USATF Men’s 400H — Another Day At The Office

Rai Benjamin looked unstressed in producing a world-leading 47.04. (KEVIN MORRIS)

IF HE IS STILL suffering any ill effects from his reportedly severe bout of COVID, Rai Benjamin didn’t show it. The second-fastest man in history ran a masterful flight of hurdles and showed he’s ready for a world title, especially if the fastest man in history (Karsten Warholm, of course) is still injured.

The 24-year-old Benjamin charged hard out of the blocks in lane 7, nearly making up the stagger on CJ Allen by the second hurdle.

But then he tapped the brakes hard. His run from hurdles 2 through 5 was the slowest of the entire field and he dropped from 1st to 6th.

His caution paid off. As other runners fought through the curve, he poured on the speed and quickly got back into 2nd. He caught Khallifah Rosser just before the final hurdle and closed fastest for a 47.04 victory, making the thirteenth-fastest time in history look like just another day at the office.

Trevor Bassitt closed almost as quickly, overtaking Rosser for silver in a PR 47.47. Rosser also got a lifetime best at 47.65 to claim the final team USA spot.

“I’m so happy this is over,” a smiling Benjamin said. “It’s been a long weekend, but I feel happy to be back on the team, happy to be going to Worlds again, potentially to win this time and then run on this 4×4, fingers crossed.”

He surely must be hungry for that win. He’d be known as the greatest long hurdler in history if it weren’t for Warholm being even more superhuman, with the Norwegian edging him in Doha in ’19 and Tokyo in ’21.

Benjamin said the hardest part of the weekend was, “Just making it through mentally, knowing I haven’t run in a couple of weeks. Not really having been practicing as much either. Physically I knew I would be fine, it was just all about getting out there and putting a race together. It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It’s been a roller coaster.”

The strategy next month is just, “Run fast and win. That’s it. And win on this 4×4.”

Silver medalist Bassitt, who moved to No. 10 on the all-time U.S. list, was “beyond pumped, I’m ecstatic.

“I know I made the indoor world team and got 2nd in the open 400 indoors, but I also know how a lot of track people view it, they’re like, ‘Oh it’s indoors, the big thing is the outdoor team.’ So I really wanted to go out there and prove to people it wasn’t a fluke.”


MEN’S 400H RESULTS

FINAL (June 26)

1. Rai Benjamin (Nik) 47.04 (WL, AL) (x, 13 W; x, 6 A);

2. Trevor Bassitt (unat) 47.47 PR (10, x A);

3. Khallifah Rosser (Nik) 47.65 PR (13, x A);

4. CJ Allen (unat) 48.17 PR;

5. Quincy Hall (adi) 48.33;

6. Amere Lattin (adi) 48.53 PR;

7. Aldrich Bailey (unat) 49.43;

8. Quincy Downing (Tracksm) 50.09.

HEATS (June 24)

I–1. Benjamin 48.41; 2. Bassitt 49.07; 3. Isaiah Levingston (Ok) 50.36; 4. William Spencer (SC) 50.56; 5. Wolf Mahler (Tracksm) 52.58; 6. TJ Holmes (unat) 53.05; 7. Nate Bruno (AthLab) 57.58.

II–1. Rosser 50.00; 2. Allen 50.03; 3. James Smith (TxAM) 50.56; 4. Drake Schneider (MtSt) 51.60; 5. Justin Young (Army) 52.03; 6. Malcum Tatum (CPTC) 52.17; 7. Jameson Woodell (Rut) 54.11.

III–1. Hall 49.92; 2. Lattin 50.00; 3. Downing 50.27; 4. Quivell Jordan-Bacot (Hous) 50.47; 5. Julien Gillum (Ia) 52.76; 6. Aaron McCoy (Co) 52.90.

IV–1. David Kendziera (unat) 50.75; 2. Bailey 51.21; 3. Christopher Robinson (SPl) 51.78; 4. Cass Elliott (Wa) 51.83; 5. Austin Lietz (unat) 53.19;… dnf—Jayson Baldridge (Bay).

SEMIS (June 25)

I–1. Benjamin 47.93; 2. Bassitt 48.38 PR; 3. Downing 48.86; 4. Bailey 49.35; 5. Kendziera 49.58; 6. Elliott 50.68; 7. Jordan-Bacot 50.83; 8. Robinson 50.96.

II–1. Rosser 48.34; 2. Hall 48.43; 3. Allen 48.75; 4. Lattin 49.20; 5. Smith 49.46; 6. Levingston 51.15; 7. Spencer 51.99; 8. Schneider 52.30.

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