Olympian Shannon Rowbury of the Nike Oregon Project etched her name in the history books Friday, breaking Mary Decker’s American record in the 1,500 meters at the Herculis meeting in Mocavo, running 3:56.29, pending ratification.
Every athlete in Friday’s Diamond League race set a best of some kind, whether it was a season’s best, personal best or in the case of Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba, a world record (3:50.07).
American Chanelle Price perfectly paced Dibaba, European champion Sifan Hassan, Rowbury and the rest of the field with an opening lap of 61.31 seconds, and paced the lead pack through 800 meters in 2:04.52 before leaving it to Dibaba for the final two laps.
Rowbury—who took three seconds off her previous personal best—and fellow Olympian Jenny Simpson pushed each other throughout the race, but as Dibaba charged towards the line for the world record in 3:50.07, it was Rowbury who emerged as the top American. The two-time 2015 USATF Indoor champion stormed to the finish to come away with a third-place performance of 3:56.29. Simpson crossed fourth in a season’s best 3:57.30, less than a second off her personal best.
Rowbury broke Decker’s previous American record of 3:57.12, set in Stockholm, Sweden prior to her two gold medals at the 1983 World Championships, dubbed as the “Double Decker.” Rowbury now owns two American records outdoors, setting the two-mile American record at the Nike Prefontaine Classic last year.