WTW: Morgan McDonald Runs Fast Down Under, A Lot of American Ran Fast and Missed Worlds, International Indoor Update, Drew Hunter Update

The Week That Was In Running, February 12 – 18, 2018

By LetsRun.com
February 20, 2018

Past editions of the Week That Was can be found here. Questions, comments, or a tip? Please call us at 844-LETSRUN (538-7786), email us or post on our forum.

If during the week you missed our feature on David Torrence‘s autopsy or missed our in-depth on-site coverage of the 2018 USATF Indoor Champs, catch up now as we don’t repeat ourselves:

LRC David Torrence’s Death Ruled An Accidental Drowning, But For His Family Questions Remain Because Of Death Threats

LRC 2018 USA Indoor coverage

Wisco’s Morgan McDonald Runs 13:19 To Win Aussie Champs

There were A LOT of track meets held across the globe last week as nearly every country that holds an indoor championship held it last weekend, plus outdoors there were the Australian Champs/Commonwealth Games Trials and the Kenyan CG Trials. Way too much action to recap, so we’ll focus on a few performances that really caught our attention.

The first was Wisconsin’s Morgan McDonald winning the Aussie Champs 5,000 in 13:19.05. McDonald wasn’t the only man to run fast as 2010 NCAA 5,000 champ David McNeill was second in 13:19.51 and Stewart McSweyn third in 13:19.96 — the first time ever three Australians broke 13:20 in the same race. Very impressive stuff, especially considering it was 80 degrees with 89% humidity during the race.

McNeill deserves some extra love. Now 31, the Northern Arizona alum is studying to become a doctor and balances training with clinical rotations and a part-time job.

“I’ve had a bit of a change in lifestyle the last year and a half,” he told Runner’s Tribe after the race. “Life in particular has been really, really challenging outside of running. That’s probably one of the proudest race efforts I’ve put in.”

Top 5 Results from 2018 Aussie Champs For Men’s 5,000
1. Morgan McDonald, NSW, 13:19.05
2. David McNeill, VIC, 13:19.51
3. Stewart McSweyn, TAS, 13:19.96
4. Patrick Tiernan, QLD, 13:26.38
5. Jack Rayner, VIC, 14:02.11

Article continues below player.

The race was very exciting, and if you’ve got 15 minutes to spare, we recommend you watch it. If not, at least be sure to watch the final lap (starts at 12:40 in the video).

McDonald and McNeill earned selection to the Commonwealth Games team (McSweyn and Tiernan will compete in the 10,000). McDonald has two seasons of NCAA outdoor eligibility left (and one of indoors) so we imagine we’ll see him in NCAA action soon. The decision to redshirt him in cross last fall was a no-brainer as he’s the early favorite for 2018 NCAA Cross Country, which will be held at Wisconsin’s Zimmer Championship Course for the first time in history. If he decides to burn his final season of indoor eligibility and hop back in NCAA action this weekend at Big 10s, he’d be our favorite for NCAAs in the 5,000 over Justyn Knight, though he will likely stay in Australia until the Commonwealth Games in April.

MB: Morgan McDonald & David McNeill race to 1, 2 finish 13:19 Men’s 5000m Final Australian Athletics Championships 2018

If You Think It’s Hard To Come Back After After An Injury, How About Trying to Come Back After A 10+ Year Break? This Woman Might Be The Favorite For World Indoors If She Were Running

At the Kenyan Commonwealth Games Trials, there were a couple of results that really jumped out at us.

The biggest result came in the women’s 800 where Emily Cherotich Tuei destroyed Olympic bronze medalist Margaret Wambui, winning in a huge lifetime pb of 1:58.1.

800 Results at 2018 CG Trials
1. Emily Cherotich, 1:58.1 ACR
2. Margaret Wambui, 1:59.4

Kenya is only sending seven athletes to World Indoors, and Cherotich is not among them. But if we were Kenya, we’d want Cherotich on the team, and if we were Cherotich, we’d want to be selected. It’s not often that a middle distance runner has the opportunity to win $40,000.

Remember, only four women have broken 2:00 indoors this year, and one of them (Laura Muir) isn’t running the 800 at Worlds. The problem is the IAAF qualifying standard is 2:02.00 from indoors or 1:58 from outdoors and Cherotich has run neither as her 1:58.1 was just a tad too slow. She does have indoor experience as she ran 2:02.39 to win a meet in Iceland earlier this year in her indoor debut. Cherotich certainly belongs in the field.

Since Cherotich is a 31-year-old who had never broken 2:00 herself until last weekend, we know what you are thinking: Wait, what? A 31-year-old who had never broken 2:00 suddenly runs 1:58? She must be on drugs.

Not so quick. Cherotich’s backstory is fascinating. She was the 2001 World Youth champion when she ran 2:05 as a 15-year-old. However, we see zero competitions for her from 2004-2014, presumably because she took a break to become a mom (if you know her actual story, please email us as we’d love to do a feature on her). She returned to action in 2015 after a 10+ year hiatus.

She ran the 400 at the Kenyan champs that year (finishing third in 54.14) and won the Kenyan champs in the 800 in 2016, but not the Kenyan Olympic Trials (where she was 6th) so she didn’t go to Rio. In 2017, she did make it to Worlds (where she went out in the heats) but her PB coming into last weekend was 2:00.0h.

Cherotich’s comeback from a 10+ year absence is a fascinating one, and she still theoretically has a small chance to compete at World Indoors. Right now, Kenya is only sending one woman in the 800, Margaret Wambui (even though Nelly Jepkosgei, who has run 2:01.68 this year also has a qualifier but isn’t on the World Indoor list), but the IAAF will invite athletes to fill the fields. The IAAF will take 18 women in the 800, and while Cherotich is currently #23 on the 2018 World list, there are at least 5 women in front of her from countries that already have two entrants so she’s in the top 18. The problem is that Kenya apparently may not be filling a full field (and we don’t know if she’s interested).


In the men’s 1500 at the Kenyan Commonwealth Games Trials, two heavy hitters showed up and ran. This time the results from 2017 Worlds were reversed as silver medallist Timothy Cheruiyot got the win with his training partner, 2017 world champ Elijah Manangoi, second. While Manangoi didn’t win, he did at least beat his younger brother, George, who won the World U18 Champs last year at age 16.

Leading Results for Men’s 1500 at 2017 Kenyan Commonwealth Games Trials
1. Timothy Cheruiyot, 3:34.1
2. Elijah Manangoi, 3:35.1.
3. Kumari Taki, 3:35.5
4. George Manangoi, 3:35.8

More: World 1500 Champ Elijah Manangoi And Olympic 800 Bronze Medalist Margaret Nyairera Beaten To Runner-Up Finishes At Commonwealth Games Trials

Where is Drew Hunter?

Now that the pro indoor season is over except for Worlds, we had an interesting thought pop in one of our heads.

Where the heck was Drew Hunter? He’s normally a big indoor racer and he didn’t race all winter.

LetsRun.com site co-founder Weldon Johnson then chimed in, saying that he heard Drew talk at the Boulder Running high school clinic last month where his mom, Joan, was one of the official presenters.

Drew, who trained largely on his own in 2017 yet had a successful first year as a pro, has relocated to Boulder, Colorado. He’s now got a group of guys to train with. (The Tinman Elite group coached by his coach Tom “Tinman” Schwartz won club XC nationals in December.) Drew, who pretty much was never injured in high school, picked up an injury at the end of of 2017.

By the time of the clinic (January 12-13) Drew was back training again and said he had done his first track workout 10 days previously. Drew credited consistent long-term training to his high school success.

Let us give a very brief overview of Drew’s talk at the clinic where he explained how he went from hating running to being one of the best high school runners ever. Drew did youth track when he was 9 and 10 (both his parents were big runners), and was pretty good, but told his parents he didn’t want to do it anymore as he didn’t like it. He then focused on basketball, but by 8th grade was a bit burned out and did skateboarding. Then in 8th grade he ran a 5:23 mile in gym class and realized he was pretty good, but he still made fun of running and runners. He told his mom running was for “losers.”

The next year he went out for the high school cross country team (which wasn’t very good) and his dad remembers thinking it was cool he made varsity as a freshman. By the end of the next year, his parents were coaching him, and he was beating Justyn Knight and winning Penn Relays. By the time he graduated he was breaking four in the mile and winning Foot Locker. Drew said the level of his high school success surprised him and he acknowledged his high school career was smooth sailing. “My worst race was having a bad day and only breaking 4 minutes by a second,” he joked, presumably talking about his 3:58.86 at the Pre Classic where it turned out he had Lyme disease.

Drew said Schwartz’s belief is to “keep the ball rolling” with consistent training (easier easy days). That helped him stay injury-free and somewhere along the line, he picked up a love for the activity he once loathed, saying, “The number one reason for my success is I love running. I love training, I love competing.”

Below is Drew with his parents’ high school national championship team last year. (For more on what we learned on the clinic, click here)

Adam Kszczot Is An Indoor Machine

Poland’s Adam Kszczot has won three World Championship silvers in the 800, as the last three times he’s toed the line at an IAAF World Championship, he’s finished second (2014 indoors, 2015 and 2017 outdoors). Now please don’t think because he’s got so much silver in his trophy case that he doesn’t know how to win. He most certainly does.

Last week, Kszczot won three 800 as on Tuesday he won a meet in France in 1:47.12, then he won the IAAF World Tour event in his native Poland on Thursday in 1:46.75, before completing the trifecta at the Polish champs on the weekend in 1:48.08. After his win at the Copernicus Cup on Thursday, Kszczot was pretty darn happy.

Embed from Getty Images

And for good reason. Watch how far back he came from on the final lap. Great stuff.

(Editor’s note: Of course if you think that close is great, realize Kszczot closed in roughly 26.9 in a 1:46.76 race. At 2018 USAs, Drew Windle closed in 26.23 to run 1:46.29 but few noticed as he was getting crushed by Donavan Brazier.)

All told on the year, he’s raced five 800s and won five. Last year, he won European indoor gold and five of his six races (the lone loss was at the IAAF World Tour event in Poland) and in 2016 he was actually undefeated indoors, a perfect six for six, but didn’t compete in Portland. Taken together, he’s now won 15 of his last 16 indoor 800s and we expect him to be a big-time factor at World Indoors in two weeks.

With Kszczot in such good form and with World Indoors fast approaching, we couldn’t help but reminisce a bit last week. Our #1 highlight from our trip to Sopot, Poland, for 2014 World Indoors was the men’s 800 final as the home crowd was going ballistic. Watch it below.

More Memories: LRC Full 2014 World Indoor coverage
LRC Full 2016 World Indoor coverage

Selemon Barega Makes His 2018 Track Debut And It Goes Quite Well

A few weeks ago in this column, we anointed Yomif Kejelcha as Mo Farah 2.0 and then Kejelecha proceeded to go out and lose a race. Can we take that anointing back? We think the cold weather impacted our brain as we forgot about Selemon Barega. In 2017, Barega was a revelation at 17 as he won World U18 3k gold by more than two seconds in 7:47, then proceeded to lower his pbs to 7:38 and 12:55 for 5000 before getting 5th at Worlds.

Well last week in at the Meeting d’Athletisme Hauts-de-France Pas-de-Calais in Liévin, France, Barega made his 2018 track debut and it was spectacular as he destroyed 5,000 world champ Muktar Edris by 4.05 seconds, winning in a world-leading 7:36.64 — the fastest time indoors since 2014. Very impressive stuff for a guy who turned 18 on January 20.

More: 2017 MB: Ethiopia finally found a successor of kenenisa, In this thread, the OP starts things off by saying Haile G has anointed him as the next great star.
*2017 MB: Ethiopian 17-year-old runs 12:55 5K

Jama Aden’s Athletes Run Well

At the same meet in Lievin, France, 2014 World Indoor 1500 champ Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti remained undefeated on the year (two for two) as he won the 1500 in a world-leading 3:35.39.

Souleiman’s win coupled with Genzebe Dibaba‘s 8:31.23 world lead in the 3,000 at a meet in Sabadell, Spain, certainly meant it wasn’t a good week for those of you that subscribe to the argument of “I don’t care if more than 1.5 years later WADA hasn’t charged Jama Aden — I know he’s dirty as his guys and girls haven’t been nearly as good since the doping raid in June 2016.”

Who Needs A Rabbit — Or Competition — To Run Fast?

21-year-old German Konstanze Klosterhalfen, who had run two 4:04 1500s in her first two indoor races of 2018, moved up to 3000 last weekend at the German champs and the results were very impressive. Running without the help of a rabbit, Klosterhalfen put on a masterful display of negative splitting as she ripped off a 2:55.01 first km, a 2:53.34 second km and a 2:47.66 final km to run a new national record of 8:36.01 (in a race where 2nd place was 8:54.08) and tie Shelby Houlihan for #2 on the 2018 world list. Very impressive.

Tweet of the Week I

We aren’t saying much about 2018 USA Indoors in this column as we already provided extensive on-site coverage from Albuquerque. If you missed it, catch up now.

At USAs, one of the sprint highlights was Sharika Nelvis’ upset win in the women’s 60 hurdles over 100-meter hurdles world record holder Kendra Harrison. In the process, Nelvis set an American record of 7.70, breaking the previous record of 7.72 held by Harrison and Lolo Jones. What a great race.

Now, we know many of you admire the pros and aspire to similar greatness and you probably wonder about what amount of pre-race concentration and focus one must have before coming up with the performance of a lifetime. Well thanks to Twitter, we know what Nelvis was thinking about the morning of her American record.


We know John Legere of T-Mobile is a huge running fan. We imagine he can hook Nelvis up with a new contract and we are going to tweet a screenshot of this section to him to see if can’t help her out.

Speaking of T-Mobile, we here at LetsRun.com want it to be known that we use them. No, they aren’t a sponsor. We just love their service and switched to them mainly because we wanted a phone that we could turn on overseas and not fear we were going to be hit with scary charges (it comes with free international data).

But we also are going to use the tweet above as our “free coaching advice” for the week. Friendly reminder: often times, it’s best not to obsess over your race. Read a book, watch a movie, complain about your cell phone bill. We don’t care — find something to occupy your time and mind as long as it’s not physically taxing.


Tweet of the Week II

Jon Mulkeen‘s tweet is right on the money as a lot of studs didn’t make Team USA last week in Albuquerque. Here is where those unlucky third placers rank on the 2018 world list. As of now, only one of them will be going to Worlds.

Men’s 60 — Mike Rodgers‘ SB of 6.50 is ranked #4 in the world (Rodgers is in second in the IAAF World Tour standings so he could get still a wildcard).
Men’s 400 — Vernon Norwood‘s 45.58 SB, which he ran in the prelims at USAs, is ranked #10 in the world. He ran 45.60 in the final, which would put him #13 on the 2018 world list.
Men’s 60 hurdles — Devon Allen‘s 7.49 SB is ranked #5 in the world, behind three Americans and reigning World Indoor champ Omar McLeod.
Men’s pole vault — Mike Arnold‘s 5.78m SB puts him in a six-way tie for #9 in the world.
Men’s long jump — Mike Hartfield‘s 8.18m SB is ranked #7 in the world.
Men’s triple jump — Omar Craddock‘s 17.18m SB is ranked #6. His best jump of 17.11m from USAs would put him #8 on the 2018 world list.
Women’s 400 — Phyllis Francis‘ 51.19 SB in the first section of the final at USAs was actually a world leader for a few minutes before Courtney Okolo and Shakima Wimbley bumped her down to #3 on the 2018 world list.
Women’s 60 hurdles — Christina Manning‘s 7.73 SB is ranked #3 in the world, a full .10 of a second in front of #4. Manning should get to run at Worlds as either she or US champ Sharika Nelvis will win the World Indoor Tour, giving the U.S. three spots at Worlds.
Women’s pole vault — Jenn Suhr‘s 4.81 SB is ranked #5 in the world.

Recommended Reads

LRC David Torrence’s Death Ruled An Accidental Drowning, But For His Family Questions Remain Because Of Death Threats

LRC NCAA TF Committee Reopens Bid Process for 2019 & 2020 NCAA Outdoor Championships That Had Previously Been Awarded to University of Oregon

LRC Book Review: “Endure” By Alex Hutchinson – A Fitting Successor To “The Sports Gene” As The Next Great Sports Science Book

SPIKES Profiles Czech Middle Distance Runner Jakub Holusa, Who Has Become Known For His Blistering Kick H

To see our favorite reads from other weeks, go here.

Quotes Of The Day And Last Week’s Home Pages

To see the actual quotes of the day from last week or last week’s home page or any home page, go to our archive page.

Got a tip, question or comment? Please call us at 844-LETSRUN (538-7786), email us or post in our forum.

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