The Prefontaine Classic consistently delivers exhilarating races year after year, distinguishing itself among the Diamond League meets. Its unique advantages include being the only Diamond League event held in the United States, the world’s most dominant track nation, and its strong ties to Nike, which often ensure the participation of top athletes who might otherwise skip the trip to Eugene. The timing of the event is also ideal—far enough into the season to draw meaningful conclusions from the results, but early enough to keep the outcomes unpredictable.

This year’s Prefontaine Classic promises to be no exception, featuring a star-studded lineup that includes Sha’Carri Richardson, Grant Holloway, Elle St. Pierre, and Rai Benjamin. The meet also boasts intriguing matchups, such as Erriyon Knighton versus Letsile Tebogo in the 200 meters and Keely Hodgkinson versus Mary Moraa in the 800 meters, although Athing Mu has withdrawn due to hamstring soreness. The Bowerman Mile, featuring stars like Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Josh Kerr, Jake Wightman, and Yared Nuguse, is so packed with talent that it merits a separate Olympic-sized preview.

Embed from Getty Images

Adding to the excitement, Kenya will hold its Olympic 10,000m trials at this year’s event, making it the most significant meet of the outdoor season so far. With just four weeks until the US Olympic Trials and nine weeks until the Paris Olympics, the Prefontaine Classic could have major implications for both.

Key Races to Watch

Women’s 5000 Meters 

Headlining the Women’s 5000 meters is Sifan Hassan, the reigning Olympic champion in both the 5k and 10k. After a recent return to the track at the Track Fest in LA, where she ran 14:58 to win the 5000 meters, Hassan aims to improve her speed in Eugene. She will face strong competition from Ethiopian talents like World Indoor champion Freweyni Hailu and 18-year-old Birke Haylom, who recently ran a 3:53 1500 meters in Xiamen. Also in the mix is Ejgayehu Taye, who ran 14:29 for second place in Doha earlier this month.

Embed from Getty Images

American runners Weini Kelati and Emily Infeld will also compete, aiming to meet the 14:52.00 Olympic standard. Kelati, who ran 30:33 for 10,000 meters in March, has a better shot than Infeld, who recently ran 15:12 at the Bryan Clay Invitational but is just a year removed from her personal best of 14:50.

Women’s 10,000 Meters 

Initially billed as a world record attempt by Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay, the Women’s 10,000 meters now also serves as the Kenyan Olympic trials. Tsegay, who set the 5,000-meter world record at last year’s Prefontaine Classic, will aim to break Letesenbet Gidey’s 10,000-meter world record of 29:01.03. Conditions are expected to be ideal for a record attempt, with cooler, overcast weather predicted.

Embed from Getty Images

The Kenyan athletes, including Beatrice Chebet, Agnes Ngetich, Lilian Rengeruk, Margaret Kipkemboi, Emmaculate Anyango, and Grace Nawowuna, will not only vie for Olympic qualification but also potentially push the pace with Tsegay. The selection process for the Kenyan team remains somewhat unclear, adding an extra layer of intrigue to the race.

American contenders Ednah Kurgat and Rachel Smith will also compete, seeking to improve their world rankings and chase the challenging 30:40 Olympic standard.

Event Details

  • What: 2024 Prefontaine Classic
  • Where: Hayward Field, Eugene, Oregon
  • When: Saturday, May 25. USATF.TV+ broadcast begins at 1:40 p.m. ET, Diamond League track events start at 4:00 p.m. ET.
  • How to Watch: Live broadcast in the United States on NBC from 4-6 p.m. ET on Saturday.

The Prefontaine Classic is set to be a pivotal event in the lead-up to the US Olympic Trials and the Paris Olympics. With top-tier athletes, exciting matchups, and potential record-breaking performances, this year’s meet promises to be an unforgettable spectacle for track and field fans worldwide.