May 4, 2018
The 2018 Diamond League season got underway in Doha, Qatar, on Friday night. We recap all the distance action, which was highlighted by the first sub-4:00 for Caster Semenya, 17-year-old George Manangoi running 3:35.53, and Emmanuel Korir getting another impressive win.
Caster Semenya Goes Sub-4 for the First Time in the First DL 1500 of Her Life
In what, barring court action, will be Caster Semenya’s last season competing in the 800 and 1500 against women on the professional level without lowering her testosterone, Semenya started the Diamond League season superbly, powering away from the field the final 100m with ease to get her first sub-4:00 clocking and the win in 3:59.92.
Semenya looked comfortable in what, believe it or not, ws the first Diamond League 1500m race of her life. The pacing was erratic, starting out at 62.6 the first 400, then slowing to 2:11.05 before ramping back up to 3:14.35 at 1200 where Semenya was only in 5th. Semenya challenged for the lead on the backstretch and moved up on the shoulder of Nelly Jepkosgei around the final bend before hitting her turbo the final 100 to power away to the win by over a second in 3:59.92. Jepkosgei was a clear 2nd.
Impressive running for Semenya in her first DL 1500. Afterwards she was pleased, saying on the Olympic Channel broadcast, “The win is good. Breaking the 4 minutes magic is always a dream. We have achieved what we came here for.” But she also told reporters later, “I wanted to go faster, but had to slow down a little. It’s always been a dream to set the NR and continue to push beyond my PB, and I think we definitely achieved what we came here for.”
1500 Metres - Women Pts 1 Semenya , Caster RSA 3:59.92 8 2 Jepkosgei , Nelly KEN 4:00.99 7 3 Alemu , Habitam ETH 4:01.41 6 4 Sado , Besu ETH 4:01.75 5 5 Samuel , Alemaz ETH 4:01.78 4 6 Tsegay , Gudaf ETH 4:01.81 3 7 Arafi , Rababe MAR 4:03.69 2 8 Kiyeng , Judith Jemutai KEN 4:03.87 1 9 Sum , Eunice Jepkoech KEN 4:05.38 10 Chebet , Winny KEN 4:05.76 11 Hall , Linden AUS 4:07.07 12 Buckman , Zoe AUS 4:07.25 Akkaoui , Malika MAR DNF Tuei , Emily Cherotich KEN DNF Yarigo , Noélie BEN DNF
Quick Take: How many DL’s can Semenya win in 2018?
There are six regular-season DL 800s this year and five 1500s. There is an overlap at two meets. Exclude those and that gives Semenya nine DL wins to go for. At $10,000 a pop, that’s $90,000. Plus there is $50,000 for the two DL finales. So all in all, she could win $190,000 in prize money this year. It’s unlikely she would try to win them all, but in a year without an Olympic or World Championships, she might decide, “Why not?”
Men’s 1500: 17-Year-Old George Manangoi Runs 3:35.53
This wasn’t a Diamond League event but 17-year-old George Manangoi made it exciting as he closed in 55.5 to finish 2nd in 3:35.53. That definitely deserves more than a mention considering last night another 17-year-old, Jakob Ingebrigtsen, closed in 55 to run 3:39 and got a lot of fanfare. World indoor 3000m medallist Bethwell Birgen was the only guy to go with the rabbits and he had a 20-meter or so lead with 400 to go (2:37.7), but the field would gain on him and pass him around the final bend.
That’s when Kenyan Charles Simotwo went to the front, but the lead changed multiple times in the final 200m as race winner Taresa Tolosa was only 5th with 200 to go but closed the best to win in 3:35.07. Even further back with 200 to go was World Youth champ Manangoi, brother of outdoor champion Elijah, who was in 8th. But he had a great final 50m to get a PB (previous best 3:36.20).
1500 Metres - Men 1 Tolosa , Taresa ETH 3:35.07 2 Manangoi , George Meitamei KEN 3:35.53 3 Kiplagat , Justus Soget KEN 3:35.71 4 Simotwo , Charles Cheboi KEN 3:36.40 5 Birgen , Bethwell KEN 3:36.54 6 Iguider , Abdelaati MAR 3:36.59 7 Gregson , Ryan AUS 3:37.00 8 Cheboi , Collins KEN 3:37.83 9 Kibet , Vincent KEN 3:38.11 10 Williamsz , Jordan AUS 3:40.06 11 Elkaam , Fouad MAR 3:40.91 12 Bellemore , Corey CAN 3:41.34 13 Ali , Musaab Adam QAT 3:41.90 Kivuva , Jackson Mumbwa KEN DNF Rotich , Andrew Kiptoo KEN DNF
Quick Take: Manangoi’s Run Doesn’t Get Much Buzz
Manangoi’s run didn’t get a lot of talk on the forums. Some are suspicious of Kenyan 1500 runners in general right now with Asbel Kiprop testing positive. Others are unsure if Manangoi is really 17 with the history of age cheating in Kenya. Whatever the case, there is no discounting that he is looking like a future star in the sport considering his time today and the success of his brother.
George was pleased in his post-race interview saying, “I’m so grateful for hitting a new PB and to come in second place. This is a blessing to my life, and only helps me in my goal for 2018 to practice hard for the World Juniors. I’d also like to wish my brother luck; he’s running the 800m very soon. I’d like to thank my coach and my teammates for all of the support. I’m only here now because of them.”
So was his brother Elijah who got 2nd in the 800 (see below): “I feel good, I’m happy that my brother and I got second place! I told him before we went on the track that we would do well. I’m so proud of him! My goal for this year is to be able to follow in his footsteps and run the 1500m race.”
Women’s 3000m: Jenny Simpson Comes Up Short of American Record as 1:05 Half Marathoner Caroline Kipkiuri Wins
Drug cheat Mary Slaney’s American record (8:25.83) lives another day as Jenny Simpson ran a respectable 8:30.83 for 4th in a race won by 1:05:04 half marathoner Caroline Kipkirui in 8:29.05.
The pace was out quick enough with 2:49 through the 1000 (2:50 is 8:30 pace) and then slowed to 5:42 at 2000. The field was bunching up with all 11 women in contention and Jenny Simpson decided she had had enough and took the lead with 2 laps to go.
She was passed just before the 600m to go mark, but would regain it with 300m to go and hold it until Agnes Tirop went by her on the backstretch. Simpson was already falling back and then it looked like a stumble lost her even more momentum. Tirop lead down the homestretch until Kipkirui made a late charge for the win. Tirop’s drift out forced Kipkirui to finish in lane 3, but she still managed to win thanks to a 62.5 final lap.
3000 Metres - Women Pts 1 Kipkirui , Caroline Chepkoech KEN 8:29.05 8 2 Tirop , Agnes Jebet KEN 8:29.09 7 3 Kiyeng , Hyvin KEN 8:30.51 6 4 Simpson , Jennifer USA 8:30.83 5 5 Gidey , Letesenbet ETH 8:30.96 4 6 Rengeruk , Lilian Kasait KEN 8:33.13 3 7 Mamo , Meskerem ETH 8:33.63 2 8 Degefa , Beyenu ETH 8:35.76 1 9 Can , Yasemin TUR 8:36.24 10 Jeruto , Norah KEN 8:37.09 11 Tesfay , Fotyen ETH 8:47.73 12 McColgan , Eilish GBR 8:48.03 13 Minsewo , Aberash ETH 8:51.93 14 Obiri , Hellen KEN 8:53.65 15 Tuei , Sandrafelis Chebet KEN 8:58.04 16 LaCaze , Genevieve AUS 9:31.14 Kuria , Mary Wangari KEN DNF Tverdostup , Tamara UKR DNF
Quick Take: What Range by Kipkirui
Kipkirui ran 1:05:04 for the half marathon at RAK this year, but the women’s half has become so deep that was only was good for 3rd place. Clearly this run shows she has good speed and impressive range, despite coming in with only an 8:51 3000 pb. She did run 14:27 on the track last year, but this run was more impressive.
QT: Subpar run for Hellen Obiri
Obiri was only 14th today as she faded badly over the last couple laps, but she did win the Commonwealth Games 5000 earlier this month so is in decent shape.
Men’s 800: 2017 World Leader Emmanuel Korir Holds Off 1500 World Champ Elijah Manangoi To Get The Win
It was a battle between speed and strength the final 100m of the men’s 800m, as World 1500m champ Elijah Manangoi tried to chase down 2017’s fastest 800m man Emmanuel Korir. But with a super slow start, it was all down to who could run a faster 200m and that was Korir as he crossed the line in 1:45.21 to Manangoi’s 1:45.60.
Kenya’s former world junior bronze medalist Nicholas Kipkoech made it a Kenyan sweep in third as World Indoor champion Adam Kszczot faded from first to fourth and Clayton Murphy finished sixth.
Blow by Blow
The race began like all too many elite distance races do, with the rabbit way out front and no one wanting to go with the pace. The pacer already had a big gap by 200m and it only grew from there as he came through the first lap in 51.76 with the pack trailing at around 53 seconds. Kszczot led the pack with Korir right on his shoulder and the field bunched up behind them. Murphy was towards the back on the rail.
After hitting the 600m mark in 1:20.24, Korir and Manangoi moved around Kszczot and started pumping for home while Kszczot tried to hold onto third. With 50m to go it looked like Manangoi might come back on Korir, but Korir found another gear to get the win by .39 of a second. Behind them, Kipkoech passed Kszczot to grab a distant third in 1:46.51 to Kszczot’s 1:46.70. Murphy was never relevant in the battle for the top spots, but did move up in the final straight to get sixth in 1:47.22.
800 Metres - Men Pts 1 Korir , Emmanuel Kipkurui KEN 1:45.21 8 2 Manangoi , Elijah Motonei KEN 1:45.60 7 3 Kipkoech , Nicholas Kiplangat KEN 1:46.51 6 4 Kszczot , Adam POL 1:46.70 5 5 Rotich , Ferguson Cheruiyot KEN 1:46.76 4 6 Murphy , Clayton USA 1:47.22 3 7 Gakeme , Antoine BDI 1:47.25 2 8 Hairane , Jamal QAT 1:47.62 1 9 Alzofairi , Ebrahim KUW 1:47.79 10 Bett , Kipyegon KEN 1:48.32 Som , Bram NED DNF
Quick Take: Korir Reminds You Why He Was The Fastest Man In The World Last Year
Korir probably could have a couple of international medals to his name, but has been thwarted by bad luck in his two big championships since leaving the NCAA last year. After winning NCAAs, he went on to win the Kenyan World Champs Trials and the Monaco Diamond League. Things were looking promising until an injury hurt him at Worlds and he didn’t make the final.
Then during indoors this year, Korir ran the fastest indoor time in 17 years to win Millrose in 1:44.21, but visa issues kept from racing World Indoor Champs. Despite the setback, he’s obviously kept his good form and we’re looking forward to hopefully seeing a 100% Korir go up against guys like Michael Saruni and Donavan Brazier later this season.
Post-race, Korir said, “This is my first race of the season, so I am very happy with the performance! The audience was amazing, cheering for me, and it’s just great to see that support in the stadium. For 2018, my hope is to hit a new PB.”
QT: Elijah Manangoi Keeps Rolling After Starting His Season Early At The Commonwealth Games
Manangoi’s a 1500 specialist, but he looked at home in the shorter race stepping down today, making Korir work for it as he ran the third best 800m time of his career (and the best that wasn’t hand timed). Manangoi got his season started earlier than normal this year winning Commonwealth Games gold last month, but did no build-up races before that so he’s in a good place in what was his second race of the outdoor season.
QT #3: Clayton Murphy’s Sub Par Running Continues
This is Murphy’s second 800 of the outdoor season and it went almost exactly like the first. At Mt. SAC last month he went out in a slow 53.46 and finished with 1:47.22 for second. Today he was out in around 53 seconds and came home in the exact same finishing time of 1:47.22. Considering it’s been two weeks and this was a Diamond League race, we’re sure Murphy would have liked to run faster to show some progression. But on the positive side, he was closing hard at the end passing a couple of people in the final stretch rather than tying up and fading. Hopefully his next race doesn’t go out as slow for the first 400m and he can put up a better time.
Men’s Steeple: Chala Beyo Closes Best in Non-DL Event
When the rabbits have faster PRs than the field, you know something is a little off. The top pros weren’t in this one but Chala Beyo had a very good 60.1 close to get the comfortable win.
3000 Metres Steeplechase - Men 1 Beyo , Chala ETH 8:13.71 2 Kipsang , Lawrence Kemboi KEN 8:15.07 3 Kiprono , Emmanuel KEN 8:16.24 4 Kipyego , Barnabas KEN 8:17.30 5 Deriba , Tesfaye ETH 8:17.51 6 Chemutai , Albert UGA 8:18.80 7 Amare , Hailemariyam ETH 8:21.21 8 Nurgi , Tolosa ETH 8:24.11 9 Tindouft , Mohamed MAR 8:24.80 10 Lagat , Justus KEN 8:26.17 11 Kemboi , Clement Kimutai KEN 8:31.02 12 Girma , Tesfaye ETH 8:38.70 13 Meyan , Cleophas Kandie KEN 8:43.87 14 Saifeldin , Muhand Khamis QAT 9:04.64 Nganga , Bernard Mbugua KEN DNF Yego , Hillary Kipsang KEN DNF