Keely Goes Out Too Hard, Jakob Says “He’s Still the Best” – Liévin Distance Recap

February 15, 2023

For the third straight year, there was a world record at the Liévin World Indoor Tour Gold meeting. This time it was Lamecha Girma not only breaking Daniel Komen’s 25-year-old world record, but he had company, as he only narrowly defeated Mohamed Katir of Spain who also broke the old world record.

But coming into Liévin there were five races (men’s and women’s 1500s and 3000s, plus women’s 800) where the Wavelight pacing lights were programmed at world record pace. Below we recap and analyze each of them.

Women’s 800: Keely Hodgkinson goes out HARD and pays the price and still gets a world leader

The pacing lights were set very aggressively. The beauty of Wavelight pacing is the pacing can be set unevenly. So the first lap the lights were set for 27.00 and the rabbit hit 26.88.

It was on. The crazy thing is, the field was still bunched together. Keely was running much of the first 400 in lane 2. They hit 400 in 56.39 (the pace called for was 56.40), but once the rabbit peeled off the field was behind the lights and the world record was essentially out of reach.

Keely was clear of Mary Moraa at 600 (1:26.80), but slowing. Could she mount any kick the last 200 or would she continue to fade? Fade was the answer as she finished in 1:57.72. This was still a world leader, but not what she was after. There was disappointment on her face at the finish.

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Splits for the leaders: 26.88, 29.51, 30.41, 30.92.

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Keely opened the year with a world record at 600. She then ran an 800 in Poland where she ran a world-leading 1:57.87, but was content to negative split it. Tonight she attacked from the gun with the intention of running really fast.

That didn’t happen and her best next hope is that it prepares her for future battles if she wants to try to get under the 1:55 barrier as she’ll need to get out in 56.

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Afterward she said, “I would’ve liked a little bit more because I feel like I really committed today. Just a few things in the race just didn’t go my way. But that’s just how it is.”

Men’s 1500: Jakob runs 3:32 and says “I’m still the best”

It’s hard to believe no one has ever run under 3:30 for 1500m indoors. In the era of super shoes, we think it will happen soon and the most likely candidate to do it is Jakob Ingebrigtsen.

Ingebrigtsen set the world record (3:30.60) last year in this race, but this year coming in had struggled with illness that had hampered his preparations and prevented him from racing New Year’s Eve.

The race was the pacers and Jakob against the clock. At 500 (69.15), they were on WR pace (remember 70 is 3:30 pace) and at 1000 (2:20.37), it was still a possibility, but as rabbit Erik Sowinski peeled off just before 1,000m, Jakob soon was behind the pacing lights and not gaining on them. He was content to still push hard to the line and get the easy win in a world-leading 3:32.38.

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Afterward, Jakob said this meet was just about trying to see where he is at after not being able to train properly for some of the winter. He said, “3:32 is still a good race.”

When asked about some of the new talent coming out of the US, Jakob said, “I wouldn’t say new competition. I think I’ve probably raced most of them. But it’s good to see people improving. I think that that’s what it takes to, everybody wants to take the next step in the right direction and it’s good for the sport and good for running that a lot of people is starting to train good, doing the right things, but I’m still the best.”

That may be the case, but there is a chance Yared Nuguse or someone else breaks his world record next week in Madrid. Jakob is listed on the Madrid website, but not listed with a specific event, and after this meet said in the interview in stadium that his next race would be the European Indoor Champs.


Women’s 1500: They haven’t figured out how to pace this one

We’re not sure what they were thinking with the pacing for this race.

The pacing lights were set to 29.5 for the first 3 laps, then with the lights to be only 32.13 seconds the remaining 4.5 laps. We’re not sure what the ideal way to break the 1500m record is, but are pretty sure that isn’t it.

Gudaf Tsegay went out fast ahead of the second rabbit. The pace seemed suicidal (sub-60 second pace), but that’s how Tsegay likes it and at 500 (74.29) the leaders were actually behind the pace set by the lights (73.75). Tsegay at 800 (around 2:04) was actually on world record pace (2:04.3) but was way behind the lights.

But going out so fast — 59 seconds — and trying to maintain it was taking its toll and she’d fade to a 3:57.47 world leader.

QT: We don’t see any need to set the pace lights at 59 seconds when you need to run 62.15 per 400.

But what do we know? We looked it up and the rabbits went out in 58.97 when Tsegay set the world record in 2021 here. But she faded way back to 2:06 at 800 in 2021, before hammering at the end. Here she went out just as fast, tried to keep it going and was faster at 800 (2:04 vs 2:06) than in 2021, but it was too much too soon and she paid the price.

Women’s 3000 – This one was before the TV window so we didn’t see it, but would have bet a lot of money the world record wouldn’t be challenged and it wasn’t as Diribe Welteji got the narrow win in 8:34.84.

Men’s 800: “B” Race Faster Than “A” Race

The “B” final was faster than the “A” final as Benjamin Robert, who won the Paris DL continued to win big races in France.

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