WTW: Grant Fisher Dumps Bowerman, Ethiopia Finally Rocks The Half Marathon, & Violence in the Ingebrigtsen Camp?

The Week That Was in Running, October 16-22, 2023

Each week, we try to make the sport more fun to follow by putting the prior week’s action in perspective for you. 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.

Grant Fisher Leaves Bowerman TC

Last week, the Bowerman Track Club saw yet another team member leave — Grant Fisher, the American record holder at 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 meters. There’s certainly been an uptick in departures since the team relocated to Eugene last fall as Matthew Centrowitz, Woody Kincaid, Marc Scott, and even assistant coach Pascal Dobert had already left. But this one moved the needle more than most as Fisher was (with all due respect to Moh Ahmed, who won Olympic silver just two years ago) the best runner on the team.

Rather than focus on “What’s wrong with Bowerman?” can we focus a minute on “What’s right with Bowerman?”

Grant Fisher running 12:53 indoors in 2022

Here are Grant Fisher’s PBs when he joined the Bowerman Track Club in 2019 and what they are now:

Article continues below player.
Pre-Bowerman PRs Current PRs
1500 3:39.60 3:34.99
3,000 7:42.62 7:25.47
5,000 13:29.62 12:46.96
10,000 29:08.8 (xc) 26:33.84

That’s an absolutely massive improvement in four years.

Please don’t take this to imply that Grant Fisher wasn’t massively talented when he joined. He was. As a high schooler, Fisher won the national cross country championships (Foot Locker) twice, went sub-4 in the mile (3:59.38), and ran a 8:43.57 2-mile. In college, he won an NCAA 5000 title as a sophomore and finished in the top 5 in cross country three times.

But let’s not act like everyone knew he’d become the American record holder at 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 when he signed up for the Bowerman Track Club. At the end of Fisher’s high school career, he lost to the 2-mile at Brooks to Drew Hunter, then a junior. During his senior year in college, Fisher was owned by Morgan McDonald, who beat him out for NCAA titles in XC, the 3,000 indoors, and 5,000 outdoors. As pros, neither Hunter nor McDonald has broken 13:13 for 5000. Fisher has run 12:46.


In the coming weeks, many people expect Elise Cranny to be the next runner to leave Bowerman. She too is a Stanford grad who has improved tremendously since joining Bowerman in 2019, even more than Fisher.

Pre-Bowerman PRs Current PRs
1500 4:09.49 3:57.42*
3,000 8:58.88 8:29.95
5,000 15:49.27 14:33.17
10,000 N/A 30:14.66

And let’s not act like a successful pro career for Cranny was a foregone conclusion either. Twice an NCAA runner-up on the track (once in the 1500 and once in the 3000), she finished 11th in her final collegiate race at NCAA cross in 2018.


Making the moves prior to an Olympic year carries risk, but at the same time, if they feel something is missing, not moving now could be even more dangerous. In 2024, both Fisher and Cranny will be in their Olympic primes as they will be 27 and 28, respectively. And it’s not like either is in fear of missing out on “being an Olympian” as both made the team in 2021. Plus the impetus of a new training system can lead to short-term improvement. After years in the same system, athletes often benefit from a new stimulus even if in the long term it’s an inferior training system.

Of course we don’t know what Fisher’s new training system will look like as he has not announced his next move yet.

Did Grant Fisher make a mistake by leaving the Bowerman TC?

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We also discussed Fisher’s move on the Friday 15 Supporters Club only podcast. Some highlights below:


It will be interesting to see if we ever find out what exactly was the impetus for the move(s). Did they simply not like Eugene or how the team was forced to move to Eugene without any input after years of being successful in Portland? Do they feel that they aren’t getting enough of coaches’ attention now that Jerry Schumacher and Shalane Flanagan are also coaching Oregon and Pascal Dobert has left? Do they feel like second-class citizens/guests on the Oregon campus where everything is centered around the gold and green? Is the training too demanding or rigid? Or is it a combination of some or all of those things?


For those who are saying the BTC is dead, they still have quite a bit of talent, particularly on the men’s side.

Moh Ahmed (6th and 7th at Worlds this year)
Evan Jager (has not raced since April)
Josh Thompson
Justyn Knight (has not raced in 2+ years)
Kieran Tuntivate
Sean McGorty
Thomas Ratcliffe
Duncan Hamilton
Charles Hicks
Cooper Teare (rumored to be leaving)
Lopez Lomong (listed on roster but did not race at all in 2023)
BTC Women
Elise Cranny (rumored to be leaving)
Christina Aragon
Courtney Frerichs
Andrea Seccafien
Karissa Schweizer

It’s also worth pointing out that the rate of departures since the team moved to Eugene isn’t drastically higher than in recent years when they were in Portland. If Cranny and Teare leave, that means six will have left since the team moved to Eugene while six athletes also left in 2021 when they were based in Portland.

BTC athletes to leave since 2021
Kate Grace — January 2021
Colleen Quigley — February 2021
Shelby Houlihan — Banned June 2021
Gwen Jorgensen — Returned to triathlon July 2021
Marielle Hall — September 2021

Sinclaire Johnson — September 2021
Emily Infeld — January 2022
Gabriela DeBues-Stafford — April 2022
Lucia Stafford — April 2022

Centrowitz, Fisher, & Kincaid from @mgcentro Instagram

BTC Athletes Who Have Left Since Jerry Schumacher Took the Oregon Job and Moved the Team to Eugene
Matthew Centrowitz — end of 2022

Woody Kincaid — January 2023
Marc Scott — January 2023
Grant Fisher — October 2023
(Teare and Cranny expected to leave soon)

More: MB: Grant Fisher leaving Bowerman
*Bowerman Track IS DEAD
*Elise Cranny leaving Bowerman?
*Coffee Club Podcast explains Grant Fisher leaving Bowerman

Valencia Half Marathon / Ethiopians Can Run 13.1

The 2023 Valencia Half Marathon — or if you prefer its official name in Spanish, the Medio Maratón Valencia Trinidad Alfonso Zurich — did not disappoint on Sunday.

Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie got the win in 57:40 in a race where the top four men broke 58:00 (that’s only the second time that has happened — 2020 Valencia was the other) and the top 15 broke 60:00. In a losing effort, Yomif Kejelcha became the third-fastest man in history as he set an Ethiopian record of 57:41 — which was the same time given to compatriot Hagos Gebrhiwet, who became the fourth-fastest man in history. Tokyo Olympic 10,000 champ Selemon Barega, also of Ethiopia, became the sixth-fastest ever, running 57:50 for fourth.

All of them finished well ahead of fifth placer Sabastian Sawe of Kenya (58:29) — who won the World Half Marathon Championships just three weeks ago.

What’s wild is all three Ethiopians DESTROYED the old national record. Before Sunday, no Ethiopian man was ranked in the top 12 all-time — Kejelcha was the national record holder at 58:32, making him the 13th fastest man in world history. Now Ethiopians occupy three of the top six spots on the all-time list.

National records also went to Spain’s Carlos Mayo (59:39, 13th) and Portugal’s Samuel Barata (59:40, 14th).

In the women’s race, Kenya’s Margaret Kipkemboi, who was 4th at Worlds in the 5000 this year (3rd in 10,000 in 2022 and 2nd in 5,000 in 2019) and 2nd at the World Half Marathon Championships, moved into a tie for 9th all-time thanks to her 64:46 win. National records went to Spain’s Laura Luengo (69:41, 11th) and Mauritius’ Marie Perrier (71:13, 19th).

Another interesting thing about the Valencia results was how few of the top finishers have ever run a marathon. For the men, only one of the top 13 finishers has ever finished a marathon and for the women it’s just one of the top five.

2023 Valencia – Sub-60 Men’s Finishers
1 Kibiwott Kandie KEN 57:40 – 2:13:43 marathon pb
2 Yomif Kejelcha ETH 57:41
3 Hagos Gebrhiwet ETH 57:41
4 Selemon Barega ETH 57:50
5 Sabastian Sawe KEN 58:29
6 Hillary Chepkwony KEN 58:53
7 Mathew Kimeli KEN 59:00
8 Nicholas Keter KEN 59:06
10 Weldon Kipkirui KEN 59:22
11 Stephen Kiprop KEN 59:32
12 Tadese Worku ETH 59:33
13. Carlos Mayo  ESP, 59:39 NR
14. Samuel Barata, POR, 59:40 NR – 2:10:13 marathon pb
15. Pietro Riva, ITA, 59:41
2023 Valencia  – Women’s Sub-68 Finishers
1 Margaret Kipkemboi KEN 1:04:46
2 Irene Cheptai KEN 1:04:53
3 Janeth Chepngetich KEN 1:05:15
4 Goytatom Gebreselassie ETH 1:06:12 – 2:18:11 marathon pb
5 Tigist Gezahagn ETH 1:06:20
6 Melat Kejeta GER 1:06:25 – 2:23:57 marathon pb
7 Samantha Harrison GBR 1:07:10 – 2:25:59 marathon pb

More:*MB: 3 new men under 58:00 at Valencia! Kibiwott Kandie wins in 57:40
*MB: Is Kejelcha de biggest choker ever?
*MB: Two random Europeans just broke 60 at Valencia Half

The Ingebrigtsen Fairytale Has Turned Into a Nightmare

Two years ago, I was in Tokyo with Jonathan Gault, who took this picture in the bowels of the spectator-less Olympic Stadium after the Olympic men’s 1500 final where Jakob Ingebrigtsen won the gold, coached by his father Gjert.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen and his dad, Gjert, after Jakob won 2021 Olympic 1500m gold

What an incredible story — a father had coached his son to the Olympic gold in the 1500.

Just two years later, not only is the father-son coaching relationship over but we have accusations by Jakob, Filip and Henrik Ingebrigtsen that their father Gjert was “very aggressive and controlling” and “used physical violence and threats” as part of their upbringing that still causes them to “feel discomfort and fear.”

What seemed like a fairytale has quickly turned into a familial nightmare. How sad.

For the record, Gjert has denied all of the accusations regarding violence, and an elder brother Martin has defended dad, writing in part in VG:

We all carry bad feelings to varying degrees, and some of them can probably be traced back to a controlling and sometimes destructive father growing up.

Gjert has by no means been an A4 (typical) father. For those who have seen the TV series on NRK, the controlling and querulous tendencies in him are clearly visible. Nevertheless, it is important for me to clarify that most of the feelings and memories are good. They are good because our home has been characterized to the highest degree by safety, joy and togetherness. Fortunately, fear is a foreign feeling to me. I never feared dad.

I must honestly admit that I find it difficult to see the great fear, when others in the family are constantly visiting and have recently been on holiday with Gjert. Most people probably wouldn’t have done that with a violent person, or built their house within walking distance of the family home if the fear is that great … I have NEVER feared dad that way.

So what should happen going forward?

The current solution offered by the Norwegian athletic federation — Gjert can continue to coach Narve Nordas and others but without being accredited at major championships — seems fine. It’s not like he coaches a technical event like the pole vault where it’s important to be trackside. So what we have is three Norwegian distance studs who don’t want him accredited and one that does.

One could argue that’s unfair to Gjert. In the US, after Danny Mackey accused Nike excecutive John Capriotti of threatening to kill him, I don’t believe Capriotti was ever denied VIP access to Hayward Field or any other meet. But this is more of a domestic abuse allegation so separating everyone doesn’t seem to be too much of a sacrifice.

And don’t tell me it’s imperative for a coach to talk tactics with an athlete right before the start of a race. In Tokyo, Gjert told us he didn’t talk race tactics with Jakob as Jakob wouldn’t listen and Jakob won gold. Plus a thing called cell phones exist.

If Jakob, Filip, and Henrik want a harsher punishment, then they unfortunately need to be more specific about what exactly happened when the “aggression and physical punishment” they cited resurfaced two years ago.

More: VG: Jakob, Filip and Henrik Ingebrigtsen allege their father “used physical violence and threats” on them
*VG: Another side of the story – Martin Ingebrigtsen defends his father
*MB: “We have known the fear of growing up with a father who is aggressive, controlling and violent.” – Henrik, Jakob and Filip
*MB: Martin Ingebrigtsen exposes the brothers … “I have never feared Dad.”
*MB: Gjert apologizes to wife, Tone


Speaking of Gjert, he seems to be having Narve Nordas on a plan similar to what Jakob ran in years past. In 2019, Jakob Ingebrigtsen set the course record of 27:54 at the Hytteplanmila 10K in Norway. Last weekend, Nordas won the same race in 27:58.

MB: Narve wins Hytteplanmila at 27:56

Road to Paris Goes Live

World Athletics’ Road To Paris website is finally live. You can now see who is in line to be qualified for a 2024 Olympic track & field spot — if they are selected by their home federation. We just wish WA would add a simple rule: the spots can be reallocated to anyone beating a qualified athlete in an Olympic Trials race. Track & field is popular when the stakes are high and Olympic Trials races feature some of the highest stakes in the sport.

More: LRC Road To Paris Goes Live – See Who’s Eligible For The Olympics in Track and Field (For Now) We have good news US marathon fans. Scott Fauble is #61 in the marathon so it looks like the US will be sending 3 Olympic men’s marathoners to Paris.

Recommended Read

Have you checked out our shoe review website? Go to BetterRunningShoes.com (or letsrun.com/shoes) and check out the reviews or do others a solid and review the show you are currently in.

The Most Durable Running Shoes of 2023 Running shoe construction has changed a lot in the last decade. Runners are still looking for more durable running shoes, but we take a look at some of the most durable shoes and what makes them stand out.

Last Week’s Home Pages

You should come to LetsRun each and every day for the latest news but if you miss a day, you can always go to our archive page. If you like our written weekly recap, you’ll love our weekly Track Talk Podcast as well. 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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