Could 2024 be the best Prefontaine Classic ever?

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Brewing up the Hayward Magic

It will be hard to eclipse the spectacle of track and field that was the 2023 Prefontaine Classic, but we think the lineup assembling in TrackTown, aka Eugene, just might give it a crack this year. Even if you ignore the ridiculous Bowerman Mile field, previewed here, the meet has all the bones of becoming an iconic moment in history – like the meets your track-obsessed parents, coach or a stranger at the track might reminisce about.

Let’s dive into the cauldron of events that will hopefully be brewed into some “Hayward Magic”.


Men's and Women's 10,000m

In what some may see as a bizarre move, the men's and women’s 10,000m have been announced as the official Kenyan Olympics trials.* While it may be a little far from home for Kenya’s top athletes, many are already competing on the US and European circuits, which slightly reduces the absurdity of having your nation's Olympic trial on the opposite side of the world.

This proves to be a win for Eugene as it’s resulted in some of the most recognisable Kenyan names heading to Hayward: Beatrice Chebet, Agnes Jebet Ngetich, Ronald Kwemoi, Edwin Kurgat and Kibiwott Kandie, to name but a few.

Fourteen men will toe the line in an all-Kenyan affair, with eight already having the Olympic qualification standard of 27:00. Daniel Ebenyo, the reigning world silver medalist, will certainly be one to watch.


The women’s race is a touch more international, with five nations represented on the start list of 24. Seventeen Kenyan women have the standard of 30:40, although not all are racing in Eugene. We’re excited to see the world 5000m record holder, Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia, return to Pre Classic, where she set her world record in 2023. She’s currently ranked fourth on the all-time list in the 10,000m with her 29:29.73 from Spain in 2023. She’s let it be known that she’s targeting Letesenbet Gidey’s 2021 world record of 29:01.03 here, so this will be one to watch.

*The 10,000s are technically non–Diamond League events and will run at 10:50am PDT for the women – after the opening event, the mixed para wheelchair 400m, at 10:40am – and 12pm for the men.


Women’s 5000m

One might assume that loading up on 800m, 1500m, 3000m steeplechase, 5000m, and 10,000m events at one meet might result in the talent being spread a little thin. Of course, that's anything but the case for this year. The women’s 5000m is as loaded as we’d have hoped!

Sifan Hassan, the 2020 Olympics 5000m and 10,000m gold medalist (who also completed the triple with an unprecedented bronze in the 1500m), leads the field. Aside from being the reigning bronze and silver medalist in the 1500m and 5000m, respectively, from the 2023 World Championships, she’s also the 2023 London and Chicago marathons winner. The Dutch athlete is certainly a contender for the most versatile runner in history.

2016 Olympian Emily Infeld will hope that the crowd on her back will carry her along in her quest for her second Olympics berth. The Australian 10,000m record holder, Lauren Ryan, will also be the single flag bearer for Australia. Coming off a huge Australian outdoor season, Ryan set a fresh 1500m PB at the LA Grand Prix last week. The depth continues with the likes of Nazomi Tanaka of Japan, Freweyni Hailu of Ethiopia and Weini Kelati Frezghi of the USA.


Women’s 1500m

We hate to be repetitive, but this field is cooking. Without bias, we’re stoked to see Australian and Oceanian record holder Linden Hall line up alongside Oregon Ducks alumna Jess Hull. Hall’s 3:56.92 record was set right here at Hayward during the Pre Classic last year. Hull is the 3000m Australian record holder, with her 8:24.39 from the world indoors in Glasgow earlier this year.

Naturally, the US has provided nothing but its best. Elise Cranny, Nikki Hiltz, Sinclair Johnson, Cory McGee and Ellie St.Pierre lineup in a formidable display in domestic class. All five athletes have achieved the Olympic standard of 4:02.50, and it looks like this race will serve as a tasting plate for the US Olympic trials back here in Eugene in a few weeks. At stake is a chance to get an early one over your closest rivals.

Also not to be missed are the clinical Laura Muir of Great Britain, who owns a 3:54.50 PB, and the top seed in the field, Diribe Welteji of Ethiopia, with her 3:53.93.

One thing is for sure: this race is going to be an absolute blast to watch.

MaryMoraa AthingMu-1

Women’s 800m

It’s a Budapest rematch for 800m fans, with two of the top three from the 2023 World Championships going head-to-head over the two lapper. Mary Moraa, fresh off a spicy 50.5 400m in LA last week, comes into the meet as the favourite. She's ready to rumble with two 1.57.9 runs under her belt this season.

Challenging her will be Worlds silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson (2023 and the Eugene Worlds held in 2022), whose cupboard also contains silver from the Tokyo Olympics.

It would have been the perfect Worlds trio but last year’s Pre Classic winner Athing Mu was scratched on Wednesday, local time, due to a hamstring injury.

Also in the mix, Aussie legend and Oceania record holder Catriona Bisset will be looking at a repeat of her success at the London Diamond League, where she crushed both national and area records.


The sprints

Women’s 100m
One of the biggest stars of Track and Field, Sha’Carri Richardson, returns to the Pre Classic after taking the win in Eugene in 2023. Her victory in the Diamond League final came after a thrilling win at the World Champs with a championship record of 10.65. Richardson lines up against one of her toughest rivals, the self-proclaimed Olympic double-double champion (100m and 200m gold in 2016 and at the postponed 2020 event) Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica. All eyes are on Sha’carri to deliver on the hype in an Olympic year.

Men’s 200m
Letsile Tebogo will have the field on his back in Eugene. Ranked number two on World Athletics' Road to Paris rankings with his 19.50 from the 2023 London Diamond League, the Botswanan will have US duo of Courtney Lindsey (19.71) and Erriyon Knighton (19.72) to contend with – both sit within the top five on the Road to Paris rankings.


How to watch the Prefontaine Classic

If you’re not in Eugene for this weekend’s cracker, you can still keep up with the action. If you’re in the USA NBC/Peacock will be the place to tune in. The BBC has the UK covered, and for most of the rest of the world, the Diamond League YouTube channel is your go. Check the Diamond League country listings for up-to-date broadcast information.

The Prefontaine Classic begins at 10:40am Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) on Saturday, 25 May – that’s 3:40am Sunday AEST.

Full event schedule Full start lists

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