WTW: Katelyn Tuohy, Brittany Brown & Yalemzerf Yehualaw Impress, The Pro Ducks Entertain But Come Up Short, and Is Matthew Boling The 2nd Coming Of Carl Lewis?

The Week That Was in Running, April 18 – 24, 2022

By Robert Johnson and Jonathan Gault
April 26, 2022

Each week, we try to make the sport more fun to follow by putting the prior week’s action in perspective for you. Past editions of our Week That Was weekly recap can be found here. Got a tip, question or comment? Please call us at 844-LETSRUN (538-7786), email us, or post in our forum.  

Ethiopia Has a New Marathon Star

The most impressive distance performance last weekend came on the roads of northern Germany as Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw ran 2:17:23 to win the Hamburg Marathon on Sunday. Yehualaw’s time places her sixth on the all-time world list and took 18 seconds off Worknesh Degefa’s Ethiopian record set at the 2019 Dubai Marathon. (Speaking of Degefa, where the hell is she? She also won Boston in 2019 but hasn’t raced anywhere since winning Dubai in January 2020).

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Courtesy Doyin Odulana (Seven Media)

Yehualaw’s time was also the fastest women’s debut marathon ever by some margin, a massive improvement on the 2:18:56 Paula Radcliffe ran in London in 2002.

To run 2:17 in your debut at age 22 is incredible, but if anyone was going to do it, it was going to be someone with a resume like Yehualaw’s. She’s the world record holder for 10K on the roads (29:14), one of just two women in history to break 64 minutes in the half (63:51 pb). She also trains under coach Tessema Abshero in one of the top groups in the world, which features Degitu Azimeraw (2:17:58 pb, 2nd 2021 London) and Haven Hailu (2:20:19 pb, 2022 Rotterdam champ).

Considering those accolades, you might be surprised that a bigger marathon didn’t scoop her up for her debut. But Yehualaw’s agent Daan van den Berg knows she’s a huge talent and told us their goal is to bring her along carefully. As a result, they picked Hamburg for her first marathon as it offered a flat, fast course and an easier field compared to the other spring majors, Boston or Tokyo. It’s not a bad place to start your marathon career: some guy named Eliud Kipchoge ran his first marathon there in 2013. Van den Berg did not say whether Yehualaw will run another marathon this fall, but did say she won’t run many marathons in the next couple of years.

At the moment, Kenya is the dominant force in women’s marathoning as they own six of the seven defending champs between the World Marathon Majors and the Olympics (with Peres Jepchirchir owning three of those titles herself). But remember Yehualaw is only 22 and Letesenbet Gidey (who has yet to make her marathon debut) is 24. Once they start running majors, the Kenya-Ethiopia rivalry should get a whole lot more interesting.

Fun fact, an Ethiopian woman has never held the marathon world record. Four Kenyan women have done it: Tegla Loroupe (2:20:47 and 2:20:43), Catherine Ndereba (2:18:47), Mary Keitany (2:17:01 women’s-only), and Brigid Kosgei (2:14:04).

MB: Yehualaw runs 2:17:23 – fastest ever women’s marathon debut


Cybrian Kotut, the younger brother of 3-time London and two-time NY champ Martin Lel, ran a big pb of 2:04:47 to win (previous pb of 2:07:11 from 2016 Paris) the men’s race in Hamburg, edging Stephen Kissa of Uganda by one second and breaking Kipchoge’s 2:05:30 course record. The 29-year-old has now won the last three marathons he’s finished (2:09:18 in Krakow 2019, 2:08:59 in Florence in 2021, and Hamburg).

Fast Times in Eugene, and Respect for Ireland

There were a number of notable distance results from last week’s Oregon Relays at Hayward Field, where the main attraction was the 4 x mile world best attempt by the Oregon alumni team of Brit James West and Americans Matt Wisner, Cole Hocker, and Cooper Teare. Even with the benefits of super spikes and pacing lights, the Oregon squad couldn’t take down the 15:49.08 world best set by the Irish squad of Eamonn Coghlan, Ray Flynn, Frank O’Mara, and Marcus O’Sullivan from 1985, settling for the #2 time ever at 15:52.05. Here’s how the two squads compare in terms of their pbs at the time and their actual splits (in order):

Stat of The Week I – 4 x Mile Comparison
2022 Oregon     1985 Ireland    
Athlete PB Split Athlete PB Split
Matt Wisner 3:57.53^ 3:59.69 Eamonn Coghlan 3:49.78 4:00.20
James West 3:51.24^^  4:01.81 Marcus O’Sullivan 3:52.64 3:55.30
Cole Hocker 3:49.16^^^ 3:57.31 Frank O’Mara 3:52.50 3:56.60
Cooper Teare 3:50.17 3:53.24 Ray Flynn 3:49.77 3:56.98
Total 15:28.10 15:52.05 Total 15:24.69 15:49.08
% Difference   2.6%

^converted from 3:39.89 1500
^^converted from 3:34.07 1500
^^^ converted form 3:31.40 1500 

Incredibly, both teams ran 2.6% slower than their PBs. 

The Oregon squad – competing as “Duck Track Club” – certainly had a shot at the record. Wisner, who entered the weekend with a 3:42.95 1500 pb, may have had the most impressive leg given the context as he ran a 3:39.89 1500 pb on Friday night and then split 3:59.69 on Saturday night. Teare also ran great – 3:53.24 on your own is fantastic running. But West, who ran 3:35 last year, couldn’t give them the 4:00 leg they needed and Hocker, without anyone to push him, could only manage a 3:57, leaving Teare too much to do on the anchor leg.

Comparing the teams leg-by-leg, the Irish squad was certainly more accomplished. Coghlan was the 5000 world champion in 1983, O’Sullivan would go on to win three World Indoor titles in the 1500, and O’Mara would go on to win two World Indoor titles in the 3000. Flynn, meanwhile, is still the Irish mile record holder at 3:49.77, a record that will celebrate its 40th anniversary in June. It was a star-studded team, even if Coghlan had barely raced that year due to a back injury. The On Athletics Club squad of Oliver Hoare, Jonas Raess, George Beamish, and Joe Klecker will take another crack at it this weekend at the Penn Relays, but there’s a reason the mark has stood for almost 37 years.

(For more on the Irish team and its record-setting run, check out this wonderful oral history from friend of LetsRun Cathal Dennehy)

In other Oregon Relays action, 2021 US Olympian Mason Ferlic won the steeple in 8:23.92, a very solid time for April (and #3 in the world this year) as three-time NCAA steeple champ Anthony Rotich was 2nd in 8:25.11. Benard Keter of the US Army WCAP, the only American in last year’s Olympic final, finished a well-beaten 6th in 8:30.69, but it’s worth pointing out that he opened at 8:39.38 at this meet last year. The men’s 1500 was also fast as Christian Noble of Lee University ran 3:36.00 to take over a second off the DII record.

There was some impressive running by the University of Wisconsin in the men’s 5000. Seventh-year Wisconsin senior Olin Hacker won the race in 13:19.34, and a total of eight Badgers ran 13:51 or faster. The full list: Hacker 13:19.34, Bob Liking 13:37.24, Charlie Wheeler 13:43.42, Evan Bishop 13:45.58, Rowen Ellenberg 13:46.37, Seth Hirsch 13:47.50, Shuaib Aljabaly 13:49.29, Jackson Sharp 13:51.05.

MB: 4×1 Mile Relay World Record Attempt – Official Discussion Thread
MB: Oregon slights Penn Relays with last-minute 4xMile WR attempt 
MB: TrackTown USA my ass. Take a look at the crowd at the Oregon relays (pic)

Katelyn Tuohy Stays Hot

Katelyn Tuohy’s successful second collegiate season continued over the weekend as she ran a big pb of 15:14.61 (previous pb of 15:30.63) at the Virginia Challenge to move to #10 all-time in the collegiate ranks. Tuohy, who had the help of a pacer for 2k, ran extremely even as her first half was 7:37.5 and her second 7:36.1. Only two NCAA women have ever broken 15:10 – US Olympian Jenny Simpson leads the way at 15:01.70 (2009) with Kiwi Olympian Kim Smith second at 15:09.72 (2004).

During this school year, two other collegians have run 15:15 as 2022 NCAA indoor 5000 champ Courtney Wayment of BYU ran 15:15.46 indoors while Colorado’s Abby Nichols, the NCAA XC 8th placer who didn’t compete indoors for CU, ran 15:15.96 at Mt. SAC on April 13. Wayment hasn’t run a 5000 outdoors but she ran a 9:26.88 steeple on April 14 — very much within striking distance of Courtney Frerichs’ 9:24.14 NCAA record.

MB: Katelyn MF Tuohy 15:14

Hobbs Kessler Gets Beat / Nick Willis Predicts The Future

19-year-old Hobbs Kessler opened his outdoor campaign with a 3:45.06 second-place showing at the Jesse Owens Classic in Columbus, in a race won by his Very Nice Track Club teammate, Ben Flanagan — the 2018 NCAA 10,000 champ. Losing to a 10,000 guy with a 3:57.75 mile pb and finishing only .05 ahead of a collegian with a 3:45 pb (Ohio State’s Nick Miller) isn’t a great result for Kessler, but teammate Nick Willis isn’t concerned. Prior ot the race, Willis went to the LRC messagebaord and posted:

3.35 in Ohio in April? Why? This is a rust buster, nothing more. Times matter not. When you’re not in the NCAA, going to meets like this is actually really important racing practice for running prelims at USA’s and major championships. If it goes out in 2.10 through the 800m? Great!

He then followed up with another post that was amazingly accurate:

Time is completely irrelevant in this race. My guess is they go 2:03, and he feels good at the bell, but still struggles to get out of 4th gear on the final lap and only runs a 57.

Patience, my friends.

He wrote that BEFORE the race. In the actual race, Kessler went out in 2:03 and closed in 56.996.

MB: Ben Flanagan (3:44.98) takes down Hobbs Kessler (3:45.06) at 2022 Jesse Owens Classic in Kessler’s outdoor debut
MB: Weekend Prediction Contest #1: Predict Hobbs Kessler 1500 Time tonight at Ohio State Jesse Owens Classic

Athing Mu Runs Her First 800 in Eight Months

Olympic 800 champ Athing Mu put together an incredible streak in 2021: she ran a personal best in all six of her 800m finals. Starting the year with a 2:01.17 pb, Mu ran 2:01.07 in her indoor opener at the Ted Nelson Invite, 1:58.40 at SEC Indoors, 1:57.73 at the Michael Johnson Invitational in her outdoor opener, 1:56.07 at the Olympic Trials, 1:55.21 at the Olympics, and 1:55.04 at the Pre Classic. The last two times were both American records.

Mu’s 800 pb streak is now over as she ran her first 800 of 2022 last weekend at the Michael Johnson Invitational and only managed 2:02.07 (she still won the race handily).

There are two ways to look at that result. Obviously, it’s a lot slower than what she ran at the same meet last year. But it was also super windy this year in Waco (gusts up to 40 mph); in fact, her winning margin was bigger in 2022 than 2021, and the race had the same runner-up each time, Baylor’s Aaliyah Miller. In 2021, Mu finished 3.14 seconds ahead of Miller; this year, Mu finished 3.48 seconds ahead. The difference is, this time last year Miller was coming off an NCAA indoor title whereas this year Miller hasn’t been nearly as good (her 2:05.55 last weekend was actually a season’s best).

MB: Athing Mu ran 2:02.07 today in her first 800 since the 2021 Pre Classic 

What Do Carl Lewis and Matthew Boling Have in Common?

On Saturday, 2021 NCAA indoor champ Matthew Boling went sub-20 in the 200 for the first time in his career, running 19.92 into a headwind (-0.9) in Atlanta. In the process, he joined Carl Lewis as the only athlete in history who has gone sub-10 in the 100, sub-20 in the 200 and over 8.00m in the LJ. Fred Kerley, who seemingly can do almost anything he wants in track, thinks there should be more than two people in that group.

MB: Matthew Boling 19.92 – into a minus .09 wind!!!

Brittany Brown Stuns the World With Her Windy 10.66 100m

In 2019, American Brittany Brown became one of the unlikeliest global sprint medalists in recent history. After failing to make the NCAA 100m or 200m final as a senior at the University of Iowa in 2018, Brown went unsigned out of college but kept training, balancing her sprint career with a job as a caregiver for adults with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The next year, she finished second at USAs in the 200 and ran a 22.22 pb in the World Championship final in Doha – which, in a field sapped by withdrawals, was enough for the silver medal. That earned Brown a contract with adidas, but she disappointed in 2021 as she didn’t even make it to the final of the US Olympic Trials.

In 2022, however, the 27-year-old Brown has come out firing. In her season opener in Waco on April 2, she ran 10.99 in the 100 – a massive improvement on her 11.21 pb from last year. Then on April 16 at Mt. SAC, she ran 22.29 for 200, her fastest time since Doha and good for second behind Olympic bronze medalist Gabby Thomas (22.02). But none of that compared to what Brown did on Saturday at the Michael Johnson Invitational in Waco. Running with a healthy +3.2 m/s tailwind, Brown ripped a 10.66, easily the fastest all-conditions time in the world this year (Twanisha Terry’s 10.77 from Mt. SAC is next on that list, but she had an even bigger tailwind – +3.3 – than Brown). Thomas (who ran a wind-legal pb of 11.00 a week earlier) ran 10.80 to finish a distant second, .14 behind Brown. According to Jonas Mureika’s wind conversion calculator, Brown’s performance was worth 10.82 in still conditions and 10.71 with a +2.0 wind.

It was a shocking performance, particularly because Brown was not viewed as a 100m runner entering this season – remember, her pb was just 11.21 at the start of April. Now she’s the seventh-fastest all-conditions performer of all-time.

Fastest all-conditions women’s 100m runners of all time

Athlete Country Time Wind Year
Florence Griffith-Joyner USA 10.49 0.0 1988
Elaine Thompson-Herah Jamaica 10.54 +0.9 2021
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Jamaica 10.60 +1.7 2021
Blessing Okagbare Nigeria 10.63 +2.7 2021
Carmelita Jeter USA 10.64 +1.2 2009
Marion Jones USA 10.65 +1.1 1998
Brittany Brown USA 10.66 +3.2 2022

In addition, a number of the women ahead of Brown have been suspected of – or, in the case of Okagbare and Jones, sanctioned for – doping.

Saturday’s run doesn’t necessarily mean Brown is now one of the greatest 100 runners ever (this table, which lists every athlete’s best wind-adjusted mark, puts her tied for 24th all-time), but it does make her a serious contender for this year’s US 100m title, especially if Sha’Carri Richardson – who has not raced since September and has withdrawn from her first two races in 2022 without explanation – remains MIA.

MB: Brittany Brown 10.66 (+3.2) in women’s 100!!!

Stat of the Week II / Inflation is Real

$10,000 – amount won by the first-place finishers at the NYCRUNS Brooklyn Marathon over the weekend as both winners were New York residents and had the $5,000 first-place prize doubled.

2:27:46 – winning men’s time recorded by Aaron Mora

2:36:20 – winning women’s time recorded by Hirut Beyene Guangul 

To win $10,000 for running a 2:27 marathon in a men’s race at sea level in good conditions in the year 2022 is amazing. For comparison’s sake, the third placers in Hamburg also earned $10,000 last week and they ran 2:05:07 and 2:26:23.

100k World Record Falls

At the Centurion Track 100 in Great Britain, a bunch of records fell. Aleksandr Sorokin of Lithuania ran 6:05:41 for 100 km, to destroy the previous world best of 6:09:14 set by Japan’s Nao Kazami in 2018.

According to Race Results Weekly, “American Camille Herron, 40, ran a USA over-40 record for 50,000m (3:46:31), a world over-40 best for 100 km (7:39:06), and a USA over-40 record for 50 miles (6:06:41).”

In the actual whole 100-mile race (many people stopped at 100k), Samantha Amend (14:10:41) and Alexander Whearity (12:42:04) were the winners.

The US 100k champs was also held last weekend in Madison, Wisconsin, where Zack Beavin (Jonathan Gault’s roommate – 7:06:31) and Kalie Demerjian (7:56:21) were your winners.

Recommended Reads From This Week and Last

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

Quotes Of The Day And Last Week’s Home Pages

To see the 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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