What Impressed Us Most at Millrose: 9 Notable Moments Including Alicia Monson’s American Record at 3000

by LetesRun.com
February 11, 2023

NEW YORK – Yared Nuguse ended the Millrose Games in style by running a thrilling 3:47.38 American record in the mile.  It was THE highlight of 2023 Millrose and Nuguse’s record in the mile gets its own story here, but the meet was packed with stellar performances. There were two more American records (Alicia Monson at 3000 and Abby Steiner at 300), a collegiate record by Katelyn Tuohy, a big sprint showdown, some big action in the field. We share our 9 highlights below.

*Full Results *LRC Post-Race Interviews *World Athletics has a full meet recap here.

Photo via @USATF.

Alicia Monson continues to blossom with her first American record

Monson came in with an American record on her mind and got it the hard way by running the final 2km by herself and finishing in 8:25.05 to take .65 off Karissa Schweizer’s record set three years ago in Boston (Monson’s time is also faster than Mary Decker Slaney’s 8:25.83 outdoor record). Pacer Dani Aragon lasted one kilometer (2:48.47), but after that it was all Monson. By 2k (5:39.86), she had broken the rest of the field, and she closed things out with a 31.80 to take down the record. It was a terrific solo effort.

Monson first won the Millrose 3k back as a collegian at Wisconsin in 2019. She ran 8:45.97 – at the time, #3 in NCAA history, behind only Karissa Schweizer and Jenny Simpson – which showed she had the potential to become a great professional. But professional success doesn’t just arrive; you have to work for it, and so far Monson’s pro career is a prime example of the power of consistent forward progress. She made a big leap in her first full year as a pro in 2021, lowering her 5k pb from 15:14 to 14:42 and making the Olympic 10k team. 

Photo by Kevin Morris.

Last year, Monson took another 11 seconds off her 5k pb (14:42 to 14:31) and 27 seconds off her 10k pb (31:18 to 30:51). But her most impressive performance was her 8:26 3k pb in Lausanne, where she beat several of the world’s top distance runners and finished just .01 behind Francine Niyonsaba for the win.

After a year like that, could Monson rise one more level in 2023? So far, the answer is yes. She ran a 4:23 mile pb at Dr. Sander two weeks ago and moved to #7 on the all-time indoor 3000 list (and #1 for athletes born outside of Ethiopia).

One big decision for Monson this year: which event to pursue at USAs/Worlds? Unlike last year, when the US 5k and 10k champs were contested at separate meets, they’ll both be held in the span of four days at USAs. Monson said she hasn’t decided which event to focus on yet.

“After my Diamond League races last year, I was like, okay I’m definitely doing the 5k this year,” Monson said. “But now we have to look at what is everyone else in the world doing, what does it look like they’re doing in the 5k vs 10k, what are my best chances at putting myself in the race?”

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That’s a smart approach. Her 3k in Lausanne is a strong argument for focusing on the shorter event in 2023, but American women have also had more historic success in the 10k (medals in 2007, 2008, 2015) and none in the 5k. If Monson shows rips a fast 10,000 at The TEN on March 4, the 10k could look appealing.

Behind Monson today, NC State star Katelyn Tuohy made history with a collegiate record which gets its own article here: Katelyn Tuohy Shatters NCAA 3000m Record at Millrose Games.

Josh Kerr impresses at an unfamiliar distance

If you asked us for the biggest upset at Millrose, it would be Josh Kerr winning the men’s 3000. We know what some of you are thinking, “What is so big about an Olympic 1500 medallist winning the 3000?”

Photo by Kevin Morris

Well, the last time Josh Kerr ran a 3000, he was in high school. Tilastopaja lists an 8:35.15 pb from a win in Bedford on August 31, 2014. But if we say that’s his pb, we aren’t being totally honest as he split 8:08 for 3k in the midst of his 13:21 5000 in 2021.

Regardless, the dude came into today’s 3000 at Millrose totally unheralded at anything longer than the mile, but when it was all said and done he was your winner in 7:33.47. In the process, he beat a STACKED field that included the 4th placer from Worlds in the 5000, Luis Grijalva, as well as 12:54 5000 man Joe Klecker and former NCAA 5k champ Cooper Teare.

Today’s race instantly puts Kerr back in the medal conversations for the 1500 at Worlds (not that he really left it – he was 5th in Eugene last year) and shows you how he medalled at the Tokyo Olympics. His endurance isn’t as good as Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s, but he’s faster than Ingebrigtsen with his 1:45.35 800 pb (Ingebrigtsen has a 1:46.44 pb). Conversely, he’s not as fast as Jake Wightman (1:43.65 800 pb) but Kerr has better endurance (Wightman has a 7:37 pb).

And if you’re wondering why Kerr wasn’t in the mile today (he was 2nd to Ollie Hoare last year), he said he has his reasons.

“I’ve been hearing a lot of things about me dodging the mile,” Kerr said. “But [meet director] Ray [Flynn] messaged me in November that the Millrose mile’s getting stacked, they’re going to go after records. I texted Ray back and said ‘Ray, listen, I’ve got my records.’ I have the UK record, I have the European record [in the indoor mile]…Unless they’re wearing a Brooks logo, I’m not going to jump in a fast race just to sit on the rail and try and help other people to run fast. It seemed less of a race than a time trial, and I’m not looking to do that right now.”

There were a number of impressive runs in the 3000’s besides the winners

Last year, New Zealand’s Geordie Beamish ran a Kiwi record of 7:39.50 to win a memorable men’s 3,000 at Millrose. This year, he improved that record by more than three seconds (7:36.22) but was well back of the winner. Joe Klecker and Cooper Teare both ran 7:34 – not bad at all considering the only guys who beat them were the Olympic bronze medalist at 1500 and the Worlds 4th placer in the 5,000. OAC’s Jonas Raess set a Swiss record of 7:35.24 in 5th. And back in 7th, Dylan Jacobs of Tennessee almost broke the collegiate record by running 7:36.89 – just .47 slower than Drew Bosley ran at BU two weeks ago. Just about the only guy who didn’t run well was Bosley’s NAU teammate Nico Young, who was last in this one in 7:51.21.

In the women’s race, Monson and Tuohy’s American and collegiate records got the headlines, but Whittni Morgan’s 8:30.13 for second also deserves some serious love. Morgan – formerly Whittni Orton – was the NCAA XC champ for BYU in 2021, and while she PR’d in the 1500 last year (4:04) and just missed a PR in the 5000 (15:10), she wasn’t competitive in the 5k at USAs, finishing 8th. There is a gap between being the best in the NCAA and being the best in the US.

In 2023, Morgan has significantly closed that gap. 8:30.13 puts her #5 all-time in the US indoors, and she was competitive with Monson two weeks ago in the mile but not quite strong enough to hang onto her today. And she was well ahead of Cranny, who has won the last two US 5000 titles.

On Athletics Club crushed it (again)

For the second straight year, the On Athletics Club showed up to the Millrose Games and absolutely crushed it. Alicia Monson broke the American record in the 3000 meters – a record previously held by a Bowerman Track Club athlete (Karissa Schweizer) in a race in which she crushed one of BTC’s top athletes (Elise Cranny). OAC got good runs from Joe Klecker (7:34.14 for 3rd in the 3,000, beating out BTC’s Cooper Teare for top American) and Josette Andrews (4:20.88 for 2nd in the women’s Wanamaker Mile) before Yared Nuguse’s mind-blowing 3:47.38 American record in the men’s Wanamaker Mile.

When OAC launched in the summer of 2020, it was a big ask for the team to be competitive with the best groups in the US. But On put the money (signing a bunch of NCAA champions) and resources (developing a competitive shoe) into the effort and now they are reaping the rewards. 

After this one was over, we got a text from the LRC programmer Erik Westlund that read, “Seems to me (that the) OAC is now the premier club (in the US)…. Maybe (it) j ust seems that way because they actually race.”

We were talking to someone associated with the sprint side of the sport and another shoe company, and unprompted he said something along the lines of “That team is killing it.”

The fans won when Noah Lyles was allowed to run after a false start

The men’s 60 was one of the most highly-anticipated sprint races. Could 200m American record Noah Lyles holder take it to Christian Coleman in Coleman’s specialty, the 60? If Lyles was going to pull off the upset, he knew he needed a perfect start. Oops, Lyles clearly flinched in the blocks and a false start was called on Lyles.

Then meet officials did what they should have done. They let Lyles run under protest. Everyone both in the stands and watching on TV wanted to see how Lyles matched up with Coleman and they got to see that. Coleman ran 6.47 to Lyles’ 6.53. Then Lyles was correctly DQ’d so everyone behind Coleman got the proper place and prize money.

Who was worse off because of this? No one. It was a win-win for fans and athletes alike.

Diamond League all one-day meets take notice. This is how false starts should be handled with a major star.

Christian Coleman reminds Noah Lyles who’s king of the 60

Coleman saw Lyles run 6.51 to beat Trayvon Bromell last week in Boston, after which Lyles compared himself to the anime character Goku – and Coleman, the 60m world record holder, as the monster he had to slay (he meant it as a compliment). Lyles’ win got the sprint world buzzing about his improvement in the shorter events – could he add the 100m world title this year to the 200m title he won in Eugene in 2022?

Coleman heard the buzz and responded like a champion, starting fast and blitzing to the win in 6.47, crossing the line clearly ahead of Lyles. He celebrated by placing a finger to his lips as he crossed the finish line – shhh – before bowing to the crowd with delight.

“There’s been a lot of talk and a lot of chatter coming into this race,” Coleman said. “And I love it. I love it. I embrace it and I was just happy to come out with the win.”

Coleman didn’t have the 2022 season he wanted, finishing just 6th at Worlds. But his 2023 season is off to a great start, and he was clearly relishing a win over Lyles. As he should.

“His top-end speed is incredible, so I knew I’d have to be on my A game and stay composed,” Coleman said. “I think he got what he wanted. He said he wanted to go up against the best. And he got that.”

Chase Ealey backs it up

Ealey reached a totally new level in 2022 and after today it looks like she’s going to stay there. Up until 2022, Ealey had never medalled or thrown 20 meters. She didn’t even make the US Olympic team in 2021. Last year, she broke 20 meters for the first time ever at World Indoors where she was second. Outdoors, she started throwing over 20m with regularity as she did it in 7 of her last 8 meets, including Worlds, which she won.

Indoors this year, she opened up at just 18.61 and 17.90 in her first two meets. Was the mediocre Ealey of old coming back? Today, she won with a 20.03 and had 4 throws at 19.30 or farther to show you she plans on being a force to be reckoned with. 

In the men’s shot, world record holder Ryan Crouser tried a new technique and still dominated Joe Kovacs, 22.50 to 21.34.

Ajee’ Wilson and Noah Kibet keep winning

Wilson put her 10-year Armory win streak on the line in the 600, and through 400m it looked as if Wilson was in danger of losing as 400 hurdle specialist Shamier Little took it out quickly in 54.25 to Wilson’s 55.05. But Wilson, as she usually does indoors, measured things perfectly while the converted sprinter Little tired on the last lap. In the end, Wilson won comfortably in 1:24.85 to Little’s 1:26.16.

Kibet, who has been training with Pete Julian’s Nike Union Athletics Club, made it two-for-two in 2023 with a world-leading 1:44.98 win in the 800. The Brooks Beasts’ Isaiah Harris had a strong run in 2nd in 1:45.64, an indoor pb, which he said sets him up well for USA indoors next week and outdoors.

The women’s mile was terrific

Laura Muir looked shaky at the end of her 3k win in Boston last week and it didn’t look good for her today when Josette Andrews passed her with two laps to go in the Wanamaker Mile. Andrews closed well to run 4:20.88 – just .07 slower than last year – but she had to settle for second for the second year in a row. Muir showed why she is one of the toughest runners on the circuit as she dug deep to pass Andrews on the final lap and hold her off with a 30.99 final 200 to win in 4:20.15.

After the race, Muir said she thought the pace was too hot and needed to back off if she was going to have anything left the final lap.

Andrews has gone through a lot since Millrose last year, including injuries, a frustrating outdoor season, and a move to Boulder and the OAC. Today was an impressive debut for her and a reminder that she is still one of America’s top milers.

*Full results

*All the post-race interviews

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