© Copyright – 2023 – Athletics Illustrated

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift. A race is a work of art that people can look at and be affected in as many ways as they’re capable of understanding. Some people create with words, or with music, or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run.”
— Steve Prefontaine

The 2023 14-meet Diamond League series is complete. The season was capped by some highly entertaining and unexpected results on Saturday and Sunday, September 16 and 17 in Eugene, Oregon at Hayward Field during the Prefontaine Classic. It was the first time that the two-day league finalé was held in North America.

Day 1 report

Faith Kipyegon

There was never any doubt that Kenyan Faith Kipyegon, the world record holder in the 1500-metre event was going to win. The question wasn’t so much who else would podium but would she approach her own world record of 3:49.11? She ran that 3:49.11 in Firenze, Italy in June this year. She is having an all-time great season. In Budapest at the world championships, she won gold in both the 1500m and 5000m.

Kipyegon put herself on the heels of the pacer in front of the rest of the field, waited through two 62-second laps, then lit the track up, gapping the field by five seconds by the time it was all over. She broke the tape in 3:50.72 — a new meet record. Finishing in second place was Diribe Welteji of Ethiopia who clocked a new personal best of 3:53.93. Taking third was Laura Muira from Great Britain with a season-best time of 3:55.16.

Linden Hall set an Oceania and Australian record of 3:56.92. Nine of the 13 finishers ran sub-4:00.


1KIPYEGON FaithKEN3:50.72 MR
2WELTEJI DiribeETH3:53.93 PB
3MUIR LauraGBR3:55.16 SB
4HAILU FreweyniETH3:55.68 PB
5HALL LindenAUS3:56.92 AR PB
6HAYLOM BirkeETH3:56.98
7MESHESHA HirutETH3:57.53
8HULL JessicaAUS3:57.57
10McGEE Cory AnnUSA4:01.28
11MAGEEAN CiaraIRL4:03.09
12JOHNSON SinclaireUSA4:03.21
13MESELE WorkneshETH4:09.34
800m – 2:05.0 min.
1200m 3:07.5 min.

Men’s 100-metre sprint

Also on Day 1, Noah Lyles, who has made much news of late due to his triple gold performance during the Budapest World Athletics Championships as well as his commentary on the NBA not being the world championships, did not win. He was not planning to run Eugene, in fact, during a press conference, he joked, “Where is Eugene?”

Lyles got off fast as the gun, which, if he has any weak points, might be his start. But fellow American Christian Coleman got off to a better start and maintained the lead through the tape to tie Lyles’ world lead of 9.83. Lyles ran 9.85. Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala clocked 9.85 for third. Without a photo finish, it appeared that at least four breasted the tape at the same time.


1COLEMAN ChristianUSA9.83 =WL
2LYLES NoahUSA9.85
3OMANYALA FerdinandKEN9.85
4THOMPSON KishaneJAM9.87
6BLAKE YohanJAM10.08
7HARTMANN JoshuaGER10.30
8TEBOGO LetsileBOT10.61

Women’s 100-metre sprint

Sha’Carri Richardson came in as one of two favourites. It was going to be either her or Jamaican Shericka Jackson. Richardson is the Budapest World champion having clocked 10.65 seconds to take gold. She was part of the American 4 x 100-metre relay gold medal-winning team and earned bronze in the 200m. This year has been a coming-out party for the gregarious 23-year-old Dallas, Texas native.

The 29-year-old Jackson took gold in Budapest over the 200m in the time of 21.41.

Jackson won with a big start, a bigger middle-section and a strong finish in the time of 10.70 clocking. Richardson finished fourth in 10.80. Perhaps she perfectly timed her season peak for Budapest and theoretically has come down the other side of it. In-between the two were Marie-Josée Ta Lou from the Ivory Coast with a season-best of 10.75 and finishing in third was Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah also with a season-best of 10.79.


1JACKSON SherickaJAM10.70
2TA LOU Marie-JoséeCIV10.75 =SB
5TERRY TwanishaUSA10.83 SB
6MORRISON NatashaJAM10.85 PB
9HOBBS ZoeNZL11.18

Men’s world record attempt in the mile

Jakob Ingebrigtsen has been beatable. However, he has also been unbeatable. It all depends on the day. As the saying goes, you can’t win them all. However, champions expect to win each time they race. Ingebrigtsen has been beaten in consecutive world championships in the metric mile, the 1500m event. Jake Wightman and Josh Kerr, both of Great Britain have bettered the Norwegian in the 1500m event. Now there is an American breathing down his neck.

Yared Nuguse was looking to break the American record that was held by Alan Webb at 3:46.91 since way back in 2007.

During the pre-meet press conference, Ingebrigtsen told Nuguse, “Just stick to me as long as you can and you’ll get yourself 3:46.”

When the gun went, Ingebrigtsen went to the front behind pacemaker Erik Sowinski, and so did Nuguse. Once Sowinki pealed off, Ingebrigtsen was within striking distance in pace, but off by less than a second. He was champing at the bit to pass the pacer. Ingebrigtsen and Nuguse dropped the hammer and left the rest of the field behind. Nuguse did stay with Ingebrigtsen the entire time and almost appeared capable of catching him, but ended up in second with a big new American record time of 3:43.97. Ingebrigsten ran the third-fastest mile time in history at 3:43.73. It is a European, Diamond League, meet and personal record and the 2023 world-leading time.

Taking third was George Mills of Great Britain in 3:47.65 in a new personal best time. All 13 finishers ran either a personal or season-best time. Reynold Kipkorir Cheruiyot clocked a world record in the U20 category in 3:48.06 while finishing in fifth place. Spain’s Mario Garcia improved the national record to 3:47.65 for fourth. Azeddine Habz set a new French record in 3:48.64 finishing in eighth position. Niels Laros improved the Dutch national record finishing ninth in 3:48.93.


2NUGUSE YaredUSA3:43.97 Official AR PB
3MILLS GeorgeGBR3:47.65 Official PB
4GARCÍA MarioESP3:47.69 Official NR PB
5CHERUIYOT Reynold KipkorirKEN3:48.06 Official WU20R
6HOCKER ColeUSA3:48.08 Official PB
7NORDÅS Narve GiljeNOR3:48.24 Official PB
8HABZ AzeddineFRA3:48.64 Official NR PB
9LAROS NielsNED3:48.93 Official NR SB
10McSWEYN StewartAUS3:49.32 Official SB
11TANNER SamuelNZL3:49.51 Official PB
12GILES ElliotGBR3:51.63 Official PB
13KIPSANG AbelKEN3:53.50 Official SB
400m – 55.9 sec.
800m – 1:51.8 min.
1200m – 2:46.3

Day 2 report

Men’s 800-metre

Marco Arop from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada won the 2023 Budapest World Athletics Championships in August. On September 2nd, he improved his own national record in Xiamen, China clocking a 1:43.24 finish for second place behind Kenyan Emmanuel Wanyonyi.

In Eugene, Arop was looking to win the Diamond League championship but was again up against Wanyonyi. The two finished 1-2, just as they did in China, in the same order, with Arop again improving the national record with a stunning 1:42.85 performance. Wanyonyi ran a meet record, world-leading time and a new personal best in 1:42.80. Taking third was Djamel Sedjati of Algeria in 1:43.06, also a new pb.

Arop’s winning formula in Budapest was to lay back for the first 400m, then ramp up the effort over the second lap and get to the front late, rather than be in the front earlier and get outkicked. Sunday, he sat on the pacer and was outkicked in the end. He was nearly beaten by Sedjati, who started his final kick, perhaps two metres too early. It was a tremendous run for all three, but Arop will want that one back.


1WANYONYI EmmanuelKEN1:42.80 MR WL PB
2AROP MarcoCAN1:42.85 NR PB
3SEDJATI DjamelALG1:43.06 PB
4MEZIANE YanisFRA1:43.94 =PB
5ROWDEN DanielGBR1:44.21
6HOPPEL BryceUSA1:44.63
7ROBERT BenjaminFRA1:45.43
8ORDÓÑEZ SaúlESP1:45.90
9KINYAMAL WyclifeKEN1:46.33
400m – 49.5 sec.

Andre De Grasse

Andre De Grasse stunned the field, the announcers and the stadium spectators with a dominating win. Opposite of Sha’Carri Richardson and Lyles who perhaps peaked for Budapest, De Grasse appeared to be stimulated by finishing sixth in Budapest. He was clearly better than the entire field, especially over the final 40m. He clocked a 19.79 performance over the 200m sprint race.

American Kenneth Bednarek had a brilliant start and during the first 100m appeared to be running away with the win, but, trademark-like De Grasse continued at speed and passed three athletes, then dropped them further for the win. Bednarek took second in 19.95, while fellow American Erryon Knighton clocked a 19.97 for third. It was a season-best performance for De Grasse who suddenly looked like his Olympic, gold-winning self again.

The 28-year-old Canadian’s personal best is the national record at 19.62. The fastest event — the Diamond League — is all over for the season. It would behoove De Grasse to find another meet to see if he can approach that standard again — his form was near impeccable.


1De GRASSE AndreCAN19.76 SB
2BEDNAREK KennethUSA19.95
3KNIGHTON ErriyonUSA19.97
4OGANDO AlexanderDOM20.08
5KING KyreeUSA20.16
6BROWN AaronCAN20.23

Women’s world record in the 5000m

During the long 2023 outdoor track season, the great Faith Kipyegon shifted the paradigm as to what is possible in the 5000m event. Not quite flirting with the idea that a woman, probably her, will soon one day break the 14-minute barrier in the 12.5-lap race. It hasn’t happened yet, but during Day 2, the barrier was flirted with, to be sure. It was June in Paris when Kipyegon stretched our imaginations with a 14:05.20 performance.

Something more magical happened in Eugene when Gudaf Tsegay from Ethiopia smashed Kipyegon’s world record in stunning fashion. She clocked a ridiculous 14:00.21 performance. Kenyan Beatrice Chebet, who sat on Tsegay for the entire race, began to drop her gaze toward the track after 10 minutes had passed, and the space between the two, which was less than a metre to that point, began to grow.

Chebet hung on as best as possible and nearly bettered Kipyegon’s time too. She recorded a 14:05.92 personal best. Third was Ejgayehu Taye of Ethiopia in 14:21.52.

Pacers Elise Cranny and Sinclaire Johnson provided metronomic 67-second per lap pacing until they could no longer. Ethiopian Birke Haylom, not registered as a pacer, did sacrifice her race to help lead after Cranny dropped out after 3000m, which she cleared in 8:26.25. Her personal best going in was 8:29.95.

It may have been the race of the year, which is a lot considering the Budapest World Athletics Championships in August.


1TSEGAY GudafETH14:00.21 WR
2CHEBET BeatriceKEN14:05.92 PB
3TAYE EjgayehuETH14:21.52
4RENGERUK Lilian KasaitKEN14:40.81
5HAILU LemlemETH14:42.29
6TANAKA NozomiJPN14:42.38
7MONSON AliciaUSA14:45.98
1000m – 2:48.75 min.
3000m – 8:26.25 min.
1000m – 2:48.75 min. 
3000m – 8:26.25 min.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen surprised all by barely winning the 3000m. It was so close, that a photo finish and computer analysis were required. The plan going in was to go after Daniel Komen’s world record. It didn’t happen, but it was close.

Ingebrigtsen, who had raced the day earlier, relaxed after the pacers dropped off, the field behind him gathered for a lap with 800m to go; ready to strike. However, at the bell, Ingebrigtsen wound up the pace and began to create a gap on Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia. However, Kejelcha wasn’t going away and with 200m to go, he challenged the Norwegian and was dropped and then with 50m to go, he came up on Ingebrigtsen again and nearly passed. With a last second glance, Ingebrigtsen checked to see if he was even or ahead — even he didn’t know. They finished in 7:23.63 and 7:23.64, respectively. American Grant Fisher, who sat in the pack for most of the race, took bronze in 7:25.47 for a North American record. Ingebrigtsen’s run is the European record. Kejelcha ran a new Ethiopian record.

Komen’s world record remains at 7:20.67 from 1996 in Rieti.


3FISHER GrantUSA7:25.47 AR PB
4BEKELE Telahun HaileETH7:25.48 PB
5BAREGA SelemonETH7:26.28 PB
6AREGAWI BerihuETH7:28.38
8McSWEYN StewartAUS7:31.14 SB
9FAY BrianIRL7:54.73
1K – 2:27.5 min
 2K – 4:55 min
3K – 2:25.67

Moraa, Mu and Hodgkinson put on a clinic

The anticipation leading up to the 800m in Eugene must have been stressful for every single competitor. The 800m, possibly the most difficult race and most competitive in athletics, is nearly even in its required effort at 51/49 per cent aerobic versus anaerobic.

It’s the only distance where athletes want a positive split, most of the time. During the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games final, Mu and Hodgkinson, who earned gold and silver, ran the very rare negative split efforts. They have duelled, with Mu taking the upper hand in Tokyo, then again at the 2022 Eugene World Athletics Championships. During the 2023 Budapest World Athletics Championships, neither American Mu nor Brit Hodgkinson would win. Turns out it was Kenyan Mary Moraa who had finished third in Eugene in 2022 would win. The order was Moraa, Hodgkinson and shockingly Mu.

“When my time on Earth is gone, and my activities here are past, I want them to bury me upside down, and my critics can kiss my ass.”
— Bobby Knight

Mu has been under great stress related to her move to Los Angeles and to a new coach in Bobby Kersee. She has also been under the microscope due to her saying in interviews that she would prefer to model than race. She thinks first of modelling, not athletics. Additionally, finishing third in Budapest did not help matters. The weight of the US was on her shoulders. Furthermore, Kersee has announced her to be in and out of meets leading up only to apparently change his mind, later.

In two years, Hodgkinson may have finished in second place more than any other 800m runner in history. Second in Tokyo, second in Eugene, second in Budapest and second in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. In all fairness, she did win the 2023 Istanbul European Indoor Championships as well as the 2022 Munich European Athletics Championships. So, on Sunday, who would it be?

No one wanted to lead. Hodgkinson found herself in first, behind the pacer. The race appeared slow, but was not as the field passed through 400m in the time of 55.90. Then the race was on.

Hodgkinson held the inside lane while a foursome of Mu, Moraa and Jamaican Natoya Goule-Topping separated themselves from the other half of the field. With 120m remaining, Moraa drifted off the back of the four, perhaps having peaked already in Budapest. It was over for her. Mu inched past Hodgkinson, who didn’t have a full answer, however, it was close and she ran to a new personal best. As did Mu and Goule-Toppin. The three clocked in at 1:54.97, 1:55.19 and 1:55.96, respectively — all national records.

Mu’s performance was also a meet record and world-leading time for 2023. Moraa ran to a 1:57.42 finish.

Mu appeared to be very happy to have won, dancing and celebrating. It appears that she does enjoy competing, perhaps the win will rekindle her love of athletics.


1MU AthingUSA1:54.97 NR MR WL PB
4MORAA MaryKEN1:57.42
5NAKAAYI HalimahUGA1:58.34
6BISSET CatrionaAUS1:58.35
7LAMOTE RénelleFRA1:58.51
9REEKIE JemmaGBR2:00.34
400m – 55.0 sec.

Full results from the meet including para and field events images and stories