DES MOINES, Iowa - Wallace Spearmon broke the Drake Relays 200m meet record with a time of 20.02sec, and was delighted to better the mark set 15 years ago by athletics great Michael Johnson.
“I started looking at the clock a little early,” Spearmon admitted on Saturday. “To be mentioned in the same sentence as (Johnson) is a great honor.”
Spearmon’s time was three-hundredths of a second better than the previous meet record set by Johnson in 1997.
Spearmon has already run under 20 seconds this season, clocking 19.95 in Arlington, Texas, last month.
But to be so fast in the chilly, windy conditions on Saturday was a good sign in a season pointed at the London Olympics.
“I can look back at this race and say at the end of the day, whatever the elements and whatever was going on with the weather, I shouldn’t run any slower than 20 (seconds),” Spearmon said. “That should be my cut-off point, so that’s a positive thing from this race.”
The weather prompted Lolo Jones, a hometown favorite who is always a big draw at the Drake Relays, to scratch from the 100m hurdles rather than risk injury.
Jenny Simpson, the reigning world champion in the 1,500, won her signature event in 4:12.95 but admitted it was a bit closer than she expected.
“I did not realize how close the field was getting. You have to remember when you take the lead,” Simpson said. “You have to press every 400 meters, because you have a target on your back.”
Jenn Suhr defied the windy weather to set a meet record in the women’s pole vault of 4.65m
“It was a lot to get used to, especially in warm-ups with the wind all over the place,” Suhr said. “As the meet went on it steadied out, so I was able to get some good looks to go back and train from.”
Chaunte Lowe, who owns the best high jump in the world this year of 2.00m, won her event comfortably with a clearance of 1.98m.
American Ryan Wilson won the 110m hurdles in 13.20sec, with two-time Olympic silver medallist Terrance Trammell settling for third in 13.36.
“I felt plenty of mistakes in my race, but that’s OK,” Trammell said. “It’s still really early, and with the mistakes that I’ve made I still wasn’t far off of where I wanted to be time-wise.”