WTW: Parker Valby Impresses, Nike Rocks The Japanese Olympic Trials & More

The Week That Was in Running, October 9-15, 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.

Stat of the Week / Putting Parker Valby’s Run In Perspective

Last week was the biggest non-championship weekend of the 2023 NCAA cross country season as Nuttycombe and Pre-Nats were held. Nuttycombe — which featured 44 ranked teams (22 men’s, 22 women’s) — was the bigger meet and we analyzed it extensively both in print and on Friday 15 Bonus Podcast live after the race.

But let me make one final point — the fact that Florida’s Parker Valby ran a course record in super windy/rainy conditions in Wisconsin is amazing. Check out how much slower the course was running as compared to the year before.

2022 2023 Diff
1st place man 23:09.9 23:23.4 13.5 secs slower
50th place man 23:47.0 24:07.3 20.3 secs slower
100th place man 24:03.5 24:22.0 18.5 secs slower
1st place woman 19:44.3 19:17.2 27.1 secs faster
50th place woman 20:32.4 20:43.2 10.8 secs slower
100th place woman 20:55.1 21:04.1 9.0 secs slower

Yet Valby somehow ran a course record.

2022 NCAA cross country champion Katelyn Tuohy of North Carolina State shouldn’t feel bad about finishing second. Tuohy, to her credit, also ran faster in Wisconsin than she did when she won the race last year — 19:29.5 in 2023 compared to 19:44.3 in 2022. At NCAAs last year, Tuohy beat her teammate Kelsey Chmiel, who was third both at NCAAs and Nuttycombe, by 9.4 seconds. At 2023 Nuttycombe, she beat her by 23.4.

More: LRC 2023 Nuttycombe: NAU Sweeps as Parker Valby Takes Down Katelyn Tuohy
*MB: Valby 19:17! 27 seconds faster than Tuohy in 2022 in far worse conditions!

Article continues below player.

The 2nd Marathon Grand Championship

The Japanese held their second Marathon Grand Championship on Sunday morning in Tokyo, where the top two finishers in each race were named to the 2024 Olympic team. The third-placer in each race earned a provisional Olympic spot but they can be knocked off if a Japanese male runs sub-2:05:50 or a Japanese female runs sub-2:21:30 at one of Japan’s winter/spring domestic marathons.

Before we get to who got the spots, can we take a step back and appreciate how bad-ass of a race the MGC is?

To even make it to the start line, a Japanese marathoner had to go sub-2:08:00 for the men or a two-race average under 2:10:00 and sub-2:24:00 for the women or a two-race average under 2:28:00.

If the US set the same standards for its Trials as the Japanese, guess how many people we’d have at our Trials in February in Orlando?

There would be 5 men and 16 women. In Japan, despite those stiff standards, the number of qualifiers in Japan nearly doubled from four years ago as 67 men (versus 34 in 2019) and 30 women (versus 15) hit the standard. And four years ago, the men’s standard was easier (2:08:30/2:11:00).

The 5 US Men Hitting the MGC Standard

  1. Conner Mantz – 2:07:47 gets him in
  2. Clayton Young – Two race average sub-2:10 (2:08:00 and 2:11:51)
  3. Galen Rupp – Two race average sub-2:10 (2:08:48 and 2:09:36)
  4. Scott Fauble – Two race average sub-2:10 (2:08:52 and 2:09:44)
  5. Elkanah Kibet – Two race average sub-2:10 (2:09:07 and 2:10:43)

The 16 US Women Hitting the MGC Standard

  1. Emily Sisson 2:18:29
  2. Keira D’Amato 2:19:12
  3. Betsy Saina 2:21:40
  4. Sara Hall 2:22:10
  5. Emma Bates 2:22:10
  6. Molly Seidel 2:23:07
  7. Sara Vaughn 2:23:24
  8. Gabriella Rooker – Two race avg (2:27:38 and 2:24:35)
  9. Dakotah Lindwurm – Two race avg (2:26:56 and 2:24:40)
  10. Lindsay Flanagan – Two race avg (2:24:43 and 2:26:08)
  11. Susanna Sullivan – Two race avg (2:25:14 and 2:24:27)
  12. Tristin Van Ord – Two race avg (2:27:07 and 2:25:58)
  13. Annie Frisbie – Two race avg (2:27:02 and 2:28:45)
  14. Des Linden – Two race avg (2:27:35 and 2:27:18)
  15. Aliphine Tuliamuk – Two race avg (2:26:16 and 2:24:37)
  16. Nell Rojas – Two race avg (2:24:51 and 2:25:57)

That’s a little misleading because if the US standard was the same as Japan’s, more Americans would really go all-out to qualify. But only seven other US men have even broken 2:10:00 since the Olympic qualifying period opened (Nov 1, 2022) — Zach Panning, Sam Chelanga, Leonard Korir, Futsum Zienasellassie, Brian Shrader, Matt McDonald, and Nico Montañez. Only five other US women have broken 2:28:00 since the Olympic qualifying window opened — Emily Durgin, Paige Wood, Lauren Hagans, and Jacqueline Gaughan, and Lauren Goss.

It wasn’t just hard to get into the race. It also was hard to finish. The race had cut-off standards as they didn’t want to keep the roads of Tokyo closed for too long. If a woman wasn’t on 2:35 marathon pace at 36.7k, they were pulled from the course.


The race was run in pretty heavy rain and that was good news for 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi, who did what he often does — run his race regardless of the conditions. Kawauchi went out hard (14:45/29:45) and broke free of the pack. He didn’t get caught until around 35k. Once caught, he didn’t give up but ended up 4th.

The men’s race was won by Naoki Koyama. Based on the 2:08:12 that he ran during the qualifying window, he had the 35th fastest qualifying time of everyone that started. But that’s a bit misleading, because he went on to win Gold Coast this summer in Australia in 2:07:40 which would have seeded him 11th (Kawauchi was seeded 10th at 2:07:35). 26 Japanese men broke 2:08:00 during the qualifying window but 11 of them were clustered between 2:07:45 and 2:08:00.

Second place went to Akira Akasaki, the 12th to last seed in the race with a 2:09:01 pb, who almost PR’d at 2:09:06, while former NOP team member and former Japanese record holder Suguru Osako, who was sixth in the 2021 Olympic marathon, was third for the second straight time in 2:09:11. Kawauchi was fourth, seven seconds back.

There was only one entrant — male or female — who PR’d on Sunday and that was th women’s winner Yuka Suzuki (Daiichi Seimei). The 24-year-old, who has a 61.64 400 hurdles PB from high school listed on her CV, improved her pb from 2:25:02 to 2:24:09 as the top two seeds went 2-3 behind her. Mao Ichiyama (2:21:02 during qualifying window, 2:20:29 PB) was second in 2:24:43 with Ai Hosoda, who ran 2:21:42 for 9th in London in 2022, third in 2:24:50.

Which provisional entrant is most vulnerable? It’s the women’s third placer Hosoda. Two women who have run under 2:21:30 during the qualifying window — Hitomi Niiya (2:19:24) and Mizuki Matsuda (2:20:52) — didn’t race the MGC. If they can get healthy and fit before March, they certainly could do it.

In terms of the super shoe battle, Nike came out on top as 5 of the top 6 were wearing Nikes.


I have to admit, I loved the way Microsoft’s translation service translated the thumbnail promoting the MGC race.

The top two will receive “job offers” fits very well with my understanding of Japanese culture.

More:Japan Running News/Brett Larner’s in-depth recap

2023 NYC Marathon Takes A Big Hit

Last week, it was revealed that the 2023 TCS New York City Marathon had lost its three fastest men’s entrants — Mosinet Geremew (ETH 2:02:55), Evans Chebet (KEN 2:03:00), and Geoffrey Kamworor (KEN 2:04:23). Ten years ago, when only nine men in history had broken 2:04:23, that would be a devastating loss for a marathon. In the year 2023, now that 41 men have accomplished the feat, it doesn’t hurt nearly as much.

New York organizers quickly added in 2022 world champ Tamirat Tola (ETH 2:03:39),  who was third in London in the spring, as well as two-time Seoul champ Amedework Walelegn (ETH 2:05:27) to try to make up for it but the race won’t be as compelling as Kamworor is a two-time NYC champ who four times has been on the podium in NYC and Chebet has won Boston, NYC, and Boston in his last three marathons.

Consider this: New York now has one guy in its 2023 field with a PB under 2:04:49. 4th place in Amsterdam over the weekend was 2:04:44.

Updated NYC Elite Fields

Tamirat Tola ETH 32 2:03:39
Shura Kitata ETH 27 2:04:49
Abdi Nageeye NED 34 2:04:56
Amedework Walelegn ETH 25 2:05:27
Cam Levins  CAN  34  2:05:36
Maru Teferi ISR 31 2:06:43
Koen Naert BEL 34 2:06:56
Iliass Aouani ITA 28 2:07:16
Albert Korir KEN 29 2:08:03
Zouhair Talbi MAR 28 2:08:35
Hendrik Pfeiffer GER 31 2:08:48
Yenew Alamirew ETH 33 2:08:56
Jemal Yimer ETH 27 2:08:58
Elkanah Kibet USA  40  2:09:07
Futsum Zienasellassie USA 30 2:09:40
Erenjia Jia CHN 30 2:09:54
Nathan Martin USA 33 2:10:45
Reed Fischer USA 28 2:10:54
Tyler McCandless USA 37 2:12:28
John Raneri USA 32 2:12:33
Joe Whelan   USA 33 2:13:39
Sydney Gidabuday USA 27 2:14:48
Will Nation USA 32 2:15:12
Ryan Root USA 32 2:15:22
Ashenafi Ketema Birhana ETH 35 2:15:27
Thomas Slattery  USA 28 2:15:32
Andreas Myhre Sjurseth NOR 39 2:16:05
Wesley Robinson USA 27 2:16:08
Garret Lee USA 31 2:16:57
Andrew Butchart GBR 32 Debut
Edward Cheserek KEN 29 Debut
Alberto Mondazzi ITA 26 Debut
Brigid Kosgei  KEN  29  2:14:04
Letesenbet Gidey  ETH  25  2:16:49
Peres Jepchirchir  KEN  30  2:17:16
Edna Kiplagat  KEN  43  2:19:50
Mary Ngugi-Cooper   KEN  35  2:20:22
Hellen Obiri  KEN  33  2:21:38
Viola Cheptoo  KEN  34  2:22:44
Sharon Lokedi  KEN  29  2:23:23
Kellyn Taylor  USA   37  2:24:29
Fantu Jifar  ETH   27  2:25:45
Molly Huddle   USA  39  2:26:33
Solange Jesus  POR  37  2:28:15
Sydney Devore   USA  32   2:31:08
Marie-Ange Brumelot  FRA  31  2:33:19
Meriah Earle   USA  45  2:34:19
Joanna Reyes  USA  31  2:36:23

2023 TCS Amsterdam Top 5 Results

1. Joshua Belet, KEN, 10.02.1998, 2:04:18 PB
(14:52 – 29:27 – 44:03 – 58:47 – 1:02:00 – 1:13:32 – 1:28:26 – 1:42:34 – 1:57:22)
2. Cybrian Kotut, KEN, 06.06.1992, 2:04:34 PB
3. Bethwel Chumba, KEN, 01.01.1991, 2:04:37 PB
4. Birhanu Legese, ETH, 11.09.1994, 2:04:44
5. Lemi Berhanu, ETH, 13.09.1994, 2:05:48
1. Meseret Belete, ETH, 16.09.1999, 2:18:21 PB
(16:27 – 32:45 – 49:07 – 1:05:33 – 1:09:06 – 1:21:48 – 1:38:08 – 1:54:32 – 2:10:53)
2. Meseret Abebayehu, ETH, 28.06.1998, 2:19:50 PB
3. Dorcas Tuitoek, KEN, 31.01.1998, 2:20:02 PB
4. Ashete Bekere, ETH, 17.04.1988, 2:21:51
5. Tiruye Mesfin, ETH, 11.09.2002, 2:22:07

More: Kenya’s Joshua Belet (2:04:18) And Ethiopia’s Meseret Belete (2:18:21) Win Amsterdam Marathon

Calli Thackery Runs 2:22 At McKirdy Micro

At Rockland Lake State Park in New York state on Sunday, Bakline’s McKirdy Micro Marathon was held. The race was designed to give everyone in the field the best conditions to run as fast as possible as the race was held on a super flat 9-loop course and everyone in the field was given bottle support, which can be hard to come by for many Olympic Trials hopefuls. Lots of people took advantage of the opportunity, led by Brit Calli Thackery. Thackery, who was the top non-African at the World Half two weeks ago (7th place), wasted no time in moving up to the marathon as she ran the third-fastest debut in European history, winning in 2:22:17.

Sifan Hassan and Paula Radcliffe are the only Europeans to debut faster than Thackery, who was 28th at NCAA XC for New Mexico in 2016 and 15th in 2015. She also moved into a tie for 2nd on the all-time UK list with Charlotte Purdue, who ran 2:22:17 in Berlin three weeks ago.

Thackery only has the 2nd best PB in her family, however. Her dad Carl, who took the bronze medal at World Half in 1993, has a 2:12:37 pb. It’s kind of crazy to think that a medallist in the men’s race at the World Half Marathon championships has a pb slower than the women’s world record.

Eritrea’s Tsegay Tuemay, who is coached by race organizer James McKirdy, won the men’s race in 2:11:04. A lot of people picked up US Olympic Trials qualifiers as all told 48 athletes broke either 2:18 or 2:37 in the race that had an unusual prize money distribution. $20,000 was split evenly amongst all men running under 2:18 or women running under 2:37 (whether they were American or not, so $416.67 each). Then there was $20,000 available to be split by any men breaking 2:09:30 or any women breaking 2:29:30, as long as they’d never done that before. No men broke 2:09:30 so that money went unclaimed but Thackery and Savannah Berry (2:29:13) both did it in the women’s race so they got $10,000 more each.

More: Want to Qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials? This Race Is Specifically Built for You.
*McKirdy Micro Results

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Check out the new track in Jakob Ingebrigtsen‘s hometown of Sandnes, Norway.

*MB Sandnes Mayor unveils new, bizarrely shaped 460m track named ‘Jakob’s Trail’
Jakob, Henrik, and Filip were all on hand for the unveiling but their dad Gjert, who played a central role in its planning, did not attend.

Other Results Of Note

Recommended Read

LRC Kelvin Kiptum’s Coach Reveals His Incredible Training Before Marathon World Record in Chicago

Last Week’s Home Pages

Each week, we try to make the sport more fun to follow by putting the prior week’s action in perspective for you in this Week That Was Column. Past editions of our Week That Was weekly recap can be found here.

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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