WTW: Athing Mu’s Win Streak Hits 20, Courtney Dauwalter CRUSHES It, And We Can’t Wait For The Men’s 1,500 at USAs

The Week That Was in Running, June 19 – 25, 2023

Each week, I try to make the sport more fun to follow by putting the prior week’s action in perspective for you. Of course, you should come to LetsRun each and every day for the day’s latest news and each week for this column but if you’ve missed an edition, 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.  

If you missed our on-site coverage of the 2023 USATF NYC Grand Prix or the 2023 B.A.A. 10K or our remote coverage of the Ethiopian 10,000 trials where Gudaf Tseegay ran 29:29 and a 17-year-old ran 27:08, catch up now:

Putting Athing Mu’s Greatness in Perspective

3 years, 4 months, and 12 days – the amount of time that has passed since Athing Mu last lost an 800.

20 – Number of 800s (counting heats) that Athing Mu has won in a row.

Article continues below player.

Athing Mu returned to the track on Saturday in New York, racing for the first time under new coach Bobby Kersee and for the first time since last year’s World Championships, but the results were the same as they’ve always been for her as a pro — she won.

Embed from Getty Images

Mu’s last 800 defeat came before COVID was a thing in the US. On Valentine’s Day 2020, she ran 2:14.18 to finish last in her heat at USA Indoors and since then she’s never lost and only occasionally been challenged. In the 800, she was undefeated in college (admittedly she only ran four 800s in college) and now is undefeated as a pro.

Mu’s winning time in New York (1:58.73) wasn’t super impressive but her final 200 (28.6) was. In 2023, up until Saturday, everyone in the world not named Keely Hodginson can only run 1:58 all-out on a good day, but Mu can do it by blasting the final 200. Mu’s margin of victory in a field full of top US pros, including 2023 world #2 Ajee’ Wilson, was a gigantic 2.04 seconds.

After watching Mu’s run, I’m confident that the gold and silver medals at Worlds this year will go to Hodgkinson and Mu. The debate is who gets what. Remember, Hodgkinson opened up at 1:55.77, which is 28.9 the entire way.

I Can’t Wait For the Men’s 1,500 at USAs

Last week, both Hobbs Kessler and Cole Hocker ran an 800 PB. Kessler ran 1:45.80 in New York, Hocker ran 1:46.32 in Oregon. I’m not sure if I can wait two weeks to see what happens at USAs.

It’s a 100% fact that one of the following studs will not make the 2023 US men’s 1500 team — Yared Nuguse, Cooper Teare, Cole Hocker, Hobbs Kessler

That seems almost unfair as all four are young, super talented, and running very well. In fact, all four of them have already run a PR this year and three of the four have already set lifetime bests at 800, 1,500, and 3,000 this year.

Here is the tale of the tape with PBs set this year appearing in bold.

Athlete Age 800 PB 1,500 PB 3k PB
Yared Nuguse 24 1:46.30 3:29.02 7:28.23
Hobbs Kessler 20 1:45.80 3:32.61 7:39.00
Cooper Teare 23 1:47.63 3:32.74 7:34.70
Cole Hocker 22 1:46.32 3:31.40 7:39.83

Embed from Getty Images

Based on 2023 performances only, Hocker is the odd man out but he’s the most accomplished of the bunch as he was 6th in the Olympics at age 20. And given his sick kick, are you really going to count him out? Even if his fitness isn’t 100%, is someone really going to push the pace so hard that he’s going to be dropped? The meet record at USAs is 3:34.09 (Matthew Centrowitz, 2016) and Hocker has already run 3:34.14 this year. That was his season opener, and in that race he closed like a race car, running 55.14 to go from 12th to 2nd

And when he ran his 800 PR on Saturday, he did it by running a negative split, 53.3-52.9.

Who do you think will miss the team in 2023? Vote below and listen to this week’s Track Talk podcast where the LRC staff will make their picks.

Who WON'T make Team USA in the 1500?

Your vote has been counted. Thank you!

MB: Cole MF Hocker 800m PR 1:46.39!!! 53.3/52.9!!! 


Speaking of the US 1,500 team, I’m putting defending US champ and Worlds finalist Sinclaire Johnson on it. It was a little worrying that she didn’t open up outdoors on the track until June 16, but she’s now run three races and won all three running 2:01.14 and 4:00.77 in the process, with that 4:00 coming in a race over the weekend where 2nd was 4:08.

Another prominent US 1500 runner, 2021 Olympian Heather MacLean, finally opened up her outdoor season on Saturday in NYC, running 2:01.77 for 7th in Athing Mu‘s 800. Last year, she also didn’t open up outdoors until June, a few weeks before USAs and didn’t make the team but went on to PR later in the season (3:58.76). Missing out on another US team in 2023 seems like the most likely result as I’d certainly put Cory McGee (4:18.11 mile in Oslo) and Nikki Hiltz (4:18.38 mile in Oslo) ahead of her and Josette Andrews is the co-US leader with Johnson at 4:00.77 (although McGee split 4:00.61 for 1,500 in her mile). But MacLean has been known to upset the form charts throughout her career.


Speaking of the 1500, it appears that the reports that Mo Katir closed in 1:47 in a 3:36 race at the European team championships are false. I went back and watched the tape and timed him in 1:48.3 (55.22-53.17).

Here is the race video.

*MB: Mo Katir equals El Guerrouj – closes 1500 in 1:47.10

Performance Of The Week – Courtney Dauwalter CRUSHES Western States

Courtney Dauwalter, 38, was magnificent at the Western States Endurance Run last week. Not only did she win her second title, she OBLITERATED Ellie Greenwood‘s course record of 16:47:19 by more than an hour, running 15:29:33. That time would have won the men’s race twice in the last ten years (2017 winning time was 16:19.38 and 2016 winning time was 15:39:36).

Race runner-up Katie Schide also ran well, becoming just the third woman to run under 17 hours as she also broke the old women’s course record by running 16:43:45.

Back in 2019, when we did our exploration into the ultramarathon world thanks to a sponsorship from HOKA, we called Jim Walmsley‘s 14:30:09 men’s course record at Western States the second-greatest ultra course record. Well, Dauwalter’s time is superior to that as it’s only 9.4% slower than Walmsley’s mark and most women’s marks are 10%-12% slower than the male equivalent.

At Western States, which is a 100.2-mile race with 18,000 feet of elevation gain and 22,000 feet of loss, weather plays a huge role in times. The weather this year was great for running fast as according to irunfar.com it was the 4th-coolest weather in history. In the men’s race, Brit Tom Evans took the lead at mile 62 and recorded the fourth-fastest time (14:40:22) in history.


The Lake Saroma 100K was also held last week on Sunday in Japan. Japan’s Jumpei Yamaguchi, the 100k world silver medalist, ran a Japanese and course record time of 6:06:08, which is faster than the current world record of 6:09:14, but Lithuania’s Aleksandr Sorokin has a 6:05:15 pending from May 14.


If you like to think of things as pace per mile, Dauwalter ran 100.2 miles at an average of 9:26.6 mile pace while Yamaguchi ran his 100k at an average of 5:53.5 mile pace. If you think of things as per km, Dauwalter averaged 5:45.9 each km while Yamaguchi averaged 3:39.7.

More: 2023 Western States 100 Results: Dauwalter Sets Course Record and Evans Executes for the Win
*MB: Give Courtney Dauwalter a black screen! 

Text Message Of The Week

Unlike Facebook, unlike Twitter, and unlike Google, we have a phone line where you can reach us or text us: 844-LETSRUN (844-538-7786).

We got the following text from Harrier Stu over the weekend.

After the B.A.A. 10k result, we need to consider another dark horse for the US marathon team – Diego Estrada.  He beat the next best American by 1 minute in hot and humid conditions (LRC note: Estrada ran 28:19 while while Reed Fischer, who ran a 61:51 half marathon at the end of April, ran 29:15). Orlando will probably have similar weather conditions for the trials which bodes well for Diego.  ASICS has a very competitive line of super shoes and they didn’t in 2020 which put Estrada at a disadvantage.  How many of the marathon contenders have track PRs of 13:15 and 27:30?  Not many.

The question is can Estrada stay healthy until the trials? 

I like the thinking that went into the text but will point out the weather is not likely to be nearly as bad in Orlando at the Trials as it was in Boston on Sunday. At the B.A.A. 10K, it was 75 at the start with a 68 dew point. That’s oppressive. In Orlando, over the last 11 years, the average temp on the day of the Trials (February 3) has been 69.6 degrees at noon and 72.5 at 2:00 and the average dew point has been around 55 with a median of 60.

Last Week’s Home Pages

Did you know we archive the homepage each day? Find our archives, here.


Got a tip, question or comment? Please call us at 844-LETSRUN (538-7786), email us or post in our forum.

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