This weekend has two kinds of big matchups: college meets and road races. Here are the ones to watch.
Mo Farah vs Martin Lel
Sunday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon has a lot of star power. Farah is the reigning Olympic champ in the 5k and 10k and just won a high-profile 3000 meter race, but also holds the UK record for the half marathon (1:00:23). Lel is a three-time London Marathon champion and a former winner of the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. While doubt that either one of these two runners have made this race an ‘A’ priority in their training and racing schedules, it should still be a ding-dong battle. Gebre Gebremariam and Markos Geneti are also running and are good enough to upset the two stars.
The women’s race is expected to go to Meseret Defar, the reigning Olympic 5k champion. There are a lot of other big names in the race, though: Americans Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher (prepping for the Boston Marathon) and Berhane Adere, a former IAAF World Half Marathon Champion.
Kenyans vs the clock
The Tokyo Marathon has now become part of the World Marathon Majors circuit, and with it comes a significantly improved elite field. Four men with PRs of under 2:05 are in the field, making this by far the best field ever assembled in Japan.
How to watch online
College Conference Championship Weekend
This is the weekend when most conferences have their championship meets, and it’s great. Many are webcast and the Big Ten Championships will be shown on the BTN (tape-delayed, unfortunately). There’s so much good action that I’m not even going to try to break it down for you. Instead, I’ll let the coaches’ association do it.
Everything you need to know is available at the USTFCCCA’s Conference Championship Central page.
The USTFCCCA’s weekly preview highlights the SEC Championships.
The Big Ten Championships are at a neutral site, the massive indoor complex at the Spire Academy in Geneva, Ohio. Some of the Ohio all-comers’ records (best marks ever made within the state) could tumble. The toughest of those records were set at the long-defunct Cleveland Knights of Columbus meets (many of which were held in the old Richfield Coliseum). The records:
Men 60 meters 6.56 Henry Neal Cleveland, 1995 200 meters 20.64 Clement Chukwu Kent, 1998 400 meters 45.37 Clement Chukwu Kent, 1998 800 meters 1:47.89 Mike Inge Kent, 2004 Mile 3:56.56 Jose Abascal Richfield, 1984 3000 meters 7:50.23 Jeff See Akron, 2011 5000 meters 13:58.71 Boaz Cheboiywo Kent, 2003 60m Hurdles 7.57 Greg Foster Cleveland, 1995 4×400 Relay 3:07.29 George Mason Geneva, 2013 Distance Medley 9:39.03 Pittsburgh Akron, 2007 High Jump 2.35 Jim Howard Cleveland, 1985 Pole Vault 5.73 Scott Davis Richfield, 1989 Long Jump 8.37 Sean Robbins Bowling Green, 1996 Triple Jump 16.28 Charles Simpkins Columbus, 1984 Shot Put 21.38 Kevin Akins Columbus, 1982 Weight Throw 25.18 A.G. Kruger Findlay, 2012
Women 60 meters 7.13 Gwen Torrance Cleveland, 1995 200 meters 23.03 Jura Levy Geneva, 2012 400 meters 52.07 Ashley Spencer Geneva, 2013 800 meters 2:04.01 Rebecca Addison Geneva, 2013 Mile 4:37.33 Amanda Eccleston Geneva, 2013 3000 meters 9:06.26 Mary Cullen Akron, 2006 5000 meters 15:50.10 Katie Ishmael Columbus, 1985 60m Hurdles 7.93 Jackie Joyner-Kersee Cleveland, 1995 4×400 Relay 3:36.88 Notre Dame Geneva, 2013 Distance Medley 11:06.99 Connecticut Geneva, 2013 High Jump 1.94 Nicole Forrester Columbus, 1999 Pole Vault 4.63 Jen Suhr Geneva, 2013 Long Jump 6.33 Shameka Marshall Akron, 2006 Triple Jump 13.64 Huana Han Bowling Green, 1998 Shot Put 18.28 Ramona Pagel Kent, 1996 Weight Throw 22.09 D’Ana McCarty Akron, 2011
You’d think that an Olympic medalist would have a shot at the high jump record, but Indiana’s Derek Drouin will have to jump a PR to break it. Some of the other records aren’t too shabby, either, having been set by legends such as Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Greg Foster.