By Grace Kalac – Runner’s Tribe
Linden Hall has written her name in the history books after running 4:00.86 at the Prefontaine Classic, surpassing her former coach Sarah Jamieson’s Australian record by 0.07.
Hall finished sixth in the red-hot field, with the first four runners all dipping under the four-minute mark. Hall ran relaxed but with determination. She held onto the front pack and finished strong.
She said she planned to focus on racing and she ignored the clock.
“I’m feeling really proud that I followed that plan pretty closely, as turns out it worked out well. I felt I ran confidently, and didn’t let the calibre of the field overwhelm me,” Hall said.
Exactly two years earlier at the same meet, Hall turned heads as she ran a personal best of 4:01.78. With this personal best came a new ambition, and a new belief, that she could break Jamieson’s record of 4:00.93.
“I got a sniff of the record and it’s been high on my to-do list since then. It doesn’t quite feel real, it’s something I’ve been chasing for a while now so it’s hard to believe I’ve finally achieved it,” Hall said.
Hall is no stranger to the University of Oregan’s historic Hayward Field, home to the Prefontaine Classic. She ran on the track many times during her college career at the University of Florida from 2011-2015.
But prior to her time in the United States, Hall was coached by Sarah Jamieson. A long-time idol for her, Hall said Jamieson has been an ever-important person in her corner.
“It’s pretty special to think I’ve been able to run as quick as Sarah. I remember when she ran four minutes back in 2006 and thinking it was crazy fast. So it’s certainly not something I thought I’d be able to ever do back then,” Hall said.
“It’s also finally the Athletics Essendon club record, which I’m just as excited to finally have!”
Since her return to Australia in 2015, Hall has been coached by the renowned Bruce Scriven, who also coached Jamieson.
She will now return to Flagstaff, Arizona for a stint at Altitude before organising the remainder of her season.
“Lots of planning to be done, hopefully this run today will open up some doors and fast racing opportunities,” she said.
“The rest of the summer we’ll be looking for some more fast 1500s but also looking to have a crack at another 5km.”
Fellow Australian Zoe Buckman finished 13th in the 1500m in 4:08.75.
Luke Mathews showcased his current stellar form as he backed up his Commonwealth Games 800m bronze with a win in the Men’s international mile.
His fourth ever race at Hayward Field, Mathews improved on his sixth place in the event last year.
He drifted towards the back of the field in the mid stages of the race but looked strong with one lap to go. Keeping the crowd on their toes once again, he used his trademark finishing speed to his advantage, rocketing past his opponents in the final straight to claim line honours.
“It was a great start to the international season. My fitness is in a good spot, and I had a decent kick early in the season. I’m really looking forward to this year,” Mathews said.