Genzebe Dibaba To Battle American Record Holder Molly Huddle In Totally Stacked Women’s 5,000 At 2016 Pre Classic Next Weekend
(Press Release)— Eugene, Oregon – Genzebe Dibaba will defend her Prefontaine Classic women’s 5000-meter title in an incredible field that may be the meet’s best ever – in any event.
Dibaba, the reigning Woman of the Year by Track & Field News, will be joined by the last distance runner to hold that title, Vivian Cheruiyot in 2011. Both won gold last year in Beijing, and they are among eight in the field who have won gold medals at distances ranging from the 1500 to 10k. It is a race featuring deep contingents from Ethiopia and Kenya, who are set to battle again for world distance supremacy at the Rio Olympics.
And those fortunate to find a seat for Friday’s Distance Night in Eugene at Hayward Field will witness it for free, thanks to title sponsor Nike.
Genzebe Dibaba, 25, of Ethiopia rocks every race she runs. She often leaves pacesetters outdistanced, as she did last year on a perfectly warm afternoon in last year’s Pre Classic 5k, running by herself to set an outdoor PR and meet record 14:19.76, more than 10 seconds faster than her nearest pursuer and the fastest ever seen at Hayward Field. It was just one of many gems in her racing career that includes setting the world 1500-meter record last July at 3:50.07, breaking an “unbreakable” mark that had stood for 35 years.
Dibaba enters the Pre Classic undefeated for the second straight year. She also has a perfect record in the state of Oregon, after winning gold in Portland at the World Indoor 3k in March. It was her fourth career major gold, adding to titles begun in 2012 at the World Indoor 1500 at age 21. She won her first world title in cross-country at age 17 in the first of two World Junior crowns in 2008.
Genzebe is not the only Dibaba family member to be T&FN Woman of the Year or to appear at the Pre Classic. Her older sister, Tirunesh, earned the same title in 2008. Tirunesh also has a magical history at the Pre Classic, never losing in three races – twice in the 5k and once in the only women’s 10k held, in 2012. Neither Dibabasister has ever lost at Pre.
Vivian Cheruiyot, 32, of Kenya refuses to give up. The 2011 T&FN Woman of the Year won gold for the first time since that miraculous season in last year’s 10k at the Beijing World Championships, matching her title in 2011 when she also captured the 5k gold. After taking silver (5k) and bronze (10k) at the 2012 London Olympics, the only interruption in her progress came in 2013 & ‘14, when she sat out (the latter year due to maternity). Cheruiyot has more major golds (5) than anyone in the field, even Genzebe Dibaba (4).
Cheruiyot is the Kenyan record holder and the only runner with more than one IAAF Diamond League title in this event (winning the first three in 2010-12). She is the most recent woman with a world cross-country title and a World or Olympic title, as she claimed the 2011 global harrier crown. Her first glory was in cross-country, winning the World Junior title in 2000 – later that year she made her first Olympic team at age 16. Cheruiyot has won twice in four races at the Pre Classic. Read more…