For distances fans in the United States, Stanford University’s Payton Jordan Invite is one of the top build ups to the U.S. trials and the Olympics this summer. Here is a break down of the men’s and women’s distance events.
Men’s 1500m: The fast heat is stacked with talent, including University of Arizona phenom Lawi Lalang, professionals Andy Baddeley, Craig Miller, Jeff See, and American record holder Alan Webb. Though the race is definitely not his to lose, Webb is a national sensation having run a sub-4 mile in high school, setting the AR, and subsequently falling from grace. Expect a fast race, and huge internet response of jeers or cheers depending on Webb's run.
Women’s 1500m: 2012 Indoor World Championship teammates Brenda Martinez and Sarah Vaughn will toe the line. They will be challenged by former Tarheel Brie Felnagle and Olympian Anna pierce. Expect a kicker’s race, with Martinez looking to continue her huge 2012 campaign.
Men’s 5k: Expect some fast times to come from this event. 13:20 is the time needed to represent the US at the Olympics, and a handful of men have the ability to do it. OTC runners Matt Tegenkamp and Evan Jager were 2 of the 3 former Wisconsin Badgers to make the Worlds team in 2009 (with Chris Solinsky), but will be challenged by Lopez Lomong, and Ian Dobson. Keep an eye out for underdogs like Chris Barnicle, Andrew Bumbalough, former Stanford star Garret Heath, and NC State standout Ryan Hill.
Women’s 5k: 15:20 or under should definitely be anticipated in the fast heat. Some of the headliners include Sally Kipyego, American 10k record holder Shannon Rowbury, Jennifer Rhines, and collegiate standout Jordan Hasay. One dark horse to keep your eye on is newly professional Tara Erdman.
Men’s 10k: This is the marquee event of the invitational this year, due to a completely stacked field. With Olympic qualifying times on the line (the A standard is 27:45) and an immensely fast crop of collegians gunning for Sam Chelanga’s record (he is also in the race, but a professional now) times should be smoking. The most interesting storyline will be whether some of the collegians (Chris Derrick, Mohammed Ahmed, Cam Levins) will be able to best the top pros running the race (Sam Chalenga, Collis Birmingham, Brent Vaughn, Simon Bairu). Expect a large pack at the front through most of the race.
Women’s 10k: Though she may not be the fastest person toeing the line, the biggest story here is American marathon record holder Deena Kastor ending her 5-year hiatus from the track. With her failing to make the Olympic marathon team in January, Kastor will try to hit the Olympic A standard in the race. Keep your eyes on Amy Hastings, Desiree Davila, Katie McGregor, and Lisa Uhl as well.