WTW: My Three Biggest Winners of The Week – Joselyn Brea, Track Fans, & Lamecha Girma

The Week That Was in Running, May 1-7, 2023

It’s late in the week for the WTW to be published but I’ve been busy stuffing t-shirts. Rather than get an unacceptable DNP-AD (Did Not Publish — Author’s Decision) next to my name is this week’s box score, I’m doing something a little different this week for the WTW (and something that doesn’t take nearly as long). Below, I share my three biggest winners of the week.

#1 might have been Cordell Tinch, the DII athlete who hadn’t competed in years but just ran a windy 12.97 110h, but I don’t list him as Jonathan Gault has written a feature on him: LRC Cordell Who? Meet the DII Star Who Just Ran 12.97 in the 110 Hurdles.

#1 Venezuela’s Joselyn Brea

Josette Andrews (14:43.76) got the win the Track Fest women’s 5000 but Venezuela’s Joselyn Brea was the biggest winner of the night in my book. She DESTROYED her own Venezuelan and South American record of 15:05.56 that she set in winning Payton Jordan a few weeks ago by running 14:47.76. What’s crazy is Brea’s PB and the South American record at the beginning of the year was 15:21.41. What may be even crazier is the South American record from 1993 until 2021 was just 15:22.01 (Brazil’s Carmen de Oliveira).

Clearly, there still is a whole lot of talent out in the world that hasn’t ever had the chance to be developed if an entire continent’s record can stagnate for 30 years and then drop by more than 30 seconds in a single year.

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The 28-year-old Brea, who won the duathlon (running, cycling, running) world title the last two years, also set the Venezuelan 1500 record this year at Payton Jordan (4:07.27). In addition, she holds the Venezuelan steeplechase record at 10:21.93, a time she ran way back in 2016. Joselyn does not hold the 10,000 record, however. That belongs to her younger sister, 26-year-old Edymar Brea, who ran 32:29.73 in March.  That’s great work for two women who both finished 16h in their heats of the 5000 at Worlds last year.

#2 Track fans 

As fans, we can constantly wonder and discuss why track & field isn’t more popular with the masses, but let’s pause for a moment and appreciate what we had presented to us last week. In Doha, as a season opener, we witnessed Sha’Carri Richardson‘s first Diamond League win and saw an amazing distance matchup where the Olympic steeple and 10,000 champs squared off against the former world 1500 champ and indoor 3000 world record holder. A day later, in Atlanta, we got to see Noah Lyles vs. Erriyon Knighton at 150m, with African 100m record holder Ferdinand Omanyala in the mix as well. A few hours later in California, Katelyn Tuohy went for the first sub-15 clocking in collegiate history.

Those are more than enough compelling storylines for a weekend. Now if only we could find a way (there isn’t) to put them all on at the same meet in a time zone perfect for all the fans across the globe, at a meet where tens of thousands of fans wanted to come watch, and broadcast on a channel that was easy to find without breaking the bank for fans while still enriching the athletes. Then we’d have heaven on Earth.

Related: Meet director Jesse Williams talks to LetsRun.com about how to make track & field more popular

#3 Lamecha Girma

The winner of the men’s 3000 battle royale in Doha was the indoor world record holder at 3000, Lamecha Girma. Girma picked up only his second win in his life against steeple rival Soufiane El Bakkali (2-8 lifetime). Girma’s other win over El Bakkali also came in Doha at the 2019 Worlds in the steeple, where he was 2nd and El Bakkali third (Conseslus Kipruto won).

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The win had us thinking Girma might be able to take a crack at two world records this year — steeple and flat 3000.

On the LetsRun Track Talk podcast, we also debated whether Ethiopia should consider doubling Girma in the steeple and 5000 at Worlds. But we probably got a little ahead of ourselves on that one as Girma has never ever even run a 5000. Plus, in the steeple, the problem isn’t that he’s not great — it’s just that he gets outkicked by El Bakkali. Wouldn’t that also be the case in the 5000 with Jakob Ingebrigtsen?

But Girma is in great form and has a lot of options. He’s going to be a fun guy to watch this summer.

*Doha DL Coverage

Honorable mention: 

  1. Alexander Mutiso – In December, the 28-year-old Mutiso ran 2:03:29 in his marathon debut in Valencia. That would have been a debut record had Kelvin Kiptum not run 2:01:53 in the same race. On Sunday, Mutiso, who also sports a 57:59 half marathon pb, broke the Prague course record and won in 2:05:09, beating 2021 London champ Sisay Lemma (2:06:26) by nearly a minute and a half. Only 39 humans have ever run two marathons under 2:05:10, and Mutiso has done it in his first two marathons.
  2. Harvard men’s track & field – Last week, for the first time in 40 years, Harvard won the Ivy League outdoor track and field championshps. It’s also the first time since 2002 that a team not named Cornell or Princeton (two names I like very much) won the men’s title. Harvard, which narrowly lost the indoor title after some relay mishaps, didn’t have to sweat this one out as they won in dominant fashion, racking up 203 points to Princeton’s 137. 203 is more than the bottom half of the league scored in total (165). *Ivy League results

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Past editions of our Week That Was weekly recap can be found here. Got a tip, question or comment? Please call us at 844-LETSRUN (538-7786), email us or post in our forum.

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