After months of no racing due to COVID-19, the running world is slowly edging back to some form of normalcy, and although there are still no official or mass events, different clubs and teams have been able to hold races. Over the weekend, running fans were treated to several elite races, including a 1,500m time trial from 800m world champion Donavan Brazier and some of the Oregon Track Club (OTC) Elite crew, 100m racing from Canadians Andre De Grasse and Aaron Brown and a virtual 5K showdown between 2016 Olympian Jared Ward and 2020 Olympic qualifier Jake Riley. Here’s how the weekend of racing played out.
Sprints from De Grasse and Miller-Uibo
The big sprinting results from the weekend came on Saturday from a meet in Clermont, Fla. Shaunae Miller-Uibo, the Bahamian 400m Olympic champion, ran a 200m-400m double, winning both. At noon, she ran a 50.52 in the 400m, more than one second ahead of second place. Just a few hours later, she lined up for the 200m and ran 22.61 to win by half a second.
In the men’s 100m prelims, 200m world champion Noah Lyles of the U.S. was joined by compatriot Justin Gatlin, and the pair went first and second, posting wind-aided times of 9.93 and 9.99, respectively. Both decided to skip the final, which left the door open for De Grasse and Brown, who finished second and third behind American Kenny Bednarek. De Grasse ran 10.17 with Brown just behind him in 10.20.
Brazier’s easy 1,500m
In Oregon, Brazier ran the 1,500m in a meet dubbed The Big Friendly between the OTC Elite and the Nike-funded training group coached by Pete Julian. Brazier came through 1,100m in 2:43.73 at the back of a four-man pack. With about 300m to go, he took off and clocked a 52-second final lap and 3:35.85 time overall. His previous PB at the distance was 3:37.18, and he made the two-second improvement look easy.
The 5K race between Ward and Riley may not have been in person, but they ran at the same time and it was broadcast live on Instagram, so it made for exciting viewing. The pair’s last race against one another came in February at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, where Riley qualified for the Tokyo Games after a second-place finish. Ward, who finished sixth in the marathon at the Rio Olympics, came in 27th place at the trials, far behind Riley and the other qualifiers.
On Saturday, Ward got his revenge (although he would certainly trade a virtual 5K win for a spot on the Olympic team), running a 14:09 and beating Riley, who ran 14:55, by a huge gap. After the race, Riley posted on Instagram, saying, “turns out going through the motions for a couple months doesn’t get you real sharp.”
There’s more racing to come this week, with the Inspiration Games set for July 9, an event which will feature athletes competing from all around the world.