Asbel Kiprop Reasserts Himself As The Olympic Favorite By Running A Sensational 3:28.88 In Monaco

Kiprop Is Now The 5th-Fastest Man In History

By LetsRun.com
Friday, July 20, 2012

The last time he raced on June 23rd, the reigning Olympic and world champion in the 1,500, Asbel Kiprop, wasn't at his best. He barely survived the Kenyan Trials as he only edged into the top three in the last 100 meters to finish third and qualify to defend his Olympic title in London.

Today in Monaco, Kiprop was at his absolute finest. Kiprop surged to the lead just before the bell and never relinquished it as he pulled away from a lightning-fast field over the last 100 and destroyed everyone over the final 50 meters, winning in a sensational 3:28.88 - thanks to a spectacular 53.43 last lap - to become the fifth-fastest man in history.

The guys from whom Kiprop pulled away probably weren't too disappointed, though, as seven of the top eight set new personal bests and two national records fell in the process. After Kenyan Trials runner-up Nixon Chepseba was the runner-up here in a small PR of 3:29.77 (previous best 3:29.90), it was the Olympic bronze medallist Nick Willis of New Zealand who finished third in a new national record of 3:30.35 (previous PR 3:31.79) by mowing down the field on the last lap. Willis did the opposite of what he did last week in London. Last week, after a quick start Willis, went from first to fourth after a 61 last 400. Today, he went from ninth to third after a 53-high/54-flat last lap.

The Race


A Great Race

The race started fast as the rabbit went through 400 in a super-quick 53.53, but Kiprop was smart and sitting in about third or fourth of the actual competitors in about 55 flat. Kiprop went through 800 in about 1:53. As the runners approached the bell, Kiprop moved from third to first, hitting 1,100 in 2:35.45 and 1,200 in 2:49.23. Chepseba and others were still with Kiprop on the backstretch. The pace was hot but what was even hotter was Kiprop's final 200 - roughly 26 flat. No one could match that.

Willis, who was 9th at the bell, was still only 7th but less than a second behind Kiprop with 200 remaining, but then Willis did exactly what he did in Beijing to win the silver - mow down a ton of guys with a great last 200.

QT #1: For a long time, we've thought Asbel Kiprop was one of the greatest 1,500 runners ever but the weird thing is he didn't have an awesome-fast time to his name. Now he does. Heading into last year, his PR was 3:31.20 - behind that of Andrew Wheating. Now he's #5 in history and definitely the Olympic favorite. Only one man - Seb Coe - who is the head of the 2012 Olympics - has ever repeated as Olympic 1,500 champ.

The 5 Fastest 1,500 Guys In History
1    3:26.00    WR          Hicham El Guerrouj             MAR 14 Sep 74 176/58  1        GGala        Roma                      14 Jul 1998                
2    3:26.34    NR          Bernard Lagat                  KEN 12 Dec 74 175/61  2        VD           Bruxelles                 24 Aug 2001                
3    3:27.37    NR          Noureddine Morceli             ALG 28 Feb 70 172/62  1        Nikaďa      Nice                      12 Jul 1995             
4    3:28.12                Noah Ngeny                     KEN  2 Nov 78 182/68  2rA      WK           Zürich                   11 Aug 2000             
5    3:28.88                Asbel Kiprop                   KEN 30 Jun 89 186/70  1        Herc         Monaco                    20 July 2012               


A Happy Nick Willis


Willis Has Lots Of Ground
To Make Up With 100 To Go

QT #2: Willis is certainly a legitimate threat to medal again now:

The 5 Fastest Guys In 2012
1   03:28.9 Asbel Kiprop  KEN 20-Jul
2   03:29.6 Silas Kiplagat  KEN 11-May
3   03:29.8 Nixon Chepseba  KEN 20-Jul
4   03:30.3 Ayanleh Souleiman  DJI 27-May
5   03:30.4 Nick Willis  NZL 20-Jul

QT #3: Former UVA Virginia star Robby Andrews was in the race but ended up a DNF. Andrews started off fast the first 100 as he was in fifth but he moved progressively back and was off the back of the field 600 meters into the race. It's Andrews' second disaster in the last week, as he ran 1:52.26 on July 14th.

QT #4: US Olympians Leo Manzano and Matt Centrowitz were supposed to race today but didn't. Does anyone know why?


Kiprop So Smooth At The End When Everyone Else Is Straining

Rank Athlete Nation Result
1
KEN
3:28.88
WL
2
KEN
3:29.77
PB
3
NZL
3:30.35
AR
4
MAR
3:30.54
5
ALG
3:30.80
PB
6
KEN
3:31.00
PB
7
KEN
3:31.61
PB
8
KEN
3:32.08
PB
9
ESP
3:34.50
10
FRA
3:35.03
SB
11
FRA
3:38.00
 
USA
DNF
 
KEN
DNF
 
KEN
DNF
Intermediate times:
400m: Rotich, Andrew Kiptoo (KEN) 53.69
800m: Rotich, Andrew Kiptoo (KEN) 1:52.23
1,200m: Kiprop, Asbel (KEN) 2:49.43

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