2017 Herculis Recap: Usain Bolt (9.95) Is Back, Emmanuel Korir (1:43.10 800) & Elijah Manangoi (3:28.80 1500) Rip World Leaders
July 21, 2017
Bolt beat Isiah Young by .03 but looked to have more in the tank while fellow Olympic champs Matthew Centrowitz and Asbel Kiprop struggled in the 1500. Hellen Obiri rocked the 3000 (8:23.14) as Wayde van Niekerk was pushed hard in the 400 by Botswana’s Isaac Makwala.
July 21, 2017
Once again, the Herculis meet in Monaco lived up to the hype as the principality on the Mediterranean Sea played host to a slew of incredible performances on Friday in the final Diamond League meet before the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London. From an American perspective, the two biggest stories were Ajee Wilson‘s American record of 1:55.61 in the women’s 800 and Evan Jager‘s historic 8:01.29 win in the men’s steeplechase. Those performances were so impressive that we gave Wilson (LRC Ajee Wilson Smashes The American 800 Meter Record, Runs 1:55.61 in Monaco) and Jager (LRC Evan Jager Crushes 8:01.29 World Leader in Monaco to Become First Non-African Man to Win a Diamond League Steeplechase & Establish Himself as the Favorite at Worlds) their own articles.
But those were far from the only noteworthy races in Monaco. In the men’s 100, Usain Bolt showed that he is still the man to beat at Worlds by clocking a season’s best of 9.95 to take the victory. Kenyans Elijah Manangoi and Timothy Cheruiyot waged a fierce battle in the men’s 1500, with Manangoi prevailing in a world-leading 3:28.80 as Olympic champions Matthew Centrowitz and Asbel Kiprop fizzled. Another world lead went down in the men’s 800 where NCAA sensation Emmanuel Korir blasted a 1:43.10 in his Diamond League debut. Wayde van Niekerk won the 400 in 43.73, but he had to work for it as Botswana’s Isaac Makwala (43.84) provided a real challenge.
On the women’s side, Hellen Obiri continued her huge season by winning the 3,000 handily in 8:23.14, while the amazing Mariya Lasitskene and Keni Harrison kept their perfect seasons intact by claiming wins in the high jump and 100 hurdles, respectively.
If you missed any of the action as it was unfolding, you can relive the meet through our official thread: MB: Official 2017 Monaco DL Discussion Thread – Oh baby what a meet
Men’s 1500: Elijah Manangoi wins as he and Timothy Cheruiyot trounce the field
Since the start of 2010, this meet has accounted for 21 of the world’s 26 sub-3:30 clockings in the 1500 meters. You can now adjust those totals to 23 of 28 as two more men got under the fabled barrier tonight in Monaco.
But while the duel up front between Kenyans Elijah Manangoi and Timothy Cheruiyot was thrilling — Manangoi edged Cheruiyot, with a world-leading 3:28.80 to Cheruiyot’s 3:29.10 — some of the big names behind them fizzled. Kenya’s Ronald Kwemoi was third but well back of the leaders in 3:32.34 while Olympic champions Matthew Centrowitz (9th in 3:34.43) and Asbel Kiprop (11th in 3:34.91) showed that they’ve still got some work to do between now and Worlds.
As usual, the pacers were tasked with taking this one out fast (assigned splits of 1:52 at 800 and 2:19 at 1k, which is 3:28 pace) and World silver medalist Manangoi was game to follow them as he was right on the pacers early, passing 400 in 54 seconds (pacers at 53.75). The field was strung out mostly single-file behind him, with a slight gap to Kwemoi and Cheruiyot in second and third. Centrowitz wasn’t far behind in fifth place, with Kiprop right behind him.
Up front, the pace remained hot at 800 meters (1:51.43 for the rabbits), when Cheruiyot grabbed the lead from Manangoi. At that point, those two had a gap of five meters and it would grow on the backstretch as Kwemoi led the chase pack.
By the home stretch, the lead had ballooned to 10 meters and Cheruiyot was looking over his shoulder (even he couldn’t believe how far ahead they were). Kiprop, sensing the race was getting away from the chasers, moved into third on the homestretch, but he could not cut into the deficit either.
In fact, on the backstretch, Kiprop served as more of an obstacle than anything as no one was able to get around him until Kwemoi passed him on the inside just before the final turn. At that point, Centrowitz was well-positioned on Kiprop’s shoulder, but he could not respond to Kwemoi’s move and would fade to ninth by the finish.
A few dozen meters up the track, a great battle was unfolding for the win as Cheruiyot and Manangoi were both flying. Cheruiyot led them around the final bend, but Manangoi swung out onto his shoulder coming off the turn and the two would battle shoulder-to-shoulder down the stretch. With 35 meters to go, Cheruiyot finally broke and Manangoi would pull away to win by a few meters, 3:28.80 to 3:29.10, as both men set personal bests.
Kwemoi closed the best of the rest to edge Norway’s Filip Ingebrigtsen for third as Kiprop finished well down the field in 11th. In between, there was a Scottish record for Brit Chris O’Hare (3:33.61), a national record for Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski (3:34.04) and a World Championship qualifier for Nick Willis (3:34.74).
|1||Elijah Motonei MANANGOI||KEN||3:28.80||8|
|6||Charles Cheboi SIMOTWO||KEN||3:33.54||3|
|12||Justus Soget KIPLAGAT||KEN||3:35.04|
|Jackson Mumbwa KIVUVA||KEN||DNF|
|Andrew Kiptoo ROTICH||KEN||DNF|
Quick Take: Manangoi and Cheruiyot just torched this field, but that doesn’t mean they’ll go 1-2 in London
What Manangoi and Cheruiyot did tonight was very impressive. Manangoi is now #9 on the all-time list, .01 ahead of Kwemoi and Mo Farah, while Cheruiyot, who had never broken 3:30 before tonight, is at #15. Both men have run consistently well on the Diamond League circuit this year and based on the way they ran tonight, it’s certainly not out of the question that they go 1-2 at Worlds.
But a three-round championship 1500 is very different from a one-off, fast-paced Diamond League race. And the margin of victory was a little deceiving — Manangoi and Cheruiyot were clearly the class of this field tonight, but most of the chasers played this one cautiously, particularly on the last lap, expecting Kiprop to act as a bridge between the chase pack and the leaders.
World’s fastest 1500 times since the start of 2010
1. Asbel Kiprop, 3:26.69 (2015 Monaco)
2. Silas Kiplagat, 3:27.64 (2014 Monaco)
3. Asbel Kiprop, 3:27.72 (2013 Monaco)
4. Asbel Kiprop, 3:28.45 (2014 Monaco)
5. Taoufik Makhloufi, 3:28.75 (2015 Monaco)
6. Abdelaati Iguider, 3:28.79 (2015 Monaco)
7. Elijah Manangoi, 3:28.80 (2017 Monaco)
8. Mo Farah, 3:28.81 (2013 Monaco)
8. Ronald Kwemoi, 3:28.81 (2014 Monaco)
10. Asbel Kiprop, 3:28.88 (2012 Monaco)
11. Mo Farah, 3:28.93 (2015 Monaco)
12. Timothy Cheruiyot, 3:29.10 (2017 Monaco)
Quick Take: Is Ronald Kwemoi okay?
Kwemoi, the winner of the Kenyan Trials in 3:30.89 at altitude, was hobbling after the race and had to be propped up by a Cheruiyot and Manangoi as he exited the track. He still managed to finish third tonight, but it would be a major bummer if he has to miss Worlds. Remember, he fell in last year’s Olympic final which basically ended any chance he had to medal.
Ronald Kwemoi hobbling off track after 1500 in Monaco. pic.twitter.com/UXptiSKsFf
— Jonathan Gault (@jgault13) July 21, 2017
Quick Take: This wasn’t a disaster for Matthew Centrowitz, but it was for Asbel Kiprop
Centrowitz said coming into the race that he wanted to run more competitively than he did in Lausanne. Centrowitz sort of did that. He didn’t go with the leaders up front as they broke away, but considering they were on sub-3:30 pace, that was probably smart. However, he put himself in good position in the chase pack but just didn’t have anything left over the final 200.
Obviously that’s not ideal, but it’s still faster than he ran in Lausanne two weeks ago. And Centrowitz is not a guy who needs to race well heading into a championship in order to succeed. Check out his final races before Worlds/Olympics in his career:
|Year||Final pre-champs race||Results||Champs result|
|2011||Monaco DL 1500||3:34.46 (10th)||3rd|
|2012||Morton Games 800||1:47.72 (1st)||4th|
|2013||London DL Mile||3:58.75 (16th)||2nd|
|2015||Stockholm DL 1500||3:39.29 (11th)||8th|
|2016||TT Summer Series 800||1:47.17 (4th)||1st|
|2017||Monaco DL 1500||3:34.43 (9th)||???|
So Centrowitz’s result tonight was almost identical to his final pre-Worlds race in 2011, when he went on to medal in Daegu. Centro’s best skill is his tactics and he’ll be much more at home in a championship race where the winning time is in the mid-3:30s or slower.
Kiprop is a different story. Kiprop has been so good on the Diamond League circuit throughout his career that it’s odd for him to enter Worlds or the Olympics on anything other than a high note. And it’s worth noting that in his last three championship seasons, he finished in the same place in Monaco as he did at Worlds/Olympics. In 2013, he won Monaco in 3:27 and went on to win Worlds. In 2015, he won Monaco in 3:26 and went on to win Worlds. Last year, he was sixth in Monaco in 3:32 and sixth at the Olympics. So the fact that he was 11th today does not bode well for his fate in London.
Quick Take: Nick Willis gets the standard
The Kiwi’s top priority was getting under the 3:36 IAAF standard tonight, and as a result he ran conservatively, staying toward the back and letting the field drag him along. He made it under comfortably in the end, clocking a season’s best of 3:34.74 and can now focus on peaking for Worlds.
*MB: Weak Monaco 1500
Men’s 800: Emmanuel Korir sends a message with world-leading 1:43.10
Emmanuel Korir’s incredible rise from obscurity to the world’s best continued in Monaco tonight as he blasted a 1:43.10 world leader to destroy the field in the non-Diamond League men’s 800.
Canada’s Brandon McBride was the man to take it out as he was the first racer behind rabbit Bram Som at 200 meters. Korir settled in behind him, and it would stay that way for the next 400 meters, with McBride following Som to tow Korir through halfway (49.8 for McBride, 50.0 for Korir). Once Som stepped off, McBride continued as Korir’s de facto rabbit through 600 (1:16.63), but Korir still had plenty left in the tank and moved easily by McBride on the final turn. From there, it was all Korir as he pulled away to win by over a second, his 1:43.10 a new personal best by .63 of a second. The race was eerily similar to the 2016 NCAA final with McBride once again acting as pacer and Korir, the 2017 NCAA champ for UTEP, playing the role of Donavan Brazier.
McBride did well to hold off Burundi’s World Indoor silver medalist Antoine Gakeme for second as USA’s Drew Windle once again got under 1:45 to finish in a tie for fourth with France’s Pierre-Ambroise Bosse in 1:44.72.
|1||Emmanuel Kipkurui KORIR||KEN||1:43.10|
Quick Take: The 800 is going to be a lot of fun at Worlds
Championship 800s are always wild affairs. As the shortest race not run entirely in lanes, positioning is key and because of the brutal nature of qualifying — 24 semifinalists must be whittled down to an 8-man final — there are always some big casualties in the rounds.
But that’s also what makes it such a fun event to watch, and that’s certainly the case in 2017. Korir, Nijel Amos, Donavan Brazier and Kipyegon Bett have combined to account for the 12 fastest times of the year of anyone running at Worlds. But Amos, at 23, is the elder statesman of that group and he hasn’t made a global outdoor final since 2012; the other three guys will all be making their major championship debuts.
Korir and Amos have been the two best guys this year, but David Rudisha has won the past two global titles and is lurking in the background. Will youth or experience triumph in London?
Quick Take: Emmanuel Korir still wants to run faster
“I wanted to run faster, I was thinking about 1:42, but could not work well with the pacemaker,” Korir told the IAAF afterwards. “Of course it is a great debut in Diamond League for me. You know I was a 400 m runner, started in 2014 in high school back in Kenya and I’m running only for first year the 800m. In London I want to be the best, I’m gonna win.”
Quick Take: Another impressive day at the office for Drew Windle
Here are Windle’s five 800s this year:
May 19, Georgia Meet of Champions: 2nd, 1:45.02
June 25, USAs: 3rd, 1:44.95
July 2, TT Summer Series Portland: 1st, 1:46.21
July 9, TT Summer Series NYC: 1st, 1:44.63
July 21, Herculis: 4th, 1:44.72
Not a bad race in the bunch. That is the kind of consistency Windle will require if he is to successfully navigate three rounds in four days in London.
Men’s 100: Usain Bolt wins in 9.95 to set the stage for a golden farewell in London
Usain Bolt came to Monaco on Friday and did what he always does: win. The 30-year-old Jamaican, who has not lost since 2013, ran his unbeaten streak to 26 as he clocked a season’s best of 9.95 seconds to take the men’s 100. Though the pre-race talk centered about who was absent from the race as much as who was in it (Andre De Grasse’s coach Stuart McMillan said that Bolt’s camp had De Grasse booted from the field, a claim the meet director, Bolt’s manager and De Grasse himself denied), Bolt was clearly the class of this field as he won by .03 from the U.S.’s Isiah Young despite looking as if he was going through the motions.
Bolt did not get a great start, but as he has so many times in the past, he began to mow down the field late. Though Bolt didn’t shut it down early, he didn’t lean and never seemed concerned about the other men he was facing; it’s not hard to imagine a time in the 9.8s from him tonight had he really gunned it home.
That is a bad sign for the rest of the world as Bolt, after a trip to Germany to see Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt, is getting stronger just as most of his rivals are wearing down. Bolt’s time of 9.95 tonight puts him in a tie for seventh on the 2017 world list. Here are the men who have run faster and are entered in the 100 at Worlds:
- Christian Coleman (9.82): Coleman ran 9.82 in the NCAA semis on June 7, but he got beat at USAs and has run 50 races in a lengthy season that began all the way back on January 7th. His fastest times this year are likely behind him.
- Yohan Blake (9.90): Looked great in running 9.90 at the Jamaican Trials, his fastest 100 since 2012, but withdrew from Rabat last week with a groin injury.
- Akani Simbine (9.92): Hasn’t run faster than 9.99 since May and ran 10.02 to lost to Bolt in Monaco.
- Christopher Belcher (9.93): Has broken 10.00 once all year and was convincingly beaten by Bolt tonight (10.12).
No one has emerged as a clear-cut #1 challenger to Bolt. If this were 2015, with Justin Gatlin knocking out 9.7s left and right, we’d be more concerned (and Bolt still beat Gatlin at Worlds that year, by the way). Andre De Grasse is obviously in good form, but we’ve seen this movie too many times to bet against Bolt. So let’s spoil the ending: it ends with a season’s best in London and a gold medal around Usain Bolt’s neck.
Men’s 400 meters: Isaac Makwala gives Wayde van Niekerk a run for his money
200 meters into this one, the outcome seemed preordained with Olympic champ Wayde van Niekerk breezing past Botswana’s Isaac Makwala on his outside en route to another dominant victory. But Makwala has been in terrific form of late (a week ago in Madrid, he became the first man to break 20 seconds for 200 and 44 seconds for 400 on the same day) and on the turn, he fought back and seized the lead back from van Niekerk, treating the fans in Monaco to an unfamiliar sight: van Niekerk locked in a tight homestretch battle. Makwala held the lead with 50 meters to go, but van Niekerk had just enough to edge past him in the final 30 and take the victory, 43.73 to 43.84.
|1||Wayde VAN NIEKERK||RSA||43.73||8|
|8||Teddy ATINE – VENEL||FRA||46.36||1|
Quick Take: Van Niekerk is not invincible
Wayde van Niekerk has been so brilliant over the past two years that a third straight global gold in London seemed inevitable. Make no mistake, he remains the heavy favorite, but Makwala showed tonight that it won’t be a cakewalk at Worlds as van Niekerk had to work for this win.
The 30-year-old Makwala certainly looks like a vastly improved runner in 2017. Though he was fifth at Worlds in 2015, entering this year, the two fastest times in his career — 44.01 in 2014 and 43.72 in 2015 — both came from the same meet at altitude in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, casting some suspicion on the performances. Now he’s run 43.92 and 43.84 in the span of eight days and looks like a potential medalist in London.
Women’s 3000: Hellen Obiri crushes a world-leading 8:23.14
Kenya’s Hellen Obiri destroyed the field over the second half of the women’s 3000 and won in dominant fashion, but she failed to become first non-Chinese runner to break 8:20 outdoors as her winning time was 8:23.14.
Obiri, who had run 8:20.68 in Doha in 2014, wanted a fast time. The rabbit was supposed to take the leaders through 1500 in 4:08 but the pace didn’t end up being quite that hot. When the rabbit stopped at 1500, the clock read 4:11 and that was more than everyone else could handle. Obiri immediately gapped everyone in the lead pack (which was down to five runners just 1k into the race), but in reality she wasn’t really picking up the pace, they were just fading.
Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya, who technically had a 9:41.10 pb before this race but has run 9:00 in the steeple, got the best of Laura Muir over the final lap to finish second in 8:28.66 as Muir ran an 8:30.64 outdoor pb for third (previous pb of 8:38.47, though she’s run 8:26.41 indoors). Fellow Scot Eilish McColgan, who didn’t go with the lead pack early, had an even bigger PR to finish fourth in 8:31.29 (previous best 8:43.27).
|1||Hellen Onsando OBIRI||KEN||8:23.14||8|
|5||Lilian Kasait RENGERUK||KEN||8:32.73||4|
|7||Agnes Jebet TIROP||KEN||8:35.37||2|
|10||Karoline Bjerkeli GRØVDAL||NOR||8:37.58|
Quick Take: Obiri got some much-needed practice at pushing the pace over the 2nd half of the race
Obiri, the Olympic silver medallist at 5000, has been fantastic so far this year, undefeated outdoors in races above 1500, including a 14:18 5k. However, she’s far from a lock in London. Sifan Hassan could be a big threat in a tactical race given the fact that she ran 1:56 in the 800 today so Obiri is going to want to make London somewhat honest.
Check out what Hassan said after the 800.
“It’s amazing, it proves I’m fast, good for my London plans, nothing is changing I will go for 1500 and 5000 m double. But for sure I will have the fastest 800 among entrants in this events.”
Quick Take: Americans are mostly non-factors
The U.S. will have a medal threat in almost every distance race at Worlds, but the women’s 5000 is not one of them (the men’s 10k is the other event where no American figures to contend). Shannon Rowbury (8:33) and Shelby Houlihan (8:37) ran pretty well here (the third member of Team USA, Molly Huddle, was a scratch), but between Obiri, Muir, Hassan and the other Africans running in London, it would take a miracle for one of them to medal.
Women’s 100 hurdles: Keni Harrison wins a close one
World record holder Keni Harrison maintained her perfect 2017 record in Monaco, but she was pushed all the way to the line by fellow American Sharika Nelvis as Harrison ran 12.51 to Nelvis’ 12.52.
Women’s 200: Marie-Josée Ta Lou sprints to 22.25 win
Ta Lou, fourth in the 100 and 200 in Rio last year, blasted the turn and never looked back as she won her first career DL 200 in 22.25. Kyra Jefferson, who set the collegiate record to win NCAAs in June but missed out on the U.S. team, was second in 22.42.
|1||Marie-Josée TA LOU||CIV||22.25||8|
Women’s 400 hurdles: Kori Carter makes a statement
Carter PR’d for the first time in four years by running 52.95 to take third at USAs and she’s continued that good form since heading over to Europe. She won in Hungary on July 4 and tonight added her first career Diamond League victory by ripping apart a quality field in 53.36, the #3 time of her life. With U.S. champ/world leader Dalilah Muhammad battling injuries and U.S. runner-up Shamier Little finishing a well-beaten second tonight, Carter will like her chances at Worlds next month.
Men’s 4×100: China beats two U.S. teams
The U.S. fielded two fairly strong teams in this race, particularly the Red squad, which featured four of the top six finishers in the 100 at USAs. Yet neither of them could defeat China, last year’s fourth placers at the Olympics. Not a great sign for first-year U.S. relay coach Orin Richburg.
|1||PR OF CHINA||CHN||38.19|
|2||UNITED STATES “RED”||USA||38.30|
|3||UNITED STATES “BLUE”||USA||38.41|
Women’s 4×100: USA Red takes it comfortably
The U.S. has won the last two Olympic golds in this event, and three-quarters of the Rio squad (Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, English Gardner) were in action today. The time wasn’t anything special — 42.34 would have placed sixth in Rio last year — but it was good enough for the win today.
Notably, U.S. champ Tori Bowie did not run here. Remember, in 2015 Bowie did not participate in the U.S. relay camp and thus was not picked to run on the 4×100 at Worlds (despite medalling in the individual 100 at those championships). Could we see the same thing happen in 2017?
|1||UNITED STATES “RED”||USA||42.34|
|2||UNITED STATES “BLUE”||USA||43.07|
|5||PR OF CHINA||CHN||43.78|
Men’s pole vault: Poland’s Piotr Lisek earns his first career DL victory
With the world’s top pole vaulter in 2017, Sam Kendricks of the U.S., sitting this one out, the win was up for grabs and it went to 25-year-old Pole Piotr Lisek, who tied his outdoor PR of 5.82 to take the victory.
|9||Thiago Braz DA SILVA||BRA||5.60|
|11||Raphael Marcel HOLZDEPPE||GER||5.45|
Men’s javelin: Olympic champ Thomas Röhler gets the win
Germans Thomas Röhler and Johannes Vetter have waged a back-and-forth war in the javelin this year, but it was Röhler who got the win and momentum heading into Worlds thanks to his 89.17-meter second-round toss. There was no debate about who was best tonight as any of Röhler’s four legal throws would have been good enough to win.
|4||Ahmed Bader MAGOUR||QAT||81.61||5|
Women’s high jump: Mariya Lasitskene stays perfect and clears 2.05m
Lasitskene has been superb this year and won her 19th competition of 2017 by clearing 2.05m, her second-best mark of the year. American Vashti Cunningham had a solid night to take third as 19-year-old Yuliya Levchenko — just two months older than the precocious Cunningham — took second thanks to a 1.97m pb.
Women’s triple jump: Caterine Ibarguen wins battle of South American stars
The women’s triple jump gold in London is likely going to come down to Olympic champ Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia or World Indoor champ Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela and if tonight was any indication, it should be quite a competition. Both women saved their best for the last round, but ultimately it was Ibarguen who prevailed, by three centimeters in 14.86.
|7||Jeanine ASSANI ISSOUF||FRA||13.82||-0.8||2|