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41-year-old Roberta Groner earns sixth place in historic women’s marathon on opening day of 2019 IAAF World Championships Doha


DOHA, Qatar -- Team USATF athletes set the stage for an exciting IAAF World Championships with twenty-five track and field advances, and an inspiring marathon top ten finish, on Day 1 of the championships at Khalifa Stadium in Doha, Qatar. 

Fans can watch replays on NBC Sports Gold and find full results here

Women’s Marathon

The women’s marathon, the first final of the championships began on day one at 11:59 p.m. local time to make history as the latest marathon at a World Championships. The course consisted of six loops on a 7 km road by the Corniche, Doha’s waterfront boulevard.  

Carrie Dimoff (Portland, Oregon) and Roberta Groner (Ledgewood, New Jersey) started conservatively for the first half of the race, sticking together as they gradually rose in positions from 35th and 36th. As the historic first midnight marathon continued, the dynamic duo progressed higher and higher until around 25 km when Groner broke off to hover in ninth while Dimoff sat right outside the top ten. 

Groner, who is also the oldest member of Team USATF at 41 years old, pushed her way up to sixth place in a phenomenal display of athletic determination and finished in 2:38:44. Dimoff, who is also a Masters runner at 36 years old, finished strong in 13th in a season’s best 2:44.35. Kelsey Bruce (Bracketville, Texas) held on in a race that didn’t see many countries have all three competitors complete the race, to finish in 3:09:37. Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya won in 2:32:43. 

Women’s 800m

Earlier in the day on the track at Khalifa Stadium, three out of the four Team USATF entrants earned advancement to the semifinal of the women’s 800. Ajee’ Wilson (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) went immediately to the lead in the first heat and carried a tight pack through 400m in 61.28. She kept the lead despite being challenged by Uganda’s Halimah Nakaayi down the stretch, winning in 2:02.10.

Like her training partner Wilson, Raevyn Rogers (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) controlled the pace from the gun in heat two to win easily in 2:02.01. Ce’Aira Brown (Peekskill, New York) was second and off the shoulder of Jamaica’s Natoya Goule through the first half-lap of heat four, and went through the bell in fourth at 60.55. Needing to finish in the top three to automatically qualify for the semifinal, Brown had a strong final 100m and edged past Noelie Yarigo to claim second in 2:01.14. Hanna Green (Eugene, Oregon), who hurt her hamstring earlier in the week, was in contention in heat five through the 600m mark, running just off the leader, but faded in the last half-lap to end up seventh in 2:04.37.

Women’s Hammer Throw

American record holder and 2019 world leader DeAnna Price (Saint Charles, Missouri) made short work of the second qualifying section, launching a massive 73.77m/242-0 on her first throw to automatically advance to the final with the best mark of the 30 contestants. Gwen Berry (St. Louis, Missouri) notched a 71.72m/235-4 on her second attempt in the first group and ended up 10th overall to qualify for the final, but Brooke Andersen (Manhattan, Kansas) did not make it in with her best of 68.46m/224-7.

Men’s Long Jump

Reigning Olympic champion Jeff Henderson (San Diego, California) struggled to get on the board on his first two attempts, yielding more than 50cm on his second try, but he nailed his third effort to go out to 8.12m/26-7.75 and record the second longest jump of the qualifying round. Steffin McCarter (Austin, Texas) also advanced to the final with his second-round 8.04m/26-4.5, the fourth-best jump overall, but Trumaine Jefferson (Houston, Texas) did not qualify with a 7.63m/25-0.5.

Men’s 100m

As in the women’s 800m earlier, three of four U.S. men moved on to the semifinal, including the 2017 gold and silver medalists. Out very quickly as befits the world indoor 60m record holder and 2019’s fastest man, ‘17 runner-up Christian Coleman (Atlanta, Georgia) zipped to the fastest time of the night with a 9.98 in the final section. Running in lane nine of heat two, reigning champion Justin Gatlin (Clermont, Florida) got away very well and was never headed as he won in 10.06, showing no signs of the injury he suffered at Zagreb on Sept. 3.

In the penultimate heat, Michael Rodgers (Georgetown, Texas) was third after 10 meters and then edged forward to finish comfortably in second, clocking 10.14 to advance. A strong first heat saw Christopher Belcher (Greensboro, North Carolina) slow out of the blocks on his way to a sixth-place finish in 10.23, missing the next round by .008 seconds.

Women’s 3,000m Steeplechase

With eyes set on defending the title she won at London, Emma Coburn (Boulder, Colorado) ran confidently through the first half of heat one, staying with the front four before pushing the pace going into the final kilometer and taking the lead. Knowing she was safely into the final, Coburn eased off and finished second in 9:23.40.

The second heat had ‘17 silver medalist Courtney Frerichs (Portland, Oregon) contending with world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech, and those two ran in tandem much of the way before Chepkoech moved away a bit at the end to win with Frerichs second in 9:18.42. Three-time NCAA champion Allie Ostrander (Boise, Idaho) had the race of her life to finish seventh in a PR 9:30.85, but did not advance.

Women’s Pole Vault 

Team USATF’s women’s pole vault corps went 3-for-3 in qualifying to advance to the final, led by first-attempt clearances at the auto Q height of 4.60m/15-1 by Sandi Morris (Fayetteville, Arkansas) and Katie Nageotte (Powder Springs, Georgia). 2012 Olympic champion Jenn Suhr (Churchville, New York) chose that height to open and required two attempts to clear and qualify for her fifth World Championships final.

Men’s Triple Jump

Two-time defending champ Christian Taylor (Jacksonville, Florida) bounded 16.99m/55-9 on his opening effort in the men’s triple jump, missing the auto standard but doing enough to move on to the final. It took three tries for U.S. champion Donald Scott (Ypsilanti, Michigan) to match Taylor’s distance, while Will Claye (San Diego, California) managed a best of 16.97m/55-8.25 on his final jump to also advance. Omar Craddock (Chula Vista, California) did not go through with a best of 16.87m/55-4.25 on his only legal attempt, losing out by one spot to Turkey’s Necati Er on the basis of Er’s better second performance.

Women’s High Jump

2016 World Indoor champion Vashti Cunningham (Las Vegas, Nevada) had a clean card through the automatic qualifying height of 1.94m/6-4.25, taking only four jumps overall. Enjoying the best meet of her career, Ty Butts (Louisville, Kentucky) snaked over an =PR 1.92m/6-3.5 on her first try and that was enough to earn her a spot in the final in her first global championship meet. Inika McPherson (Beaumont, Texas) did not advance after clearing 1.85m/6-0.75.

Men’s 5,000m

The duo of Paul Chelimo (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and Hassan Mead (Eugene, Oregon) maintained their places in the top eight through the second heat, with Chelimo leading through 3K in 8:08.94, much quicker than the first section. The American pair were fifth and sixth with one kilometer remaining and then Chelimo made an aggressive move to the front on the final circuit to come away with the win, albeit minus his left spike, in 13:20.18. Mead set a season’s best of 13:22.11 in eighth to nab a time qualifier spot in the final.

Surging and sagging pace  had a blanket over the bulk of the first heat with only two seconds between first and 14th through 3K. Ben True (West Lebanon, New Hampshire) was in the middle-back of the pack and was eighth with one kilometer to go. True dropped one spot coming to the line, taking ninth in 13:27.39 and missing out on the final.

Men’s 400m Hurdles

Quickly into the lead in the fourth heat of one of the most anticipated events of the Championships, Rai Benjamin (Los Angeles, California) cruised to an impressive win in 49.62 to set the tone in the men’s 400m hurdles. One of three men in the event to have clocked under 47 seconds, Benjamin let off the gas after the 300m mark, but stepped on it again to ensure his win. Another quick starter running in the outside lane, TJ Holmes (St. Petersburg, Florida), was near the front at the fifth hurdle in heat three and placed third in 49.50 to automatically advance. Amere Lattin (Houston, Texas) was fifth in heat one in 49.72 and claimed a berth in the semis as the fastest time qualifier.

Day 2 continues with Women’s Hammer Throw final, 10,000 m final, Men’s 100m final and more. Click here for a schedule. 


PAUL CHELIMO - The goal was about getting to the final and I think I managed the qualification well. I think it is going to be more about chasing fast time and focus. The final will be fun. Talk is cheap, action speaks louder than words.

WILL CLAYE - The track is really fast, so I got scared a bit. I almost fell. But if I fall, I fall. It does not matter. It definitely can be the sector where we can witness a world record. If it comes from Christian or from me or anyone else, we will see. I only have one goal - to win. I do not care about the result that much but the win. I get this self confidence from my training. I know how hard we have worked for this and I am confident I am able to do that.

EMMA COBURN - It felt great to get started. I felt strong, the stadium was loud and the air conditioning was good. I just want to get my preparation started to get ready for Monday. Courtney (Frerichs) and I bonded through that moment (2017 World Championships). We root for one another. We are fierce competitors but we enjoy going on the journey together. It is wonderful to have such a strong team USA in the steeplechase and as a whole. It is great to be part of it.

VASHTI CUNNINGHAM - It feels good to get more experience over the past four years and do better every single time. I am happy to be in a hot place. I live in Vegas, an extremely hot place. Qatar is a beautiful country and I'm happy to be out here when it's nice and hot. With a nice atmosphere in the stadium, it feels good to come here for the first time. All the World Championships are important. In the last few seasons, I have had injuries that I haven't really spoken about so it's really important for me to come back healthy and prove that I am one of the best.

SANDI MORRIS - There are so many good pole vaulters in the field that normally all these girls are able to jump 4.60m on the first attempt in a normal competition. I think this will be the longest final as it has never happened in the history to have 17 women in the final. I hope that the progression will be aggressive in the final - I like when in is 10-15cm up to 4.75m. I usually start at 4.50m. It is about the whole process and I hope I will cope with it well in the final.

JENNIFER SUHR - Qualification is always stressful and to have 16 on the runway. But now we have 17 in the final. I am really glad I got through. Going into the finals I am going to back up my run-up. It is my first time in Doha, I did not know what to expect. I like it very much, I thought 'I wonder if I can stay a little longer'. I feel good, my legs felt good today. What I did, I did not go home. After the Diamond League I stayed in France, in Clermont-Ferrand. So I did not have that huge adjustment. I am 37 and I cannot handle those adjustments anymore.

RAEVYN ROGERS - It feels good. I am just trying to go one round at a time. I am ready for tomorrow and everything else. The weather is good, not too harsh. It is easy to breathe out there. The track feels good. I ran here in May. I am just looking forward to a great weekend. For the semifinals, I want to execute my race plan. Each race is different so you want to make sure you get through the rounds.

DEANNA PRICE - The practice in the last two weeks has been focused on getting the job done. My coach has been great about that. Now it's time to get a workout in and get ready for tomorrow. Women's hammer throwing in the United States has grown so much. It takes 75m to make the team so we look forward to this year and 2020. I have no expectation for tomorrow. It is a different day, a different time, a different feeling. You just need to go out there, set the tone and do your job. That's what I am here to do.

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