EUGENE--Distance Night In Eugene lived up to its billing, as Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele (left/photo by Paul Merca) ran a world leading time of 27:12.08 to win Friday night's featured 10000 meter run as the Nike Prefontaine Classic began at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.
Bekele was in a pack of ten or so, never up front until the last 200, when he put on a burst of speed typical of the Bekele of old that dominated the distance up until the last few years when injuries slowed down the world record holder.
The outcome of the race wasn't decided until the final straightaway, as countryman Imane Merga pressed him until the last 40 or so meters. Merga, a former world cross country champion, ran 27:12.37 for second, while Abera Kuma took third in 27:13.10.
In what was originally billed as Ethiopia's world championship team trials at this distance, the first nine men across the line broke 27:30.
In the national 1500m, Auburn-Riverside alum Jordan McNamara (above/photo by Paul Merca) finished third in a season best of 3:38.95, as he tried to make a charge for the win in the final straight, but ran out of real estate as Stanford alum Garrett Heath took the win in 3:38.54, with Jonathan Kiplimo second in 3:38.61.
The international mile saw Kenya's James Magut take the win in 3:55.24, a world outdoor leader this season, as the first six across the line went under 4 minutes, though high schooler Bernie Montoya in eighth fell short in 4:01.71.
Germany's Betty Heidler, last year's Olympic bronze medalist, and a former world champ, won the women's hammer with a toss of 246-9 (75.21m).
The three IAAF Diamond League events contested saw Olympic champ Valerie Adams of New Zealand win the shot put with a toss of 65-1 1/2 (20.15m).
Germany's Christina Obergfoll won the javelin with a meet record 222-1 (67.70m).
In the men's long jump, Russia's Aleksandr Menkov jumped a world leading mark of 27-6 1/2 (8.39m), as Olympic gold medalist Greg Rutherford was third in 26-11 3/4 (8.22m).
The Nike Prefontaine Classic resumes Saturday shortly after noon, with Washington alum Brad Walker in the men's pole vault, and WSU alum Bernard Lagat in the men's 5000.