Most predicted that Monaco would generate a bunch of fast times just as it usually does, and the meet did not disappoint. We got eight world-leading performances and even a world record. To ask for more would just be greedy.
Asbel Kiprop destroys the field, winning by over 2 seconds. His time of 3:26.69 is a meet record, Diamond League record, and world-best time. No one else was ever in the race, as Kiprop took it hard from the gun. The Americans Matt Centrowitz (10th, 3:30.40 PB) and Leo Manzano (13th, 3:36.16 SB) both ran well, so it's certainly discouraging to see them not really involved. For now, at least, the rest of the world remains a half step or so ahead of the Americans. Manzano just got under the World A Standard of 3:36.2.
The following tweet is not literally true, but it captures how the race felt:
1:50.37 for Kiprop at 800, Farah 7 minutes behind— FloTrack (@FloTrack) July 17, 2015
Definitely one of the most exciting races of the meet. All the way through, it was shaping up predictably, with Amos, Souleiman, and Berian all near the front, as god intended. Then, once they came to the home straight, Amel Tuka seemingly came out of nowhere to out-kick everyone. It took him a 1.33 second PR to pull that off, so it's fair to say that that result should surprise everyone.
Ayanleh Souleiman bested his then-world-leading time of 1:43.08 from last week to run 1:42.97 today, but, in this field, that only got him 3rd. Nijel Amos took 2nd with 1:42.66.
American 22 year-old Boris Berian continues to impress as he lowered his PR by half a second to get 4th.
The field seemed content to let the Kenyan contingent lead the race from the start. Blankenship and Heath maintained contact, but sat toward the back of the pack for most of it. The race appeared to bunch up a bit somewhere around 2200m in, and I had hope that Blankenship or Health would attempt some sort of move.
In the end, Caleb Ndiku set the record straight that he was fine after last week's fall and DNF. Last year's world indoor champion didn't seem too bothered by the stitches he required after last week as he ran away from the field in the final lap to set a new world-leading time of 7:35.13.
On the American front: Despite never threatening to win the race, both Garrett Heath (5th) and Ben Blankenship (6th) set huge PRs. Heath lowered his best by 6.90 seconds with a 7:37.97 and Blankenship nearly set a 9 second PR (8.99) with a 7:38.08. Those sorts of times make them relevant in international competition. We're certainly in the midst of exciting times for American running. One can only hope this is just the beginning.
Coming in, this race was widely considered the best of the meet. Simply put, it did not disappoint. Genzebe Dibaba took it out hard from the gun, going out in just a tick over 60 for the first 400m. That, surprisingly, did not deter Sifan Hassan from going with her, however. The two matched stride for stride until somewhere between 1000m and 1100m when Dibaba found another gear.
Over the course of the final lap, Dibaba made everyone look silly. She dropped another 60 on the last lap to set a new World Record of 3:50.07.
With a performance like that, it's easy to overlook the rest of the field. For one, Shannon Rowbury broke the American Record with 3:56.29 performance.
This really lived up to its billing, which rarely seems to happen. Certainly a world record helps in that regard, but the way that world record occurred, with Hassan putting up an admirable fight for most of the race, made for grade-A excitement.
I'd be negligent to not mention Justin Gatlin's 9.78, Monaco Meet Record performance. With a negligible -0.3 wind, Gatlin blew away a field that included Tyson Gay and Jimmy Vicault (Gay was 2nd in 9.97). With every race of his, Gatlin raises the pressure on Usain Bolt as we approach the World Championships in Beijing.
Women's 3000m Steeplechase
According to FloTrack, Emma Coburn had been sick leading up to the race and that was evident in her performance. There was a lot of anticipation that she would challenge the American Record in the event of 9:12.50, but she never really put herself in this race. She finished in 9:23.91, so clearly something was up.
Racing for the first time since February, Habiba Ghribi took the race and set yet another world-leading performance on the day. She was able to pull away from a solid field over the last lap to win by over a second with a 9:11.28. The 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist looks ready to claim a spot on the podium in August in Beijing.
Complete List of World-Leading Results from Monaco
- Men's Shotput: Joe Kovacs (USA) 22.56m
- Women's 4x100: USA (Gardner, Felix, Prandini, Whitney): 41.96
- Men's 1500m: Asbel Kiprop (KEN): 3:26.69
- Women's 400m: Francena McCorory (USA): 49.83
- Men's 800m: Amel Tuka (BIH): 1:42:51
- Men's 3000m: Caleb Ndiku (KEN): 7:35.13
- Women's 1500: Genzebe Dibaba (ETH): 3:50.07 (WR)
- Women's 3000m Steeplechase: Habiba Ghribi (TUN): 9:11.28
Official results can be found on the Diamond League website by clicking on this link.