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January 18, 2019

Friends or foes?:Manang’oi, Cheruiyot set for Prefontaine Classic Bowerman Mile showdown

Elijah Manangoi reacts after winning the World Championships title last year / REUTRS
Elijah Manangoi reacts after winning the World Championships title last year / REUTRS
World champion Elijah Manangoi and IAAF Diamond League champion Timothy Cheruiyot renew their rivalry at the Prefontaine Classic Bowerman Mile in Eugene on May 25-26.
The Kenyan duo finished first and second respectively at last year’s World Championships and at the recent Commonwealth Games. They also occupied the same two positions at last year’s IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco where they set personal best times of 3:28.80 and 3:29.10 respectively. But they aren’t the only great racers in the event that annually is the Prefontaine Classic’s finale.
Two-time Bowerman Mile winner Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti will also be returning to Eugene.  He set the meeting record – and US all-comers’ record – of 3:47.32 in 2014, just two months after winning the world indoor 1500m title.
Silas Kiplagat set his mile PB of 3:47.88 when finishing second to Souleiman in Eugene in 2014. The 2011 world silver medallist will be making his eighth appearance at Hayward Field and will be aiming for his fourth sub-3:50 performance there.
USA’s Matthew Centrowitz is ready to return to Hayward Field for the first time since winning the Olympic title in Rio. His PB of 3:50.53 from the 2014 Bowerman Mile is the fastest ever run by a US athlete at Hayward Field. Ethiopian record-holder Aman Wote has raced in the Bowerman Mile five times, finishing third three times. The 2014 world indoor silver medallist set his PB of 3:48.60 in Eugene four years ago.
Youngsters Samuel Tefera and Jakob Ingebrigsten will be making their Bowerman Mile debut. Tefera, just 18, won the world indoor 1500m title in Birmingham two months ago. Ingebrigsten, meanwhile, became the youngest ever sub-four-minute miler when running 3:58.07 in last year’s Pre Classic international mile at age 16.
Olympic 800m bronze medallist Clayton Murphy set his mile PB of 3:51.99 when finishing fifth in Eugene last year, making him the fastest US runner at that distance in 2017.
Others in the field include world indoor 3000m bronze medallist Bethwell Birgen, fellow Kenyan and world indoor finalist Vincent Kibet, Olympic finalist Ben Blankenship, Bahrain’s Sadik Mikhou, Brazil’s world 800m finalist Thiago Do Rosario André and USA’s Craig Engels.
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