During the first day of the Prefontaine Classic, Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands highlighted the night with an attempt at the 5,000m world record. Hassan, the double Olympic gold medalist in Tokyo, was close to the world record pace until she faded after 3,000m, which she passed in 8:30.54, 2:50/km pace. The current world record is Letesenbet Gidey’s 14:06.62. Hassan ran solo from 2,000m onwards, starting with 67- and 68-second laps but fading to 69 and 70 before finishing just shy of her personal best in 14:27.89.
The battle for second place went to Ethiopia’s Senbere Teferi in 14:42.25, ahead of her countrymate Fantu Workun in 14:42.85, both finishing 15-seconds behind Hassan. Canada’s Andrea Seccafien finished 12th, in 15:32.01.
The women’s two-mile race (3,200m) provided the action as Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi took the lead from 5,000m world record holder Gidey with just under two laps to go, and then opened up a gap. Niyonsaba crossed the finish line in 9:00.75, which set a meet record and is the second-fastest time ever recorded in the two-mile event. Only the all-time world best of 8:58.58 set by Ethiopia’s Meseret Defar in 2007 is faster.
Francine Niyonsaba shocks Letesenbet Gidey to win the two miles at the Pre Classic in Eugene.
The Burundi athlete, who had to abandon her favoured 800m event due to World Athletics' DSD rules, clocks 9:00.75 to narrowly miss Meseret Defar's 8:58.58 WR. pic.twitter.com/D5Rfni9ihp
— AW (@AthleticsWeekly) August 21, 2021
Niyonsaba, a prolific 800m and 1,500m runner who’s had to turn to longer distances due to the World Athletics DSD policies, was timed in 8:26.79 when she passed 3,000 meters, recording the world’s fastest time of the year in that event. Gidey finished second in 9:06.74.
In the International Mile, New Zealand’s Geordie Beamish stormed out of nowhere during the last 100m and sprinted for the win in 3:54.86. Beamish’s time shaved 0.06 off his personal best that he recorded two weeks ago. U.S. fan favourite Craig Engels came second in 3:55.41, waving at the crowd down the homestretch, and Canada’s Charles Philibert-Thiboutot was third in 3:55.48