EUGENE – The 2011 Nike Prefontaine Classic got underway Friday night with three races underneath the lights of Hayward Field. “Distance Night in Eugene” made its debut, complete with world records, meet records and a European record. And no race featured more action than the men’s 10,000m.
Farah Grabs European Record
In the 10,000m, Mohammed Farah of Great Britain led throughout the late stages of the race and dashed to the finish line with a European and meet record. The Portland-based athlete finished in 26:46.57 to lead nine men under the 27:00 mark. Imane Merga (26:48.35) of Ethiopia and Josphat Kipkoech (26:48.99) of Kenya followed with personal bests. American Galen Rupp did not compete and American record holder Chris Solinsky dropped out seven laps into the race.
Kenya Sweeps Women’s 5,000m
Kenya swept the field in the women’s 5,000m, claiming the top five spots, led by Vivian Cheruiyot’s meet-record winning time of 14:34.07. Linet Masai entered tonight’s race with the fastest time of 2011, and grabbed a second-place finish with a mark of 14:35.44. Mercy Cherono took third place with a personal best of 14:37.01. The USA’s Shalane Flanagan ran much of the race under American-record pace and finished in 14:49.68, 5 seconds off the record, to place sixth. Kara Goucher was ninth in 15:11.47.
World Records Fall
Moses Mosop of Kenya kicked off the night by shattering two world records while running the 30,000m. His first record came at the 25km split, which he passed in 1:12:25.4. The previous record of 1:13:55.8 was set in 1981 by Toshihiko Seko of Japan. In the 30,000m, Mosop logged a 1:26:47.4, which eclipsed Seko’s record of 1:29:18.8. Abel Kirui of Kenya was a distant second in 1:30:00.1.