The final weekend of outdoor track was one filled with numerous athletes capping off their seasons with incredible performances (even including some world records). The final IAAF Diamond League meet took place in Belgium, where many of the fields were littered with Olympians. Rio Gold medalists Almaz Ayana and Conseslus Kipruto won their respective races, while Silver and Bronze medalists Clayton Murphy, Taoufik Makhloufi, and Hellen Obiri all had strong performances. In England, on the other hand, the Great North Run was held, where Olympic double champion Mo Farah defended his title at the famous half marathon for the third time in a row.
BRUSSELS DIAMOND LEAGUE MEET
Perhaps the most anticipated race of this meet was the men’s steeplechase, where there was a rematch between the Gold and Silver medalists from this summer’s Olympics. Ultimately, though, the results were an identical top-3 finish from Rio. Kipruto won, with Evan Jager getting second and Mahiedine Mekhissi Benabbad claiming third. With talks of a potential world record in the mix, the winning time ended up being 8:03.74—ten seconds off the WR time of 7:53.63, set by Saif Saaeed Shaheen in 2004. Kipruto has strangely yet to break 8, as well as Jager—both of whom should eclipse the 8-minute barrier come next track season.
The men’s 1500, which featured tons of Olympians, saw Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot take the win in 3:31.34, narrowly beating out Morocco’s Abdelaati Iguider (3:31.40). Asbel Kiprop took third in 3:31.87—after a disappointing sixth place finish at the Olympics, Kiprop has neither won nor PR’d this summer. Also in this race were two out of the three American 1500 Olympians. Ben Blankenship ran a personal best of 3:34.26 for ninth place, while Robby Andrews ran 3:46.63.
In the men’s 800, Adam Kszczot of Poland won in 1:44.36. 800 Olympic finalist Pierre-Ambroise Bosse of France took sixth in 1:44.63, while Olympic Bronze medalist Clayton Murphy got seventh in 1:45.15.
GREAT NORTH RUN
Mo Farah of Great Britain capped off his historic summer with his third-consecutive win at the Great North Run half marathon, capturing the victory in a time of 60:04. Former Nike Oregon Project teammate Dathan Ritzenhein got second in 60:12. Farah has said that it’s now time “to go home now, chill out, see the kids, get up to no good”—all well-deserved for the four-time Olympic Gold medalist.
At the preceding track meet, the Great North CityGames, two-time Olympic 800m Gold medalist and world record holder David Rudisha ran his first ever 500—and broke the world record. Rudisha ran an astounding 57.69 for the distance, with the first 350m of the race being on the road and the remainder on the track.
A huge shoutout to Mikey Brannigan of the New York Athletic Club for winning the Paralympic T20 1500m in a time of 3:51.73! I ran in the same county as Mikey when we were both in high school, and to see him win Gold (after running 3:57 for the full mile this past summer) is truly amazing. Mikey is one of the most talented runners in his age group in the country, and should no longer be looked at as just a threat to repeat his Paralympic Gold performance; rather, he’s a runner who will be a threat to make the Olympic team in 2020 and 2024.