying mark she is still chasing for the IAAF London World Championships.
Reigning Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon will be one of the favourites to win after setting the meet and track record last year with a 3:56.41 and has already dipped under four minutes this season.
“I’m really excited about going into Pre this weekend, the biggest box I’m looking to tick is the qualifier for London and anything beyond that is a bonus,” Hall added.
“We’re really happy with where training is at and the field is looking very hot, so I feel there is a lot to look forward to.
“I was quite disappointed with my last race in Shanghai, but it has served as great motivator and a solid welcome back to international racing and therefore will only be of benefit come this weekend I’m sure.
“I’m also pretty excited about the number of Australians competing this year at Pre, plenty of indicators suggest it could be a huge weekend for everyone competing.”
The two-day program that forms part of the Eugene Diamond League features nine Australians, seven of which represented Australia at the Rio Olympics. Eurosport Australia will show the Day Two action from 6:00am AEST Sunday.
SATURDAY 27 MAY
Women’s javelin throw - 12:34pm AEST
Australian: Kathryn Mitchell – 63.23m SB, 66.10m PB
Athletes to watch: Barbora Spotakova (2 x Olympic champion and WR holder)
- Last weekend Mitchell threw a London 2017 qualifier of 63.23m in Kawasaki, Japan
Women’s 1500m national - 1:14pm AEST
Australian: Heidi See – 4:23.99 SB, 4:08.15 PB
Athletes to watch: Gabe Grunewald (PB of 4:01.48) and Sheila Reid (2 x NCAA champion)
- See will be looking for the London 2017 qualifying mark of 4:07.50
- See recently wiped 29.61 seconds off her 5000m PB in Palo Alto, USA.
Women’s 3000m steeplechase - 1:25pm AEST
Australian: Genevieve LaCaze – 9:14.28 PB
Athletes to watch: Ruth Jebet (Rio Olympic champion, WR holder), Emma Coburn (Rio Olympic bronze) and Beatrice Chepkoech (4th fastest all-time)
- LaCaze has the qualifying mark for London but will look to improve on her 9:37.10 SB
- LaCaze holds the Australian record for the 3000m steeplechase set in Paris last year.
Women’s 5000m - 1:41pm AEST
Australian: Madeline Hills – 15:04.05 PB
Athletes to watch: Genzebe Dibaba (bronze in Beijing world championships 5000m), Gelete Burka (silver in Beijing world championships 10,000m) and Sifan Hassan (2016 world indoor champion)
- Leaders chasing Tirunesh Dibaba’s world record of 14:11.15
- Hills could become third Australian woman to break 15 minutes in the 5000m
SUNDAY 28 MAY
Men’s pole vault - 5:40am AEST
Athletes to watch: Thiago Braz (Rio Olympic champion), Renaud Lavillenie (gold in London 2012, silver in Rio 2016) and Armand Duplantis (U20 WR holder with 5.90m)
- Braz and Lavillenie will meet for the fourth time this season since the Brazilian won Olympic gold in Rio
Men’s 5000m - 6:13am AEST
Australian: Patrick Tiernan – 13:20.88 PB
Athletes to watch: Mo Farah (4 x Olympic champion, 5 x world champion), Isiah Koech (PB of 12:48.64), Yomif Kejelcha (19 years old, held WL in 2015) and Hagos Gebrhiwet (Rio bronze, 7th fastest all-time)
- Farah has the meet record of 12:56.98 from 2012
- Gebrhiwet is the fastest man in the field with a still-standing world Junior record of 12:47.53
- Tiernan currently sits at 11th on the Australian all-time list for 5000m
Men’s international mile - 7:00am AEST
Australians: Luke Mathews (3:56.7 PB) and Matthew Ramsden (4:06.98 PB)
Athletes to watch: Henrik Ingebrigtsen (2012 European champion, 3:50.72), Lopez Lomong (2 x USA champion, 3:51.45) and Andrew Wheating (2012 London semi-finalist, 3:51.74)
- Jakob Ingebrigtsen, younger brother of Henrik and Filip, will line up as a 16-year-old
Men’s 100m - 7:24am AEST
Athletes to watch: Justin Gatlin (5 x Olympic medallist, 9.74 PB) and Andre De Grasse (Olympic 100m bronze in Rio, 9.91 PB)
- All eight men on the start list have previously broken ten seconds
Women's 1500m - 7:32am AEST
Australian: Linden Hall - 4:01.78 PB
Athletes to watch: Faith Kipyegon (Rio Olympic champion), Hellen Obiri (silver Rio Olympic medallist in the 5000m), Laura Muir (British 1500m record holder) and Shannon Rowbury (3:56.29 PB) and Jenny Simpson (2011 world 1500m champion, Rio Olympic bronze medallist)
Women’s 200m - 7:52am AEST
Athletes to watch: Elaine Thompson (double sprint gold in Rio 100m and 200m, 21.66 PB), Shaunae Miller-Uibo (400m Rio gold medallist, 22.05 PB), Allyson Felix (6 x Olympic champion, 9 x world champion, 21.69 PB) and Dafne Schippers (Beijing 2015 world champion, 21.63 PB)
- Four women in the field have run faster than 22 seconds
Men’s Bowerman Mile - 7:52am AEST
Australian: Ryan Gregson - 3:52.24 PB
Athletes to watch: Matthew Centrowitz (Rio Olympic champion), Asbel Kiprop (3 x world champion), Silas Kiplagat (5th fastest all-time), Ayanleh Souleiman (Beijing 2015 world championship bronze medallist)
- Gregson is currently ranked fifth all-time in Australia with a personal best of 3:52.24 yet holds the 1500m record.
- Only two Australian men have broken 3:50 for the mile in Craig Mottram and Simon Doyle