Men’s 1500 Prelims Go Mostly According To Form As Centro Sounds Confident: “I ran 3:52 at the Pre Classic, and I’m in worlds better shape than then,”

October 3, 2019

DOHA, Qatar — The men’s 1500 got underway this evening at the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships and for the most part went very much according to form. Of the 20 men started the 1500 today with an SB under 3:35, 17 of them advanced to tomorrow’s semifinals.

Two of the three non-qualifiers were young Kenyans. George Manangoi, the 18-year-old world junior champ who had the 7th best seasonal best of anyone in the field at 3:31.49 (and younger brother of 2017 world champ Elijah), didn’t advance, nor did the 20-year-old Kumari Taki (3:34.57 sb and pb), the 2016 world junior champ who was 4th at the Kenyan Trials. Spain’s Adel Mechaal (3:33.91 sb and pb), who was 4th in 2017, also failed to advance.

The biggest news in the heats was in heat #2 when Filip Ingebrigtsen made contact with Teddese Lemi of Ethiopia and Lemi fell to the track.

Ingebrigtsen advance to the final automatically and Lemi was put in the semis on appeal.

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Official 2019 IAAF World Champs Day Seven (Thurs) Discussion Thread 

Here is how the top 20 seeds fared. 

Seed Name Country PB SB Result
1 Timothy CHERUIYOT KEN 3:28.41 3:28.77 Q – Won heat #2 (3:36.82)
2 Jakob INGEBRIGTSEN NOR 3:30.16 3:30.16 Q – Won heat #1 (3:37.67)
3 Ronald MUSAGALA UGA 3:30.58 3:30.58 Q – 6th heat #3 (3:36.54)
4 Ayanleh SOULEIMAN DJI 3:29.58 3:30.66 Q – Won heat #3 (3:36.16)
5 Filip INGEBRIGTSEN NOR 3:30.01 3:30.82 Q – 4th heat #2 (3:37.26)
6 Samuel TEFERA ETH 3:31.04i 3:31.04i q – 7th heat #1 (3:37.82)
7 George Meitamei MANANGOI KEN 3:31.49 3:31.49 Eliminated – 10th heat 1 (3:38.39)
8 Abdelaati IGUIDER MAR 3:28.79 3:31.64 Q – 5th heat #2 (3:37.44)
9 Taoufik MAKHLOUFI ALG 3:28.75 3:31.77 Q – 2nd heat #3 (3:36.18)
10 Stewart MCSWEYN AUS 3:31.81 3:31.81 q – 9th heat #3 (3:36.88)
11 Marcin LEWANDOWSKI POL 3:31.95 3:31.95 Q – 5th heat #1 (3:37.75)
12 Josh KERR GBR 3:33.60 3:33.60 Q – 2nd heat #2 (3:37.13)
13 Adel MECHAAL ESP 3:33.91 3:33.91 DNQ – 8th heat #1 (3:37.95)
14 Ronald KWEMOI KEN 3:28.81 3:33.99 q – 7th heat #3 (3:36.66)
15 Craig ENGELS USA 3:34.04 3:34.04 Q – 5th heat #3 (3:36.35)
16 Alexis MIELLET FRA 3:34.23 3:34.23 Q – 2nd heat #1 (3:37.69)
17 Jake WIGHTMAN GBR 3:33.96 3:34.40 Q – 4th heat #1 (3:37.72)
18 Kumari TAKI KEN 3:34.57 3:34.57 DNQ – 9th heat #2 (3:37.98)
19 Kevin LÓPEZ ESP 3:34.83 3:34.83 Q – 6th heat #2 (3:37.62)
20 Kalle BERGLUND SWE 3:34.89 3:34.89 Q – 3rd heat #3 (3:36.19)

Not on the list but also qualifying were two Americans, reigning Olympic champ Matthew Centrowitz (36th seed) and Ben Blankenship (28th seed). Centrowitz had no problems and was well-positioned as he finished third in heat #1 in 3:37.69, while Blankenship also was third in heat #2 (3:37.14). In the third and final heat, Craig Engels got out of a box and auto qualified in fifth in 3:36.35

Heat 1 Race Video

Heat 2 Race Video

*Heat by heat results

Fun fact #1. Ethiopia only had 2 entrants.

Fun fact #2. The lowest seed based on 2019 seasonal best times to advance was actually Matthew Centrowitz at #36.

34 IsaacKIMELI BEL 3:36.51 3:36.96 q – 7th heat #2 (3:37.87)
35 YoussoufHISS BACHIR DJI 3:35.74 3:36.98 q – 8th in heat #2 (3:37.93)
36 Matthew CENTROWITZ USA 3:30.40 3:37.67 Q – 3rd heat #1 (3:37.69)

Matthew Centrowitz is in “worlds better” shape than when he ran 3:52 at Pre

Centro only arrived in Doha two days ago — at 2 a.m. — so he didn’t expect to feel great in today’s prelim, and he didn’t. But Centro also pointed out that he’s only felt good in one of his seven career World/Olympic prelims (2015 Worlds), and he wound up finishing 8th at that meet, so he’s not too worried.

In fact, American fans have a lot of reasons to be optimistic when it comes to Centrowitz. Hampered by injuries in recent years, Centrowitz’s goal was not to miss a day of running between USAs and Worlds, and he accomplished that, with only a minor hamstring issue causing him to back off of workouts before his 13:00 5,000 in Beaverton. He said that while he may not be sharper than he was ahead of his Olympic title in 2016, he’s certainly stronger.

“I ran 3:52 at the Pre Classic, and I’m in worlds better shape than then,” Centrowitz said.

Centrowitz said that he would talk about the suspension of his former coach Alberto Salazar after Worlds, saying that he’d prefer to focus on his races until then.

Makh is back

Taoufik Makhloufi, the 2012 Olympic champ and 2016 Olympic silver medalist in the 800 and 1500, was back at his first global championships since those 2016 Olympics in Rio. According to Algerian media, Makhloufi missed the 2017 Worlds with a calf injury, but we spoke to him briefly in the mixed zone today and he said that was not the only issue that caused him not to race at all in 2017 and 2018.

Makhloufi said after the Olympics, he received a message from his coach, Philippe Dupont, who told Makhloufi that he could not coach him because of problems with Dupont’s federation (presumably, France). Makhloufi did not elaborate on what, specifically, those problems were.

Without Dupont, Makhloufi said that he didn’t want to compete, but now the two have been working together again and Makhloufi is back racing.

“Me, I wasn’t ready to change and train with another coach,” Makhloufi said. “It was very, very difficult for me after the Olympic Games.”

Amos Bartelsmeyer was driving for Postmates earlier this season — now he’s in the World Champs semis

Bartelsmeyer, who was born in Germany but went to high school in St. Louis, was delivering food for Postmates earlier this year to keep his dream of becoming a professional runner alive. After running a 3:55 mile indoors training under Washington coach Andy Powell, he attracted the interest of the Kimbia Athletics agency, who secured him a deal with Nike. And today, Bartelsmeyer, who was 9th in the NCAA 1500 for Georgetown last year, outleaned World Indoor champ Samuel Tefera of Ethiopia for the final auto spot in heat #1. Quite a year. And it’s not over yet. 

Ben Blankenship loves that he has three races in four days (if he makes the final)

Blankenship said he wished that the heats, semis, and final were held on three consecutive days and said he even wouldn’t mind having two rounds on the same day.

Craig Engels had “at least two more gears” left

Engels was in a bit of a sticky situation in his heat as he repeatedly found himself boxed in today.

“Coach probably won’t be too stoked with my racing strategy, but it worked out,” Engels said.

But he did what all great 1500 runners do: he didn’t panic and seized the opportunity to break free when it finally came. Tactically, Engels has some stuff to clean up before the final, but his fitness certainly looks to be on point. He said he was never worried today because he knew he had “at least two more gears” left to use if he needed them at the end of the race.

Engels spoke at length in his post-race interview about Alberto Salazar ban and Jenny Simpson’s subsequent comments yesterday. We cover that extensively here: LRC Craig Engels Defends Himself & NOP Teammates, Responds To Jenny Simpson: “People Have a Moral Compass Besides Her”

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