Weekend Preview: Alicia Monson Chasing 10K American Record, Jakob Ingebrigtsen Tries the Double at Euro Indoors, & More

By Jonathan Gault
March 2, 2023

March is here, and the month’s first weekend brings with it a number of high-quality races from around the globe. We’ve got athletes like Jakob IngebrigtsenKarsten Warholm, and Femke Bol in action at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul and American distance stars like Woody KincaidJoe Klecker chasing World/Olympic standards at The TEN in California, with Alicia Monson chasing an American record at the same meet. Plus there is road action at the Tokyo Marathon and the US 15K Championships in Jacksonville, where Emily Sisson is going for the three-peat.

Here’s your chronological guide to the weekend’s action.

Will there be a big upset at European Indoors?

*Schedule / Results *How to watch (there is a free stream for Americans)

We have to hand out some props here. Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Karsten WarholmKeely HodgkinsonFemke Bol, and Laura Muir are among the biggest stars in running and all of them are showing up to run this weekend’s European Indoor Championships in Istanbul. Any time stars runs continental championships like these, it lends legitimacy to the event. So a big thumbs up is due.

All five of them won European outdoor titles last year in Munich, and all five will start as heavy favorites this weekend. Can they pull off a clean sweep once again? Here’s a closer look at the “Fab Five.”

Article continues below player.
Embed from Getty Images

Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Norway
Events: 1500 (final Friday, 12:40 p.m. ET); 3000 (prelims Saturday, 2:00 a.m. ET; final Sunday, 12:00 p.m. ET)

Ingebrigtsen has already run one race in Istanbul, hanging back in last place of his 1500 prelim on Thursday evening before dashing into third place at the bell and holding that spot the rest of the way to secure an automatic qualifier to Friday’s final. His biggest competition figures to be in-form Neil Gourley, who ran 3:49.46 to finish 2nd at the Wanamaker Mile at Millrose before running a British record of 3:32.48 (one-tenth off Ingebrigtsen’s 2023 world leader) in Birmingham last weekend as 3:50 miler Amos Bartelsmeyer of the UAC/Germany and 3:33 man Andrew Coscoran didn’t make the final. Will Gourley, who has never won a senior international medal, be able to follow in the footsteps of fellow Scot Jake Wightman and take down Ingebrigtsen in a major final?

In the 3000, Ingebrigtsen faces Adel Mechaal, who is coming off back-to-back indoor 1500 pbs, including a Spanish indoor record of 3:33.28 behind Gourley in Birmingham.

Karsten Warholm, Norway
Event: 400 (prelims Friday, 1:50 a.m. ET; semis Friday, 11:35 a.m. ET; final Saturday, 12:20 p.m. ET)

Warholm tied the European record of 45.05 in winning this title in 2019 and has run 45.31 and 45.51 in two races so far in 2023, both victories. He’ll begin as the favorite but may have the toughest path to gold of any of the “Fab Five” as Warholm must face reigning European indoor champ Oscar Husillos, who ran a Spanish record of 45.58 in Madrid on February 19.

Keely Hodgkinson, Great Britain
Event: 800 (semis Saturday, 11:15 a.m. ET; final Sunday, 12:35 p.m. ET)

Embed from Getty Images

Hodgkinson had her coming-out party at these championships two years ago in Torun, winning the 800 title four days after her 19th birthday. Since then, she’s been one of the world’s top 800 runners and has been untouchable in 2023, running 1:57 in all three of her finals, including 1:57.18 in Birmingham last weekend to break her own British record. No other European woman has broken 2:00 this year. Will Hodgkinson be content to simply run for the win in Sunday’s final, or will she take one last crack at a fast time this season?

Femke Bol, Netherlands
Event: 400 (prelims Friday, 2:40 a.m. ET; semis Friday, 11:55 a.m. ET; final Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET)

Bol smashed the world record with her time of 49.26 at the Dutch championships on February 19, and no one in Europe has run within a second of that time this year. Bol’s countrywoman and training partner Lieke Klaver is the best of the rest with a 50.34 season’s best — a time that would usually challenge for gold at Euros. But not in the year of Bol.

Laura Muir, Great Britain
Event: 1500 (prelims Friday, 3:30 a.m. ET; final Sunday, 12:00 p.m. ET)

Muir is the reigning European outdoor champion, and though she has won all three of her races this year, she has shown signs of vulnerability. She slowed way down at the end of her 3000 win at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix and was passed by Josette Andrews at Millrose before storming back to win the mile. Her biggest competition figures to be fellow Brits: either Katie Snowden (3rd at Millrose in 4:21) or Ellie Baker, who took down Snowden to win the British title two weeks ago.


The other storyline to watch at Euros is whether Marcell Jacobs can successfully defend his title in the men’s 60. After his stunning Olympic gold in 2021, Jacobs didn’t lose a final in 2022 at any distance — though he had to withdraw from the semis at Worlds with a thigh injury. This year, however, Jacobs has already been beaten twice over 60m — first by Ferdinand Omanyala in Lievin on February 15 (6.54 to 6.57), then by Samuele Ceccarelli at the Italian championships on February 19. The men’s 60m final at Euros will be held on Saturday at 12:55 p.m. ET.

US 15K Championships

Emily Sisson Half Marathon in Houston Sisson in Houston (Kevin Morris)

*Entries *Streaming (race starts at 7:55 a.m. ET on Saturday, RSpace+ sub required)

The US Half Marathon Championships were on Sunday, so it’s kind of nuts we’re having another US championships just six days later. Still, the host race for the 15K — the Gate River Run in Jacksonville — is a staple of the US road running scene and its list of past champions includes the likes of Meb Keflezighi, Lynn Jennings, Deena Kastor, and Shalane Flanagan.

On the men’s side, it’s something of a re-run of the US Half as the top two from that race, Jacob Thomson and Leonard Korir, are both coming back. They’ll be joined by three-time defending US steeplechase champion Hillary Bor, who also showed he can rip it on the roads by winning the US 10-mile champs in 46:06 last fall.

On the women’s side, Emily Sisson has won the last two editions and will be the heavy favorite to win again this year. The question really is whether Sisson, who has broken the American record in the half marathon (twice) and marathon within the last 12 months, can break Flanagan’s American record of 47:00, set at this race in 2014. Sisson ran 48:09 to win in 2021 and 47:28 in 2022, and her 66:52 half in January certainly suggests she has the fitness to get it done. But the weather — 70s and humid, with possible rain on Saturday morning — is not looking great for running fast.

Tokyo Marathon

*Entries *TV/Streaming (Saturday, 6:50 p.m. ET Flotrack has US rights but this thing is on in 157 countries)

This year’s Boston and London Marathons are shaping up as all-timers, which has an impact on Tokyo, which will be held on Sunday morning in Japan (Saturday evening in the US). Of the 20 athletes (10 men, 10 women) from LetsRun’s 2022 world top 10 in the marathon, eight will be running Boston, eight will be running London, and none will be running in Tokyo.

That doesn’t mean the first Abbott World Marathon Major of 2023 doesn’t interest us — it does. There are at least three very interesting storylines in Tokyo this year.

The first is will its men’s race smash the record for deepest marathon in history? Brett Larner is reporting that 52 men in the field have broken 2:10 since 2020 and the record for most sub-2:10s in a race is 42 (2021 Lake Biwa; Osaka had 32 last weekend). So it’s quite possible that record goes down.

It’s tempting to say that the course records of 2:02:40 and 2:16:02 set last year by world record holders Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei are safe this weekend…but after last fall, where random athletes began dropping 2:01’s and 2:14’s, who’s to say we won’t see something crazy in Tokyo?

(Bob Martin for Virgin Money London Marathon)

The top men’s seed by pb is Sisay Lemma (2:03:36), who is also the only man in the field with a World Marathon Major victory on his resume, winning in London in 2021. Lemma didn’t have a great 2022 (he DNF’d Boston, then finished 7th in London) and will be looking to return to the form that has seen him finish on or near the podium for most of his marathon career. No one else in the field has broken 2:04, though there are two champions from spring 2022 marathons: Kenyan Titus Kipruto (Milan, 2:05:05) and Ethiopian Deso Gelmisa (Paris, 2:05:07).

In addition, Cam Levins, will be trying to lower the Canadian record of 2:07:09 he set in finishing 4th at Worlds last year (he ran a Canadian record of 60:18 in the half on February 12 in Vancouver). There should also be some home nation representation in the lead pack. Originally the last three Japanese record holders, Kengo Suzuki (2:04:56), Suguru Osako (2:05:29), and Yuta Shitara (2:06:11), were scheduled to race, but Suzuki is out. Given those names and given the fact that the field has six Africans who have run in the 2:04’s in the last three years, the second storyline we will be following is this: will Daniel Do Nascimento‘s record for the fastest marathon ever run by someone not born in Africa (2:04:51) be broken?

The women’s field is led by 34-year-old veteran Ashete Bekere, who ran a pb of 2:17:58 to finish 2nd in this race behind Kosgei last year. Berlin runner-up Rosemary Wanjiru (2:18:00 pb), Berlin 3rd placer Tigist Abayechew (2:18:03 pb), and 65:01 half marathoner Tsehay Gemechu (2:18:59 pb) all are coming off personal bests in 2022 and should contend in a wide-open women’s race. American Lindsay Flanagan (2:24:35 pb) is also entered.

Our third big storyline in Tokyo is the American marathon debut of Betsy Saina (she became eligible to represent the US in 2021). The 34-year-old Saina owns a marathon pb of 2:22:43 but hasn’t finished a marathon since 2019 — in part because she gave birth to a son in December 2021. Saina’s pbs at shorter distances (14:39/30:07/67:49) would rank her very highly on the US all-time lists (she’d be #1 in the 10,000) and she showed she’s made a good comeback from pregnancy as she ran 68:25 to win the Seville Half Marathon on January 29. Tokyo will be an even bigger test.

Update: Kenyans Cybrian Kotut and Joan Melly have been announced as scratches.

*Brett Larner’s Tokyo preview

American record watch at The TEN

*Schedule/entries *Streaming

The TEN, staged in Southern California by the folks at Sound Running, is only in its third year of existence but has already established itself as the place to run a fast 10,000 meters in the United States. In 2021, two-thirds of the US 10,000m Olympic team earned their Olympic standards at this meet. Last yearGrant Fisher crushed the American record with Elise Cranny coming just one second shy of the AR on the women’s side.

In 2023, the paces in the top sections are again expected to be very fast as athletes target not just the 2023 World Championship standards (27:10/30:40) but the 2024 Olympic standards as well (27:00/30:40).

There are a few warmup events, including a high school 800 featuring Newbury Park star Aaron Sahlman and an elite 1500 that includes Sahlman’s NP teammate Leo Young taking on a group of pros. But the main events are the 10,000s — quick preview of each race below.

Men’s 10,000 (11:50 p.m. ET, Saturday)

Embed from Getty Images

Key entrants: Ben Flanagan, Woody Kincaid, Patrick Dever, Joe Klecker, Conner Mantz, Sam Atkin, Luis Grijalva, Emmanuel Bor, Sam Chelanga

Most of the field will be trying to attack 27:10 and 27:00 — the 2023 World and 2024 Olympic standards, respectively. While there are guys who are certainly capable of hitting those marks, only one man in the field has ever broken 27:10 before: 38-year-old Sam Chelanga, who ran 27:08 way back in 2010 (you may remember the race).

The race has a star pacemaker in the On Athletics Club’s Ollie Hoare, one of the world’s top milers who will be tasked with running 27:00 pace. That certainly helps, but 27:00 is by no means easy, even with super shoes. Only three Americans have ever broken the barrier — Fisher (26:33), Galen Rupp (26:44), and Chris Solinsky (26:59).

Woody Kincaid and Joe Klecker, the last two US champions in this event, are the two Americans most likely to dip under on Saturday, and we know they’re super fit right now after Kincaid beat Klecker, 12:51 to 12:54, over 5,000 meters in Boston five weeks ago. Klecker would certainly like to exact some revenge for that defeat, but he’ll be happy with any time starting with 26.

Fisher’s AR appears safe. Fisher ran 26:33 with a huge negative split (13:23-13:10), but this race is supposed to go out even slower. If they hit halfway in 13:30 on Saturday, no one is closing in 13:02 to get the record.

Kincaid needs this race much more than Klecker. Klecker’s world ranking is currently good enough to get him into Worlds and would still be well-positioned if he doesn’t break 27:10. Kincaid, meanwhile, doesn’t have a world ranking as he hasn’t finished a 10,000 since the 2021 Olympic final. If he wants to run the 10,000 in Budapest, it’s vital he runs well on Saturday.

There are a number of other men who could run fast at the TEN. Sam Atkin (7:31) and Luis Grijalva (7:33) have both run fast 3000’s this indoor season, though Grijalva has never raced a track 10,000 before. Patrick Dever ran 27:23 here last year, #5 all-time among Brits. Sam Chelanga was 21st at World XC and Emmanuel Bor almost made the 10,000 Worlds team last year, but both raced hard in Australia two weeks ago at World XC; will be they recovered enough to run a fast 10,000 on Saturday? Conner Mantz is also running though he’s in the midst of his Boston Marathon buildup (six weeks away).

Who wins The TEN?

Your vote has been counted. Thank you!

What's the winning time?

Your vote has been counted. Thank you!

Women’s 10,000 (12:25 a.m. ET)

Key entrants: Natosha Rogers, Fiona O’Keeffe, Alicia Monson, Dominique Scott, Eilish McColgan

The World/Olympic standard is the same in the women’s 10,000 — 30:40. But this race will be going out much faster than that. OAC coach Dathan Ritzenhein believes Alicia Monson is in shape to take down Molly Huddle‘s American record of 30:13.17 from 2016. They’ve enlisted Monson’s OAC teammate, 14:51 5k runner Josette Andrews, to pace this thing at AR pace, and considering how well Monson has been running recently, she should have a shot. At Millrose last month, Monson ran 8:25 — mostly solo — to break the AR in the 3000, and her 14:31 5000 pb is 11 seconds faster than Huddle ever ran at that distance. Even if Monson misses the AR, it’s very important for her to get under the 30:40 standard as there are currently no athletes getting into the women’s 10,000 at the 2023 Worlds based on their world ranking. You can find out the backstory on why that is here: LRC World Athletics Made a Big Change to World/Olympic 10,000m Qualifying and No One Is Talking About It.

Eilish McColgan, who owns a 30:19 pb from last year, should be right with Monson and the two women should be able to help push each other once Andrews steps off (For the record, Paula Radcliffe‘s British record is 30:01.09). The question is whether anyone else goes with them. The guess here is no. Also worth noting is that Elise Cranny, who won last year at the TEN, was initially entered but is not 100% ready to go and is no longer running — though she already has the standard for the 2023 Worlds.

Who wins The TEN?

Your vote has been counted. Thank you!

What's the winning time?

Your vote has been counted. Thank you!
Want More? Join The Supporters Club Today
Support independent journalism and get:
  • Exclusive Access to VIP Supporters Club Content
  • Bonus Podcasts Every Friday
  • Free LetsRun.com Shirt (Annual Subscribers)
  • Exclusive Discounts
  • Enhanced Message Boards