March 16, 2016
PORTLAND, Ore. — For the first time in 29 years, the U.S. will play host to the IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championships. Portland, Ore., will be the site as the world’s top athletes head to the Pacific Northwest for the four-day meet which begins on Thursday. LetsRun.com is in Portland all week and we’ll have tons of on-site coverage for you to digest. We’ll kick things off by previewing the mid-d/distance events — here’s a look at the men’s 3000.
What: 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championship
When: March 17-20, 2016
Where: Oregon Convention Center, Portland, Oregon
Prize Money: A total of US$2,464,000 is on offer from the IAAF. There is also a US$50,000 bonus for any athlete setting a world record during the four-day championships.
Individual events (total US$ 2,288,000)
Relays per team (total US$176,000)
Men’s 3000 (prelims Friday, 4:05 p.m. ET; final Sunday 4:10 p.m. ET)
|Dejen Gebremeskel||ETH||7:34.14||7:38.03||Won NB Indoor Grand Prix and Boston Last Chance meet. Silver medallist at London Olympics|
|Ryan Hill||USA||7:34.87||7:38.60||Can he step up and get a medal?|
|Paul Chelimo||USA||7:39.00||7:39.00||He surprised to make team at USAs|
|Abdalaati Iguider||MAR||7:34.92||7:39.04||Also entered in 1500. 3:28 1500 guy won 3k in Stockholm this winter and 1500 in Glasgow. Won world indoors in 2012 at 1500 so we’re assuming he’s doing that here.|
|Yomif Kejelcha||ETH||7:36.28||7:39.11||4th at Worlds 5k last year. Won 1 3k this winter and 2nd in 2 others (to Choge and Iguider).|
|Augustine Choge||KEN||7:28.00||7:39.23||3:29/12:53 has won 2 3ks this year and was beaten by Farah.|
|Caleb Ndiku||KEN||7:30.99||7:39.82||Defending world champ. Also a world junior 1500 and XC champ. Silver in Worlds 5k last year|
|Mo Ahmed||CAN||7:40.11||7:40.11||A medal would be a jump in class for him. 5th at Millrose in NR.|
|Kemoy Campbell||JAM||7:40.79||7:40.79||A medal would be a jump in class for the former Arkansas star|
|Isiah Koech||KEN||7:30.43||7:42.53||Kenya’s third entrant because of wild card entry for Choge winning World Indoor Tour|
|Tom Farrell||GBR||7:42.47||7:42.47||Crazy stat: Former OK State runner ran 13:15 in college but never scored a point at NCAAs.|
|Youssouf Bachir||DJI||7:43.44||7:43.44||4th in Stockholm meet won by Iguider in 7:39.|
|Brett Robinson||AUS||7:44.29||7:44.29||Current outdoor world leader at 13:33|
|Cam Levins||CAN||7:41.59||7:45.44||Was on fire last year, not so much this year|
|Victor Garcia||ESP||7:51.29||7:51.29||Only third at Spanish champs this year|
|Lee Emanuel||GBR||7:44.28||7:55.61||2009 and 2010 NCAA mile champ won European indoor silver at 3k last year|
|Adilet Kyshtabekov||KGZ||8:29.45||8:29.45||Let’s hope he doesn’t get lapped in the prelims|
|Collis Birmingham||AUS||7:35.45||NA||Has run 62:00 half this year and 3:40 1500.|
Ok, we just got back from the pre-race press conference. We debated whether to go to it or not. What could we possibly learn from it that we didn’t learn in talking to the U.S. athletes at the U.S. championships over the weekend?
Well, we learned that Ryan Hill is trying to totally sandbag expectations.
He said his goal for the men’s 3000 at Worlds is to finish in the top 5: LRC Ryan Hill Says He’d Be Happy With Top 5 At World Indoors.
In our mind, Hill is one of five men that we think could possibly win the gold medal in the final on Sunday. And if that’s the case, your goal 100% has to be a medal at a minimum. If he’s not top 5, then he’s had a bad meet.
If one assumes that Abdalaati Iguider runs the 1500 and not the 3k (which seems likely given the fact that he won gold in the 1500 in 2012 and bronze at outdoor Worlds last year), then there are six men in the field who have broken 7:40.00 this year. All six of them are tightly bunched in terms of time as they’ve run between 7:38.03 and 7:39.82. We say Hill is one of five men that can win gold as we just don’t think that the Army’s Paul Chelimo isn’t going to win gold. He’s had a fantastic season, taking his PB down from 7:49.87 to 7:39.00, surprisingly making the U.S. team in the process. A medal is an outside possibility for Chelimo but gold isn’t happening.
Of the remaining five guys, we think two are most likely to win gold.
The Top Two
Caleb Ndiku – Kenya – 23 Years Old
What Ndiku has going for him: He’s the defending champ. Tactical 3000s often turn into 1500s and he’s got the best 1500 pb of anyone in the field by a lot (3:29.50). Last year, he won the silver in the 5000 at Worlds on extremely limited training. And he made Mo Farah work for it as shown below:
What makes us nervous about Ndiku: He’s lost his two races this year. On February 3rd, he was 2nd in Dusseldorf to Choge in 7:39.82 (Choge won in 7:39.23). Three days later, he was fourth in Karlsruhe in 7:44.09 (Choge won in 7:43.22). But that was six weeks ago. Last summer, in the span of 7+ weeks, he went from running 13:32 in Lausanne to getting 2nd at Worlds.
Conclusion: If he’s been able to train well for the last six weeks, he’s the man to beat.
Yomif Kejelcha – Ethiopia – 18 Years Old
What Kejelcha has going for him: He’s 18 years old. He was the 2013 World Youth champ at 3000. He was the 2014 World Junior champ at 5000. In 2015, he was 4th at Worlds in the 5000 and then ran a world-leading 12:53.98 to win in Brussels. If you are looking for the fourth ruler in the line of “Totally Unbeatable 5,000 and 10,000 Runners Of The Professional Era” that has passed from Haile Gebrselassie to Kenenisa Bekele to Mo Farah, this guy is your pick based on his CV.
What makes us nervous about Kejelcha: Given his CV, it’s hard to find too many flaws. Our biggest would be the fact that he only was 4th at Worlds last summer even though he was the world leader and picked up wins at Pre, Rome and Brussels. Like Gebremeskel and many of the Ethiopians, he’s never run a 1500 on the circuit so he may be better at 5000 than 3000. That being said, he did beat Nick Willis and Bernard Lagat at age 16 at 3k in 2014. That came just three months after Lagat won 3k gold at World Indoors. This year, he has finished 2nd in two of his three 3000s. That being said, he almost won them both as he was just .23 from Choge in his 7:43.35 season opener in Karlsruhe and then just .07 behind Iguider 11 days later in Stockholm (7:39.11).
Conclusion: It’s a shame there is so much doubt about African-born runners’ ages. While NCAA fans rave about Edward Cheserek, can people appreciate how much better Kejelcha is than him and he’s officially 3.5 years younger than Cheserek? The more research we do on Kejelcha, the more we realize we like his chances.
The Others With a Chance
Dejen Gebremeskel – Ethiopia – 26 Years Old
What Gebremeskel has going for him: Just about everything. He’s undefeated on the year as he won the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in 7:42.94 on Valentine’s Day and then ran a world-leading 7:38.03 all alone at a low-key Boston meet two weeks later. He has a 12:46 5000b and is the 2012 Olympic silver medallist at 5000. He’s still only 26.
What makes us nervous about Gebremeskel: He hasn’t broken 13:00 for 5000 since 2012. If this race was rabbitted, he would likely be our pick. Remember he did this at 3000 in 2011 against Mo Farah:
(In case you don’t have time to watch it, he beat him at 3k while running with only one shoe). But championship 3000s often turn tactical and often turn into 1500s and Gebremeskel has run zero 1500s on the circuit in his life. That lack of speed resulted in him only finishing 3rd in 2014.
Conclusion: Even though he’s undefeated, we’re worried that he’s not fast enough to be the winner.
Augustine Choge – Kenya – 29 Years Old
What Choge has going for him: Another Kenyan with 3:29 1500 speed. Has run three international 3000s this year and hasn’t lost to anyone except for Mo Farah in Glasgow. He beat Ndiku in Dusseldorf and then Kejelcha and Ndiku in Karlsruhe three days later. Won World Indoor silver at 3000 in 2012.
What makes us nervous about Choge: He’s 29 and never won a world title. Unless your name is Mo Farah or Bernard Lagat, you generally don’t start becoming a world-beater in your late 20s (Farah won his first world title at age 28, Lagat won his first indoor world title at 29).
Conclusion: Gold isn’t happening.
Ryan Hill – United States – 26 Years Old
What Hill has going for him: He’s undefeated on the year and the only guy in the world to have run under 7:40 twice this year (7:38.82 at Millrose and 7:38.60 at USAs). At Millrose, Hill’s winning time was better than Mo Farah‘s in Glasgow (7:38.82 versus 7:39.55) and Hill’s close was WAY better (Farah’s last 400 was 58.9, Hill’s last 400 was 55.20). After Millrose, we wondered if Hill was the top 3000 man in the world and we are still wondering it.
What makes us nervous about Hill: Even though he was more of a 1500/mile guy in college, his 1500 pb is just 3:37. While he won USAs, it was rabbitted and he only ran 7:38.60. He doesn’t appear to be capable of a low 7:30s time right now and others in the field have done that in the past.
Conclusion: Top five is a ridiculous goal. He’s got a great shot at a medal and a gold medal isn’t out of the question. He shouldn’t beat Kejelcha, Ndiku or Gebremeskel but he could. So there you have it, the pros and cons of everyone we consider capable of winning gold. Others, including Chelimo, could sneak a bronze, but not gold. If Iguider is in the 3000 and not the 1500 (the double isn’t possible as the finals are very close to each other), put him in the ‘gold medal contender’ category.
LRC Prediction: Ndiku or Kejelcha FTW. They are the future of the 5000. We’ll say Ndiku, Kejelcha and Gebremeskel 1-2-3. No medal for Hill.