Rai Benjamin started 2023 with a remarkable performance at the Mt. SAC Relays, winning his signature event, the 400m hurdles, with a World Leading time of 47.74. The Olympic and World Championship silver medalist took control of the race right from the opening gun shot, quickly making up the stagger and taking a one-meter lead on the largely collegiate field by the start of the backstretch.
Benjamin continued to widen the gap from there on, finishing first with an impressive lead over the second-place finisher, Cass Elliot of the University of Washington, who finished with a time of 49.65 and was 10 meters behind Benjamin at the finish line. Shakeem Smith of the Bahamas finished fourth in 50.09.
Benjamin’s time of 47.74, which was a meet record, beat the previous world lead by a full second. This incredible performance comes just a few weeks after Benjamin’s outdoor campaign began with a hurdle-less 400m run in 44.94 on April 1st, and only a week after his 44.21 finish at the USC Trojan invite.
Michael Norman, Benjamin’s fellow Nike athlete and countryman, also competed at the Mt. SAC Relays. Norman tested his speed in the 100m dash despite a +3.0 tailwind. Norman finished third with a time of 10.03, behind Cravont Charleston (9.87) and Kyree King (9.98).