By Jonathan Gault
August 21, 2020
Man, that Monaco meet was fun, huh? How about we do it again?
Living up to the madness of Monaco is a nearly-impossible standard, but there are plenty of events to get excited about as the 2020 Diamond League season continues on Sunday at the BAUHAUS-galan in Stockholm. We should, finally, get to see the first true head-to-head matchup this outdoor season between pole vault world record holder Mondo Duplantis and world champion Sam Kendricks (Kendricks was a DNS last week; his poles didn’t make it to Monaco in time). In the men’s 400m hurdles, Karsten Warholm races again and does he have a shot at the world record? There’s a stacked women’s 1500 headlined by Hellen Obiri and Laura Muir (Jessica Hull, Shannon Rowbury, and Laura Weightman also feature), an intriguing men’s 800 pitting world champion Donavan Brazier against 18-year-old British phenom Max Burgin, and Jemma Reekie vs. Raevyn Rogers in a battle of young stars in the women’s 800.
We’ve also got a few Monaco rematches on tap in the men’s 1500 (Timothy Cheruiyot vs. Jakob Ingebrigtsen) and men’s 400 hurdles (Karsten Warholm vs. the world record).
Meet details below, followed by a preview of the mid-d/distance events.
What: 2020 BAUHAUS-galan
Where: Stockholm Olympic Stadium, Stockholm, Sweden
When: Sunday, August 23
Men’s 800 (10:27 a.m. ET): Brazier vs. Burgin
|Max Burgin||Great Britain||1:44.75||1:44.75|
|Amel Tuka||Bosnia & Herzegovina||1:42.51||1:45.97|
|Wesley Vazquez||Puerto Rico||1:43.83|
Okay, I’ll admit that using “Brazier vs. Burgin” as a subhead for this section is patently unfair to Max Burgin. As great as Burgin is — he just ran 1:44 on August 11 — he’s only 18 years old and running in only his second Diamond League. Defeating Brazier is a bit too much to ask. And asking Burgin to be the one to do it is disrespectful to a quality field that contains four other 2019 World Championship finalists. If Brazier is to lose, it’s more likely to come at the hands of Marco Arop (though Brazier handled him fairly comfortably over the final 100m in Monaco) or Wesley Vazquez (who led Brazier for 580m in the 600 at the Gyulai Istvan Memorial on Wednesday before Brazier finally edged ahead).
Still, Burgin is an incredible talent. Just how incredible? Well consider that the US high school 800m record is 1:46.45. Burgin, had he come through the US system, would have just graduated high school (he turned 18 in May) and has run almost two seconds faster (1:44.75).
Brazier, for reference, is #4 on the all-time US HS list at 1:47.55. So there’s good reason to be excited about Burgin. Let’s just not get carried away. If he runs well in Stockholm, awesome. If he doesn’t? Well, he’s already been pretty awesome in 2020.
As for Brazier, he’s been winning long enough that I’m officially placing him on #StreakWatch, a designation I just made up 10 seconds ago that happens when I can’t remember the last time someone lost a race and have to go to Tilastopaja to look it up. In Brazier’s case, he’s won his last nine races. His last defeat? A 1500 at the Sunset Tour meet on July 9, 2019, where he finished behind Ben Blankenship and Chris O’Hare (you’d have to go back to the May 3, 2019, for his last 800 loss, in the DL season opener in Doha).
Brazier also has a unique streak going: he’s run a world leader in all six of his races in 2020. Obviously that streak gets tougher to maintain the longer his season lasts, and topping last week’s 1:43.15 will be tough. But I can’t wait to see him try.
Women’s 1500 (10:55 a.m. ET): Muir vs. Obiri; Australian, Irish records in jeopardy
|Melissa Courtney-Bryant||Great Britain||4:03.44||4:03.69|
|Eilish McColgan||Great Britain||4:00.97|
|Laura Muir||Great Britain||3:55.22|
|Laura Weightman||Great Britain||4:00.17|
The headline showdown here is Hellen Obiri, fresh off a 5,000m win in Monaco, against Laura Muir, who looked great in clocking a British 1000m record of 2:30.82 in the same meet. Though the 1500 distance favors Muir, Obiri is a more than capable miler; lifetime, she’s 6-4 vs. Muir in 1500/miles, including wins in their last three matchups. It should be a good one.
The rest of the field will be hoping whoever is up front pushes the pace, as several women are primed to run personal bests. Australia’s Jessica Hull was originally entered in the 800 here, but after running an Australian 5,000 record of 14:43.80 last week in Monaco, she bumped up to the 1500; Linden Hall‘s Aussie record of 4:00.86 from 2018 looms as an obvious target.
Likewise, Ciara Mageean has put together a breakout year and will be aiming for her third straight Irish record after taking down the 800 (1:59.69) and 1000 (2:31.06) marks in her last two outings. The 1500 record will be the toughest yet — Sonia O’Sullivan‘s 3:58.85 has stood for 25 years — but World Athletics’ scoring tables equate a 2:31.06 1000 to a 3:57.90 1500. If the pace is fast enough up front, O’Sullivan’s record is within sight.
Watch too, for Winny Chebet (7th at Worlds last year) and Shannon Rowbury and Laura Weightman, both of whom are coming off fine runs in Monaco last week. Weightman, 29, never broke 4:00 during her years as a 1500 specialist and last year shifted her focus to the 5,000. But after her huge 14:35 pb at that distance a week ago, she’s definitely in shape to break 4:00 on Sunday.
Women’s 800 (11:20 a.m. ET): Redemption for Rogers?
|Alexandra Bell||Great Britain||1:59.82||2:00.28|
|Jemma Reekie||Great Britain||1:59.52||1:59.52|
Last week’s season opener for Raevyn Rogers, a 2:37.10, 9th-place showing in the 1000 in Monaco, was rough. But Rogers rebounded by running 52.50 for 400 on Wednesday in Hungary — not far off her 52.06 pb from 2018 — and Sunday’s race, at 800 rather than 1000 meters, plays more to her strengths.
However, with three women in the field who have broken 2:00 this year, Rogers, last year’s World Championship silver medalist, won’t have it easy. The fastest of them, Great Britain’s Jemma Reekie, coming off a midweek 1500 win in Bydgoszcz, will be favored to take this race. But if Rogers is close with 100 to go, few can match her speed over the final straightaway. You’ve been warned.
Men’s 1500 (11:51 a.m. ET): Cheruiyot-Ingebrigtsen, Round 2
|Charlie Da’Vall Grice||Great Britain||3:30.62||3:34.63|
|Neil Gourley||Great Britain||3:35.95|
After last week’s fireworks in Monaco, where Timothy Cheruiyot and Jakob Ingebrigtsen both ran in the 3:28’s and Ingebrigtsen set the European record, the temptation is to think that their next outing could be even faster. After all, Cheruiyot, who followed the pacer through horribly uneven splits of 52.59-58.65 for his first 800, was clearly capable of better than 3:28.45 with better pacemaking.
But historical evidence suggests Sunday’s race won’t be nearly as fast.
|1||3:26.69||Asbel KIPROP||KEN||Monaco||17 Jul 2015|
|2||3:27.64||Silas KIPLAGAT||KEN||Monaco||18 Jul 2014|
|3||3:27.72||Asbel KIPROP||KEN||Monaco||19 Jul 2013|
|4||3:28.41||Timothy CHERUIYOT||KEN||Monaco||20 Jul 2018|
|5||3:28.45||Asbel KIPROP||KEN||Monaco||18 Jul 2014|
|5||3:28.45||Timothy CHERUIYOT||KEN||Monaco||14 Aug 2020|
|7||3:28.68||Jakob INGEBRIGTSEN||NOR||Monaco||14 Aug 2020|
|8||3:28.75||Taoufik MAKHLOUFI||ALG||Monaco||17 Jul 2015|
|9||3:28.77||Timothy CHERUIYOT||KEN||Lausanne||05 Jul 2019|
|10||3:28.79||Abdelaati IGUIDER||MAR||Monaco||17 Jul 2015|
|11||3:28.80||Elijah Motonei MANANGOI||KEN||Monaco||21 Jul 2017|
|12||3:28.81||Mo FARAH||GBR||Monaco||19 Jul 2013|
|12||3:28.81||Ronald KWEMOI||KEN||Monaco||18 Jul 2014|
|14||3:28.88||Asbel KIPROP||KEN||Monaco||20 Jul 2012|
|15||3:28.93||Mo FARAH||GBR||Monaco||17 Jul 2015|
|16||3:29.10||Timothy CHERUIYOT||KEN||Monaco||21 Jul 2017|
Fifteen of the 16 performances came in Monaco. Sunday’s race? Not in Monaco.
From the timing of the meet to the field it attracts, there are a bunch of reasons athletes struggle to replicate times from Monaco. But one of the biggest is that athletes are willing to go for it, from the gun. If you’re in the Monaco 1500, you’re there for one reason: to run fast. That same sense of urgency simply isn’t present in Stockholm — or any other meet on the circuit.
That said, if Cheruiyot does want to run fast in Stockholm, he’s fit enough to do something very special; his run in Monaco suggested he was in at least 3:27 shape with superior pacing, perhaps even faster.
It’s difficult to run sub-3:30 in back-to-back races. But if there’s one guy who could do it right now, it’s Cheruiyot, who has more sub-3:30s (7) than the rest of the world combined (4) over the last four years. Cheruiyot ran back-to-back sub-3:30’s in 2018 (Paris and Monaco) — the first time since Hicham El Guerrouj and Bernard Lagat in 2004 that someone had managed that. Then he did it again in 2019 (Lausanne and Monaco). Meanwhile the only other person to go sub 3:30 in the world the last four years was Elijah Manangoi (who did it twice), until Ingebrigtsen and Jake Wightman joined the sub 3:30 club in Monaco.
So another fast time is certainly possible on Sunday as long as the weather (looking good so far) cooperates. But it will require two things: the ability of Cheruiyot to recover from a tough effort in Monaco, and the willingness to follow/set a strong pace.
Last week’s race dropped Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s career record to 0-10 against Cheruiyot, but Ingebrigtsen ran his fastest time ever — a European record of 3:28.68 — and Cheruiyot’s winning margin (.23) was the smallest it’s ever been against Ingebrigtsen. Perhaps Sunday is the day Ingebrigtsen finally breaks through? More likely, Cheruiyot will prevail again (you’d be a fool to bet against him at this point), but it will be fun to watch Ingebrigtsen try.
Other notable entrants include the British and American champions (Neil Gourley and Craig Engels), Filip Ingebrigtsen (still searching for that first sub-3:30 after running 3:30.35 in Monaco), World Indoor 3k champ Yomif Kejelcha, and Aussies Stewart McSweyn and Matthew Ramsden. Ramsden, 23, has impressed this summer and ran a strong 4:55 for 2000m in Bydgoszcz on Wednesday after pacing Joshua Cheptegei to the 5,000 world record last week. He’ll try to improve on his 3:35.85 pb from last year in his first 1500 of 2020.
Stockholm Discussions: *Stockholm Entries, Muir Kipyegon, Obiri in W1500, Brazier VS Burgin in M800, Ungebritsens in M1500
*Warholm World Record Probability Italian coach Renato Canova shares some interesting insights.