Payton Jordan Invitational Saturday

Flanagan en route to an American record at Stanford in '08. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Flanagan en route to an American record at Stanford in '08. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Will its tradition of super-fast distance races continue?

Written by: Matt Fitzgerald

The Payton Jordan Invitational track meet, held at the end of April/beginning of May at Stanford University each year, has an unparalleled record for producing fast 5000m and 10,000m times by American runners. It’s where Meb Keflezighi set his 10,000m American record of 27:33.98 in 2001. It’s where Shalane Flanagan set an American record of 30:34.49 in the same event in 2008 (only to destroy that mark later that year, running 30:22.22 at the Beijing Olympics). It’s also where Chris Derrrick set an American junior record of 13:29.91 for 5000 meters in 2009 (which was broken a few weeks later by German Fernandez, who clocked 13:25.46 at the U.S. Championships). And so on.

Who will run fast, and how fast will they run, at this year’s Payton Jordan Invitational, which takes place Saturday? The answers depend in part on whether Galen Rupp shows up. Rupp has announced that he will chase Keflezighi’s American record for 10,000m either at Hayward Field in Oregon Friday night or at Stanford the following day. His final decision will be based on weather forecasts in the two locations. I say that ideal conditions for record breaking extend beyond the weather to include competition, and he won’t find better competition anywhere else but the Payton Jordan Invitational. Also entered in the men’s 10,000 this year are speedsters Scott Bauhs, Mo Farah, Brett Gotcher, Tim Nelson, Chris Solinsky, and Brent Vaughn, among others.

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The women’s 10,000 is also stacked with talent. The top names in this race include Desiree Davila, Amy Hastings, Molly Huddle, and Jen Rhines. The 5000 is perhaps the stronger race this year, though, with a field boasting cheetahs such as Amy Begley, Angela Bizzarri, Shalane Flanagan (who also holds the American record at this distance), Lauren Fleshman, Sara Hall and Shannon Rowbury.

The top U.S. entrants in the men’s 10,000m are Abdi Abdirahman, Trevor Dunbar, Ed Moran and Jeff See.

Watch the Payton Jordan Invitational live on CBS Sports Online. The big distance races begin at 8:34 PM Pacific Time.

[sgi:MattFitzgerald]

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