Hayward Field Returns And It's Beautiful + World Records and Confusion

NCAA stars broke in the new Hayward Field facilities | 5K and Half Marathon World Records...or maybe not?

Two years, nine months and 24 days since its last meet, Hayward Field was back in action on Friday and Saturday with the Hayward Premiere showcasing some of the best collegiate stars on the country’s most beautiful and most expensive track and field venue. 

This is the first meet at Hayward Field since the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The demolition started later that same month and was finally completed last June. The new stadium will try to host about 30,000 people when it hosts the 2022 World Athletics Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that the total cost of the renovations was $270,047,937, according to an Oregon athletics financial report.

If you watch videos of the facility’s unveiling last week, the money really went into making this one of the best athletic facilities in the country not just for competition but also for training.

(These Oregon kids are spoiled to the point where there’s a barbershop and manicure/pedicure station.)

Here’s a quick summary of some of the most notable performances that took place at the Hayward Premiere:

– In what could be a future trivia question of “Who won the first race at the renovated Hayward Field?” The answer will be Utah’s Whitney Hessler won the women’s 1,500 meters in 4:28.57.

– Among other notable results from the meet, BYU’s Courtney Wayment, who took two NCAA indoor titles, won the fast section of the women’s 1,500 meters by edging out her teammate Anna Camp 4:16.10 to 4:16.12. Wayment was a guest on Dana Giordano’s “More Than Running” Podcast last week and discussed how BYU and coach Diljeet Dosanjh Taylor spread their team success across indoors and cross country.

– Oregon’s Cole Hocker, the NCAA indoor mile and 3,000m champion, continues his hot streak with a 3:38.99 win in the men’s 1,500 meters. His final lap was clocked at 55.21 seconds.

– BYU senior Talem Franco (1:48.89) just beat out Cooper Teare (1:48.99) in the men’s 800 meters. On the women’s side, Anna Camp and Alena Ellsworth made it a 1-2 for BYU as they both went under 2:05. On Saturday, Hocker came back to win a faster section of the men’s 800 meters in 1:46.60 ahead of Iowa State’s Festus Lagat (1:47.15). Hocker is now seventh on Oregon’s all-time list behind 

– Colorado’s Eduardo Herrera, who was 107th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships 10K, outkicked the winner of that race Conner Mantz to win the men’s 5,000 meters in 13:24.46. Herrera’s previous personal best was 13:57.35 from 2018. Mantz and his teammate Casey Clinger managed to get under the U.S. Olympic Trials standard of 13:25.00 with their 13:24.78 and 13:24.89 personal best finishes, respectively. Mantz will be the guest on this week’s episode of The CITIUS MAG Podcast.

– BYU’s Whittni Orton was a big question mark for the Cougars at the NCAA Cross Country Championships because of injuries in the fall. That appears to be behind her as she won the women’s 5,000 meters in 15:42.33 just two and a half weeks after her 17th place finish at nationals. Utah’s Poppy Tank was second in 15:45.07.

– We haven’t seen a few fast 10,000 meter races on the track in a while. Wesley Kiptoo and Edwin Kurgat took 1-2 for Iowa State in 27:58.10 and 27:58.33 in the men’s race. Boise State’s Clare O’Brien won the women’s race in 32:43.70.

Full results of the meet can be found here.

Hayward Field will be used again for competition when the Ducks compete against Arizona in the West Coast Classic, which will also be held in conjunction in Tuscon.

A World Record?

I received two text messages on Saturday afternoon asking me, “Who is Beth Potter?” and I was confused because I didn’t know who she was or what the question was regarding. It turns out the 2016 Olympian for Great Britain ran a 14:41 road 5K that evening at a small race in Barrowford. The time is an absolute shocker and would be faster than the world record.

First off…some context on the world record: World Athletics didn’t start recognizing the road 5K as a world record until 2018. This means the fastest-ever recorded time run by a woman running the 5K distance is Joyciline Jepkosgei’s 14:32 split 14: during her 29:43 road 10K in Prague in 2017 but it’s not a world record. On Feb. 14, 2021, Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech ran 14:43 to break the world record for a mixed-gender 5K race. Her time is one second faster than Sifan Hassan’s 14:44 women’s-only world record. Potter’s time also surpassed Paula Radcliffe’s 14:51 British national record.

Some context on Potter: Her previous personal best before this weekend was 15:24 for the road 5K. She has run 15:28.32 on the track for 5,000 meters and 32:03.45 for 10,000 meters on the track. At the 2016 Olympics, she finished 34th in the 10,000 meter final. Four years ago, Potter decided to quit her job as a physics teacher, move to Leeds and focus on the triathlon in hopes of making the British national team for Tokyo in that discipline. Apparently, Potter messaged the race organizers on Friday night asking to be moved up to the sub-15 race.

“I was being given kilometer splits so I knew they were fast,” Potter told BBC Radio 5 Live. “I think it only started to sink in when I had about a kilometer to go and I saw the clock and it said 11-something. I was trying to do the math in my head like, ‘OK, I run a kilometer in about three minutes. That’s about 14-something. I was convinced the clock was wrong. I couldn’t believe it.”

There were no drug testers present at the event so the time will not be able to be ratified for a world record under World Athletics’ guidelines. Organizers told The Guardian that no UK Athletics level 4 timekeepers were on site at the race but the course was licensed and measured.

For those wondering what shoes she was wearing, she rocked the Asics Metaspeed Sky shoes.

A World Record

There’s less confusion regarding the women’s half marathon world record that fell again on Sunday morning at the Istanbul Half Marathon with world marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich running 1:04:02 to shave off 29 seconds from Ababel Yeshaneh’s 64:31 world record that was set at the 2020 RAK Half. If I’m looking at the all-time performance list after Sunday’s race, runner-up Yalemzerf Yehualaw (64:40) and third place finisher Hellen Obiri (64:51) are now No. 3 and 5th on the all-time list. The top 10 all-time performance list is a mix of performances that have been set since 2017 and the super shoes era started to take off. Obiri’s 64:51 is the fastest half marathon debut in history.

In the men’s race, world record holder and world half marathon championships silver medalist Kibiwott Kandie defeated Geoffrey Kamworor by three seconds. Kandie’s 59:35 win is the slowest half marathon of his career not run at altitude. 

It’s a shame these races may have featured the worst running event announcer in history…

Other Notable News

– On International Transgender Day of Visibility, Hiltz announced she identifies as transgender and non-binary in an Instagram post on March 31. On Instagram, they wrote: “Hi I’m Nikki and I’m transgender. That means I don’t identify with the gender I was assigned at birth. The word I use currently to describe my gender is non-binary. The best way I can explain my gender is as fluid. Sometimes I wake up feeling like a powerful queen and other days I wake up feeling as if I’m just a guy being a dude, and other times I identify outside of the gender binary entirely. It’s complicated and complex and something I’m still trying to navigate myself, but I’ve decided it’s time to share my gender fluidity with you all. Posting this is both exciting and terrifying but I am and always will be a firm believer that vulnerability and visibility are essential in creating social change and acceptance. So here I am, once again, coming out of a closet to be my true authentic self.”

– Letsrun.com’s Jonathan Gault reported that Kenenisa Bekele may not run in the Ethiopian Olympic marathon trials set for May 2 in Geneva, Switzerland. The top three men’s and women’s finishers will be selected for the national team to compete at the Summer Games. Bekele’s coach Haji Adilo told LetsRun that Bekele’s father recently passed away and so the three-time Olympic gold medalist has been on a break from training so he may not be ready to run by the race date. Bekele has not competed at the Olympics since he finished fourth in the 10,000 meters at the 2012 Games in London. He did not make the Ethiopian national team for Rio 2016 and shifted his focus to the roads, where he’s since become the second-fastest marathoner in history with a 2:01:41 personal best. Bekele turns 39 years old in June, which means he might not have too many top tier performances left so if he misses the Olympics, he’d cash out on one more big appearance fee to try and win another major marathon, especially if Eliud Kipchoge opts to defend his Olympic gold medal in Sapporo and then bypass the fall marathon season due to the tight turnover time. Bekele and Kipchoge have not competed against each other since the 2018 London Marathon. They were announced as the headliners for last year’s London Marathon in October but Bekele withdrew just two days before the duel citing a calf injury.

– The NN MIssion Marathon in Hamburg has been postponed to April 18 due to local restrictions on COVID-19. Eliud Kipchoge is still scheduled to race. Kenya was recently facing its own restrictions and a lockdown due to a surge in coronavirus cases in late March. The positivity rate was 19.1% at the end of last week. The British government also raised concerns about travelers coming from Kenya who were testing positive for the South African variant of the virus.

– Reigning Olympic 400m champion and world record holder Wayde van Niekerk clocked a 20.10 in rainy conditions at a meet in Johannesburg, South Africa (Race video linked). It marks his fastest 200 since he ran 19.84 at a meet in Kingston, Jamaica in June 2017. That’s a good sign as he gets closer to the form he had before he tore his ACL and meniscus in his right knee playing in a celebrity tag rugby match in October 2017.

– One of van Niekerk’s competitors to watch will certainly be 2019 world championship bronze medalist Fred Kerley, who is a great follow on Instagram as he’s billed his 2021 campaign as #Phase42 which I’m guessing is a hope to run under 43 seconds for the 400. His personal best is 43.64 from July 2019. In 2016, he didn’t even make it out of the heats of the U.S. Olympic Trials as a collegian from Texas A&M. At a meet this weekend in Claremont, Florida, he ran a personal best of 10.03 (+1.0 m/s) for the 100 meters. At the same meet,

– Texas A&M’s Athing Mu stepped up in distance to get her first outdoor school record. She ran 4:16.06 for 1,500 meters at a dual meet against Texas.

– NCAA indoor mile champion Sage Hurta improved her own school record in the 800 meters to get down to 2:00.62, which is No. 10 in NCAA history. 

– Linden Hall became the first Australian woman to break four minutes for the 1,500 meters.

– It appears that Sydney McLaughlin opened her season with a FloJo-inspired New Balance race kit.

– Paul Chelimo’s brother, Alberto Chelimo, passed away unexpectedly in Colorado Springs, Colo. on Tuesday, March 30. He ran at the University of Toledo. Chelimo shared a link to a GoFundMe page asking for assistance to help take care of funeral expenses and help transport his brother for burial in Kenya.

– The #Run4BoulderStrong 10K was held in Boulder, Colorado to remember the 10 victims of the King Soopers grocery store shooting on March 22. Maggie Montoya, a professional runner for Roots Running who was working within the store’s pharmacy when the gunshots were fired, participated in the run with her teammates.

Well, This Is Awkward…

April Fool’s Day was last Thursday and I thought it would be a silly idea to concoct a fake press release that Kyle Merber and I would be doing an alternative viewing stream for NBC on its new Peacock platform for the U.S. Olympic Trials. Seems like we got too many people excited about it. Sorry for getting your hopes up! Already in the planning stages for some fun content ideas during the trials so stay tuned.


“I do some of my best thinking when I’m on my long runs. Today, we’ve talked a lot about my recovery and my sobriety. Running is one of the greatest tools I’ve been given because any time I can go reset the mind.”

Some of you might be familiar with Zac Clark since he won the most recent season of “The Bachelorette.” In this episode, you’ll learn a lot about Zac’s upbringing in New Jersey and the many struggles along the way in his life that really spiraled after he underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor and got addicted to pain medication shortly thereafter. Drinking, drugs and partying took a toll on him and his relationship at the time. There’s a lot in his life story, which was shared a bit on national TV last fall. Zac went to rehab and got his life together and now serves as the co-founder of Release Recovery, which is a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to ensuring all who are ready and willing to seek professional treatment are able to. Release Recovery’s Foundation offers scholarships to bridge the gap between what people can afford and what they need to get the resources and help that they need.

Running comes into the picture later on and it’s one of Zac’s biggest passions. He’s run the New York City Marathon six times. He plans on running London and New York this fall. Lately, he’s been joining me and some friends for workouts the past couple of months. We’re working on getting him faster. His only catch is that we have to push ourselves in one endurance challenge with him a year.

So…toward the end of the episode, we discuss our upcoming attempt to run the David Goggins 4x4x48 Challenge, which consists of running four miles every four hours for 48 hours and a grand total of 48 miles of running. Our team of 10 is looking to raise some money for the Release Recovery Foundation, which offers scholarships for people from underserved communities to seek the resources and assistance they need against substance abuse and mental illness. Through Sunday night, we’ve raised nearly $7,000.

Stay tuned for more updates on the challenge later this week. I’m pumped.

You can catch the latest episode of the podcast on iTunes so subscribe and leave a five-star review. We are also on Stitcher, Google Play and Spotify! Full show notes available here.


If you missed some of the biggest news stories from the sport in March, Matt Meyer and I reunited and did our best to unpack all of the biggest headlines.

– “I don’t think they liked the little guys beating the big guys.” UW-La Crosse legend Tori Neubauer joined The D3 Glory Days Podcast. In Neubaeuer’s era, the winners of the DIII NCAA Cross Country Championships were invited to compete at the DI NCAA Cross Country Championship meet several days later. In 1983, SHE became one of a handful of Division III champions to also claim a Division I All-American award by finishing 11th.

– "Going into that DMR, where we set the collegiate record, we had done one track-specific workout and it was the Tuesday before that Friday's race.” On Running Things Considered, Cooper Teare peeled back the curtain on Oregon’s insane 2021 indoor season that included the DMR national record, a 3:50 mile and the NCAA Indoor team title.

That’s it from me in the latest edition of the CITIUS MAG Newsletter. Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this, learned something new or have any questions or commentary on anything featured in this issue, feel free to hit my inbox: chris@citiusmag.com

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