WTW: Josh Kerr & Elle St. Pierre Are Better Than Ever, Ethiopian Women Are On Fire, and Galen Rupp Is Erased From the Record Books

The Week That Was in Running, February 5-11, 2024

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.

Last week, the biggest news sadly came off the track when men’s marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum died in a car accident in Kenya on Sunday night. If you missed our article on Kiptum’s death and career, catch up here as I don’t talk about it below, but we did talk about it extensively in this week’s Track Talk podcast. Also here is our Millrose Games analysis piece that we wrote in New York.

2024 Millrose Games grades

Below I hand out grades to some of the distance stars at Millrose. We also discussed these grades extensively on this week’s Track Talk Podcast.

Kevin Morris photo

Josh Kerr, 8:00.67 2-mile (1st, world record)
Grade: A+

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Months ago, Kerr said he was going to go for the 2-mile world record at Millrose and he got it. His time of 8:00.67 is equivalent to 7:24.90 for 3000 — a huge pb for him (his previous best was 7:33.57 from 2023 Millrose).

No, it’s not in the Jakob Ingebrigtsen category — remember, Jakob ran an almost unfathomable 7:54.10 2-mile last summer — but Kerr is faster than Ingebrigtsen at 800 (1:45.35 vs 1:46.44). Kerr’s never going to be as fit as a healthy Ingebrigtsen. The goal is to be fit enough that you can hang with him when you are benefitting a second a lap from being able to draft behind him and then outkick him like he did in Budapest.

Elle St. Pierre, 4:16.41 mile (1st, American record)
Grade: A+

Last week in Boston, St. Pierre showed she’d be a factor post-pregnancy as she just missed the American 3000 record when she ran 8:25.25 for 2nd behind Australian Jessica Hull. A week later, St. Pierre turned the tables on Hull in a big way, crushing her by 2+ seconds and taking down her own American record by running 4:16.41 (previous AR of 4:16.85). 4:16.41 equates to 3:57.4 in the 1500, which is faster than St. Pierre’s PB (3:58.03).

To be in the medal hunt in Paris, St. Pierre is likely going to need to be in American record shape (the outdoor AR is 3:54.99 by Shelby Houlihan) as Faith Kipyegon seems almost unbeatable and Gudaf Tsegay might triple. Plus, five other Ethiopians have already run 3:58 or faster this year (more on that later). Remember, in the second semifinal at the 2023 Worlds in Budapest, it took 3:57.85 just to make the final.

Laura Muir, 9:04.84 2-mile (1st, #2 all-time)
Grade: A

Muir’s time converts to 8:24.3 for 3000, which is better than her 3000 NR of 8:26.41 from 2017. She doesn’t get an A+ however as the only negative was she was outkicked convincingly by Ethiopian Medina Eisa, the 2022 world junior champ at 5000 who is still just 19. Yes, Eisa was DQ’d for cutting in at the start and not running the first turn in lane 4, but if Muir is going to contend for a second Olympic medal this summer, she’s going to have to be 100% on top of her game.

Hobbs Kessler, 3:48.66 mile (2nd)
Grade: A

Kessler, the US U20 record holder in the 1500, looks like he’s going to live up to the hype that netted him a huge adidas contract out of high school. His time at Millrose equates to 3:31.7 for 1500 — significantly faster than his 3:32.61 pb. Kessler is very strong at the end of races and in this one he passed 3:47 miler George Mills in the final 200. It will be interesting to see what his change of gears is like when he races what will presumably be more of a tactical 1500 at USA indoors this weekend.

Grant Fisher, 8:03.62 2-mile (2nd, American record)
Grade: A-

Fisher broke the American record by nearly four seconds, and his time is equivalent to a 7:27.63 3000 — which is better than Yared Nuguse‘s 7:28.24 indoor 3000 AR.  As an American fan, watching Fisher get destroyed by almost three full seconds over the final 300 meters was kind of depressing. I wasn’t the only one. It made some question if Fisher will ever win a big race.

MB: Will Grant Fisher ever win a major race? I don’t think so

But giving Fisher a B+ would be an injustice. If Kerr wasn’t in the race, LRC would be raving about the gutsy front-running Fisher, who soloed himself to an AR and dominant 2+ second victory in a race that would have made Prefontaine proud. And Fisher pushing the pace sent the fans home happy as it resulted in Josh Kerr getting the world record.

Kerr rightfully gave Fisher A TON of credit for his world record. It’s almost impossible to find someone to rabbit you for all but 300 meters of a world record, but that’s basically what Fisher did. So Fisher gets an A+ on the rabbiting front.

But it’s still impossible to forget what happened at the end of this race. When it was over, I had such a sour taste in my mouth from Fisher being destroyed that I wrote on the messageboard that if I was Fisher, I might have backed off the pace and tried to outkick Kerr. That idea of Fisher trying to outkick the 1500 world champ was mocked, but kicking is what Fisher needs to work on, right?

Of course, the best way to develop a kick may be for Fisher to just get stronger so he’s less tired entering the final 400 of a global final. At the global level, I doubt Fisher will ever be able to run away from the field, but working on grinding the pace out right now is probably the right call as it will serve him well in The TEN. That being said, it’s disgraceful that our sport is set up in a way that Fisher is going to skip out on World XC because he needs to pick up an Olympic 10,000 qualifier. How about rewarding him with a 10,000 qualifier if he ran World XC?

As Chris Chavez noted, Fisher took the indoor 2-mile American record away from Galen Rupp, who now no longer holds any American records. Fisher obviously doesn’t have any Olympic medals like Rupp but he’s got way more American records. Rupp never held the outright 3000 or 5000 records but Fisher is now the outright fastest American in history at everything from 3000 through the 10,000.

Kevin Morris photo

Yared Nuguse, 3:47.83 mile (1st)
Grade: B+

Expectations are a bitch, aren’t they? How in the world can I give a guy who ran the 3rd-fastest indoor mile in history and led the entire second half a B+? Because Nuguse ran 3:43 for the mile last year at Pre and he openly talked about getting the mile WR in this race and came up short. Josh Kerr called his shot and delivered; Yared Nuguse did not. And I’m a tough grader.

That being said, Nuguse’s final 200 was impressive. The pace had lagged greatly over the second half of the race — Nuguse only ran 59.02 from 800 to 1200 — but he closed in 55.96 for his final quarter mile and roughly 26.6 for his final 200 to win handily.

Jessica Hull, 4:19.03 mile (2nd, Australian record)
Grade: B+

For the second straight week, Hull set an Aussie record in the States. This week, she actually got two in one race as her 1500 split of 4:01.19 also was an Aussie indoor record. So how is this not an A? Well, last week she beat St. Pierre and this week she got worked by 2+ seconds. If your dream is an Olympic 1500 medal, getting worked by someone who has never medalled in the 1500 by 2+ plus seconds isn’t great.

But American fans worried about Grant Fisher leaving Jerry Schumacher should look at what Hull has done since she pulled a similar move last year and left Pete Julian‘s Union Athletic Club and breathe easier. Since deciding to return to Australia be coached by her father Simon, Hull has national records outdoors in the 1500 (3:57.29), mile (4:15.34), and 3000 (8:31.81) and now indoors in the 1500, mile, and 3000 (8:24.93).

Alicia Monson, 9:09.70 2-mile (3rd, American record)
Grade: C+

Yes, Monson set an American record and yes, she did a lot of the work. But in my book, A is excellent, B is good, and C is fair. And Monson’s run on Sunday was a “fair” day at the office. Her time equates to 8:28.8 in the 3000, which is much slower than the 8:25.05 she ran at Millrose last year.

Cooper Teare, 3:53.41 mile (8th)
Grade: C-

Considering Teare ran 3:50 in the mile in college indoors, there is no doubt that seeing him only run 3:53 was disappointing, particularly since a few weeks ago he won the US Cross Country Championships convincingly. Given my harsh grading of others, I probably should give him a D as “disappointing” means “poor,” which is technically a D. But I’m giving Teare credit for going for it and going out hard in 1:53.

Teare said last year that former coach Jerry Schumacher views him as a 5000 guy while Teare views himself as a miler, which may have contributed to Teare’s decision to leave the Bowerman Track Club after one season. The last few weeks certainly haven’t supported Teare’s argument that he is a miler. He got crushed in a 1k by Hocker on February 3 and now finds a 1:53 first 800 to be way too rich. Well 1:52 for 800 is just 3:30 1500 pace.

However, Teare said after the race he’s done hardly any speed work and is working on his strength, which is smart. He doesn’t need to be in the shape of his life in February — he needs to be in that shape in June at the US Olympic Trials. Monson, Teare, and Fisher getting worked right now might be a bit alarming, but if they rock the summer, no one will care.


There are a lot of other prominent names that didn’t get grades. But if you are one of them or one of their relatives, you should be thankful. How could I possibly have given out high grades for US steeple champ Krissy Gear (last in women’s 2-mile in 9:41.26) or 2022 US 10,000 champ Joe Klecker (last in men’s 2-mile in 8:20.57)? And the OAC’s Mario Garcia Romo, who was 4th at Worlds in 2022, wasn’t last in the mile (10th in 3:54.15) but his grade would not have been high.

That being said, at least those people are healthy enough to be racing right now.

Where is Ajee’ Wilson — who normally loves indoors and the Armory? Olli Hoare also isn’t racing yet and Katelyn Tuohy just revealed on Instagram that she’s been injured as well.

Ethiopia really should hold an Olympic 1500 trials race for women

On Saturday, there was another big indoor meet in Lievin, France, where the Ethiopians put on a show in winning the women’s 1500 (Freweyni Hailu, 3:57.24) and 3000 (Gudaf Tsegay, 8:17.11) as well as the men’s 2000 (Lamecha Girma, 4:51.23 WL/PB) and 3000 (Selemon Barega, 7:31.38).

In the women’s 1500, Ethiopia actually took the top four spots.

1. Freweyni Hailu, 3:57.24
2. Diribe Welteji, 3:57.48
3. Birke Haylom, 4:00.00
4. Habitam Alemu, 4:00.97

Embed from Getty Images

Ethiopia has a plethora of 1500 women right now. Last year, they had five of the eight fastest women in the world in the 1500 and this year Ethiopians occupy spots 1-6 on the indoor 1500 list.

Ethiopia really needs to have a Olympic trials race in 2024. Typically, Ethiopia selects its team by season’s best, which results in many of their top athletes exhausting themselves before the championships as they fly around the world chasing fast times by racing repeatedly on the circuit. There is some hope things could be different in the Olympic year, however, as Ethiopia did hold a women’s 1500 trials in Hengelo in 2021.

But in the absence of a trials, I think a “Rojo Ranking” is better than judging them solely based on their 1500 sbs. Here’s how I rank them right now from 1-6.

  1. Gudaf Tsegay – The 26-year-old Tsegay has won gold in the 5000 (2022) and 10,000 (2023) at the last two Worlds but she also won WC 1500 silver in 2022. It’s hard to think the world indoor record holder and reigning world indoor champion isn’t still one of world’s top three in the 1500 if she makes it a priority.
  2. Freweyni Hailu – Hailu, who turned 23 on Monday, was 4th in the 1500 at the 2021 Olympics and 2022 Worlds and then was left off their 1500 team last year (she finished 7th in the 5000 in Budapest). That was a mistake as she never finished below third in any of her Diamond Leagues before Worlds. She’s been on fire early in 2024 as she has won all three of her races including the 1500 in Lievin, with two of them being world leads (3:55.28 for 1500 in Torun and a 4:17.36 mile in Ostrava, since surpassed by St. Pierre).
  3. Diribe Welteji – The 21-year-old won World Championship silver outdoors in the 1500 last year and beat Faith Kipyegon to win the road mile champs. Indoors this year, she is the world #2 at 1500 (3:55.47) and last week she was 2nd in Lievin. She’s got good speed as she was the 800 world junior champ in 2018 was 4th at senior Worlds in the 800 in 2022.
  4. Birke Haylom – The 2022 world junior champ just turned 18 on January 6. Last year, she ran 3:54.93 in Poland to make Worlds, where she got some big-meet experience and finished 9th. Indoors this year, she was the runner-up at the NBIGP to Tsegay in a world U20 record of 3:58.43 and she was 3rd in Lievin.
  5. Hirut Meshesha – The 23-year-old world indoor bronze medallist in the 1500 from 2022 got a big win in Poland last year in 3:54.87, which got her on the Worlds team. But she disappointed in Budapest and didn’t make the final. Indoors this year, she’s run 3:56.47 (but was only the third Ethiopian in that race) and 8:28.46.
  6. Tigist Girma – The 21-year-old ran the 800 at Worlds last year (1:59.72 pb, out in first round). She showed she may have some promise in the 1500 however this year by running 3:58.79 for 4th in Torun.

The collegiate assault on times continues

It would take forever to go through all of the fast collegiate times put up last week. There were a lot of them, including Stanford’s Ky Robinson running 7:36.69 at UW (#2 all-time NCAA). I’ll let a tweet from our Jonathan Gault put Robinson’s race in perspective for you:

Reminder: Josh Kerr isn’t the only member of the Brooks Beasts

Brandon Miller‘s first major race as a member of the Brooks Beasts was super successful as he ran 1:14.03 for 600 at the Don Kirby Elite Invitational in Albuquerque on Friday (before that, he had run a 1000 in Seattle on January 13 in 2:19.54 as well as his first-ever mile in Albuquerque on February 3 — 4:14.34). Only Donavan Brazier has ever run faster for an indoor 600 (Brazier’s world best is 1:13.77). Miller, the 2022 NCAA indoor 800 champ, joined the Beasts last fall.

His teammate Nia Akins, the US champ last year indoors and out, ran 1:24.32, which makes her the 8th-fastest woman in indoor history (Keely Hodgkinson has the record at 1:23.41) and 5th-fastest American.

Track PR of the Week

Former Arkansas Razorback 800m runner Shafiqua Maloney, whose best NCAA finish was a 3rd indoors in 2021, ran a huge PB last week at the Tyson Invitational. Maloney, who had only broken 2:00 once in her life (1:59.94) and never indoors (2:01.22 indoor pb), ran a 1:58.69 on Saturday, a national record for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Sweden’s Andreas Almgren crushes it yet again

Sweden’s Andreas Almgren has had a very interesting career. Ten years ago, at the age of 19, he ran 1:45 to win world junior 800 bronze in Eugene. A decade later, he’s the second fastest European ever in the half marathon.

Yes, that’s right. Over the weekend, Almgren made his half marathon debut in Barcelona. Much like Ryan Hall, he made it count by running very fast. Almgren ran 59:23 and finished just one second back of Kibiwott Kandie, the 2nd-fastest half marathoner in history.

Almgren is now the fastest Swede ever at every event from 1500 through the half marathon, which is crazy considering he started out as a mid-d runner. If you look Almgren up on Tilastopaja — a results database we pay for — they list him as a 400, 800, 1500 runner and tell us his 400 pb is 48.33.

Well now he’s got a 1500 pb of 3:32.00, 3000 pb of 7:34.31i, 5000 pb of 13:01.70, and 10k pb of 27:20. Super impressive. What’s crazy about Almgren is that as good as those times are, he’s never been to the Olympics and only twice made it to outdoor Worlds. And in those two trips to Worlds (800 in 2015, 5000 in 2023), he’s never gotten out of the heats.

MB: Andreas Almgren of Sweden sets yet another NR – 59:22


Seeing Almgren’s fast half marathon time reminds me that it’s wild that the US half marathon record is still Ryan Hall’s 59:43 from 2007. Since the invention of super shoes and super spikes, every single US mid-d or distance record from the 800 through the marathon has fallen for both the men and women except for three: the men’s half marathon, the men’s marathon (Khalid Khannouchi‘s 2:05:38 from 2002), and men’s steeplechase (Evan Jager‘s 8:00.45 from 2015).


The first road race in her 30s for Joyciline Jepkosgei, the 2019 NYC and 2021 London Marathon champ who turned 30 on December 8, was a great one as she won the women’s race at the Barcelona Half in a 64:29 pb. That’s 22 seconds faster than what she ran when she set the half marathon world record in 2017.

Last Week’s Home Pages

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.


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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