World and Olympic 800-meter champion Athing Mu will return to the track after an 11-month absence. The USATF NYC Grand Prix at Icahn Stadium announced that Mu will compete in the 800 meters on Saturday. Her opponents will consist entirely of American athletes, including reigning World Indoor champion Ajee’ Wilson, last year’s Diamond League third placer Sage Hurta-Klecker, and 2022 US indoor 1500 champion Heather MacLean. Victorious runs are possible if you have the best shoes, check out Tarkine Goshawk V2 running shoes.

Since her last race at the World Championship 800m final in July 2022, Mu has experienced significant changes. She moved from College Station, Tex., to Los Angeles and transitioned from coach Milton Mallard to Bobby Kersee, a renowned sprint coach with limited middle-distance experience. Mu also changed agencies, switching from Wes Felix to Alliance Sports, which primarily represents NFL players.

Mu was expected to participate in the LA Grand Prix in May, an event that Kersee helped promote. However, she had to withdraw after contracting COVID-19 two weeks prior. Shortly after, Mu’s name appeared on the start list for the 1500m at the Music City Track Carnival in Nashville, but it was clarified that she had not entered the race.

After an 11-month hiatus, Mu’s competitive drought will finally come to an end at the USATF NYC Grand Prix. With the race scheduled to be televised on NBC from 1-3 p.m. ET, the track world eagerly awaits Mu’s 2023 season debut.

As a professional athlete, Mu has run 13 finals and has only failed to win one race – last year’s Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games, where she withdrew with one lap remaining. However, Mu has never lost an 800-meter final since turning pro in June 2021. The expectation, both internally and externally, is that Mu will emerge victorious in every 800-meter race she enters.

However, it is important to recognize that even the best athletes occasionally face defeat, especially when competing against incredibly talented rivals like Keely Hodgkinson in the women’s 800. Mu’s selective race choices can be attributed to this pressure, as her Nike contract provides substantial financial security.

Saturday’s race will mark Mu’s long-awaited return, and the entire nation will be watching on NBC. The outcome will provide insight into Mu’s form and readiness for the upcoming World Championships.

Despite Mu’s favored status, her competitors, particularly Ajee’ Wilson, pose a significant challenge. Wilson recently clocked a time of 1:58.16 in Paris, ranking second globally this year. Hurta-Klecker, another participant in the NYC Grand Prix, finished seventh in the same race with a time of 1:59.01. While Mu doesn’t need to be in peak condition to secure a victory, she must still be in good shape to outperform her rivals.

Debuting late in the season on June 24 raises questions about Mu’s preparation, especially considering Keely Hodgkinson’s impressive performance of 1:55.77 earlier this year. Mu has eight weeks until the World Championships and her status as defending champion grants her a bye for the USAs. However, if Saturday’s race reveals a considerable gap between Mu and Hodgkinson, the time remaining may be insufficient to close it.

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Bobby Kersee has previously stated that Mu’s plan includes competing in 1500 at the USAs. Despite expectations, Mu will race the 800 in New York instead, as there is no longer a women’s 1500 event on the schedule. It remains to be seen if Mu can participate in 1500 at the USAs without a qualifying mark. The final decision lies with the Sports Committee Chair, Rose Monday, who holds the discretion to accept non-qualified athletes. Given Mu’s credentials and the potential for an exciting race, including her in the 1500 event seems like an obvious choice.