USA's Jenny Simpson leads the 1500m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene (© Getty Images)
Traditionally, US women have had trouble making it to the top of the podium in the 1500m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene, but this year a strong US group aims to make a statement at the front of the pack at the Prefontaine Classic on 30 May.
Jenny Simpson won the Diamond Race in 2014, three years after winning the world title. She ran a lifetime best of 3:57.22 last year, just 0.10 off Mary Slaney’s 31-year-old US record.
The 28-year-old has done big things at the Prefontaine Classic before; in 2009 she become the only US collegiate runner to run faster than 4:00 in the 1500m when finishing second.
Shannon Rowbury was the best US finisher in this event at the last two Olympics, including sixth place at the London 2012 Games. She also earned a bronze medal at the 2009 IAAF World Championships.
She is coming off her best indoor season, scoring a victorious mile and two mile double at the US Championships and winning the Millrose Games mile in 4:24.32.
Treniere Moser is a four-time US champion who is still running at her best in her 30s. Now 33, she has recorded personal bests at every distance from 800m upwards in the past two years, including a mile best of 4:27.49 this year.
Along with Rowbury, Moser was on the USA’s world record-breaking distance medley relay team at the IAAF World Relays in The Bahamas earlier this month.
Emma Coburn is the USA’s fastest ever 3000m steeplechaser, running 9:11.42 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Glasgow last year. Coburn also won over the barriers at last year’s IAAF Continental Cup.
Newcomer Alexa Efraimson, who at 18 has one-and-a-half years remaining in the junior ranks, lowered her 800m best by more than two seconds to 2:01.13 last weekend, making her the fastest junior in the world so far this year. She won the US junior 1500m title last year.
Dutch danger to US supremacy
The international stars who will challenge these five US women include Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands.
Despite being dramatically beaten by Simpson in Zurich, and so losing out on the Diamond Race, Hassan won the European 1500m title last year as a 21-year-old, triumphed at the IAAF Continental Cup and won the European indoor 1500m title in March earlier this year.
Hassan was fifth in last year’s fantastic Pre Classic, when five women ran faster than four minutes; the only race ever on US soil with more than two under this mark.
Bahrain’s Maryam Yusuf Jamal was the world champion in 2007 and 2009, then earned the Olympic bronze medal in 2012. Fastest in the field with a lifetime best of 3:56.18, Jamal also has the fastest 800m personal best at 1:57.80.
Ethiopia’s Axumawit Embaye is still only 19 but got the silver medal at last year’s IAAF World Indoor Championships. The Pre Classic will be her first race on US soil.
Great Britain’s Laura Weightman and Hannah England are also in the field along with five-time Polish champion Renata Pils.
Completing the field, Australia’s Zoe Buckman called Eugene home for four years while running for the University of Oregon. In last year’s Pre Classic, she set her 1500m best of 4:04.09 and was a finalist at the 2013 IAAF World Championships.
Organisers for the IAAF
2015 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 15 May
Shanghai, CHN – 17 May
Eugene, USA – 30 May
Rome, ITA – 4 June
Birmingham, GBR – 7 June
Oslo, NOR – 11 June
New York, USA – 13 June
Paris, FRA – 4 July
Lausanne, SUI – 9 July
Monaco, MON – 17 July
London, GBR – 24-25 July
Stockholm, SWE – 30 July
Zurich, SUI – 3 September
Brussels, BEL – 11 September