Gebremeskel, the 2012 Olympic 5000m silver medalist, decided from the starter’s gun that a hard early pace was the best route to victory. After the first of three circuits, he had a small lead on Britain’s Chris O’Hare and America’s Duncan Phillips, but expanded his lead to two seconds by the end of the second lap. In the final circuit, Gebremeskel overwhelmed the field, leaving O’Hare nearly three seconds behind by the finish.
“He’s a class act,” said O’Hare, the former University of Tulsa star who was clocked today in 4:07.0. “I was a little bit disappointed in the way I executed the race today, but that’s what this is for.”
Frezer Legesse, who ran for the University of Oklahoma during his collegiate career, took third in 4:08.1.
Seyaum employed a different strategy than her male compatriot. She chose to follow the early pace set by three-time event champion Morgan Uceny, then she took the lead on the second circuit, sensing it was time to pick up the pace.
“I decided while I was racing I thought maybe it was better for me to push,” Seyaum told reporters through a translator.
In the final lap, Seyaum—who was running in her first-ever road mile—put the race away. Leading out of the final bend before the finish, she ran unfettered to the finish line, handily beating Anna Willard’s 2009 event record of 4:38.6. Heather Kampf caught Uceny inside of the final 20 meters to take second in 4:37.0 to Uceny’s 4:37.7.
“This is my spot,” Kampf recalled telling herself as she prepared to pass Uceny. “I want to get it.”
For Uceny, the race gave her a good idea where her fitness was prior to opening our outdoor track season.
“I was really happy with the race until the final 100 meters,” she said. She added: “I think the monkey really got on my back.”
Both Gebremeskel and Seyaum won $3000 in prize money.