Galen Rupp has already set two national records this year, and with good conditions his own US 10,000m best of 26:48.00 could be in jeopardy at the Prefontaine Classic, the third of the 2014 IAAF Diamond League meetings, on Friday night (30).
The landmark 40th Pre Classic will be held on 30-31 May at historic Hayward Field but the men’s 10,000m is the final event of the Friday night session known as Distance Night in Eugene.
Rupp, a 27-year-old native from nearby Portland, has asked for a fast pace on a track where he has won at a high school, collegiate, and professional level.
He set the current US record in 2011, and earned a silver medal over the distance at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In January, he ran away from the fields over shorter distances to set US indoor records at two miles (8:07.41) and 5000m (13:01.26).
Rupp will be racing against a world-class field that includes Kenya’s 23-year-old Paul Tanui, the bronze medallist from last year’s IAAF World Championships in Moscow.
Tanui also won a silver medal at the 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships and set his best of 26:50.63 over 25 laps of the track at the 2011 Pre Classic.
Bedan Karoki is another 23-year-old Kenyan with great Pre Classic memories. He finished third in the 10,000m at this meeting in 2012, which served as the Kenyan Olympic Trials that year. He went on to finish fifth in London and sixth at Moscow 2013.
Karoki returns to the track after two impressive half marathon wins on the roads in recent months.
Kenneth Kipkemoi and Emmanuel Bett are two more world-class Kenyans in the field.
Kipkemoi, 29, is a sub-27-minute runner who made the Moscow 2013 final after winning at the 2012 African Championships, while Bett, also 29, won at the 2012 IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels in what remains his personal best of 26:51.16 and was the fastest man in the world over the distance that year.
A slew of young talent is led by Ethiopia’s world junior champion Yigrem Demelash, who is just 20. Eritrea’s Goitom Kifle, seventh at last year’s World Cross Country Championships, is the same age and you can also add into the mix 19-year-old Birhan Nebebew, from Ethiopia, who was fifth in last year’s Pre Classic.
Organisers for the IAAF
2014 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 9 May
Shanghai, CHN – 18 May
Eugene, USA – 31 May
Rome, ITA – 5 Jun
Oslo, NOR – 11 Jun
New York, USA – 14 Jun
Lausanne, SUI – 3 Jul
Paris, FRA – 5 Jul
Glasgow, GBR – 11-12 Jul
Monaco, MON – 18 Jul
Stockholm, SWE – 21 Aug
Birmingham, GBR – 24 Aug
Zurich, SUI – 28 Aug
Brussels, BEL – 5 Sep