Grant Fisher Runs 12:46.96 to Smash American 5000m Record

September 2, 2022

In the latest installment in one of the greatest seasons ever by an American distance runner, Grant Fisher ran 12:46.96 at the Memorial Van Damme Diamond League meet in Brussels on Friday to smash Bernard Lagat’s 11-year-old American 5,000-meter record of 12:53.60. Fisher was also in contention for his first Diamond League victory with 150 meters to go but had to settle for second as Kenya’s Jacob Krop, the Worlds silver medallist, pulled away to win in a world leading 12:45.71 (#6 all-time).

Fisher had near-perfect conditions to break the record. The temperature (low-70s) and wind (6 mph) were fine and wavelight technology was in play, but the most important ingredient was a trio of opponents committed to pushing the pace once the pacemakers dropped: Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha and Kenyans Krop and Daniel Ebenyo.

Kejelcha hit 3k in the lead at 7:41.74 (12:49 pace), by which point the four leaders had begun to separate. The gap between those four and the rest of the pack would only continue to grow as Krop took the lead with 1700 meters to go and kept his foot on the gas. Fisher, seeing Krop’s eagerness, was content to sit at the back of the group of four and get towed along to a fast time.

Just before three laps to go, Fisher went past a fading Kejelcha (who would end up dropping out) and moved into third. With a little bit more than 500 to go, a gap started to open up between Krop and Ebenyo and Fisher showed he had more in him as he went past Ebenyo and latched on to Krop. It was now a two-man affair.

Krop was keeping the pace scorching hot as the 4th to last lap was 61.43, the 3rd to last was 61.52 and the penultimate lap was 61.37. At the bell (11:47.9), it was clear Lagat’s American record was history. How fast could they go and who was going to emerge as the winner?

Fisher was ready to put up a fight but he was looking like a car with its engine maxxed out while Krop still looked incredibly smooth. Ultimately Krop broke Fisher with 100m to go to cap a 57.75 final lap (unofficially we had it 29.68, 28.06).

Fisher sprinted it in to finish just behind and break Bowerman Track Club Moh Ahmed’s 12:47.20 North American record in addition to obliterating Lagat’s AR. After running 12:53.73 for 5,000 indoors in February, 26:33.84 for 10,000 in March, and 7:28.48 for 3,000 in August, Fisher’s 12:46.96 tonight gives him four American records in a 2022 season that will go down as a year for the ages in the annals of American distance running.

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Unofficially, we had Fisher at 58.77 for his final 400 (29.71, 29.06).

Video highlights, results and then quick take analysis.

Final 2 laps (full race video is here)
Rank Pos Nat Name Time Qual. rank Qual. points SB PB

15 KEN KROP Jacob 12:45.71WLPB  4 18 12:46.79 12:46.79
2 8 USA FISHER Grant 12:46.96ARPB  8 13 13:03.86 13:02.53
3 13 KEN KIPKORIR Nicholas 12:50.97  2 19 12:46.33 12:46.33
4 5 SSD LOBALU Domnic Lokinyomo 12:52.15NRPB  5 17   13:34.18
5 7 KEN EBENYO Daniel Simiu 12:54.90PB  19 4 13:10.61 12:55.88
6 14 AUS McSWEYN Stewart 12:56.50PB  12 8   13:05.23
7 16 UGA CHELIMO Oscar 13:00.42PB  27 2 13:10.20 13:06.79
8 12 SWE ALMGREN Andreas 13:01.70NRPB  30 1 13:26.48 13:26.48
9 2 GUA GRIJALVA Luis 13:02.94NRPB  23 3 13:10.44 13:10.09
10 3 KEN KEMBOI Cornelius 13:03.49PB  16 6 13:04.31 13:04.31
11 4 BDI NDIKUMWENAYO Thierry 13:10.71  1 20 12:59.39 12:59.39
12 6 USA KINCAID William 13:13.90  31 1 13:06.70 12:58.10
13 10 USA KLECKER Joe 13:15.17  17 5 13:04.42 13:04.42
14 11 KEN MBURU Stanley Waithaka 13:24.43      13:17.26 13:05.21
15 1 BEL HENDRIX Robin 13:32.68      13:32.55 13:19.50
DNF 18 FRA AKBACHE Mounir          
DNF 9 ETH KEJELCHA Yomif   15 6 12:52.10 12:46.79
DNF 17 KEN KIPROP Emmanuel       13:08.42 13:08.42
DNF 19 KEN KONES Wilberforce Chemiat1K – 2:35 min, 2K – 5:10 min, 3K – 7:45 min          

Quick Take: Fisher is reaching a level few American distance runners ever have

Obviously Fisher is running times no American has ever touched before: 7:28, 12:46, 26:33. But he also has access to advantages previous generations lacked, notably super spikes and the Wavelight pacing system. It is easier to run fast now than ever before.

But one of the things that makes this 2022 season of Fisher’s so special is that he isn’t just running fast by American standards; he is consistently competitive with the best in the world, week-in and week-out. In the last 20 years, there have only been a handful of male American distance runners who can get out at the front of a Diamond League race and contend no matter if the pace is slow or fast. 

Fisher came just shy of victory tonight, which made us wonder the last time someone broke the US 5,000m record and actually won the race. You’d have to go back 40 years (hat tip LRC reader Mark Wenneker).

Athlete Mark Year Location Place
Grant Fisher 12:46.96 2022 Brussels 2nd (1.25 behind winner)
Bernard Lagat 12:53.60 2011 Monaco 2nd (.49 behind winner)
Bernard Lagat 12:54.12 2010 Oslo 3rd (.31 behind winner)
Dathan Ritzenhein 12:56.27 2009 Zurich 3rd (5.95 behind winner)
Bob Kennedy 12:58.21 1996 Zurich 5th (13.12 behind winner)
Bob Kennedy 12:58.75 1996 Stockholm 2nd (7.15 behind winner)
Sydney Maree 13:01.15 1985 Oslo 2nd (.75 behind winner)
Alberto Salazar 13:11.93 1982 Stockholm 3rd (2.96 behind winner)
Matt Centrowitz 13:12.91 1982 Eugene 1st

Quick Take: Everyone ran fast tonight

Nine of the top 10 men in the field ran pbs, including four national records. A couple of the highlights:

4. Dominic Lokinyomo Lobalu, South Sudan, 12:52.15

Lobalu, the former Athlete Refugee Team member now training in Switzerland, lowered his PR from 13:34.18 to 12:52.15 – though it was clear after he won the Stockholm DL in 7:29 that he was capable of a lot faster than 13:34.

6. Stewart McSweyn, Australia, 12:56.50

McSweyn’s early-season struggles are a thing of the past as he took almost 10 seconds off his 13:05.23 pb to become the second Aussie under 13:00. He missed Craig Mottram’s Australian record by .74 of a second.

8. Andreas Almgren, Sweden, 13:01.70

The 27-year-old Almgren came up as an 800 runner, running 1:45 as a 19-year-old in 2014 to earn bronze at World Juniors. He didn’t take up the 5,000 until last year but has taken to it quickly, dropping his pb by 25 seconds. He also took 16 seconds off the Swedish record of 13:17.59, set by Anders Garderud all the way back in 1976.

10. Luis Grijalva, Guatemala, 13:02.94

Grijalva ran a pb in the Olympic final last year (13:10.09 to finish 12th), then almost bettered that time at Worlds in July while finishing 4th in 13:10.44. It was only a matter of time until he got in a fast race and took even more time off his own Guatemalan record.

Quick Take: Fisher picked up enough points today to make the DL final which he said he will run

Here are the full post-race comments that Fisher gave to meet organizers.

I feel great I ran a big personal best, national record and area record. This was a very competitive 5000m and it went quick, everyone was pushing hard. I had the legs today which is a good feeling. I did not have the legs towards the end so I couldn´t keep up but it´s very tough to find another gear when you´re going that fast. Running in Brussels was very special I have some friends and family in Europe who were able to make it here today, the environment was so good and definitely helped. If they invite me back next time I will certainly return. I think I picked enough points to make it to Zurich so one more big race and then I get to enjoy some vacation.

Talk about the meet on our messageboard.

The rest of the meet is recapped here: 2022 Brussels DL: Mageean Stuns 1500 Field, Wightman PRs to Win 800, & Knighton Claims First DL Win Ireland’s Ciara Mageean ran a four-second pb of 3:56 at age 30 to earn the first-ever DL win by an Irish athlete while Jake Wightman beat Emmanuel Korir to win the 800 in 1:43.65. Plus the win streaks for Mondo and SAFP were ended but not by Sha’Carri Richardson.

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