Lamecha Girma (7:23.81) Breaks Daniel Komen’s 3000m World Indoor Record, Wins Duel with Mohamed Katir

February 15, 2023

Daniel Komen’s 25 year-old 3000m indoor world record is no more.

Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia put on a masterclass in front running at the World Indoor Tour Meeting tonight in Liévin, France, as he won a duel with Spain’s Mohamed Katir and clocked 7:23.81, knocking more than a second off of Komen’s record of 7:24.90, as Katir (7:24.68) also dipped under Komen’s record.

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Girma, before tonight known for winning silver at the last 3 global championships in the steeplechase and last year’s World Indoors in the flat 3000, got the record and the win by executing a perfectly negative split race after the final pacer dropped out at 1800m. Running with wave light technology and cornrows, Girma ratcheted down the pace and got the record and the win as Katir hung right on his heels until the final 100m. Girma fell to the ground in exhaustion as organizers tried to hand him the world record placard.

American Grant Fisher was on the heels of Girma until the rabbits dropped out and then he started fading as Girma slightly upped the pace. Fisher settled for an indoor pb of 7:35.82.

Article continues below player.

Race video, results, analysis and interviews appear below.

Race video

Men’s 3000m Result Lievin France

1. Lamecha GIRMA 26 NOV 2000 ETH 7:23.81 WR*, AR
2. Mohamed KATIR 17 FEB 1998 ESP 7:24.68 AR*
3. Jacob KROP 04 JUN 2001 KEN 7:31.35  
4. Birhanu BALEW 27 FEB 1996 BRN 7:33.42  
5. Grant FISHER 22 APR 1997 USA 7:35.82  
6. Telahun Haile BEKELE 13 MAY 1999 ETH 7:37.96  
7. Michael Kiplangat TEMOI 26 MAR 2005 KEN 7:39.38  
8. Salim KEDDAR 23 NOV 1993 ALG 7:45.94  
9. Thierry NDIKUMWENAYO 26 MAR 1997 BDI 7:48.38  
10. Mike FOPPEN 29 NOV 1996 NED 7:50.66  
  Andreas ALMGREN 12 JUN 1995 SWE DNF  
  Tom ELMER 01 APR 1997 SUI DNF  
  Filip SASÍNEK 08 JAN 1996 CZE DNF  
  Mounir AKBACHE 14 MAR 1986 FRA DNF

(More detailed splits at bottom: 1km 2:28.49, 2km 2:29.89, 3km 2:25.43)

Quick Take: That is how to negative split a race

Talk about masterclass. The plan coming in was to run a negative split, as the wavelight was going to do 29.8 for 10 laps (4:59 for 2000) before going down to 29.38 for 5 laps (2:26.90 final 1k).

Negative split is exactly what Girma did. And he did it all by himself, leading every step of the way without the rabbits’ help. The final rabbit was hoping to go 1800 but he didn’t even making it 1700, stepping off around the 4:20 mark.

When the rabbit stopped, Girma rose to the occasion and dropped the pace while doing all the work. After hitting 2k in 4:58.38, we had Girma at 28.91, 29.03. 28.90. 29.54 and 29.05 on the way home. His 1500 splits were something like 3:44, 3:38.

Guillame Laurent, co-founder of and the social media manager for Girma’s Elite Running Team, who was covering Liévin for, said Girma actually wanted the pace to start faster, but organizers convinced him that a slower pace (4:58 for 2k) with him pushing the pace after that was the way to go. (part of the reason for this was it is hard to get rabbits who can run 2k at the world record if it is evenly paced). Girma proved them right (and the last rabbit only made it 1700m).

Quick Take: It’s hard not to view this as a disappointing run for Grant Fisher

Fisher deserves credit for going out aggressively and running behind Girma for the first 1700 but this has to be considered a disappointing run for him. 7:35.82 only placed him 5th tonight and would have only placed him 6th at Millrose, and third American.

But big picture-wise, we’re thrilled he’s heading to Europe and putting him in a spot where the world record is a possibility but he ran 7 seconds faster outdoors, even after going out in 3:43. Tonight the race was made at 1800 when Girma took over and picked up the pace. Fisher was not able to handle the uptick in pace and fell back into no man’s land.

1st km  2:28:49  2nd km 2:29.89
200m splits
29.88 (3:59.11 at 1600)
31.16 (this is when the rabbit dropped out, so the time is for Girma to get to the line)
28.11 (4:58.28 at 2km)
3km (2:25.43)
29.05 (2:25.43) 7:23.81

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