Eugene, Oregon – Mo Farah returns to the Prefontaine Classic 10,000 meters, where the Olympic gold medalist will be joined by another incredibly deep field.
The Pre Classic’s 10k is once again a cornerstone of Distance Night in Eugene on Friday, May 29, where fans can enjoy world-class track & field performances for free, the fifth-straight year that title sponsor Nike has provided free admission to the thrilling first-day session. Previous editions of the Pre Classic’s free Friday night program have included world-leading marks and American records, most recently last year’s 10k by Galen Rupp, who will be running the 5k this year, also during Distance Night.
Mo Farah of Great Britain has been the world’s dominant long-distance track runner since he won the 5000 gold and 10,000 silver at the 2011 World Championships. He followed that up by sweeping the 5k and 10k at both the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships. He has not lost a 10k race in nearly 4 years!
Farah made history in winning the 2011 edition of the Pre Classic. His time of 26:46.57 was the fastest in the world since the 2008 Pre Classic. In the 2011 Pre Classic, Farah was the first of a record nine runners to break 27 minutes in the same race – no other race in the world has had more than six.
The 32-year-old is the fastest British runner in history at every championship distance from 1500 meters (3:28.81) to the marathon (2:08:21).
A record seven runners enter this year’s Pre Classic with PRs under 27 minutes – and that does not include the reigning World Cross Country champion.
Of those sub-27 runners, only Kenya’s Paul Kipngetich Tanui has run that fast at two different Pre Classics – in 2011 as a 20-year-old for 4th behind Farah and again last year for 2nd behind Rupp. Both times he set PRs, with last year’s 26:49.41 making him the fastest Kenyan in three years. Tanui was ranked No. 2 in the world last year by Track & Field News (behind Rupp). He earned bronze at the 2013 World Championships, but his highest international placing is a silver at the 2011 World Cross Country Championships.
Josphat Kipkoech Bett of Kenya was ranked No. 3 in the world last year by T&FN after a summer that included the Kenyan national title, a silver at the Commonwealth Games, and a bronze at the African Championships. He was runner-up in the 2013 Pre Classic (to legendary Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele) and third in 2011. He first came to prominence as the 2008 World Junior champion.
Kenya’s Emmanuel Kipkemei Bett is the highest-finishing returner from another famous Pre Classic 10k – in 2012, when Kenya’s 15 best were the only entrants, as the race served as the Kenyan Olympic 10k Trials. There were no pacers, no lapped runners, and no one dropped out in a fast, thrilling race. Bett finished 4th, missing the Olympics by 2 seconds. Later that summer, he ran his PR 26:51.16, the world’s fastest that year.
Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya is not only the reigning World Cross Country champion, but also the World Half-Marathon champion. He won the Junior title at the 2011 World Cross Country Championships and was Kenyan champion in the 5k in 2012, making the Olympic squad. Kamworor was only 18 when he ran his first 10k, a still-standing PR of 27:06.35 from the record-setting 2011 Pre Classic. His half-marathon best of 58:54 makes him history’s 8th fastest, and he owns a marathon best of 2:06:12.
Kenneth Kiprop Kipkemoi is a former Kenyan champion and African Championships gold medalist in the 10k, both in 2012. Like Emmanuel Bett, he was unable to make the Olympic team but finished the 2012 season with a fast PR at 26:52.65. A finalist in the 2013 World Championships 10k, he was the world’s 2nd-fastest half-marathoner last year at 59:01.
As close as Emmanuel Bett was to making Kenya’s 2012 Olympic team, Geoffrey Kirui was just another half-second behind in 5th. He was only 19 and would finish the summer with a World Junior Championships bronze and 2nd-fastest Junior time in world history at 26:55.73.
Titus Kipjumba Mbishei of Kenya was silver medalist at the 2008 World Junior Championships and 2009 World Junior cross country championships. His PR of 26:59.81 is the 7th-fastest in the field, and his 5k best of 13:00.04 is behind only Farah and Tanui in this 10k field.
Leonard Barsoton of Kenya was 5th in this year’s World Cross Country Championships and won last year’s African cross country title. In 2013 he was Junior silver medalist at the World Cross Country Championships.
North America’s best in the field is Canadian Cameron Levins, a double Olympic finalist in 2012. That was the same year Levins won a 5k/10k NCAA double for Southern Utah, matching the most recent such doubler – Galen Rupp, now a training partner of Levins. This winter, Levins pulled off an unbelievable one-day mile/2-mile double of 3:54.74 and 8:15.38, winning both events indoors at the Armory Invitational in New York.
The U.S. has two entrants. The fastest is Diego Estrada, who competed for Mexico in the 2012 Olympics. A dual citizen, he won the U.S. Half-Marathon title in January in his debut at the distance. Estrada was 3rd in the NCAA 5k for Northern Arizona in 2014.
Hassan Mead was 3rd in the 5k in last year’s U.S. championships. He collected seven Big Ten titles while at Minnesota in the 5k, 10k, and cross country. His 5k PR of 13:02.80 makes him America’s 10th-fastest ever.
The remainder of an extremely talented field:
Teklemariam Medhin of Eritrea is only 25, yet he has already earned multiple medals in the World Cross Country Championships (silver in 2010, bronze in 2013). He has also run in two Olympics (including a 7th in 2012), two World Championships (including a double finalist in 2009) Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda is looking at a return trip to Hayward Field – he was a star at last year’s World Junior Championships. As a 17-year-old, he won the 10k and added a 4th in the 5k. He has already won this year’s African Championships Junior 10k title. He is still eligible for Junior records in 2015.
William Malel Sitonik of Kenya won the 2011 World Youth Championships 3k and was bronze medalist in the 2012 World Junior Championships. Only 21, he was among the world’s top 10 fastest in 2013 and 2014.
Stephen Mokoka is a South African long-distance legend, winning national titles every year dating back to 2008. He has won four medals in the World University Games, topped by a 10k gold in 2013. He won the last two Shanghai marathons and set an 800 PR of 1:48.87 last year.
El Hassan El Abbassi of Bahrain won last year’s Asian Games and this year’s Arab Championships. He is a former Moroccan 10k champ prior to representing Bahrain.
Nguse Amlosom of Eritrea won the African Championships gold last year. He was 5th in last year’s World Half-Marathon and was a finalist in the 2013 World Championships and 2012 Olympics.
Suguru Osako is a 24-year-old from Japan who was silver medalist in last year’s Asian Games (behind El Abbassi). He won the 2011 World University Games (ahead of Mokoka).
Timothy Toroitich of Uganda was 5th in the 2013 World Cross Country Championships. He is a former steeplechaser with a best of 8:23.61.
Goitom Kifle of Eritrea is 21 and has run the last two Pre Classic 10k races, finishing 11th both times. He was the 2009 World Youth Championships bronze medalist in the 3k.
Vincent Kipsegechi Yator is a former Kenyan 5k champ. Though he has never run a track 10k, he has road times of 27:34 and 27:45 (the latter at altitude) to his credit. On the track, he has clocked 13:04.50 in the 5k as well as 8:29.07 in the steeple. He ran a half-marathon PR 59:55 earlier this year.
Zane Robertson of New Zealand won bronze at last year’s Commonwealth Games 5k and finished second in the Continental Cup 5k. Earlier this year he set a national record in the half-marathon (59:47). Last year he ran a 1500 PR of 3:34.19.
Arne Gabius has won seven German national 5k titles and earned silver in the 2012 European Championships 5k. He was this year’s fastest 5k runner indoors.
Othmane El Goumri, only 22, is a former Moroccan champ at 1500 who is making is track debut in the 10k.
Men’s 10,000 Meters Personal Best
Mo Farah (Great Britain) 26:46.57
Josphat Kipkoech Bett (Kenya) 26:48.99
Paul Kipngetich Tanui (Kenya) 26:49.41
Emmanuel Kipkemei Bett (Kenya) 26:51.16
Kenneth Kiprop Kipkemoi (Kenya) 26:52.65
Geoffrey Kirui (Kenya) 26:55.73
Titus Kipjumba Mbishei (Kenya) 26:59.81
Geoffrey Kamworor (Kenya) 27:06.35
Teklemariam Medhin (Eritrea) 27:16.69
Leonard Barsoton (Kenya) 27:20.74
William Malel Sitonik (Kenya) 27:25.56
Cameron Levins (Canada) 27:27.96
Nguse Amlosom (Eritrea) 27:28.10
Timothy Toroitich (Uganda) 27:31.07
Goitom Kifle (Eritrea) 27:32.00
Diego Estrada (USA) 27:32.90
El Hassan El Abbassi (Bahrain) 27:32.96
Suguru Osako (Japan) 27:38.31
Stephen Mokoka (South Africa) 27:40.73
Hassan Mead (USA) 27:49.43
Arne Gabius (Germany) 27:55.35
Joshua Cheptegei (Uganda) 27:56.26
Vincent Kipsegechi Yator (Kenya) None (27:34 road)
Othmane El Goumri (Morocco) None (28:44 road)
Zane Robertson (New Zealand) None (29:29 road)
Fans can follow the event lineups as all announced fields are posted at PreClassic.com. The direct link to current start/entry lists is HERE and will include updates to all announced fields.
Tickets for the 41st annual edition of the Prefontaine Classic, to be held May 29-30 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., are available now from goducks.com and from 1-800-WEBFOOT. Sponsored by NIKE continuously since 1984, the Prefontaine Classic will be shown live to an international audience and by NBC Sports from 1:30 till 3:00 p.m. PT on Saturday, May 30.
The Prefontaine Classic is the longest-running outdoor invitational track & field meet in America and is part of the elite IAAF Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually. The Pre Classic’s results score has rated No. 1 or No. 2 in the world in each of the last four years by All-Athletics.com, the official data partner of the IAAF Diamond League.