Day 6 Morning Recap: American 1500 Men Rock as All 3 Qualify, American 5000 Women Disappoint As Only US Champ Nicole Tully Moves On

August 27, 2015

BEIJING — Day six of the 2015 IAAF World Championships began in a very similar fashion to day five for Team USA’s distance squad. Yesterday, the men’s 5,000 runners cruised through their prelims to advance to Saturday’s final while the women’s 800 runners didn’t have it as easy, as Molly Ludlow and Brenda Martinez had to sweat it out and Alysia Montano went home after falling with 200 meters to go.

The men once again looked strong today in the first round of the 1500 as Matthew Centrowitz, Leo Manzano and Robby Andrews all advanced to Friday’s semifinals. The women’s 5,000 was a different story as only U.S. champ Nicole Tully made it through to the final, doing so as the fourth of five time qualifiers. Marielle Hall and Abbey D’Agostino both struggled and finished 10th and 12th in their heat, respectively.

Looking at the big picture, the most notable story from this morning’s session was the DNF of World Indoor champ Ayanleh Souleiman in the 1500. Souleiman had scratched from the 800 earlier in the meet and now we know why: he was dealing with an injury, and though he gave it a go today, he pulled up lame with about 480 to go in his heat and won’t be running in the semifinals tomorrow night. It’s sad to see a medal favorite go home because his body betrayed him, but the 1500 is so loaded that Sunday’s final is still a must-see event.

We give you results and analysis for the two races below.

Men’s 1500 Results

Heat 1

1 696 Elijah Motonei MANANGOI KENKEN 3:42.57 Q
2 159 Taoufik MAKHLOUFI ALGALG 3:42.72 Q
3 1002 Matthew CENTROWITZ USAUSA 3:43.17 Q
4 531 Charlie GRICE GBRGBR 3:43.21 Q
5 731 Yassine BENSGHIR MARMAR 3:43.22 Q
6 840 Johan CRONJE RSARSA 3:43.29 Q
7 174 Ryan GREGSON AUSAUS 3:43.54
8 391 Jakub HOLUŠA CZECZE 3:43.66
9 776 Henrik INGEBRIGTSEN NORNOR 3:43.97
10 402 Youssouf HISS BACHIR DJIDJI 3:44.48
11 476 Dawit WOLDE ETHETH 3:44.90
12 291 Benson Kiplagat SEUREI BRNBRN 3:45.70
13 441 Adel MECHAAL ESPESP 3:46.05
14 645 Awwad AL SHARAFAT JORJOR 4:07.72

400m 1:05.33 Elijah Motonei  MANANGOI KEN
800m 2:08.94 Elijah Motonei MANANGOI KEN
1200m 3:03.86 Taoufik MAKHLOUFI ALG


1 687 Asbel KIPROP KENKEN 3:38.97 Q
2 477 Aman WOTE ETHETH 3:39.05 Q
3 1042 Leonel MANZANO USAUSA 3:39.22 Q
4 225 Pieter-Jan HANNES BELBEL 3:39.31 Q
5 486 Morhad AMDOUNI FRAFRA 3:39.38 Q
6 781 Julian MATTHEWS NZLNZL 3:39.55 Q
7 318 Charles PHILIBERT-THIBOUTOT CANCAN 3:39.72 q
8 735 Fouad ELKAAM MARMAR 3:40.12
9 843 Dumisane HLASELO RSARSA 3:40.25
10 971 Ronald MUSAGALA UGAUGA 3:42.12
11 433 Víctor CORRALES ESPESP 3:44.76
12 157 Salim KEDDAR ALGALG 3:44.81
400m 1:00.72 Aman WOTE ETHIOPIA ETH
1200m 2:58.53 Aman WOTE ETHIOPIA ETH
Heat 3
1 686 Silas KIPLAGAT KENKEN 3:38.13 Q
2 738 Abdalaati IGUIDER MARMAR 3:38.14 Q
3 783 Nicholas WILLIS NZLNZL 3:38.27 Q
4 961 Ilham Tanui ÖZBILEN TURTUR 3:38.28 Q
5 536 Chris O’HARE GBRGBR 3:38.43 Q
6 681 Timothy CHERUIYOT KENKEN 3:38.50 Q
7 991 Robby ANDREWS USAUSA 3:38.52 q
8 463 Mekonnen GEBREMEDHIN ETHETH 3:38.66 q
9 404 Abdi Waiss MOUHYADIN DJIDJI 3:38.66 q
10 428 David BUSTOS ESPESP 3:38.75 q
11 325 Carlos DÍAZ CHICHI 3:39.75 q
12 156 Yassine HATHAT ALGALG 3:40.16
13 818 Hélio GOMES PORPOR 3:46.32
14 758 Erick RODRIGUEZ NCANCA 3:49.64 NR


400m 59.85 Ilham Tanui ÖZBILEN TUR
800m 2:01.05 Ilham Tanui ÖZBILEN TUR
1200m 2:58.41 Ilham Tanui ÖZBILEN TUR

Men’s 1500 Analysis

Quick Thought #1: Matthew Centrowitz says he’s running for gold and he knows that’s a whole different game than he’s played at past Worlds when he was running for a medal

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You can listen/watch our whole 3-plus minute interview with Centrowitz below, but the most interesting info came 1:45 into it when we asked him if he has a different mindset at these championships than in the past where maybe he was just running for a medal, not trying for gold.

Centro: “I think a lot of runners and I think I heard Evan Jager mention it – [say] it’s a big difference running for third versus running for first. I feel like the last few championships I’ve just been trying to win a medal. This year the mindset is a lot different going into it. Now that I’ve won two championship medals, I’ve kind of become I don’t want to say the favorite but the talk of guy that could upset Kiprop or a guy that is to be included in the medal [discussion]. So there definitely is more pressure and it’s definitely a different mindset.”

When asked if Kiprop was at another level this year than the last two Worlds which he also won, Centrowitz admitted that was the case, but that didn’t intimidate him.

“Yeah, he is [at a higher level] but so am I. The last few championships – Olympics or Worlds – I’ve come in there with a 3:34 seasonal best and I’ve ended with a medal or just outside so coming in with a 3:30, I look at that as a huge accomplishment for myself. If I can get a medal with a 3:34 personal best, what can I do with a 3:30? You know he’s PR’d but so have I, so I don’t look at it any differently.”

As for today’s heat, Centrowitz said he fully expected Olympic champ Taoufik Makhloufi to make a big move at some point in his heat and his plan was to stay back and not go with it and run with the second pack. That’s what happened as Makhloufi and Kenya’s Elijah Manangoi pulled clear and Centrowitz was leading the chase pack coming off the final turn. The problem is there was a wall of people coming from behind Centro – 5 people would finish within .49 of Centrowitz – and only 6 of the top 8 would advance. Centro said he was aware they were coming and made sure to pick it up in the last 40 to advance as Ryan Gregson and Jakub Holusa just missed out.

Quick Thought #2: Don’t discount Olympic champ Taoufik Makhloufi

We had a one-on-one interview with Olympic champ Taoufik Makhloufi after his heat. When we asked him how his fitness compared to when he won the Olympic title, Makhloufi said, “Of course, if you are here, you are here for everything.”

As for his heat, Makhloufi said, “It wasn’t really easy, easy,” as the last 700 was quite fast (54.92 from 800 to 1200 and then 38.71 final 300).

Quick Thought #3: You can be friends off the track but rivals on it

Kenya’s great meet continued as it was a great morning for Team Kenya as all four of their entrants advanced with ease. We caught up with Kenyan stars Asbel Kiprop and Silas Kiplagat in the mixed zone and they did their interview together with their arms around each other. They said they are friends and it appears they also are friendly with Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti as when we asked Kiplagat if he was surprised that Souleiman had failed to advanced with an injury, he said he wasn’t surprised as Souleiman had told him earlier this week he was injured.

As much as we tried to get them, as well as Kenyan Elijah Manangoi in a separate interview to commit to setting a fast pace and running as a team in the final, they wouldn’t commit to it. They all said they’d consider that once they were in the final.

Interview with Kiprop and Kiplagat:

Interview with Manangoi:

Quick Thought #4: After a long wait, Robby Andrews is happy to finally be running at the World Championships

The men’s 1500 is one of the last events to start at Worlds and Andrews said that “it was torture” having to sit around and wait for his race, but it’s helped him as he’s had time to wrap his mind around the championship atmosphere. He was also asked how he thought he would have fared in the tactical 800 final won by David Rudisha:

“He closed in a 24, I don’t know if I want to mess with that,” Andrews said. “I’m a 1500-meter runner right now.”

In his prelim today, Andrews looked strong and said he had a lot left at the end but he was boxed in for the duration of the homestretch. Though he missed out on an auto spot (top six), Andrews knew with how fast they were running he’d sail through on time and was pleased that he was able to stay on the inside and run the minimum distance.

“I was debating going out wide but I had a feeling we were going to be the time qualifiers,” Andrews said. “It’s kind of a dangerous game to play but I’m definitely feeling ready for tomorrow, that’s for sure.”

Obviously the approach will be different for Andrews in the semis, when fewer men make it through, but it didn’t make a difference today.

“I’m confident if tomorrow comes down tighter, I’ll be able to fight my way through.”

Quick Thought #5: Could Johan Cronje be a sleeper yet again?

South African Johan Cronje was a surprise bronze medallist in 2013. This morning, he was the last qualifier out of heat #1. When we caught up to him after the race, he said he had been behind on his training for much of the year but things have really gone well of late. Cronje, who has a 3:31 pb but only a 3:36 sb, said his coach thinks he’s in better shape than 2013 but Cronje feels like he’s still a little bit behind. In 2013, when he medalled, he had a 3:33 sb coming into Moscow. He ran the 3:31 after Worlds.

Quick Thought #6: Ryan Gregson was disappointed to just miss out on advancing but thinks he’s close – “I’m not that far away.”

Ryan Gregson, the Aussie who ran 3:31.06 way back in 2010 as a 20-year-old but hasn’t been able to find that form again, just missed out of advancing as he finished .25 out of 6th in heat #1.

Gregson said he thought he didn’t really make any mistakes in the race.

“Yeah it’s disappointing. It’s hard because I feel I didn’t make too many mistakes,” said Gregson. “I just couldn’t get around them I guess. It’s some of the best guys in the world. I’m just not quite at that level. I just gotta work harder so I can outrun these boys.”

When I asked if it was comforting to realize the guy right in front of him was the returning bronze medallist (Johan Cronje), Gregson said, “Yeah I guess. I’m not far away. There’s not much that separates these guys. You know right behind me were two European champions (Jakub Holusa and Henrik Ingebrigtsen) so there’s not much that separates it. You just got to I guess be that one percent better than the guys on the day.

“I didn’t do too much wrong today – I was just outclassed so I just got to keep working harder.”

Quick Thought #7: Leo Manzano feels he’s peaking at the right time

Manzano hasn’t had any problem making the semis at global championships in the past (he’s made every semi dating back to the 2008 Olympics) but tomorrow will be the critical race for Manzano as he’s gone home in the semis three times (2013, 2011, 2008). As Manzano showed at the 2012 Olympics, he can kick with the very best in the world if he’s there with 100 to go, but to get there he first needs to make the final. Manzano noted that it’s a little tougher this year as the prelims and the semis are on consecutive days, but it shouldn’t affect his chances given everyone else has to deal with it too.

Quick Thought #8: Former Tulsa and NCAA star Chris O’Hare felt good and was looking good in a cooling vest after this one

Women’s 5,000 Results *Splits here


1 342 Genzebe DIBABA ETHETH 15:20.82 Q
2 559 Mercy CHERONO KENKEN 15:20.94 Q
3 188 Mimi BELETE BRNBRN 15:20.94 Q
4 558 Irene Chepet CHEPTAI KENKEN 15:21.03 Q
5 618 Susan KUIJKEN NEDNED 15:25.67 Q
6 544 Misaki ONISHI JPNJPN 15:33.84 q
7 413 Stephanie TWELL GBRGBR 15:34.72 q
8 924 Nicole TULLY USAUSA 15:41.03 q
9 121 Madeline HEINER AUSAUS 15:47.97
10 718 Gulshat FAZLITDINOVA RUSRUS 15:48.44
11 222 Nicole SIFUENTES CANCAN 15:50.99
12 945 Olivia Mugove CHITATE ZIMZIM 16:34.70 PB

Heat 2

1 337 Almaz AYANA ETHETH 15:09.40 Q
2 352 Senbere TEFERI ETHETH 15:14.57 Q
3 563 Viola Jelagat KIBIWOT KENKEN 15:15.27 Q
4 568 Janet KISA KENKEN 15:26.49 Q
5 135 Eloise WELLINGS AUSAUS 15:26.67 Q SB
6 547 Ayuko SUZUKI JPNJPN 15:28.18 q
7 137 Jennifer WENTH AUTAUT 15:43.57 q
8 820 Betlhem DESALEGN UAEUAE 15:48.52
9 643 Karoline Bjerkeli GRØVDAL NORNOR 16:02.20
10 885 Marielle HALL USAUSA 16:06.60
11 546 Azusa SUMI JPNJPN 16:13.65
12 873 Abbey D’AGOSTINO USAUSA 16:16.47

Women’s 5000 Analaysis

Quick Thought #1: We’ll say it again: they don’t give out medals in the prelims

After the women’s 1500 semis on Sunday, we expressed our frustration at the African-born runners who insisted on kicking it in hard even though they already had a spot in the final locked up. Incredibly, the same exact thing happened in today’s 5,000 prelims. In the first heat, the five auto qualifiers were well clear of the field in the final 100 but the top four — Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia, Mercy Cherono and Irene Cheptai of Kenya and Mimi Belete of Bahrain — still insisted on racing to the finish line; only the Netherlands’ Susan Kuijken, who had run with them for the entirety of the race to that point, cruised it in comfortably.

Perhaps Dibaba’s mindset is that she wants to preserve her air of invincibility. Perhaps the others want to break that air of invincibility by beating her in a prelim (none could today). But really, we’re grasping at straws. By racing it in hard in your prelim, you’re only tiring yourself out for the race that really matters.

Quick Thought #2: Nicole Tully is a worthy US champion who simply toughed this one out

We caught up to the former 1500 runner who advanced to Sunday’s final as the fourth of five time qualifiers thanks to a 15:41.03 clocking. The amazing thing about Tully was this morning’s race was only the third competitive track 5000 that she’s ever finished.

While thrilled to have advanced, Tully said this one hurt – a lot.

“It was not a good race for me. It really hurt from a long ways out. You know it’s only my third 5k and I’ve never really had a 5k that’s been that painful so mentally it was new territory for me to feel uncomfortable for that long. But you never know what’s going to happen in the second heat so even though I was losing contact, I was just trying to stay calm and keep my form and keep moving forward,” said Tully. “I was completely locked in with like 600 to go so that last 6, 400 was really tough.

“I held on, not my proudest 5k but I’m in the final. I think nerves definitely got to me a bit. I was really nervous yesterday and slept for maybe two hours last night.
“So I’m happy. The pressure is for the prelim. Now the pressure is off. Now I can just recover for two days and have fun in the final.”

Quick Thought #3: College rivals Marielle Hall and Abbey D’Agostino both struggled today, but it wasn’t just the hot, sunny conditions that did them in

Hall and D’Agostino have been linked ever since Hall upset D’Agostino in their final collegiate race last year and they deepened their connection by making their first World Championship team together this summer. Now they’ve got one more thing in common: they both struggled in this morning’s prelim and won’t advance to Sunday’s final.

Hall said that she wasn’t totally surprised by the outcome as she’s been dropped mid-race in her overseas races and with several quality runners in the field, she expected that to happen again today.

“I tried to just keep re-engaging but I just kind of wilted under it,” Hall said. “I just didn’t have it today. Nothing went wrong.”

The heat affected D’Agostino more than Hall, as she had to be helped off the track at the end of the race, but she said that wasn’t the only factor in her disappointing showing today.

For the three kilometers, D’Agostino was where she needed to be, in the top 10 and on track for a time qualifier in the final (she came through 3k on 15:36 pace). The last two kilometers were a struggle for D’Agostino, as she faded to 12th in 16:16, but she continued to tough it out even as a spot in the final was slipping away from her and has no regrets about how she ran today.

“I know that I gave everything my body and soul had to day so really I can’t be too disappointed,” D’Agostino said.

Two runners dropped out of the race today, including one, Maureen Koster, who peeled off and collapsed to the track right in front of D’Agostino with 900 to go. But D’Agostino vowed to finish the race.

“Unless your body literally forces you to shut down, you don’t feel down even if you feel you have nothing left,” D’Agostino said.

D’Agostino added that she and coach Mark Coogan had to alter her training schedule in the weeks leading up to the race as she wasn’t feeling at her best due to “aches and pains” and that was the other factor, besides the heat, that contributed to her performance today.


Quick Thought #4: The fact that the final 800 of the Women’s 1500 was 1:56.9 may have shocked the world but it didn’t shock Genzebe Dibaba / Dibaba rules out tripling at Worlds down the road

We spoke to Dibaba through an interpreter today. In talking about the 1500 final, she said her plan going into the race was to go with 800 left and run the final 800 in 1:57. When we told her we had her in 1:56.9 she just smiled.

We then pointed out to Dibaba that her sister Tirunesh has doubled before (5/10 once at Olympics and once at Worlds) but never tripled and might Genzebe try to make history by tripling up at Worlds/Olympics? And if so, what ever would she add, the 800 or 10,000?

Dibaba said a triple would be impossible but implied the 800 would be the event she’d add in as she said she’s really looking forward to finishing her season with a fast 800 as she hasn’t had the chance to do that this year. Irish journalist Cathal Dennehy told us he’s spoken with Genzebe’s coach Jama Aden and Aden told him he thought Dibaba, who trains with male 4:00 minute milers according to Dennehy, can run 1:54.

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