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2008 LetsRun.com US Men's 800, 1,500 Rankings As Of May 30, 2008
May 30, 2008
by: LetsRun.com

This week at LetsRun.com we introduce the LetsRun.com Mid-d & Distance Rankings.

This week we're doing the 800 and 1500. Next weekend the steeple, 5k, and 10k.  We're sure we made a few errors as this is our first attempt at this. Email us at [email protected] with any comments you have.We rushed to put this up and didn't include photos. If anyone has some photos they'd like us to use, please email us.

We decided that one of the biggest problems with track and field is that it's very hard for the casual fan to follow it as there are a ton of events and no-one knows who is in form or not. Thus we thought we'd help people keep track of things by ranking the top 10 US runners for each distance event. The ranking are based on current form and are supposed to reflect how we think they'd end up if you lined them up and had them race right  now -  it's not a cumulative yearly ranking.

Our stats came from a combination of TrackandFieldNews.com US leaders lists, our own adjustments, and incredible individual stats at tilastopaja.org

USA Men's 1,500 Meter Stats

2008 Top Times
3:35.14 Bernard Lagat  adidas 05/18

3:36.36 Lopez Lomong  adidas  05/18
3:36.61 Jon Rankin adidas  05/18
3:38.  Will Leer adidas  05/18  

3:38.26 Said Ahmed 5/27 in Sudan (we missed the one)
3:38.60 Andrew Wheating Oregon 05/09
3:40.04  Matt Tegenkamp Cardinal 05/04  
3:40.22  Andrew Bumbalough Princeton  04/1
3:40.25  Bobby Curtis   Swarthmore  05/13
3:40.29 Chris Lukezic  Cardinal Inv  05/04
3:40.41  Jonathon Riley  ASU  04/12  

2007 USATF Finals
1 Alan Webb Nike 3:34.82
2 Leonel Manzano Texas 3:35.29
3 Bernard Lagat Nike 3:35.55
4 Christopher Lukezic Reebok 3:36.95
5 Andrew McClary unattached 3:39.81
6 Said Ahmed Nike 3:40.80
7 Russell Brown Stanford 3:41.80
8 John Jefferson Oregon TC 3:42.46
9 Garrett Heath Stanford 3:42.88
10 William Leer unattached 3:44.20
11 Rob Myers Reebok 3:45.59
12 Gabriel Jennings Saucony 3:47.54

2007 Top 10 Seasonal Bests (All under 3:38.00)
3:30.54 Alan Webb (Nike)
3:33.85 Bernard Lagat (Nike)
3:34.25 Matt Tegenkamp (Nike)
3:35.29 Leo Manazano (Texas)
3:35.72  Jon Rankin (Nike)    
3:36.49  Rob Myers (Reebok)    
3:36.95  Chris Lukezic (Reebok)    
3:37.13  Adam Goucher (Nike)    
3:37.27  Chris Solinsky (Wi)   
3:37.56  Russell Brown (Stan)

10) Will Leer - DOB: ?? PB: 3:38.11 (2008), 2008 Best: 3:38.11, Last Race: 3:38.11, 2007 Best: 3:40.06.
While many visitors to the site are accusing of LRC.com of being a hater of the D3 csene, the reality is far from the truth. We've been meaning to give this Steve Prefontaine look-alike major props for some time now.  The former D3 star is really making his mark in his first season with the Oregon Track Club as he ran 3:38.11 for 8th at adidas. Hell last year, just after graduating from Pomona, Leer finished 10th at USAs. He's clearly in better shape this year. That's the good news. The bad news? So are a lot of other people.

9) Rob Myers -DOB: 8/5/1980PB: 3:34:89 (2005), 2008 Best: 3:40.89i Last Race: DNF 3k at adidas, 2007 Best: 3:36.49.
In the 1,500 Myers was the 6th fastest American in 2007 and the indoor champion early in 2008.  Last year, his seasonal best came early in the year (at the adidas meet in May) and it looks like Myers is trying to prevent that from occurring again this year as he hasn't raced a 1,500 outdoors so far. He did run a 1:49 800 to win on May 4th.

We won't hold his DNF from the 3k in the heat of LA against him, but we'd like to see him run a 1,500 and he might be moved up quickly.

8) Chris Lukezic: DOB: 4/24/1984 ,PB: 3:33.28 (2006), 2008 Best: 3:40.29, Last Race: 3:40.29, 2007 Best: 3:36.95.
Hard to believe that Lukezic is still only 24 years old and that he ran 3:33.28 as a 22 year old. Not too shabby. However, it seems like Lukezic has almost been forgotten by the press in recent years.  That's what you get when you turn pro early, as America is a society that focuses on winners and Lukezic hasn't won anything since his junior days.

Lukezic ran weell last year at USAs. Many seem to forget that he was right with Webb, Manzano and Lagat until the last 200. However, he didn't have a good indoor season this year (4:05 mile at Reebok Boston) and hasn't done anything of note outdoors so far this year.  In his last race, he lost to 5k stud Matt Tegenkamp at Stanford (3:40.04 to 3:40.29). The good news for Lukezic is that his training partner, Kevin Sullivan ran really well at adidas.

7) Matt Tegenkamp:DOB: 1/19/1982 PB: 3:34.25 (2007), 2008 Best: 3:40.04 Last Race: 3:40.04, 2007 Best: 3:34.25
Tegenkamp is the #1 American born talent in the 5k currently. He's unlikely to run the 1,500 Trials at USAs but the schedule is set up so that if you bomb the 5k, you can come back and try in the 1,500. If that doomsday scenario takes place, Tegenkamp could make some noise - particularly if the pace is honest.

At 1,500, he appears to be a bit overmatched by the big 1500 studs as exemplified by him losing to Lomong by .62 in Arizona early in the year (3:39.50 to 3:40.12). However, he can more than hold his own against guys that aren't likely to make the Olympic team but are strong candidates for a top 10 showing. For example, he defeated Lukezic at Stanford by .25 on May 4th.

6) Andrew Wheating - DOB: 11/21/1987 PB: 3:38:60 (2008), 2008 Best: 3:38:60 Last Race: 1:46.83 800, 2007 Best: 3:45:17.
The 20 year old Oregon sophomore has been the revelation of the US collegiate scene so far in 2008 as he's the collegiate leader at both 1,500 (3:38.60) and 800 (1:46.83). He's got a nasty kick as shown by the video on the right where he throws down a 26.1 last 200 to set the collegiate leader of 3:38.60.

From a no-name to an Olympic contender all in a year. We sure hope he's enjoying the magical ride as much as we are. We also hope to see him run the 1,500 at NCAAs as we want to see him have a showdown with Manzano.

5) Jon Rankin- DOB: 2/9/1982  Personal Best: 3:35.26. 2008 Best: 3:36.61 Last Race:  3:36.61 (6th adidas) 2007 Best: 3:35.72
Given the fact that he's run 3:35, Rankin is way more under the radar than he probably should be. It's probably because he hasn't proven himself to be a big-time championship runner yet. Rankin never made the finals of the NCAA 1,500 while in college (in 2005, he failed to make the NCAA final when he was one of the favorites). His only top 10 showing at USAs was when he was 6th in 2005.

But Rankin is running well so far this year and was only .25 behind Lomong at the adidas meet. But in that meet, Lomong was up front all along, Rankin moved up late.

4) Lopez Lomong - DOB: 1/1/1985 Personal Best: 3:36:36 2008 Best: 3:36:36 Last Race: 3:36:36 2007 Best: 3:37.07
We are big, big fans of the Lopez. Heading into last year, we thought he'd do some serious damage at 1,500 as he had shown himself fast enough to run 1:47.00 in the 800 and strong enough to get 4th at NCAAs in cross country. We figured a good 1,500 had to be in there somewhere and Lopez certainly didn't disappoint.  He captured NCAAs in the 1,500 and ended up running 1:45.79 for 800.

So far this year, he's been running well. He beat Tegenkamp and Riley and Solinsky in Arizona before getting 4th at the adidas Track Classic. Adidas was a bit of a disappointment for us as we thought he might be close to Nick Willis and Kevin Sullivan but given the fact he totally was wiped out in the fall prior to the restart, we'll give him a pass.

3) Leonel Manzano - DOB: 9/12/1984 Personal Best: 3:35:29 2008 Best: 3:56:98 mile or 3:41.80 1,500 at altitude Last Race:  3:41:80 2007 Best: 3:35.29
The Longhorn has proven himself to be simply unbeatable in the college ranks so far this year. He's race 8 times at 1,500 or the mile and won 8 times - way more if you count the DMRs and 4 x miles he's run.  He beat Lagat last year at USAs and has a really, really good chance of ending up on the Olympic team this year as he's got a great, great kick.

He's in super form now as he's totally 100% race sharp. The question is do you put him 3rd or 4th?  Very, very hard to choose between the two.  We gotta go with Manzano for now simply because the point of these rankings is to tell you who is in the best current form. At the end of the year, we'll do a yearly ranking. Manzano is really sharp right now as he's been racing since February.

If you asked us who is more likely to get 3rd at the Trials, we'd have to say. Lomong - simply because he edged Manzano at NCAAs last year and he'll be fresher than Manzano. However, just because Lomong is faster than Manzano and stronger than Manzano, that doesn't mean that Lomong necessarily has a better kick than Manzano.  

At the Trials, it really should be very interesting. Another big thing going for Manzano is he is hungrier. He doesn't have a contract yet and will want to produce big-time. Lomong is already living the high-life. Manzano seems to be getting more and more serious about running each year and getting better as a result.

Stat of the week: In researching the stats for this piece, we were surprised to learn that Manzano is only 5 months younger than Chris Lukezic.

2. Alan Webb - DOB: 1/13/1983 Personal Best: 3:30.54 2008 Best: 3:30.54 Last Race:  DNF Carlsbad 5k 2007 Best: 3:30.54
Webb had a phenomenal 2007. A win at USAs and win in the Paris Golden League.  Add in the American record in the mile (3:46.91) that served as the world leader in the event plust a world leader in the 1,500 and a stunning 1:43.84 800 (world's #2 time) and you've got yourself a hell of a runner. On paper, Webb looks even better than Lagat as Lagat is 33 and Webb is in his prime at age 25.

The problem is Webb's 2008 season has been a disaster so far. A 16th place showing in the US 8k championships and then a DNF in the Carlsbad 5k. The knock on Webb in the past has been that he doesn't know how to peak properly when it counts and that he doesn't know how to not overtrain. The early season results certainly don't assuage those fears.

The good news? Both of Webb's early season disasters came in distance events. Plus he skipped indoors. That can mean only one thing. Webb was focused on building his strength which was what we wanted to see from him after last year's amazing track season.  Webb still seems confident and it doesn't seem possible that he could burn himself out with proper distance training. Overtain a little? Yes.
Cook himself entirely? Not likely.

But if he bombs in his first 1,500 of the year next week at Pre, we no longer are giving him the benefit of the doubt and move him way, way, way down the list.

1. Bernard Lagat - DOB: 12/12/1974 Personal Best: 3:26:34 2008 Best: 3:35:14 Last Race:  3:35:14 2007 Best: 3:33.85
Was there any doubt? The double world champion at 1,500 and 5k outdoors last year deserves to be #1. Obviously he only finished 3rd at USAs last year but the golds in Osaka more than made up for it and made everyone forget that Lagat was really struggling last July (after USAs, he got 7th in Paris and 3rd in Sheffield).  

So far in 2008, he's done pretty well for himself as he currently sits at #1 on the US list at both 5k (13:16.19)and 1,500 (3:35.14).

Lagat is a stud but he's far, far from a sure thing at the Olympics. Given the heat that is expected, we think he's probably a more sure thing for a medal at 5k than he is at 1,500. Given the fact that Bekele isn't going to double, if the Africans don't work together to push the pace in the 5k, it's likely to come down a kick which makes it easy pickings for Lagat.

Editor's Note: We were notified that by World Express Management, that former Arkansas star, Said Ahmed with a 3:35.94 pb, ran 3:38.26 to win an African Grand Prix meeting (category II) in Sudan on May 26th. He beat Abdala Abdulgadir(who usually does the peacemaking for Abubaker Kaki) 3:38.59 and in third was  Yahya Osman (18 years) who improved to 3:39.25. Ahmed has been in Kenya training since February. All the info above is from World Express. This info isn't reflected in the rakings above which might rank Ahmed around the #6 spot.

Men's 800
The men's 800 features the Big 2, Khadevis Robinson and Nick Symmonds.

#11 Brandon Shaw DOB: 9/11/1981 Personal Best: 1:46:20 (07) 2008 Best: 1:47.33 Last Race: 1:47.65 2007 Best: 1:46.20
Talk about consistency.  The 8th fastest American in 2007, as of May 23rd, Shaw was tied for 7th this year. His last race certainly was his best of the year as after finishing 3rd, 5th and 3rd in his 1st three outdoor 800s, he won the 800 at the adidas track classic.

#10 Jeremy Mims - DOB: 9/11/1981 Personal Best: 1:45.96 (05) 2008 Best: 1:46.58 Last Race: 1:46.58 2007 Best: 1:48.89
Mims is only 25 but his PR dates from 2005 when he ran 1:45.96 to get 4th at NCAAs. He's been running well so far this year though and a PR later in the season isn't a big stretch. He's been in the top 2 of all 5 of his 800s and his last two have both been 1:46 performances.

#9 Matt Scherer- DOB: 11/21/1983 Personal Best: 1:46.61 (08) 2008 Best: 1:46.61 Last Race: 1:46.61 2007 Best: 1:47.89
Scherer is an interesting prospect. He's a 45.19 400m runner but in America that means you think about moving up to the 800 which he did in earnest last year. He ran 1:47.89 last year. This year outdoors he had run 1:49, 1:49 and then 1:51, but in his last race out this past weekend he busted out with a 1:46.61 pb win. Has he finally figured out the 800 or will he revert back to the 1:48s? Regardless it seems like the rounds at the Trials will be a disadvantage to the speed based runner.

#8 Duane Solomon - DOB: 12/28/1984 Personal Best: 1:45:69 (07) 2008 Best: 1:47.33 Last Race: 1:47.65 2007 Best: 1:45.69
The USC senior finished an impressive 3rd at USAs last year by running a pr of 1:45.69.  This year he's the # 3 American on the US collegiate leaderboard but he's was crushed by Andrew Wheating at Pac 10s (1:46.83 to 1:47.65) in his last outing.

#7 James Hatch - DOB: 9/271982 Personal Best: 1:46.27 (08) 2008 Best: 1:46.27 Last Race: 1:46.27  2007 Best: 1:50.50
The NCAA indoor runner-up from 2005 certainly wouldn't have been on anyone's radar heading into this year as his seasonal best was 1:50.50 last year. But he's at a new level this year. 5th indoors at USAs, Hatch has opened up outdoors with a lifetime best and US leader. Will it last?

Talk about a great time to open in a PR - how about the Olympic year.

#6 Ryan Brown - DOB: 9/17/1984 Personal Best: 1:46.29 (07) 2008 Best: 1:47.18 Last Race: 1:48.07 2007 Best: 1:46.71
The 2006 NCAA outdoor champ has been running well early in the Olympic year. 3rd indoors at USAs, Brown opened his outdoor campaign with a win at the Mt. Sac Relays before getting second in a race in Japan.

#5 Jonathan Johnson - DOB: 3/5/1982 Personal Best: 1:44:69 (07) 2008 Best: 1:46.90 Last Race: 1:46.90 2007 Best: 1:44.69
The 2004 US Olympic Trials champ has been running well of late - even if people haven't been noticing it.  Track and field focuses so much on potential and 'the next great athlete' that the current athletes are ignored. When Johnson won USAs and NCAAs in the same year in 2004, it seemed like the sky was the limit. A humbling 6th at NCAAs the next year (while we hate seeing people go pro early, that right there is an example of why many of them do), brought expectations down a lotl.  

Thus people may not have noticed but Johnson actually set his PR in Europe (1:44.69) last year. Earlier in the year, he finished 4th at USAs. We guess it makes more sense that not nearly as many people are noticing because 4th in USAs 3 years after winning it, isn't likely to create a lot of publicity.

#4 Alan Webb - DOB: 1/13/1983 Personal Best: 1:43.84 (07) 2008 Best: None.  Last Race:  DNF Carlsbad 5k 2007 Best: 1:43.84
Heading into last year in the 7 years starting in 2000, Alan Webb had only once ended up with a seasonal best in the 800 under 1:47 (1:46.09 in 2004).  Thus the fact that he ended the year with a PB of 1:43.84 which also served as the world's 2nd fastest time was a big-time shock to say the least.

Webb doesn't race many 800s so it's hard to say how he'd do if he stepped on the track right now and raced. We imagine it would take a rust-buster or two for him to reach top form. Thus he might be beat by some US guys.  We'd like to see Webb run a quality 800 on US soil (maybe the next time there are no world champs) just to see if he could dominate or not.  However, it would probably be in his best long-term interest to try a 5k instead (13:10.86).

That's how good Alan Webb is. Fast enough to be the world's #2 at 800 and strong enough to do serious damage in the 5k. Hell his 10k PR is better than Olympic marathoner Dathan Ritzenhein. The total package for sure when he's on.

#3 Andrew Wheating - DOB: 11/21/1987 PB: 1:46.83 (2008), 2008 Best: 1:46.83 Last Race: 1:46.83 800, 2007 Best: 1:50.17
If we'd started our ranking early in the year, this guy would have been nowhere the top 10. Hell he likely wouldn't have been in the top 10 of his conference.  But the 20 year old Oregon sophomore has been the revelation of the US collegiate scene so far in 2008 as he's the collegiate leader at both 1,500 (3:38.60) and 800 (1:46.83).

The only question mark regarding Wheating is what is his true event as his coaches at Oregon said they are unsure if he's an 800 or 1,500 man ultimately.  He's probably got a better shot of making the Olympic team in the 800 this year but we'd like to see him end up in the 1,500.  Actually, we are tired of specialization, what's preventing the world from having someone who can run both quality 800s and 1,500s like the great Seb Coe?

At Pac 10s, Wheating destroyed the 3rd placer at USAs last year - USC's Duane Solomon.  

#2 Nick Symmonds - DOB: 12/30/1983 Personal Best: 1:44:54  (2007) 2008 Best: 1:46.48i Last Race: DNF adidas 1,500 2007 Best: 1:44.54
The USATF runnerup indoors in 2008 and outdoors in 2007, Symmonds is a clear #2 in the US 800. He has yet to race an 800 outdoors which is pretty standard as last year his 2nd 800 outdoors came on May 27th. He ran 1:46.14 last night. We haven't factored that in here but it shouldn't change the rankings.

We'd like to see him run a really quality 1,500 to see if he has a future there.

#1 Khadevis Robinson - DOB: 7/19/1976 Personal Best: 1:43.68  (2006) 2008 Best: 1:47.37 Last Race:  1:47.37 (1st) 2007 Best: 1:44.27
The US Champ from 2007 outdoors also won the 2008 indoor title. He's got a good rivalry going with Nick Symmonds but in our minds the choice between #1 and #2 was an easy one. In 2007, Robinson twice ran faster than Symmonds personal best (1:44.54) and he put four times that were better than Symmonds second fastest best time.

Robinson's racing style makes it a bit hard for him to defeat Symmonds at times head to head but there is no doubt who is the better 800 runner up to this point in their careers.

Note: Kevin Hicks ran 1:46.55 last night and would bump into the top 10 (somewhere between 3-8) with his performance. Prior to that he hadn't been under 1:48.26.

USA 800 Meter Stats
Note: Our stats came from a combination of TrackandFieldNews.com US leaders lists, our own adjustments, and incredible individual stats at tilastopaja

2008 Top 10 Seasonal Bests(As of May 20, 2008)
1:46.27     James Hatch (unattached)    
1:46.14    Nick Symmonds (Oregon Track Club)
1:46.55  Kevin Hicks (last night not factored in)
1:46.58     Jeremy Mims (unattached)  Oregon  
1:46.83    Andrew Wheating (Univ of Oregon)  
1:46.95i    Khadevis Robinson (Nik)e USATF Indoors
1:47.12     Tim Harris (Miami)   
1:47.16     Elliott Blount (Oregon Track Club)    
 1:47.16   Brandon Shaw (Oregon Track Club)  
1:47.18   Ryan Brown (Asics)   Mt SAC  
1:47.26    Christian Smith (Orgon Track Club)   
1:47.33i   Abraham Mach (Central Michigan) 

2007 Top 10 Seasonal Bests
1:43.84     Alan Webb (Nike)   
1:44.27     Khadevis Robinson (Nike)    
1:44.54     Nick Symmonds (OTC) Eugene GP   
1:44.69     Jonathan Johnson (Reebok)   
1:45.69     Duane Solomon (USC)    
1:45.92     Jebreh Harris (Reebok)  
1:46.11     Floyd Thompson (SMTC)   
1:46.20     Brandon Shaw (OTC)  
1:46.22     Elliott Blount (OTC)    
1:46.62     Trent Riter (unattached)

2008 USATF Finals
1 Khadevis Robinson Nike 1:44.37
2 Nicholas Symmonds Oregon TC 1:45.17
3 Duane Solomon U S C 1:45.69
4 Jonathan Johnson Reebok 1:45.79
5 Lopez Lomong Northern Arizona 1:45.79
6 Floyd Thompson Santa Monica T C 1:46.11
7 Golden Coachman unattached 1:47.18
8 Trent Riter unattached 1:48.00

We're sure we made a few errors as this is our first attempt at this.  Comments, suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

We rushed to put this up and didn't include photos. If anyone has some photos they'd like us to use, please email us.

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