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Pre Classic: Distance Night

TrackTown, USA: The Prefontaine Classic is usually held at the end of May, but due to the stadium remodel and COVID, the meet has been absent from Hayward for several years. So wonderful to have it back and so fun to have it held so close to the Olympics. There are so many Olympic medalists in town this weekend, the metal defector at the airport must be buzzing 24/7.

Tonight only four events were raced, with the top billing being Netherland's Sifan Hassan attempt at the 5000m world record - which was scheduled to begin at 10p! We were invited by the University President to attend a reception track-side, which began at 7:30... so we had our usual cocktail-hour appetizer plate... which became our dinner:

When we arrived, Dave was presented with a unique gift: a pair of NIKE "moon shoes" that are to be displayed on a piece of original Hayward Field stadium bleachers (just like the photo of the shoe box lid:

Nice gift - and they are shipping it to our house so DT didn't have to carry the box around all evening.

Here is a photo of the tower at Hayward Field in the day, and in the evening. It can be illuminated with any color and pattern. Tonight it was 100% GO DUCKS:

There was an opening ceremony of sorts and past Oregon track & field athletes were invited to walk a lap on the new track at Historic Hayward Field.

Mary and Steve were also at the reception, so we spent most of the evening chattering-away. The races began with a women's 1500m, followed by a men's mile, a women's (rarely ever raced) two mile, then the 5000m. None of the events were very fast or very exciting... except maybe the men's mile as the leader on the home stretch did a little showboating and was quickly passed at the last few meters and lost!

Ms. Hassan did not break the world record. She didn't even run her fastest 5000m time. Poor thing had competed in the 1500m, 5000m AND the 10000m in Tokyo (taking gold in the 5000m and 10000m, and bronze in the 1500m). Maybe she was tired? Maybe this wasn't a good idea? No one consults me.

Sifan Hassan, above center, at the starting line. There were two pacers in the race and also lights along the first lane which moved at world-record pace for her to follow. Bummer that she didn't, but next season she will. Time for a rest now. And maybe a sandwich?

We didn't get back to our RV until after 11p!

Tomorrow, we do it again, but this time from seats in the stadium. The program is short and sweet, and it is on NBC. Check your local listings, but the first race is at 1p pacific, and the last race (the highlight of the meet - the Bowerman Mile) is at 2:52p. The Pre Classic is always the best Diamond League meet of the year, and this year it will be phenomenal - like a mini-Olympics in two hours.

Until my next update, I remain, your happy track & field correspondent.