Continental Cup Day 2: Caster Semenya Remains a Champion, Chelimo Wins Crazy Elimination-Style Race, Manangoi Too Good for Ingebrigtsen

September 9, 2018

The 2018 Continental Cup came to an end in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on Sunday with Team Americas getting a comfortable win.

We’ve got the highlights of all of Sunday’s distance races below. Our full Saturday recap is here.

In the sprints and field events, Noah Lyles won the 100, Shaunae Miller-Uibo came from behind to win the 200 and then ran a leg on the winning mixed 4×400 team, Christian Taylor won the triple and then ran the 4×400, but the most impressive performance might have been Caterine Ibarguen winning the long jump a day after winning the triple jump. She did the same thing at the DL finals. That means she picked up $160,000 in prize money in two weeks. Not bad for someone who didn’t long jump at all last year. Today’s performance by Ibarguen was super impressive as the Continental Cup had an unusual format where the final two jumpers did a one-jump jump-off for the title. What did Ibarguen do? Set a PB on her final jump. *Full meet recap from IAAF here

Women’s 800 Caster Semenya (Goes Out?) a Champion as She Extends Streak to 29 Straight

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The Continental Cup may have been the final time the track and field world saw Caster Semenya compete in her signature event on the world stage, and if that is the case it was fitting she went out a dominant champion.

Semenya wasted no time in asserting her dominance. Going through 200 in 26.44 she had opened up a gap on chaser Ajee Wilson as the entire field was spread out single-file. Semenya would hit 400 in 55.93 with a big gap on the field, but would slow to 1:25.63 at 600 as Wilson narrowed the gap a little. But Semenya had saved something in reserve and Wilson never got within shouting distance of her and Semenya would cruise to victory in 1:54.77 as Wilson was a distant second in 1:57.16 ahead of Natoya Goule in 1:57.36. It was the 29th straight 800m victory for Semenya.

1 Caster SEMENYA Africa RSARSA 1:54.77
2 Ajee WILSON Americas USAUSA 1:57.16
3 Natoya GOULE Americas JAMJAM 1:57.36
4 Nataliia PRYSHCHEPA Europe UKRUKR 1:59.58 SB
5 Angela PETTY Asia-Pacific NZLNZL 2:01.26
6 Anna SABAT Europe POLPOL 2:04.43
7 Besu SADO Africa ETHETH 2:08.59 SB
8 Brittany MCGOWAN Asia-Pacific AUSAUS 2:10.63

QT: Semenya saved her best for last

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Caster Semenya has been on the world stage for nearly a decade (she burst onto the scene at the 2009 World Championships), but her best running came this year. Prior to this year, she had never broken 1:55 for 800. This year, including today, she went sub-1:55 three times with a PB of 1:54.25. She also went under 50 for the first time in 2018, and ran 49.62 for 400 yesterday, so that made her run today even more impressive.

If this was the final competitive 800m race for Caster Semenya, it was a good one.

QT: Ajee Wilson waiting in the wings

If the new hyperandrogenism rules go into effect, the US’s Ajee Wilson will suddenly be the new world #1.

Women’s Steeplechase: Beatrice Chepkoech Caps a Tremendous Season

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Beatrice Chepkoech hit the first kilometer in 2:57.91 and no one was with her so the rest of the race was a coronation. She’d slow to 6:02.19 and 9:07.92 at the finish, but this was about picking up an easy victory and a $30,000 payday. Coming around the final bend, Chepkoech put her arms out and encouraged the crowd to celebrate her dominant win and season.

The only real drama in this race was who was going to get eliminated each lap the final 4 laps of the race (starting with 4 laps to go, the last place runner was eliminated). At the second elimination, the entire field beside Chepkoech was still in a pack and Weynshet Ansa of Ethiopia was last, but she didn’t know it and when she was shown a red card on the backstretch of the next lap, she kept running. That created problems the next lap as the runner in front of Ansa was also eliminated (Ophelia Claude-Boxberger of France). We can see how Ansa didn’t think she was eliminated, but her mistake cost her $2,000 as she was ultimately DQ’d. Aisha Praught was eliminated at the bell, but up front there was no doubt what was going on as Chepkoech was cruising and American Courtney Frerichs a clear 2nd.

1 Beatrice CHEPKOECH Africa KENKEN 9:07.92 CR
2 Courtney FRERICHS Americas USAUSA 9:15.22
3 Winfred Mutile YAVI Asia-Pacific BRNBRN 9:17.86
4 Anna Emilie MØLLER Europe DENDEN 9:42.57
7 Sudha SINGH Asia-Pacific INDIND DNF
Weynshet ANSA Africa ETHETH DQ

QT: Chepkoech is clearly the world’s best

Last year, Chepkoech ended up the LRC world #1 in the steeple, but she was best known for running around the first water barrier at the World Champs. This year everyone knows who she is. Starting in Paris she ran an 8:59.36 pb (last year she ran 8:59.84), then ran an 8:44 world record in her next race, 8:59 at the African Champs, and an 8:55 at the DL final. Total domination. The only hiccup on her season was a 9:15 5th place finish in Rome in May.

QT: Frerichs gets rewarded for her American record

The Americas’ selection for this race was based off of season’s best, so Frerichs got the nod over world champion Emma Coburn. Frerichs showed this year that her silver at Worlds was not a fluke, but she and Coburn are both faced with the same question for next year: can they get under 9 to be competitive as the event moves into new territory?

Men’s 1500: Manangoi is the best championship runner in the world

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Elijah Manangoi made it a perfect three for three in championship races in 2018 as he won the Continental Cup in 3:40.00.

Drew Hunter led early in this one, but once it mattered, favorite Manangoi was in the front at the bell with the entire pack right behind him. Coming off the final turn, five guys were still relatively close to Manangoi but he’s the best championships runner in the world and he pulled away for the win in 3:40.00 thanks to a 52.92 final lap. He had time to do a salute to the crowd at the finish.

1 Elijah Motonei MANANGOI Africa KENKEN 3:40.00 8
2 Marcin LEWANDOWSKI Europe POLPOL 3:40.42 7
3 Jakob INGEBRIGTSEN Europe NORNOR 3:40.80 6
4 Charles PHILIBERT-THIBOUTOT Americas CANCAN 3:40.90 5
5 Ryan GREGSON Asia-Pacific AUSAUS 3:40.91 4
6 Jinson JOHNSON Asia-Pacific INDIND 3:41.72 3
7 Andrew HUNTER Americas USAUSA 3:43.95 .946 2
8 Ronald MUSAGALA Africa UGAUGA 3:43.95 .950 1
QT: Nice experience for Drew Hunter

Hunter got in this field because he had the fastest season’s best of American athletes who wanted to participate (only Matthew Centrowitz ran faster this year than Hunter). The final lap showed though that Hunter, while running fast this year, lacks the quick turnover to succeed in a championship 1500 race right now. But Hunter only turned 21 last week.

QT: Don’t forget Jakob Ingebrigtsen is only 17

While we praise Hunter for being a young prodigy, let’s remember Jakob Ingebrigtsen is at a whole different level and is only 17 (he turns 18 in 10 days).

Men’s 3000: Paul Chelimo Picks Up $30,000 as Elimination-Style Racing Shows Some Promise

Paul Chelimo had no problem dispatching Mo Ahmed on the final lap to win in 7:57.13 as the Americas went 1-2 in this event.

Elimination with 2 laps to go Elimination with 2 laps to go

This race was the one race all weekend upended by the elimination format. Starting with 4 laps to go, the last place runner was eliminated from the field each lap. Since the first km had been super slow (2:49.10, which is 8:27 pace) nearly everyone was in contention for elimination. One of the favorites Birhanu Balew (2 Diamond League wins this year) was eliminated on the first elimination. The craziest elimination was with two laps to go as the entire field ended up being less than 2 meters apart (photo to the right), as Marc Scott and Edward Pingua had been further back entering the homestretch but sprinted like mad, putting everyone else who thought they were safe in jeopardy. After that elimination, Chelimo and Stewart McSweyn kept going at their pace and the rest of the field rested a bit, letting Chelimo and McSweyn open up a 10-meter gap. It would narrow at the bell to a more traditional pack as the four remaining athletes were all together with a lap to go.

Chelimo dusted the field on his final lap and he won convincingly, but the interesting thing is he only ran it in 59.02. The elimination-style racing had taken it out of everyone in a 7:57 race.

1 Paul CHELIMO Americas USAUSA 7:57.13 8
2 Mohammed AHMED Americas CANCAN 7:57.99 7
3 Henrik INGEBRIGTSEN Europe NORNOR 7:58.85 6
4 Stewart MCSWEYN Asia-Pacific AUSAUS 8:02.01 5
5 Edward Zakayo PINGUA Africa KENKEN DNF 4
6 Marc SCOTT Europe GBRGBR DNF 3
7 Getaneh MOLLA Africa ETHETH DNF 2
8 Birhanu BALEW Asia-Pacific BRNBRN DNF 1
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QT: Nice payday for Chelimo

$30,000 is a lot of money for a guy who isn’t allowed to have a shoe sponsor since he is in the Army.

*Day 1 Recap here: Continental Cup Day 1: Sifan Hassan & Winny Chebet Impress as Conseslus Kipruto & Emmanuel Korir Keep Winning

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