Evan Jager made another brave attempt at the eight-minute barrier at the Monaco Diamond League on Friday, July 20, the Bowerman Track Club athlete coming home second in the 3000m steeplechase in 8:01.02. The race was won by Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali in 7:58.15.
Evan Jager secured his seventh consecutive US title in the 3000m steeplechase with a peerless display on the final day of action in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sunday.
Jager unleashed a sub-60-second final lap to win in a stadium record of 8:20.10, well clear of Hillary Bor (8:22.58) and Andy Bayer (8:24.66).
The biggest threat to Jager came not from his rivals but from the weather, with a thunderstorm halting action in Des Moines for a couple of hours shortly before he was due to take to the line. However, Jager explained afterward that the disruption had little effect on him.
“I was ready to go at 1 [a.m], 2 [a.m.], whenever, it didn’t matter,” he said. “If they wanted to bring us back tomorrow that was fine with me. I would have run whenever.”
The mid-race pace was steady, well below Jager’s usual tempo, but then the Bowerman Track Club athlete cranked through the gears, dropping a 62-second penultimate lap before his 59.68-second closer to take a magnificent seventh straight title. He will now turn his attention to a sub-8-minute clocking in Monaco nexth month.
“If it’s super fast I’m excited to test myself and see how fast I can run, see how long I can hold on. If it’s 7:55, it’s 7:55. If it’s 8 flat, it’s 8 flat. I might as well push it,” he told Letsrun.com.
More from Jager below:
Evan Jager made an impressive 2018 steeplechase debut when finishing third at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene on Saturday, the Bowerman Track Club athlete in a photo finish with Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto, both athletes credited with the same time of 8:11.71.
The race was won by Kenya’s Benjamin Kigen in 8:09.07.
“I felt pretty good," said Jager. I felt like I was in a great rhythm. I was focusing on staying relaxed and Jerry [Schumacher] gave me the green light to do what I wanted. I didn’t want to make a move today and instead see what I could do over the last 200. I probably could have been a little more aggressive.”
Jager will now turn his attention to the US Championships before focusing on a tilt at the eight-minute barrier in Monaco in July.
Evan Jager opened his season with a win at the Bryan Clay Invitational last week in California.
Jager took a narrow win over Isaac Kimeli of Belgium in the men’s 5000m, holding on down the home stretch to break the tape in 13:24.77, just in front of Kimeli in 13:24.92. Suguru Osako of the Nike Oregon Project was third in 13:29.11. This was Jager’s third race of the year, having finished fifth at the USATF Cross Country Championships and clocked a 3:58 mile indoors.
Earlier this week, Jager announced his first steeplechase outing of the season will come at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, which takes place on May 26 in Hayward Field. The Olympic silver medalist will take on his conqueror in Rio, Kenya’s Conseslus Kipruto, who will go to Eugene fresh from victory at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast this month. Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali, 22, the silver medalist at last year’s World Outdoor Championships, is also in the field.
Evan Jager had an impressive start on his return to racing after a 6-month absence, the Olympic silver medalist running his first cross country race in more than a decade in Tallahassee, Florida.
Jager finished fourth in the men's 10,000m race at the USATF Cross Country Championships, his time of 29:31.5 just behind bronze medalist Stanley Kebenei (29:31.4). The race was won by Leonard Korir in 29:16.6 ahead of Galen Rupp, 29:17.8.
Among those impressed by Jager's performance was Letsrun.com, who wrote: "Jager ran a very nice race to take fourth, especially since this race was well out of his comfort zone — only his second race ever above 5k, and his first cross country race since his senior year of high school over 11 years ago. He couldn’t hang with the true 10k guys Korir and Rupp, but he was in the lead group throughout and closed well for fourth place.
“I was pretty much as surprised as everyone else hearing the news that I was gonna be racing here,” Jager said in a piece he filmed with USATF before the meet. “I was totally taken aback. Took me a couple days to wrap my head around the possibility of actually running cross country again.”
Evan Jager (pictured above competing at the 2006 FootLocker Midwest XC) will open his 2018 campaign by competing at the USATF Cross Country Championships in Tallahassee, Florida this weekend.
Jager will compete in the men's 10,000m race, which will be the 28-year-old's first competition since the Brussels Diamond League last September. Jager had another strong showing throughout 2017, the Bowerman Track Club athlete netting a bronze medal at the IAAF World Championships in London and scoring his first win on the Diamond League circuit when winning the 3000m steeplechase in Monaco in a blazing 8:01.29.