Armory Track Invite, Camel City, Karlsruhe & Nitro Athletics Down Under: Your Guide to 2017’s Busiest Running Weekend So Far

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By LetsRun.com
February 2, 2017

There’s A LOT going on this weekend. On Saturday alone, there’s stop three of the IAAF World Indoor Tour in Karlsruhe, Germany, the Armory Track Invitational in New York, the Camel City Elite in North Carolina and the U.S. Cross Country Championships in Oregon. And that’s just the Northern Hemisphere action. There’s also the first-ever Usain Bolt-backed Nitro Athletics meet in Melbourne and on Sunday there’s some football game in Houston. It’s a lot to keep track of, but that’s what we’re here for.

We’ve already previewed the elite races at USA XC (men here, women here), and they’ll be held in the late afternoon East Coast time (4:30 women, 5:20 men), which is conveniently after all the track meets wrap up. Unfortunately, viewers will have to choose between watching the meet at the Armory and USA XC. That’s because the elite events at the Armory will not be shown on TV live or even streamed live online; rather they’ll be shown on tape delay on NBC Sports Network from 4:30 p.m. ET to 6:30 p.m. ET — the same time as the senior men’s and women’s races at USA XC. Brilliant.

We break down the best races of the weekend below in chronological order as it would give you a headache to try to figure out a way to follow the action any other way. We suggest you enjoy Saturday’s action a la carte – a few races from each meet.

Paul ChelimoLeo ManzanoRobby AndrewsDrew HunterMelissa Bishop and Ajee Wilson are among the names competing on the track in the United States. However, our race of the day is in Germany where Hellen Obiri and Laura Muir will square off over 3000 meters in Karlsruhe, where Elijah ManangoiDavid Torrence and Erik Sowinski are all also in action.

Karlsruhe Indoor Meeting (Karlsruhe, Germany) 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. ET

Schedule * Start lists

The meet will be shown live in Europe on Eurosport 1 starting at 2:30 p.m. ET (18:30 local).

Armory Track Invitational (The Armory, New York) *Elite portion is 1:00-4:30 p.m. ET but will be shown on NBCSN from 4:30-6:30 p.m. ET.

Schedule * Start lists * TV/streaming information * 2016 coverage

Camel City Elite (JDL Fast Track, Winston-Salem, North Carolina) 2:00-4:00 p.m. ET

Schedule/start lists * Streaming information * 2016 coverage

Races to Watch

1:15 p.m. ET – Armory Track Invite, men’s 300

  1  Gordon, Lalonde                  Trinidad                    
  2  Glass, Najee                     Unattached                  
  3  McDonald, Jonia                  Chase Athlet                
  4  Cooper, Tyrese                   Unattached                  
  5  George, Winston                  Unattached

This one pits 2012 Olympic 400 bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad & Tobago against high school phenom Tyrese Cooper. If you haven’t heard of Cooper, a sophomore from Miami, you will soon. On January 13, he broke the high school national record by running 33.03 for 300 meters and one day later ran a U.S. HS leader of 1:01.88 for 500 meters. For context, last year’s high school phenom, Noah Lyles (who wound up fourth in the Olympic Trials 200) ran 33.18 in 2016. Even though Cooper is old for his grade (he turns 17 next month), he’s still almost two years younger than Lyles was last year. This kid is special.

1:28 pm ET – Karlsruhe, men’s 1500 

NATAthleteDOBYOBPB_outdoorPB_indoorSB_Season_Best
GERBenitz, Timo24-Dez-9119913:34,94– – –– – –
KENBirgen, Bethwel06-Aug-8819883:30,773:34,623:37,81
ESPCastillo, Maury Surel19-Okt-8419843:35,033:43,06– – –
KENKibet, Vincent06-Mai-9119913:31,963:34,91– – –
KENKiplagat, Silas20-Aug-8919893:27,643:35,263:40,74
KENKivuva, Jackson Mumbwa11-Aug-8919893:41,633:45,08– – –
GBRLancashire, Thomas Benjamin (Tom)02-Jul-8519853:33,963:46,75– – –
KENManangoi, Elijah Motonei05-Jan-9319933:29,773:37,623:37,62
FRASelmouni, Sofiane22-Sep-8919893:40,013:41,403:41,40
GERSperlich, Martin28-Aug-9119913:37,183:45,013:45,01
PERTorrence, David26-Nov-8519853:33,233:41,70– – –

The World Indoor Tour series title in the men’s 1500 is worth $20,000 and a bye into World Indoors next year, so these guys definitely have some motivation. 2015 World Champs silver medallist Elijah Manangoi of Kenya is currently tied with Matthew Centrowitz for the series lead, but considering Centro isn’t running any more World Indoor Tour races (that we know of), Manangoi is in the driver’s seat thanks to his world-leading 3:37.62 victory in Dusseldorf on Wednesday. We expect Manangoi, who had to withdraw after the first round of the Olympics last year due to injury, to get the win again on Saturday, but he was pushed by Bethwell Birgen in Dusseldorf (second, 3:37.81), so watch out for him here as well.

1:39 pm ET – Armory Track Invite, men’s 3000 

  1  McDonald, Morgan                 Wisconsin                   
  2  Tuck, Nick                       U Penn                      
  3  Brannigan, Mikey                 NYAC                        
  4  Hunter, Drew                     Adidas                      
  5  Winn, Daniel                     BAA Adidas                  
  6  Hind, Owen                       W. Texas A&M                
  7  Pearson, Morgan                  361 Degrees                 
  8  Mahoney, Travis                  Hoka NJ/NY                  
  9  Crawford, Graham                 Hoka NJ/NY                  
 10  Filippazzo, Nick                 Unattached                  
 11  Parrish, Mark                    Pure Athleti
Hunter broke 4:00 for the first time at this meet last year

Hunter broke 4:00 for the first time at this meet last year

19-year-old pro Drew Hunter looked good in his season opener two weeks ago, running 3:58.92 to win the mile at the New Balance Games on this same track. But he’ll face a sterner test on Saturday in the 3,000. The good news is that Hunter is well-suited for the 3,000 as he’s got a nice mix of speed and strength; his PR is 7:59 from last year, and it should be pointed out that that time came on a flat track. Hunter will likely have to do better than 7:59 if he is to win this race. Wisconsin junior Morgan McDonald has run 7:52 and is coming off his best season yet, placing seventh at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in November. He’ll be going for an NCAA qualifier and the win. Colorado alum Morgan Pearson has also been in good form recently, winning the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving and taking third at Club Cross in December. Olympic Trials 1500 finalist Daniel Winn could be in contention if it comes down to a kick, but he hasn’t run a 3k since 2014. Plus Paralympic 1500 champion Mikey Brannigan is in the field in his 2017 opener.

1:50 pm ET – Karlsruhe, women’s 3000 – Obiri vs. Muir!! Our Race Of The Day

NATAthleteDOBYOBPB_outdoorPB_indoorSB_Season_Best
SWEBahta, Meraf24-Jun-8919898:43,089:09,24– – –
ROMBobocea, Claudia11-Jun-9219929:11,399:03,42– – –
ETHEmbaye, Axumawit18-Okt-9419948:51,82– – –– – –
POLEnnaoui, Sofia30-Aug-9519958:59,448:49,07– – –
ESPFernandez, Nuria16-Aug-7619768:38,058:49,49– – –
GERKlein, Hanna06-Apr-931993– – –– – –– – –
GERKlosterhalfen, Konstanze18-Feb-9719978:46,748:56,36– – –
GBRMeadows, Jennifer (Jenny)17-Apr-811981– – –– – –– – –
GBRMuir, Laura09-Mai-9319938:38,478:49,738:59,39
KENObiri, Hellen13-Dez-8919898:20,688:29,998:39,08
POLPlis, Renata05-Feb-8519858:39,188:50,75– – –

This is the race of the day. You’ve got Olympic 5k silver medallist Hellen Obiri, who has been murdering the competition this year and is coming off an 8:39 world leader in Boston, vs. Brit Laura Muir, who ran a British record of 14:49 for 5,000 meters back on January 4. Since then, Muir has been training in South Africa but she’s back in Europe now and ready to roll. Obiri is very strong right now, as shown by her destruction of Sifan Hassan and Shannon Rowbury over the final 400 meters in Boston last week, but will she be able to drop Muir as she did those two women? A slow early pace last week doomed any chance Obiri had at a fast time, but she closed her final 1600 in 4:31 and has a shot to go a lot faster in Karlsruhe.

Worth noting: the Kenyan national record (held by Obiri) is 8:29.99, while the British national record is 8:31.50, set by Jo Pavey back in 2007.

2:02 pm ET – Armory Track Invite, women’s 600 

  1  Manley, Meg                      Central Park                
  2  Lipsey, Charlene                 Adidas                      
  3  Sharp, Lynsey                    Adidas                      
  4  Wilson, Ajee                     Adidas                      
  5  Williams, Olicia                 Big Bear TC                 
  6  Barowski, Cecilia                Hoka NJ/NY                  
  7  Watson, Samantha                 Henrietta NY

There are several athletes to watch in this one. 22-year-old American Ajee Wilson is the headliner, as she’s coming off a 1:25.23 win at this same distance two weeks ago, a time that ranks #2 ever by an American indoors. She’s still a ways off Alysia Montano‘s American record (1:23.59) but Wilson could dip into the 1:24s on Saturday. Charlene Lipsey has also been running well in 2017 after joining Wilson’s training group under coach Derek Thompson. So far, she’s set indoor PRs in the 800 (2:02.01) and mile (4:31.35) and given that she hasn’t run the 600 since high school, her 1:29.85 PR is likely to tumble here. Olympic 800 finalist Lynsey Sharp, who lost to Lipsey in Boston last weekend, is also entered, as is high schooler Sammy Watson, who set the U.S. high school record of 1:28.67 on January 21. Watson won that race by over nine seconds; with women to chase in New York, she could go even faster.

2:11 pm ET – Karlsruhe, women’s 800 

NATAthleteDOBYOBPB_outdoorPB_indoorSB_Season_Best
BLRArzamasova, Marina17-Dez-8719871:57,542:00,792:03,10
SUIBüchel, Selina26-Jul-9119911:57,952:00,932:02,52
GERHering, Christina09-Okt-9419941:59,542:00,932:03,48
POLJozwik, Joanna30-Jan-9119911:57,372:00,012:00,91
UKRLebid, Anastasiya30-Okt-9319932:05,772:07,192:07,19
GBROskan-Clarke, Shelayna20-Jan-9019901:58,862:02,662:03,63
DENTroest, Stina17-Jan-9419942:04,292:02,812:04,28
BENYarigo, Noélie26-Dez-8519851:59,122:02,012:09,71

Poland’s Joanna Jozwik clocked a world leader of 2:00.91 in Dusseldorf on Wednesday and will look to take another step toward the series title. 2015 world champ Marina Arzamasova (fifth in Boston, fourth in Dusseldorf) is entered, as is last year’s British outdoor champ Shelayna Oskan-Clarke.

2:19 pm ET – Armory Track Invite, men’s mile

  1  Villarreal, Carlos               Arizona                     
  2  Avila, Eric                      Hoka                        
  3  Hazouri, Brandon                 Unattached                  
  4  Campbell, Kemoy                  New Balance                 
  5  Butchart, Andrew                 New Balance                 
  6  Crocker, Will                    District Tra                
  7  Hatler, Chris                    U Penn                      
  8  Palmer, Ford                     Hoka NJ/NY                  
  9  Santana, Alfredo                 Juventus TC                 
 10  Fleet, Mac                       Nike                        
 11  Gagnon, Brian                    Hoka NJ/NY

In terms of talent, Scot Andrew Butchart is the top guy in this race — he was sixth in the Olympic 5k last year and ran 7:42 in Boston last weekend for 3k — but he hasn’t run a mile in almost four years. That makes this a fairly wide open race, with Olympic Trials finalist Eric AvilaFord Palmer (fifth at USAs in 2014) and two-time NCAA champ Mac Fleet the main contenders.

2:35 pm ET – Camel City Elite, men’s 3000 

Chelimo will look to follow up his win in Boston with another in North Carolina

Chelimo will look to follow up his win in Boston with another in North Carolina

Paul Chelimo | US Army
Tomas Cotter | Asics Furman Elite (rabbit)
Lee Emanuel | Hoka One One
Caleb Hoover | Asics Furman Elite
Riley Masters
Aric Van Halen
Kigen Chemadi | Mid Tenn State
Jacob Choge | Mid Tenn State
Arse’ne Guillorel | Samford
Daniel Jaskowak | Virginia Tech
Amon Kemboi | Campbell |
Lawrence Kipkoech | Campbell
Sam Parsons | NC State
Troy Reeder | Furman
Peter Seufer | Virginia Tech
Amon Terer | Campbell
Jacob Thomson | Kentucky

Put an Olympic silver medallist against a field of mostly college kids and you’re only going to get one outcome. Actually, we’ll reel our confidence in just a bit as Brit Lee Emanuel actually beat Paul Chelimo at this very distance at World Indoors last year. But after Chelimo, who’s returning to his old college stomping grounds in North Carolina, ran a world-leading 7:42 3k last week to take down a stacked field in Boston, we expect him to get the win here.

The 4x800 world record was set in a crazy race in Boston in 2014

The 4×800 world record was set in a crazy race in Boston in 2014

2:36 pm ET – Armory Track Invite, 4 x 800 WR attempt in men’s 4×800 relay 

  1  Duke  'A'                                                    
  2  Oklahoma  'A'                                                
  3  Bloomfield  'A'                                              
  4  Lehigh  'A'                                                  
  5  McGill  'A'                                                  
  6  Main Street Elite  'A'                                       
  7  District Track Club  'A'                                     
  8  Hoka NJ/NY TC  'A'

The intrigue here is that Main Street Elite, the Jason Vigilante-coached quartet of Robby AndrewsPeter CallahanAnthony Kostelac and Russell Dinkins, will be going for the world record of 7:13.11. That averages out to 1:48.28, which is not a gimme with this group. Andrews (1:44.71 pb, 2:21 1k win last week in Boston), obviously, is world-class but Callahan (1:48.66 pb), Kostelac (1:47.28 pb) and Dinkins (1:47.47 pb) will all need to deliver huge performances if they are to have a shot at the record.

Remember, when the current world record was set three years ago in Boston, the record-setting team (Duane SolomonDavid TorrenceErik SowinskiRichard Jones) was more talented than this Main Street Elite squad and they had competition in the form of NY*NY Track Club, who pushed them all the way to the line (fun fact: Andrews was on that NJ*NY squad, which finished just .11 behind in second). NJ*NY TC does have a squad entered here (likely Chris GiestingJoe McAseyGoaner Deng and Brian Gagnon) but it’s not as strong as the 2014 version (Kyle Merber, Gagnon, Andrews and Mike Rutt).

This race originally was intended to be a battle of all of the top US post-collegiate clubs but not everyone got on board.

In the end, we don’t think the record goes down. Even coach Vigilante told us that he’s not sure a WR is “in the cards” as a world record is “special” and a relay world record almost always requires great competition.

3:00 pm ET – Camel City Elite, women’s 800

Melissa Bishop | Nike
Ce’Aira Brown | Hoka NJNY TC
Kendra Chambers | Texas Elite Track Club
Dana Mecke | Texas Elite Track Club
Laurie Barton | Virginia Tech
Abike Egbeniyi | Middle Tennessee State
Hanna Green | Virginia Tech
Hannah Segrave | Milligan

Olympic fourth placer Melissa Bishop should cruise to the victory here. The only question is whether she takes down her meet record from last year (2:02.10) in her 2017 opener. Bishop is coming off a warm-weather training stint in Florida and feels good about her fitness, so we’ll say she does it. If not, we still expect her to get the win in this rustbuster before she heads to Europe for races in Ireland and Birmingham.

For more on Bishop, be sure to check out our interview with her from earlier this week: LRC Q&A: Canadian 800 Star Melissa Bishop Opens Up About Her Olympic Heartbreak, What It’s Like Racing Caster Semenya And Why She Stayed In Canada For College

3:40 pm ET – Camel City Elite, women’s mile 

Christy Cazzola | West Stride
Stephanie Garcia | New Balance
Cory McGee | New Balance
Lauren Paquette | Brooks (rabbit)
Rachel Schneider | Under Armour
Erin Teschuk | Asics Furman Elite
Agnes Abu | Mid Tenn State
Ryen Frazier | NC State
Kimberly Johansen | Elon
Megan Moye | NC State
Karisa Nelson | Samford
Rachel Pocratsky | Virginia Tech
Nevada Mareno | Unattached (Stanford signee)

Cory McGee, who represented the U.S. at World Indoors last year in the 1500, is the best bet for the win here and she appears to be fit after running an indoor PR of 2:02.20 in the 800 last weekend and coming back the next day to split 4:31 on the anchor of a DMR. Stephanie Garcia (8:55 3k in Boston) and Rachel Schneider (fifth at USA outdoors in 2015) could also be factors here.

3:50 pm ET – Camel City Elite, men’s mile 

Andy Bayer | Nike
Paul Chelimo | US Army
Nate Brannen | Unattached
Donnie Cowart | Saucony
Leo Manzano | Hoka One One
Chad Noelle | Asics Furman Elite
Neil Gourley | Virginia Tech
Simon Holden | Wake Forest
Sampson Laari | Mid Tenn State
Nick Morken | North Florida
Kendall Muhammad | Kentucky
Diego Zarate | Virginia Tech

This should be a good one. Leo Manzano will be coming down from a training camp in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, where he told LetsRun.com that he’s been “hitting it hard.” Manzano feels confident that he is in good shape for Saturday’s race, and while you never know quite what you’re going to get from Manzano (especially in a season opener), we like his chances here. He won’t be able to relax, however, as Canadian Olympic finalist Nate Brannen also looks to be fit coming off a 7:47 3k season opener in Seattle. Chelimo, as well, cannot be discounted, though he’ll be doubling back from the 3k, which starts 75 minutes earlier.

For more on Manzano, read this lengthy Q&A we did with him this week: LRC Q&A: Leo Manzano On How He Went from Unable to Walk to 4th at the Olympic Trials in 9 Weeks, Why He Excels in Championship Races, Breaking 1:44 in the 800 & Much More.

5:00 am ET (tehnically this should have been listed first but few of our visitors will be up to watch it) – Usain Bolt’s Big Idea: Nitro Athletics

Usain Bolt will start his 2017 season Down Under on Saturday at the inaugural Nitro Athletics meet in Melbourne. While purists may scoff at the Nitro Athletics meet, we’re curious to see how the nontraditional meet goes. What do we mean about nontraditional? Check out the list of events:

Download (PDF, 190KB)

Is this meet going to “save track and field”? Probably not. But we’re interested to see javelin throwers aim at targets and the elimination mile, where whoever is in last is pulled from the race after each of the first three laps.

This is a team competition, contested over three nights (Saturday, February 4; Thursday, February 9; and Saturday, February 11), and though we don’t know exactly who will be involved in every event, there are some big-name stars committed. Bolt’s team includes Asafa Powell, Olympic 400 hurdles champ Kerron Clement, former Arkansas star Jarrion Lawson, 2008 Olympic 100 hurdles champ Dawn Harper-Nelson and Jenna Prandini, while Australia (Ryan Gregson, Genevieve LaCazeFabrice Lapierre), England, Japan, China and New Zealand will all have teams too.

The problem for U.S. fans is that, as far as we can tell, there’s no U.S. stream. And even if there was, because the event is taking place at 7:00 p.m. local time on Saturday night, that means that it would be on at 3:00 a.m. U.S. time on Saturday morning. If you’re in Australia, you can watch it on Channel Seven (full broadcast info here).

For more info on the meet, teams and rules, check out the Nitro Athletics website.