Pre/DL Final Day 1 — Oh, What A Mile!

The Bowerman Mile “had nothing to do with the World Record,” said Jakob Ingebrigtsen. “I set the lights for my own liking, and it just happened to be a 10th of a second faster than the World Record.” Nonetheless, chaser Yared Nuguse shattered the AR. (VICTOR SAILER/PHOTO RUN)

EUGENE, OREGON, September 16 — A pair of American Records late in an action-packed session that began on the track with a No. 4 all-time clocking in the men’s 400H highlighted Day 1 of the annual Prefontaine Classic — this year serving as the Diamond League Final.

The Pre meet’s iconic Bowerman Mile, ringing down the proceedings as Day 1’s final event, quickly — blindingly so in pace terms — turned into a dual between brash Olympic 1500 champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Yared Nuguse, the unassuming American the Norwegian had suggested should stick close if he had record aspirations.

That’s what Nuguse did to wrap his first season of DL circuit racing. He stuck 0.2, a step behind Ingebrigtsen’s torrid tempo, virtually throughout. In the final 200, he looked to have a shot at passing, but twice No. 1 Ranker at 1500 Ingebrigtsen got to the line first. With astounding numbers on the clock.

Ingebrigtsen’s 3:43.73 — though Hicham El Guerrouj’s 24-year-old 3:43.13 World Record lived to see more days — rewrote the all-time list’s No. 3 mark.

Nuguse at 3:43.97 demolished Alan Webb’s 3:46.91 American Record set in ’07 and pushed Noureddine Morceli’s 3:44.93 — a World Record when the Algerian ran it in ’93 — back to No. 5 on the all-time list. Nuguse’s inspired miling reduced his PR from the 3:47.38 indoor AR he ran in February at the start of his remarkable novice campaign on the international circuit.

Ingebrigtsen — who’ll turn 23 this week and has unabashedly declared his intent to establish himself as the greatest middle distance runner of all-time (though he missed on attempts to capture global 1500 titles this year and last) — and 24-year-old On AC miler Nuguse made for a characteristic study in personality contrasts with their post-race comments.

While the Norwegian complimented Nuguse on his time, he half-jokingly cracked, “There’s too much disrespect in this sport. Nobody’s thanking the main pacer.”

Acknowledging the contribution of primary rabbit Erik Sowinski, Ingebrigtsen also mentioned that midday scheduling for the race made it difficult in the bright sunlight to see the Wavelight pace guide for the tempo he had requested.

“I wanted to have this race to be a time trial against the clock to see what I’m capable of in the mile. I don’t run the distance too often. So it’s all about trying to get a good time when I get a chance.”

Nuguse, when asked how he would have responded a year ago to the suggestion he’d run 3:43 this season, said, “I would said you’re crazy. I think I have this like constant, at least a little bit, of self-doubt at all times [laughs]. And so I have goals that I feel are achievable but then I get to a certain time it’s like, ‘Nah, we’re not gonna do that yet.’

“Like, I always think it’ll come later or something and there’ll always be something coming way sooner than I think. So that’s basically been this entire year and I’ve been really, really happy with it because of that.”

See box for Jeff Hollobaugh’s account of the race.

“My confidence is kind of back and my far throws are back,” said Chase Ealey. More than just back. Her big throw was AR far. (VICTOR SAILER/PHOTO RUN)

Ealey AR Takes Shot Crown

A half-hour or so earlier, Chase Ealey had exploded to an AR in the women’s shot. The 2-time world champion was down to Canada’s Sarah Mitton and Maggie Ewen when she stepped into the ring in round 2. She straight away ended that state of affairs.

Ealey punched the ball out to 67-7½ (20.61) to claim a lead she would never relinquish, but also add 4 inches to her PR set winning the USA title last year. Of even more import, the shot landed just ¾ (2cm) short of Michelle Carter’s 67-8¼ (20.63) standard set in winning Rio Olympic gold.

Ealey was not finished. In round 3 she stepped up and bombed a new PR and definitive demolition of Carter’s AR, 68-1½ (20.76).

Although the exceedingly pleased Ealey fouled her next three efforts, her new record held up for the DL Final win from Mitton at 65-5 (19.94).

“I think I could’ve got a bigger one today,” Ealey said. “But it’s just like, you know, after I threw a PB, an American Record, I kind of got a little excited. And I may have lost a little bit, but I think I have a lot bigger throws in me, especially for next year.”

A fuller account of the spectacular women’s shot as well as all DL Final events will appear in a series of by-event reports coming to soon. Don’t miss them, for quality was superb in all the day 1 events.

Of particular spectacular note was Rai Benjamin’s tooth-and-nail victory in the men’s 400H in 46.39, the No. 4 all-time mark, ’23 world leader and DL Record. See box below with Tom Casacky’s race report.

Also checking in with a No. 4 all-time clocking and leaving a preposterously deep women’s 1500 field far in her wake was WR holder Faith Kipyegon in 3:50.73 from Ethiopian Diribe Welteji, who moved to the No. 6 all-time performer slot with her 3:53.93 clocking ahead of Laura Muir at 3:55.16. See box.