5 Thoughts on the 2022 Bislett Games – Dream Mile Lives Up to Hype

By LetsRun.com
June 16, 2022

The 2022 Bislett Games in Oslo are in the books, highlighted by a Norwegian victory by Jakob Ingebrigtsen in the Dream Mile where he clocked 3:46.46, the world’s fastest mile for 21 years. Keely Hodgkinson (1:57.71) kept winning in the 800 while Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum impressively won the 5,000 in 14:25.84 in a race where Alicia Monson (14:31.11) climbed to #3 on the all-time US list.

We have five thoughts on the action in Oslo. Full results available here.

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1) The Dream Mile was sensational and lived up to the hype

Courtesy Diamond League AG

Okay, so Jakob Ingebrigtsen came just short of his goal of breaking Steve Cram‘s European mile record of 3:46.32. But the 21-year-old Ingebrigtsen still ran 3:46.46 — the first sub-3:47 since Alan Webb‘s 3:46.91 American record in 2007 and the fastest mile in the world since 2001 — and what’s more, the outcome was still in doubt on the final lap as Olli Hoare and Jake Wightman were brave enough to go with him. Ultimately neither could hang with Ingebrigtsen, but both men ran personal bests, Hoare clocking 3:47.48 to take almost a second off Stewart McSweyn‘s Australian record set in Oslo last year and Wightman running a Scottish outdoor record of 3:50.30 (though fellow Scot Josh Kerr ran 3:48.87 indoors in February).

Record attempts can be fun, but what made this extra special is there was genuine danger that Ingebrigtsen could be beaten as Hoare and Wightman have both been running well in 2022. Ingebrigtsen has as well, and he was always going to be favored to pull away at some point, but this one didn’t feel like the time trial that many record attempts devolve into. Ingebrigtsen was attempting to become the first Norwegian since 1974 to win the Dream Mile and it would have been a big deal if Hoare beat him on home soil.

In case you were wondering, Ingebrigtsen’s time converts to 3:29.69 for 1500 meters and Hoare’s to 3:30.63 using the LetsRun.com conversion (divide by 1.08).

2) Alicia Monson moved to #3 on the US all-time 5000 list with a big pb

With her spot on the US 10,000 team for Worlds secured, Monson and teammate Joe Klecker both travelled to Oslo to try to run fast. And Monson took advantage of the opportunity, which featured high-60s temps and almost no wind (though it started pouring mid-race for the women; during the men’s race 30 minutes later it was sunny). Monson lowered her pb from 14:42.56 to 14:31.11 to place 4th, beating former 10,000 world record holder Almaz Ayana (14:32.17), who ran her first 5000 on the track since 2017 Worlds, in the process.

Monson has now improved her 5000 pb by more than a minute since graduating college in 2020 as her pb was 15:31.26 in college.

The 5 Sub-14:40 US Women *List via TFN
14:23.92 Shelby Houlihan (Nike Bowerman TC) 7/10/20
14:26.34 Karissa Schweizer (Nike Bowerman TC) 7/10/20
14:31.11 Alicia Monson (OAC) 6/16/2022
14:33.17i Elise Cranny (Nike Bowerman TC) 2/11/22
14:38.92 Shannon Rowbury (Nike Oregon Project) 9/09/16

Props as well to home favorite Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal, who pushed the pace once the rabbit dropped and was rewarded with a 12-second pb of 14:31.07 at the age of 32. Grovdal’s time broke Ingrid Kristiansen’s Norwegian record of 14:37.33, which had stood for 36 years.

In the men’s race, 8 men were in the lead pack at the bell including Joe Klecker who ended up fourth in 13:04.92. The win went to the fourth member of Ethiopia’s 5,000 team at Worlds, Telahun Haile Bekele, who ran 13:03.51. His final lap was just 56.1 but the final 200 was 27.0.

Klecker just missed his pb of 13:04.42 set last month in California but competed well on the last lap and was battling to the line with a 12:53 guy in Getnet Wale. Klecker’s 4th-place finish is the highest by an American man in a Diamond League 3k/5k since Paul Chelimo’s win in London in July 2018.

3) The Ethiopian World Championship selection process is a mess. Dawit Seyaum won the women’s 5,000 meters, but she’s not even listed as a possible alternate for Worlds.

Courtesy Diamond League AG

A big question coming into Oslo was would the Ethiopian stars even run as the Ethiopian team for Worlds was announced earlier this week and the release said that anyone who ran a distance race moving forward would be kicked off the Worlds Team. The Ethiopians did show and the women’s 5000 race featured a number of Ethiopia’s top distance women, including World Indoor 1500 champion Gudaf Tsegay and world 5,000 record holder Letesenbet Gidey. Seyaum beat both of them tonight, looking terrific, running 14:25.84 (#3 in the world this year) after closing her last lap in 60.0.

Yet if the Ethiopians don’t change their team, Seyaum isn’t even an alternate for Worlds. Instead, it will be Ejgayehu Taye (the world leader at 14:12), Tsegay (14:25 sb, second in Oslo tonight), and Fantu Worku (14:47 sb from Pre). Also not on the list is world indoor champ Lemlem Hailu who beat Worku in the 5000 at Pre.

Note to Ethiopia: this is exactly why you don’t name your team for worlds more than a month before it begins and before you know who is going to be in the best shape when Worlds start (July 15-24). And yes, there is something to be said for not wanting your athletes spending two months chasing times and burning themselves out ahead of Worlds, but we sure hope Ethiopia isn’t stupid enough to ban the athletes that did compete tonight.

If Seyaum isn’t on the team, Ethiopia is making a massive mistake. Seyaum has run 22 seconds faster than Worku this year and won two Diamond Leagues – including a head-to-head matchup with Worku in Birmingham.

Even more puzzling, Seyaum is not even listed as an alternate. Ethiopia named Tsehay Gemechu as an alternate instead – even though Gemechu hasn’t even run a 5,000 this year.

Ethiopia has so much talent they at times get away with making foolish decisions. We were upset they aren’t letting Olympic 10,000 champ Selemon Barega double back in the 5000, but the man who is taking his spot in the 5000 is the man who won the 5000 in Oslo tonight, Telahun Haile Bekele. 

4) Hodgkinson wins again, but there is a gap between her and Athing Mu as anticipation for Worlds matchup builds

Courtesy Diamond League AG

The Keely HodgkinsonAthing Mu duel at last month’s Prefontaine Classic did not materialize after Mu tested positive for COVID in the buildup, but if the way both women have been running this year is any indication, their inevitable showdown at the World Championships in Eugene will be one of the most heavily-anticipated events of the meet.

Hodgkinson had been a dominant winner in her first two Diamond League appearances this year in Birmingham and Pre, but today she was going for a fast time and while she managed a season’s best (by .01) of 1:57.71, #3 in the world this year, she knows that sort of run is not going to cut it if she wants the gold at Worlds.

I was fairly happy but I wanted faster, a win is a win though,” Hodgkinson told meet organizers. “It was great to have that race with Laura [Muir, who ran 1:58.09 for 2nd] and she’s running well. I’m trying to take it week by week but I love championship racing and running the rounds, so I’m looking forward to Eugene. Athing Mu took my world lead so I want it back and I’m looking forward to facing her at the World Championships.”

Mu set that world lead by running 1:57.01 in Rome last week, where she closed in 29.31 for her final 200 (compared to Hodgkinson’s 29.65 today).

Hogkinson clearly has some work to do if she’s going to get to Mu’s level. Today was the first time in her career that she’s broken 58 on the first lap (57.3) but she let things slip on the third 200 (30.7) before she closed in 29.65.

5) With expectations comes pressure – Devon Allen, Keely Hodgkinson 

Devon Allen shocked everyone but himself by running 12.84 in New York City on Sunday. It put him #3 all-time and just .04 off the world record. Today was his first race since then, and he ran a very modest 13.22 (into a 1.2 headwind) for the win. He looked good until hurdle #8 and then totally lost all momentum. Considering his final three hurdles were the key to his race in New York, the performance was fine. What was even more telling was his reaction afterwards. He extended his hands outward to the camera signifying he wasn’t sure what happened with the race or what to make of it. No doubt he wanted to run faster, but Allen today for the first time experienced a different type of pressure, a pressure to run a fast-time.

Keely Hodgkinson wanted a fast time as well in the women’s 800. Despite the fact she has run 1:55.88 for 800, she had never gone out under 58 seconds until tonight. She did so hoping to produce a really fast time and that wasn’t the result. Her mixed reaction after the race showed too she was a little disappointed.

There is some benefit to being the underdog with no pressure. Allen and Hodgkinson are no longer the underdogs.

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