Olympic semi-finalist Linden Hall (Vic) has taken another step in her elite athletic career posting an IAAF World Championships qualifying time for the 1500m at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene (USA) today.
Stopping the clock in 4:07.37, Hall placed 12th in a tactical race that saw the pace kick down very fast over the final 400m, with Hall holding on to post a time that could see her selected as a part of the Australian team bound for the London world championships this August.
“For me, I’m really happy to post the time and ‘tick the box off the list’, in terms of a qualifying time,” Hall said post-race.
“If I get selected it’ll be my first world championships team which is pretty huge for me and something I’ve always been striving for.”
The strong field featured Rio Olympic gold medallist Faith Kipyegon (KEN) who took line honours in 3:59.67 followed by Olympic 5000m silver medallist Hellen Obiri (KEN) and British record holder Laura Muir (GBR) in third.
The time was Hall’s fastest since she placed eighth in the women’s semi-final at the Rio Olympics, and missed out on the final by just 0.21 seconds.
While it wasn’t the same dream run Hall experienced at the same competition last year when she ran 4:01.78 and jumped to No. 3 on the all-time Australian list, Hall was still pleased to post the time needed to see her with a chance to join her first world championships team.
“Honestly, I’m not overly happily with the race but I’ve got to take it,” Hall admitted.
“It was a bit of deja vu to the Shanghai Diamond League race the other week where the girls sat back for the first couple of laps and then kicked home.
“I didn’t quite have the change of pace I will be needing for London at this point - It was a little frustrating to be messing around with the first couple laps, when the pace has been promised that it was going to be fast.”
But now, as Hall sees herself right in the mix of the elite middle-distance field, the 25-year-old from Essendon admits some of the pacing responsibility now falls on her shoulders.
“We usually expect the quicker girls to take up the pace, but maybe next time I might have to be the one to have a little more of a crack to get the field moving.”
“It’s a relief to get the time I needed, I was putting a bit of pressure on myself to try and do a time trial in Australia, which didn’t get me the time, but now I’ve got it I can just go out there and race and let it happen without overthinking it from now on leading into London.”
Hall will base herself in Flagstaff, Arizona for more altitude training before heading to Europe to race in “a couple of 1500m and maybe an 800m to sharpen up before London”.
Australia’s Patrick Tiernan (Qld) also made the most of the world-class competition in Eugene, with the 10,000m specialist dropping back in distance to run the 5000m and place 11th with a personal best time of 13:13.44.
The time was more than seven seconds faster than his previous best he set in June last year and has shot him up to No. 4 on the all-time Australian record list to sit behind Craig Mottram, Collis Birmingham and Ben St. Lawrence over the distance.
The time, which was well under the world championships qualifying mark of 13:22.00 was the fastest since Birmingham’s 13:09.57 in London (GBR) in 2012 and faster than the famous run by the late Ron Clarke of 13:16.6h in Stockholm (SWE) in 1966 – a world record at the time.
Tiernan paced himself well in the race and managed to hold onto 11th place in the elite field of 24, and has put himself right in the mix for another start on the world championships team after already securing the 10,000m qualifying time required in Stanford in early May.
The race was taken out by four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah (GBR) in 13:00.70, a world lead for 2017. Farah has stated it will be his last outing on US soil before he looks to wrap up his track career at the upcoming London world championships.
Drama occurred on the track when Australian 1500m record holder took to the prestigious Men’s Bowerman Mile to place 11th with a time of 3:56.90.
A fast time seemed to be on the cards for Gregson, who was looking strong until about 550m to go when Ayanleh Souleiman (DJI) tripped over and the Australian and was forced to hurdle him. Unable to recover his rhythm as the top runners kicked away, the race was taken out by Ronald Kwemoi (KEN) who posted a world lead time of 3:49.04.
This performance followed the mile race run by young guns Luke Mathews (Vic) and Matthew Ramsden (WA) in the international mile race.
Mathews and Ramsden finished in 6th and 12th place respectively, with both athletes recording personal best times of 3:54.53 and 3:59.80.
Mathews’ time puts the 21-year-old into No. 9 position on the all-time Australian mile list. The race was won by Thiago Do Rosario Andre (BRA) in 3:51.99, while one of the highlights came from 16-year-old Norwegian athlete Jakob Ingebrigtsen who became the youngest ever athlete to complete a sub 4-minute mile in 3:58.07.
At the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene yesterday, Madeline Hills (NSW) posted a 5000m world championships qualifier after running 15:15.18 to place 13th in an incredibly strong field that was said to be aiming to break the world record.
For Hills though, it was a season’s best time and her fourth best ever over the distance. Hill’s PB of 15:04.05 was set at the Rio Olympics when she placed 10th in the final.
Hills has already secured a likely plane ticket to the world championships after smashing a previous personal best to clock 31:41.10 over the 10,000m at a meet in Stanford (USA) earlier this month.
Current 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba (ETI) took out the race but fell short Tirunesh Dibaba’s 14:11.15 world record mark, finishing in 14:25.22.
In the field events, Kathryn Mitchell (ACT) executed another consistent performance in the javelin, throwing 62.87m to place fifth and less than half a metre behind two-time Olympic champion Barbora Spotakova (CZE).
Mitchell secured her likely birth to the world championships team bound for London last Sunday when she threw 63.23m at the Golden Grand Prix meet in Kawasaki (JPN).
If, as expected, she is selected for the team that will travel to London in August it would mean the 34-year-old would effectively become Australia’s eldest female field athlete to compete at a world championships.
Read more about evergreen javelin thrower Kathryn Mitchell here.
2017 Australian 1500m champion Heidi See (Vic) finished the women’s international 1500m in 4:15.34, a season’s best for the 27-year-old.
In other world class results from Eugene, Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor (USA) astounded onlookers in the triple jump, leaping 18.11m – a world lead performance and third longest jump in history.
Ronnie Baker (USA) stole the spotlight in the men’s 100m running a windy time of 9.86 (+2.4) to beat disappointing performances by Olympic medallists Andre De Grasse (CAN) and Justin Gatlin (USA).
18-year-old Celliphine Chepteek Chespol (KEN) upset Rio Olympic champion and world record holder Ruth Jebet (BRN) in the women’s 3000m steeplechase running a world lead, an African Record and the second fastest time ever in 8:58.78.
American Tori Bowie beat a star-studded field in the women’s 200m, running a world lead time of 21.77 seconds to beat Olympic gold medallists Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH), Elaine Thompson (JAM), Allyson Felix (USA) and 2015 world champion Dafne Schippers (NED).