Aregawi 12:40 as Ingebrigtsen Does It Again: 7 Takeaways From The Lausanne Diamond League

The Wanda Diamond League meet made its annual stop in Lausanne today as the 2023 Athletissima Lausanne took place and it did not disappoint. We give you 7 thoughts on the meet below. Full results can be found here, and World Athletics’ written recap can be found here.

It’s the Year of the 5k: Berihu Aregawi Puts on an Exhibition to Run 12:40 World Leader and Beat Cheptegei

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Four years ago, the Diamond League announced it was getting rid of the 5,000 meters starting with the 2020 season. Then COVID hit, the Diamond League schedule was thrown for a loop, and when the dust settled, the 5,000 was still around. Good thing, too, or else we would have missed out on what has been one of the most exciting years in the history of the event in 2023.

After a “tactical” race in Florence where a record 13 men broke 13:00 and a fantastic duel to the finish line between Yomif Kejelcha and Jacob Kiplimo in Oslo where both men ran 12:41, it didn’t seem as if the men’s 5,000 could get any better in 2023, but Ethiopia’s Berihu Aregawi tried his best to top them both in Lausanne tonight. One week after taking down Olympic champ Selemon Barega to win the Ethiopian 10k trials, Aregawi put on a masterclass over the final three kilometers tonight, methodically breaking a world-class field to win in 12:40.45, a 10-second pb good for #5 on the all-time list. World record holder Joshua Cheptegei was second in 12:41.61.

Aregawi might have gone even faster without the pacers and Wavelight, which was set to 12:55 pace. That’s the pace Aregawi was on at 2k (5:09.8), but as soon as the pacer stepped off, Aregawi stepped up and dropped a 60.5. He would keep up that merciless pace the rest of the way, methodically dropping the field one by one until only Cheptegei remained at the bell. Cheptegei proved hard to drop and was still battling for the win on the final turn, but Aregawi was too good, running his final 3k in a ridiculous 7:30.7 with a 55.7 final lap.

Quick Take: The 5,000 has been incredible this year, and could Jakob Ingebrigtsen possibly be vulnerable at Worlds?

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The times in the 5,000 meters have been ridiculous in 2023. Already this year, six men have broken 12:50 and 16 have broken 13:00. The former is tied for the most ever in a single year with 2012, while the latter is tied for the fourth-most ever in a single year (19 men did it in 2006). But what has taken it from a fast year to a historic year is the racing. Katir battling it out with Kejelcha in Florence, Kejelcha battling Kiplimo in Oslo, and now Aregawi and Cheptegei in Lausanne.

Ever since he won the world title last year, we’ve said it’s going to be virtually impossible to beat Jakob Ingebrigtsen in a global 5,000 final given his combination of strength and 1500 speed. And while Ingebrigtsen has been incredible in 2023, running a 2-mile world record of 7:54 and winning DL 1500’s for fun, there might be a way for the rest of the world to beat him in Lausanne. Neither Kejelcha nor Aregawi is known for their kick, and Aregawi, in particular, likes to push hard from a long way out. If one or both of those guys can make the winning time at Worlds something in the 12:37-12:40 range, it’s possible that might be enough to break the great Ingebrigtsen.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen does it again as Lamecha Girma breaks the Ethiopian record

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Three times Jakob Ingebrigtsen has raced the 1500 on the Diamond League circuit this year and all three times there was someone right on him with 150 meters to go. But in all three races, Ingebrigtsen has had a burst of speed in the tank coming off the turn and run to a comfortable win.

Tonight he won in 3:28.72 at Ethiopia”s Lamecha Girma, the new steeplechase world record holder, shattered his own 3:33.15 personal best he set four days ago in Ostrava and also broke Aman Wote’s Ethiopian record by running 3:29.51. Olympic bronze medallist Josh Kerr is moving in the right direction as after opening at 3:30.07 in Oslo, he improved to 3:29.64 for third.

Ingebrigtsen’s margin of victories in his three DLs so far: 0.43 in Rabat, .94 in Oslo, .79 tonight.

The women’s 800 might not be a two-person race at Worlds after all

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Heading into the women’s 800 in Lausanne, the attention was squarely on Keely Hodgkinson, who ripped a world-leading 1:55.77 British record in her outdoor opener in Paris three weeks ago. Instead, this race belonged to her Kenyan rival, Mary Moraa, who took down Hodgkinson to win in 1:57.43, the #2 time in the world this year.

Moraa got to the front early and that positioning would prove key as she would control every inch of this race to the frustration of Hodgkinson. As they approached the bell, Moraa threw on the brakes, hitting 400 in 57.4 as the pacer ran ahead at 56.7. Hodgkinson looked game to run faster, but was unable to break out of the box behind Moraa and Switzerland’s Audrey Werro.

As Werro began to fade on the second lap, Hodgkinson had room to run, but rather than make a strong, hard move past Moraa, she tried to ease past on her shoulder on the back stretch as Moraa held her off. Hodgkinson tried to pass again on the final turn, but Moraa fought her off and forced Hodgkinson wide onto the border of lane 1/2. Running extra distance, she could not get around Moraa.

By the home straight, Hodgkinson had nothing left to launch a final attack as Moraa sprinted away to win in 1:57.43 to Hodgkinson’s 1:58.37.

Moraa deserves a ton of credit for outfoxing Hodgkinson and served notice that she will be a force to be reckoned with in Budapest this summer. When both are at their best, Hodgkinson is the better runner, but Hodgkinson is far from invincible as she is now 4-4 against Moraa including defeats in last year’s Commonwealth Games and Diamond League final.

Hodgkinson, meanwhile, was disappointed with her run tonight.

“I wasn’t very happy about this race, I was in great shape, but I guess today was not my day,” Hodgkinson said. “Mary was better.”

Hodgkinson is probably in better shape than Moraa right now, but Moraa got the lead off the break and once Hodgkinson headed to the inside, she found herself boxed in for the first lap, running the race on Moraa’s terms. Rather than a smooth ride to the finish, Hodgkinson had to try to shift gears multiple times to get around – and that’s the sort of race that benefits the unpredictable Moraa, who famously went from first to last to first to beat Hodgkinson at the Commonwealth Games last summer.

Great tactics by Moraa but will it scare Mu?

Mora ran 29.7 her final 200m to win in 1:57.43. In NYC, Mu’s winning time was more than a second slower (1:58.73) but she ran the final 200 in 28.6.

World Record Holder Beatrice Chepkoech Wins, But Is She Back?

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Beatrice Chepkoech, the world record holder in the steeple (8:44.32), has run 8 seconds faster than anyone else ever in the steeple. The only problem for her was this happened in 2018. In 2019, she was the world champion, then COVID hit and at the 2021 Olympics she was only 7th. Last year she missed the World Championships and bulk of the Diamond League season.

She opened with a 9:06 in Doha this year but that only got her 4th. She then was 4th in Rome (9:10), but tonight had no problem kicking past world leader Sembo Almayew the final 200m to get the win. That’s the good news. The bad news is the time was only 9:05.98. Chepkoech looks like she may be a contender at Worlds but a winning time like this gives us a tiny bit of hope for Emma Coburn.

A Japanese man won the 110 hurdles

Japan earned what we assume is its first-ever Diamond League sprint win tonight as Shunsuke Izumiya won the 110 hurdles tonight in 13.22. That’s a slow winning time but Izumiya is legit as he’s run 13.04 into a -0.9 headwind earlier this year. Also the 23-year-old is no flash in the pan. He ran 13.06 in 2021 when he made the Olympic semis but only 13.21 last year.

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