WTW: Kipyegon vs El Guerrouj, Lyles vs Bolt, Cole Hocker is Back, Shawnti Jackson 10.89, Addy Wiley on Team USA?

What a week.

A 3:49.11 world record in the women’s 1500 by Faith Kipyegon, a 29:37/3:58 double by Sifan Hassan, a 4:03.39 1500 by a US teenager, a 3:34 return to action for Cole Hocker, a 29:00 10k by a US high schooler with a 75-second lap in the middle, a US high school 100 record of 10.89 for Shawnti Jackson, and a 19.67 200 for Noah Lyles. All of that and more happened last week. I try to make sense of it below.

Thoughts on Kipyegon’s World Record and Hassan’s Return to The Track

Matthew Quine for Diamond League AG

It was great to see Faith Kipyegon, the greatest women’s 1500 runner in history, smash the world record in Florence and become the first woman under 3:50.

Afterward, the question came up: Is Kipyegon the greatest 1500 runner ever – male or female?

From a statistical standpoint, it’s hard to say she has surpassed Hicham El Guerrouj.

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From 1996 to 2003, El Guerrouj lost a grand total of two 1500/miles, amassing a remarkable 93-2 record (counting heats). Yes, those two losses were BIG ones — two Olympic finals (in 1996 he was tripped and in 2000 he earned the silver). In 2004, he lost twice more in the 1500 but got double Olympic gold to make up for it, taking down the world’s 2nd fastest man in history in the 1500, Bernard Lagat, and both Kenenisa Bekele and Eliud Kipchoge in the 5000. Of course, his 5000 win shouldn’t play into this debate as to who is the GOAT of the 1500.

In his career, El Guerrouj won five global outdoor 1500 titles (4 WCs, 1 Olympics) and two indoor titles. Plus he’s run 7 of the 9 fastest times in history in the 1500 including the world record and 7 of the 10 fastest mile times including the world record.

Kipyegon has won four global outdoor titles (2 WCs, 2 Olympics) but she’s lost five 1500 races since 2016 (24-5) and doesn’t dominate the all-time record board as she’s run three of the top 10 1500 times (actually 3 of top 6) and 0 of the top 10 in the mile.


If you were worried Sifan Hassan might not have enough time to recover from her remarkable win in the London Marathon to have a good track season, you can officially stop worrying. If the following isn’t proof positive that the super shoes are changing the game, then I don’t know what else is. Just 41 days after winning London, Hassan won the 10,000 in Hengelo on Saturday in 29:37. She then came back less than 24 hours later and won the 1500 in 3:58.

Sifan Hassan before finish line of 2023 TCS London Marathon (photy by Kevin Morris)

It got me thinking, “What do I want Hassan to run at Worlds?” Obviously, she’s proven she can run everything but the steeplechase and if she wanted to try that, to be honest, that would be my #1 event for her as no one has won a global title at 1500, steeple, 5000, and 10,000.

But of the realistic options, I think the answer is the 1500 — fresh. Hassan won the 2019 1500 world title but Kipyegon was on her way back after giving birth. In 2021, Kipyegon won the Olympic title but Hassan had the 5000 in her legs. I’d love to see how they stack up fresh in the 1500. Of course, it’s not like it would be the first time they have raced head-to-head fresh in a 1500. They’ve raced each other in the 1500 15 times and Kipyegon leads 9 to 6, having won each of their last 3 races (Kipyegon has also won the one mile they have raced against each other).

After running the 1500 fresh, Hassan could obviously come back for the 5000, where I’d love to see Kipyegon move up. Other than seeing Kipyegon try to become the first human to win three Olympic 1500 titles, I’d like to see Kipyegon add the 5000 to her repertoire in a serious fashion, just like El Guerrouj did in the second half of his career. Kipyegon ran two 5000s back in 2015 (2nd at Pre in 14:31.95 and 7th in Rome in 14:44.51), but why wouldn’t she be virtually unbeatable in a championship setting just like Hassan or Jakob Ingebrigtsen? Remember, this is a woman who won two world junior XC titles back in 2011 and 2013. If she’s not dropped by the bell, watch out.

We’ll get to see what Kipyegon can do soon as she is running the 5000 at the Paris Diamond League on Friday.

As for Hassan, I actually think she might triple at Worlds like she did in 2021. In Budapest, the first round of the 1500 is on the morning of day 1 and the 10,000 final is that night. Then the next day, less than 24 hours after the 10,000, is the 1500 semis. In Hengelo, Hassan got to practice running a 10,000 and 1,500 less than 24 hours apart.


A random thought from my brother Weldon after he saw Hassan run this weekend. We were talking about how people recover so much quicker now due to the shoes and he wondered if we might soon see people try two marathons each fall. If a 39-year-old Kenenisa Bekele can do the Berlin/NYC double (he was 3rd in Berlin and 6th in NY in 2021), might that become the norm?

The more I think about it, I don’t think so. An oversized portion of the spoils goes to the winner of the race. You’d need to be able to win both. There’s a big difference between being in tip-top shape six weeks after a marathon and being in pretty good shape. In this case, there’s a big difference between Hassan, a 29:06 woman, being ready to run 29:37 six weeks after a marathon and being able to run 29:06, the tip-top fitness you might need to win a major marathon or track world title.

Addy Wiley’s 4:03 Puts Her In Contention For a Spot on Team USA

What do I make of Addy Wiley‘s 4:03.39 1500 win in Nashville with a 61.33 last lap?

Well, I’ll just remind you that last year, Sinclaire Johnson won USAs in 4:03.29 and anyone who closed in under 61.58 made the team.

That sentence is accurate but misleading as last year at USAs, the first 300 was very slow. The final 800 at USAs was more than five seconds faster than in Nashville and Johnson closed in 59.27 to win (Elle St. Pierre closed in 61.22 to finish third).

That being said, there is no doubt that Wiley, who was 5th at World Juniors last year, is now in the hunt for a Team USA spot. At 4:03.39, Wiley is #4 in the US this year. Here is how the three women faster than Wiley in 2023 have been doing.

Name SB Comment
Josette Andrews 4:00.77 Ran 4:00.77 in LA with a 62.04 last lap. Ran 4:01.39 in Florence with a 63.0 last lap.
Cory McGee 4:01.45 Has finished 10th, 5th, and 8th in the 3 DLS so far. Ran 4:01.45 in Florence with a 63.0 last lap.
Nikki Hiltz 4:03.08 Has been running well. Beat Sinclaire Johnson to win US road mile in 4:27 in April. Last Wednesday in France, Hiltz closed really well and nearly beat Kenya’s Nelly Chepchirchir, who ran 3:58.96 against Hassan on Sunday, as both Chepchirchir and Hiltz were given the same time of 4:03.08. Hiltz closed in 62.6 and nearly won the race. *Hiltz race video highlights from France

The next fastest American in 2023 is Emma Coburn at 4:05.35.

Here are how the six women who finished within five seconds of the win at USAs last year are currently doing.

Place Name USAs Time Comment
1 Sinclaire Johnson 4:03.29 Hasn’t raced since running in US road mile champs on April 25
2 Cory McGee 4:04.52 Has finished 10th, 5th, and 8th in the 3 DLS so far. Ran 4:01.45 in Florence with a 63.0 last lap
3 Elle St.Pierre 4:05.14 Out after giving birth.
4 Karissa Schweizer 4:05.40 Hasn’t finished a race in 2023.
5 Heather MacLean 4:06.40 Hasn’t raced since February 23.
6 Helen Schlachtenhaufen 4:08.05 Ran seasonal best of 4:05.67 to win Portland Track Festival on Sunday by nearly 3 seconds, but last lap was just 63.62.

If Johnson and MacLean get healthy, they certainly should be in the mix, so under a worst-case scenario, Wiley is one of six contenders for the US team (I assume Schweizer runs the 5000 if healthy).

I know some of you are wanting me to comment on the Huntington University scandal which very much involves people close to Wiley. Just like when I brought up El Guerrouj, I purposely didn’t talk about how he competed in the height of the EPO era, I don’t really want to go there, having already addressed it adequately in my race recap.

LRC 19-Year-Old Addy Wiley Runs 4:03.39 1500m to Become Fastest US Teenager in History

Cole Hocker Surprises Himself

Another young US 1500 runner had a great weekend. As good as Addy Wiley is, let’s remind ourselves that Cole Hocker was even more of a phenom at age 20. It’s hard to believe, but today is only Cole’s 22nd birthday. And two years ago, when he was just 20, he finished 6th in the 1500 at the Tokyo Olympics. Some may have forgotten about Hocker due to the exploits of Yared Nuguse, who turned 24 five days ago by the way, but Hocker reminded everyone of his super talent at the Portland Track Festival. Running in spikes for just the third time since January, Hocker was hoping to just break 3:39. Instead he mowed down nearly the entire field on the last lap, going from 12th to second. His 3:34.14 time is under the Budapest WC standard as well.

The result was “very reasuuring” to Hocker and gives him a bolt of confidence as he tries to achieve the goals he always sets for himself.

“I don’t think it’s any secret — the goals stay the same. USA champion and world champion as well. It’s been the goal since turning pro and I haven’t forgot it,” said Hocker (video below).

Coolest Gesture of The Week

Rudy Chapa‘s US high school 10,000 record of 28:32.7 is approaching its 50th birthday as it was set way back on April 25, 1976. Last week, Oregon high schooler Tyrone Gorze took a crack at Chapa’s record in Portland, where Chapa calls home. Chapa encouraged the record attempt and gave Gorze the actual singlet he raced in back in 1976.

Gorze, the Washington commit who was third at NXN and has run 4:05 for the mile, 8:05 for 3000, 8:45 for 2 miles, and 13:45 for 5000, was right on track chasing the pacing lights for the first half, but then had a coughing fit that caused him to stop briefly and sort of throw up and run a 75-second lap on lap #16. He ended up running 29:00.17. To put Chapa’s time in perspective for high schoolers who aren’t really familiar with 10k times, Chapa’s 28:32 is the equivalent of running three 9:08 3200s in a row and then closing in a 68.

Gorze’s three 3200 splits were 9:08.50, 9:19.18, and 9:28.15 before he ran his final lap in 64.34.

Look at that picture. The Hammond High School singlet is still looking great after 47 years. Maybe that shouldn’t come as a shock as the LetsRun.com singlet is still setting PBs after more than 20 years of racing.

Speaking of LetsRun.com singlet records. US Olympic Trials 4th placer Dan Michalski, who set a LetsRun.com singlet half marathon pb this winter, was also racing at the Portland Track Festival. Michalski, who earlier this year joined the US Air Force and went through eight weeks of basic training during which he ran a total of three times (and the longest run was just four miles), is already back in pretty good shape as he ran a seasonal best of 8:28.05 to finish 2nd in the steeple.

For the record, Michalski graduated with honors from basic training and won the award for top PT (Physical Training) in his squadron of 600.

If you want to set a LetsRun.com singlet PB, send us a note and we’ll send it out.

Noah Lyles Runs The 200 on Bolt’s Home Turf

Running in front of Usain Bolt in Jamaica, Noah Lyles put on a show at the Racers Grand Prix on Saturday, running 19.67 (+2.0) to set a world leader in the 200. If you are wondering, “Did Bolt ever run faster in Jamaica?” the answer is, yes, one time. Bolt ran 19.56 (-0.8) in Kingston in 2010.

But Lyles now has accomplished one thing Usain Bolt never did. Lyles has now broken 19.70 15 times in his career — one more than Bolt.

# Times Lyles Bolt
Sub-19.20 0 1
Sub-19.30 0 1
Sub-19.40 1 3
Sub-19.50 2 4
Sub-19.60 6 9
Sub-19.70 15 14
Sub-19.80 21 21
Sub-19.90 26 27
Sub-20.00 33 34

*Only wind-legal times. Stats via http://www.alltime-athletics.com

Considering Bolt won six individual Olympic golds and seven more individual World Championship golds while Lyles only has two global golds, it’s unlikely Lyles will ever surpass Bolt as the greatest short sprinter in history. But if Lyles gets the 200m world record and 2024 and 2028 Olympic gold medals, might he be considered the greatest 200m man ever? Of course, we’re a long way from that. Erriyon Knighton wants to make it so Noah Lyles never wins an Olympic gold.


Lyles running 19.67 is kind of expected. The spring performance that turned the most heads last week came from Shawnti Jackson in the 100m at the Music City Track Carnival.

Jackson, the daughter of 2005 400 hurdles world champ Bershawn “Batman” Jackson, who won world junior 100m bronze last year. She entered the meet with a 11.15 pb (and 11.18 sb) but left it with a 10.89 pb (+0.8). That’s a US high school record, taking down Briana Williams‘ 10.94 from 2019 (Candace Hill’s 10.98 in 2015 is the only other sub-11 by a US high school girl). Jackson is now #3 on the all-time US U20 list (Sha’Carri Richardson ran 10.75 in 2019 while Tamari Davis ran 10.83 last year).

Watch Jackson’s breakout race below.

MB: Shawnti Jackson wins Pro 100m at Music City in 10.89 (.9) for new HS record


Proof the Game Has Changed: Three Americans Go Sub 12:57, Four High Schoolers Go Sub 4 in the Same Race And We Haven’t Even Mentioned It In the Week That Was?

Woody Kincaid (12:54), Joe Klecker (12:55) and Grant Fisher (12:56) all ran under 12:57 in the Florence Diamond League meet and I didn’t lead with it in the Week That Was? Yes.

Partially that was because while the race was amazing, we already broke it down extensively in our Florence recap and on our Supporters Club podcast after the meet. The biggest takeaways are 1) The game has changed as the highest any of them finished was 6th. A 12:52 5k (won by Mohamed Katir) is the old 13:00-13:05 race. 2) USAs in the 5k will be super interesting with Paul Chelimo and Abdihamid Nur also in the mix.

Similarly, four high schoolers went sub 4 at the HOKA Festival of Miles, but none of the came close to Alan Webb’s legendary 3:53.  The game has changed with technology for sure, but also let’s acknowledge how great Chapa and Webb were without super shoes or pacing lights.

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Recommended Reads

LRC Faith Kipyegon Runs 3:49.11 to Smash Women’s 1500m World Record in Florence The greatest female 1500m runner of all-time is now the fastest.

LRC Portland Track Festival: Amon Kemboi Wins 1500 as Cole Hocker Is Back (2nd in 3:34)Hocker’s 55.14 final 400 was more than a second better than everyone else as he went from 12th to 2nd on the last lap.

LRC 19-Year-Old Addy Wiley Runs 4:03.39 1500m to Become Fastest US Teenager in History Wiley destroyed a field of professionals thanks to a 61.33 last lap.

LRC 2023 Florence DL Recap: 13 Men Break 13:00 as Fred Kerley Keeps Rolling 13 men broke 13:00 in the 5000 including all three Americans but would you believe Grant Fisher was only the 5th guy from the Americas in the race?

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