The past weekend featured some of the most high-stakes racing in all of 2021, with Olympic berths on the line for many athletes. Americans competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., producing exciting results, and Kenyans raced their own trials in Nairobi. At these races and others, there were big runs and surprising upsets, making for a thrilling weekend of track action. Here’s what you might’ve missed over the past couple of days in the world of running.
The men’s 10,000m was the first big race of the U.S. Trials, and it got the week-long event rolling after an exciting run. Woody Kincaid and his Bowerman Track Club teammate Grant Fisher took the top two spots, crossing the line in 27:53.62 and 27:54.29. They were followed by Joe Klecker, who finished in third in 27:54.90. The Tokyo Games will be the Olympic debut for each of these three men.
In the women’s 100m, Sha’Carri Richardson stormed to an impressive win, also booking her first trip to the Olympics. In the semi-finals, she ran the fastest 100m of her career with a 10.64 showing (although it was wind-aided and doesn’t count as an official PB). She followed that up with a 10.86-second final, winning the race and flying to an Olympic berth.
In the women’s 400m, Allyson Felix ran to a second-place finish in a season best of 50.02 seconds to book a spot in what will be her fifth Olympic Games. Quanera Hayes won the 400m in 49.78. The men’s 100m also saw some exciting results, with Trayvon Bromell taking the win in the final in 9.80 seconds. Second went to Ronnie Baker, who ran a PB of 9.85, and Fred Kerley finish in 9.86 (also a PB) to place third.
For full results from the U.S. Olympic Trials and to follow along with the rest of the events, click here.
The big surprise of the weekend at the Kenyan Olympic Trials came in the men’s 1,500m, which saw reigning world champion Timothy Cheruiyot finish in a shocking fourth place. Charles Simotwo won the race in 3:33.02, Kamar Etyang crossed the line in second in 3:33.12 and Abel Kipsang rounded out the podium in 3:34.36. Cheruiyot finished just behind Kipsang, running 3:34.62.
Although his PB is much quicker than each of his three competitors (his personal best is 3:28.41, but none of the other three have run under 3:32), Cheruiyot did not make the Kenyan team for the 1,500m. After the race on Saturday, Athletics Kenya tweeted that its three-man team would consist of Simotwo, Etyang and Kipsang, each of whom will be competing in the Olympics for the first time. (Cheruiyot was also racing to qualify for his first Olympic team.)
There was also a shock in the women’s 5,000m race, as Kenyan national record holder and reigning world champion Hellen Obiri lost. Unlike Cheruiyot, though, she managed to salvage a spot on the Olympic squad, finishing in second place. Lilian Kasait took the win in 14:52.18, and Obiri was just behind her in 14:52.51.
Congratulations ￼ Geoffrey KAMWOROR wins 10,000m finals, timing 27: 01.06. Rodgers Kwemoi finished second. pic.twitter.com/BhMhWcQ6Ox
— Athletics Kenya (@athletics_kenya) June 18, 2021
In the men’s 10,000m, Geoffrey Kamworor qualified for his second appearance at the Olympics, taking the win in 27:01.06. Rodgers Kwemoi finished in second, running 27:05.51 and booking a ticket to his first Olympics. Pre-race favourite Rhonex Kipruto, the 10K world record holder (he has a road PB of 26:24), failed to finish the 10,000m on Friday, missing his chance to qualify for Tokyo.
At a meet in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, Evan Dunfee ran a Canadian 5,000m race walking record with a remarkable time of 18:39.08. This beat the previous national best by six seconds, and it marks his second Canadian record in as many weeks after lowering the 10,000m race walking bar on June 12 with an amazing time of 38:39.72. Dunfee will represent Canada in Tokyo in the 50K race walk, an event in which he has a fourth-place Olympic result from 2016 and a bronze medal from the 2019 world championships.
In Toronto, also on Friday, Paralympic hopefuls Marissa Papaconstantinou and Amanda Rummery were in action, and both women broke national para athletics records in their respective events and classifications. Papaconstantinou ran 27.49 seconds to lower her own Canadian T64 200m record. Rummery also beat her own national best, posting a 1:00.26 in the 400m to set a new T46 Canadian record.