Yeah, we know. The World Championships started last night with the pole vault. And we don't mean to discount the value of that event. The U.S. in particular performed very well with Jenn Suhr and Sandi Morris going 1-2 in the event and Sam Kendricks taking second on the men's side. It's just...well... the pole vault was the only event on the first night of action and this is Stride Nation, a running blog. In a perfect world, we'd include coverage of the Pole Vault, but there's only do much bandwidth here.
So the acton we're concerned with gets started this afternoon. The meet can be streamed live on NBC Live Extra, the same place you go to watch the Premier League. There will also be tape-delayed coverage from 12:30am-2am EST tonight/Saturday morning. If you are keeping things low-key the night after St. Patrick's Day, here are three events that should be well worth your time in tonight's action.
Men's 3000m Heats (4:05 pm EST)
This is a pretty solid field on the men's side with (Run) Caleb Ndiku, Isaiah Koech, Augustine Choge, and Dejan Gebremeskel all entered. There is still a chance that an American, especially Ryan Hill, could medal or even take gold in the right race. In a field with this many potential podium contenders, odds are that at least one of them doesn't make it to the final. The real source of intrigue, though, in the event that Caleb Ndiku wins, is how much we will hear the excellent Run Caleb Ndiku song. Can it become a Summer 2016 banger?
Men's 1500m Heats (10 pm EST)
Souleimon, Iguider, and Centrowitz are the clear favorites to medal and all should easily make it through to the final. But a number of other intriguing names could be on the bubble. Between Nick Willis and Robby Andrews, the former probably has the most to worry about tonight. Andrews' kick should play well in a preliminary round and should make his spot in the final relatively safe. Nick Willis is a different story. Although he's had a strong season--winning the mile at the NB Grand Prix and setting a New Zealand national record at Millrose--his last lap at Millrose raises some concerns about his ability to finish near the top of a field that comes down to a kick. He should be fine to make it to the final, but his kick could limit his ceiling some.
Women's 1500m Heats (4:35 pm EST)
With Genzebe Dibaba only entered in the 3000m, there would seem, at first glance, that there would be a number of women who might hope to win gold. That is not the case as Sifan Hassan would likely be viewed in the same light as Dibaba in a world in which Dibaba didn't exist. She ran a 3:56.05 PR in the 1500m outdoors, which didn't get anywhere near enough attention because she ran it in the same Monaco race that saw Dibaba set the world record. Dawit Seyaum will get some hype, but Hassan still has the comfortable edge.
Gudaf Tsegay and Brenda Martinez make up the top tier of legitimate medal contenders and, as such, should all have an easy time making it the finals. Then again, they might not make the finals. That's what makes these heats so exciting: Something weird seems to always happen with major implications for the finals.
That's what we'll be watching tonight. The only finals are in the men's 60m and the women's 60m hurdles. I find it difficult to get too jazzed for a race so short, but, if the 60m is your thing, the men's side should provide enough excitement.