A relatively slow start left the rabbit way out in front by the first 200m. American Boris Berian and 1000m Champ from Thursday night, Anayleh Souleiman, led the way in the pack. After a pedestrian 50.07 by Melly, Boris Berian looked to be having a rough go and stepped off the track.
Down the back stretch, moves started to be made and most of the field looked to be in it. Souleiman was able to defend his lead from early challenges but the Kenyan Jonathan Kitilit managed his way past down the homestretch. A late charge from fellow-countryman Alfred Kipketer was good enough to power into the lead in the final meters to take the race in a blazing 1:42.87. Given the fact that the pack went through in just 51 seconds, the final time is relatively surprising. Double Olympic Silver medalist Taoufik Makhloufi was able to ride Kipketer’s move to the finish to take second over Kitilit. Early leader Souleiman would fade to fifth.
The result speaks to the depth in the men’s 800m. While Olympic Champion and Bronze Medalists David Rudisha and Clayton Murphy weren’t in the race, Kipketer was h just 7th in Rio but was able to mix it up with silver medalist Taoufik Makhloufi. Meanwhile, Kitlit did not even make the Kenyan team. The 800m has a promising future as these two Kenyans are listed as just 20 and 22 years old, respectively.