Mercy Cherono (49) en route to setting a 4x1500m world record (© David Ogeka@PhotoRun)
If strategy is a question in the 4x800m, it is even more so for the 4x1500m, where a fourth runner may deliberately give up a lead in order to position herself better for the closing sprint.
The world record* at this distance, 17:05.72, was put up just this spring by a Kenyan quartet including Mercy Cherono, Irene Jelagat, Ann Karindi Mwangi and Perin Nengampi. In their team for Nassau, Nengampi has been swapped for 2012 world indoor champion Hellen Obiri, who recently set an African 3000m record.
Kenya's world record mark was just three seconds under the previous world record, a five-year-old mark run by the University of Tennessee at the 2009 Penn Relays, and if a world record could be forecast for any event at the inaugural IAAF World Relays, this one would be rated most likely as the Kenyans might be interested in putting the record well out of reach.
Forecasting their competition – if any – is a hazardous occupation, but the presence of two-time world champion Maryam Jamal on Bahrain’s squad suggests the Gulf state will be looking for a podium finish in the only race they’ve entered. Australia, Romania, and the USA all have quality teams entered in this Saturday final, with Brenda Martinez and Morgan Uceny listed in the US pool should they decide to double with the 4x800m.
Parker Morse for the IAAF
*subject to the usual ratification procedures