With the Olympics just a few months away, the outdoor racing season is in full force, and running fans around the world were treated to a variety of events this past weekend. Top athletes competed across the globe, with the biggest results coming at the Miramar Invitational track meet in Florida and marathons in Italy and Japan. The season is heating up, and we’re extremely eager to see how the build to the Tokyo Games unfolds. For the latest instalment in that lead-up, here is yet another weekend recap.
Sha’Carri Richardson’s 100m dash
American Sha’Carri Richardson stole the show at the Miramar Invitational on Saturday, storming to the win in the women’s 100m in 10.72 seconds. This beat her previous PB of 10.75 seconds, and it moves her up to sixth all-time in the world rankings. Richardson now sits behind Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who are tied for fourth-best ever at 10.70 seconds.
Richardson was the 2019 NCAA champion in the outdoor 100m, and she is looking to compete in her first Olympics this summer. Her 10.72 result smashed the Olympic standard of 11.15, and it now not only looks like she will be in Tokyo, but that she will be a favourite for the win.
Canadian Aaron Brown also competed at the Miramar Invitational, racing to a fifth-place finish in the 100m in 10.08 seconds. Americans Kyree King and Justin Gatlin took the top two spots in the men’s 100m, both breaking 10 seconds. King won in 9.97 and Gatlin was just behind him in 9.98.
For full results from the Florida event, click here.
Mariko Yugeta breaks another world record
For the second time in 2021, Japan’s Mariko Yugeta broke her own W60 marathon world record. Yugeta, who is 62 years old, ran an amazing 2:52:01 at the Itabashi Trial Marathon in Tokyo on Saturday, beating her previous best (which she ran in Osaka in January) by 12 seconds. Yugeta has had a phenomenal season, and in each of her three marathons so far, she has beaten her PB from 2019, which she failed to better in 2020. That was a W60 world record of 2:56:54, and she has bettered that multiple times this year, running 2:52:13 in January, 2:54:31 in March and finally 2:52:01 on Saturday.
Women's 60+ WR holder Mariko Yugeta bettered own record with 2:52:01 yesterday at Itabashi Trial Marathon in Tokyo. pic.twitter.com/fLKdN8GBPm
— Japan Running News (@JRNHeadlines) April 11, 2021
On Sunday, 80 elite runners lined up in Siena, Italy, to race the Xiamen Marathon. Canada’s Reid Coolsaet competed, and while he had a good opening half to the race (he passed through in 1:05:16), he couldn’t hold on to Olympic standard pace, and he faded to a 2:16:38 finish. In the women’s race, South Africa’s Gerda Steyn had the marathon of her life, running 2:25:28.
Steyn’s result smashed her PB, which stood at 2:26:51 heading into the race, and also shattered the South African marathon record of 2:26:35. Steyn will be headed to Tokyo to make her first appearance at the Olympics, and she has the potential to run to a top-10 result at the Games.
The overall wins went to a pair of Kenyans: Eric Kiptanui and Angela Tanui. Both won their races in PBs, with Kiptanui taking the men’s win in 2:05:47 and Tanui running 2:20:08, which was also an Italian all-comers marathon record.
All-time great NCAA performances
In NCAA news, Alabama’s Eliud Kipsang ran one of the fastest 1,500m times in collegiate history, posting a 3:36.00 at a meet in Tuscaloosa on Friday. The 24-year-old Kenyan crushed the rest of the field, winning the race by a whopping 10 seconds. The result was a six-second PB, it bettered the Alabama school record of 3:38.74 by close to three full seconds and it puts Kipsang at seventh all-time in NCAA history.
At a meet in Goergia, Estonia’s Karel Tilga (who competes for the University of Georgia) posted the second-best decathlon score in NCAA history, winning the event with 8,484 points. Tilga is coming off a win in the heptathlon at the NCAA Indoor Championships, where he posted a score of 6,264 points, which is also second all-time in the NCAA. His result from the weekend is a world-leading score for 2021.