Josh Kerr is Golden at 3000m as Yared Nuguse Gets Silver at 2024 World Indoors

Kerr delivered as favorite in front of the home fans in Glasgow

GLASGOW, Scotland — Jakob, were you watching?

Scotland’s Josh Kerr took the lead from Olympic 10,000m champion Selemon Barega with 100m to go and powered away to win the 3000m World Indoor title in 7:42.98 on Saturday night in front of a roaring home crowd. American Yared Nuguse got his first global medal by outleaning Barega for silver in 7:43.59, as the 2022 champion Barega got bronze in 7:43.64.

It was the second straight global title for Kerr, who won the world outdoor title last year at 1500m.

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How it Played Out

Running before the hometown crowd as the favorite, Kerr was content to bide his time in the middle to back of the pack early on, as the pace was not fast (1600 in 4:14.24).

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Ethiopia’s Getnet Wale led most of the early half of the second mile, and Kerr made sure he was off Wale’s shoulder with 800m to go. But at that point, there were a number of guys who still had some run in them. Barega seized the lead with 300m to go, but did not hammer the pace for home, and American Olin Hacker surprisingly made a bid for the lead down the backstretch heading to the bell. That prompted Kerr to go wide and pass Hacker on the home stretch of the penultimate lap, drawing even with Barega, but on his outside at the bell.

Kerr did not tuck in around the first turn and seized the lead before the final turn. He would not give it up as he dominated the final 100m and ripped a stellar 25.19 final 200m to seal the victory (52.64 final 400). He pointed as his ear at the finish as if to say, “Do you hear me?”

Nuguse, who was 5th at the bell, moved up well and closed almost as hard as Kerr (53.01 final 400, 25.24 final 200) to just outlean Barega for silver.

In other men’s finals, Belgium’s Alexander Doom upset Karsten Warholm to win the 400 meters while Grant Holloway successfully defended his 60m hurdles title, tying his own championship record of 7.29 seconds.

*Full results

Men’s 3000m results

1 GBR Josh Kerr 7:42.98
2 USA Yared Nuguse 7:43.59 SB
3 ETH Selemon Barega 7:43.64
4 ETH Getnet Wale 7:44.77
5 USA Olin Hacker 7:45.40 SB
6 ESP Adel Mechaal 7:45.67
7 ITA Pietro Arese 7:46.46
8 BEL John Heymans 7:48.18
9 DJI Mohamed Ismail 7:50.05 PB
10 MAR Hicham Akankam 7:55.04
11 ITA Federico Riva 8:02.66
12 AFG Mohammad Karim Yaqoot 9:37.10 SB

Josh Kerr delivers again

When Kerr earned Olympic bronze in Tokyo 2021, it was a career-defining moment. He responded by taking something of a personal victory lap, enjoying himself a little bit too much in the offseason, and the following year was a battle. In 2022, Kerr was just 3rd at the British 1500 champs, rallied to get 5th at Worlds, then finished 12th at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

That season showed that he could not cut any corners, and a rededicated Kerr won 1500 gold in Budapest last year. But rather than resting on his laurels, Kerr has built on the fitness he gained last year and the accolades are piling up: world outdoor champion, world indoor 2-mile record holder, and now world indoor champion.

The titles are impressive, but so is the way he has approached the races. Kerr already had a target on his back after winning Worlds last year and made it even bigger when he declared two months ahead of time that he would chase the 2-mile world record at Millrose. He delivered on his claim in New York. When he decided to run World Indoors, he did so knowing the spotlight would shine on him brighter than any athlete as these champions as one of Scotland’s best hopes for a gold medal. Tonight, he delivered again, burying a quality field over the final 100m.

It takes a great runner to win one world title. It takes a generational runner to win again and again with expectations heaped on their backs. Kerr isn’t quite in the latter category yet, but he’s building quite a resume.

Kerr wasn’t perfect tactically, but he was incredible over the final lap

There was some bumping and jostling in this one, as is typical in an indoor championship race. But Kerr said he learned from his 2-mile at Millrose that it was important to keep his heart race from spiking during the race to allow him to preserve energy for the final laps. As a result, he tried not to respond when someone would surge in the early stages.

“I kept taking deep breaths when it happened,” Kerr said. “I knew they weren’t going to run away from me.”

Kerr actually moved into perfect position with 800 meters to go, but found himself shuffled back to 4th with 350 to go when Barega and then Olin Hacker moved past him. But Kerr put in a big move on the home straight of the penultimate lap to move onto Barega’s shoulder, which put him in position to battle for the win on the final lap.

And from there, Kerr was sensational. He covered his final 200m in 25.19 – and that includes running the first turn on the border of lane 1/2 on Barega’s shoulder. That is moving. In the five previous championships, the fastest final lap by the gold medalist was Barega’s 26.02 in 2022. Kerr was almost a full second better tonight and the winning time was virtually the same (7:41 in 2022, 7:42 tonight).

Barega was disappointed not to win gold, but he made the big move he needed to if he was going to win the race. When Hacker tried to take the lead from Wale early in the penultimate lap, Barega responded by beating him to the punch and grabbing the lead himself. Barega was in the lead at the bell, closed in 25.81 – faster than when he won gold in 2022 – and still got passed by two guys on the last lap. There’s not much Barega, a 10k guy kicking against two of the world’s best 1500 runners, could have done about that.

Yared Nuguse was very pleased to win his first global medal, but this was a missed opportunity for gold

There was good and bad for Yared Nuguse in this race. The good: he earned his first global medal – which are never easy to win – and his close was sensational, 25.24 for the final 200 (which was actually more than 200m considering Nuguse ran extra distance while passing three guys on the final lap). It would have been a disappointment if he didn’t medal tonight, which is a testament to how good Nuguse has been over the past 12 months. But this was big for Nuguse and big for the On Athletics Club — tonight was the team’s first global medal since its inception in 2020.

Kevin Morris photo

The bad: Nuguse may have had the fitness to win gold tonight but was too far back to find out.

In our race preview, we stressed the importance of positioning in the final laps. It is hard enough to outrun Josh Kerr over the final 200 meters of a race. When you have to do it by coming from behind and passing other runners, it is nearly impossible, and Nuguse was never in contention for the gold on the final lap because he hit the bell in 5th place, .56 behind Kerr. To beat Kerr tonight, he would have had to close in 24.63, and even for a runner as great as Nuguse, that wasn’t happening.

But if it had been Nuguse on Barega’s shoulder at the bell instead of Kerr, Nuguse might be celebrating a gold medal tonight instead of a silver. And he knows it.

“Coming into that last 600, 400 realm, I wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be to fight for first,” Nuguse said. “Yeah, maybe fight for a medal, but I feel like I should have been a little bit higher to really be able to strike and actually fight with Josh at the very end, because I had a really great finish. But still, I’m really proud of what I did and happy with what I accomplished.”

Nuguse found himself in a similar position in last summer’s 1500 world final but said the two races felt different.

“I felt a lot stronger this last lap this time,” Nuguse said. “Even though the position was kind of a similar thing, in Budapest I felt a little bit like I was gassed versus here I felt as strong as ever.”

One of the reasons Nuguse ran World Indoors was to gain more experience in big races and tonight he learned a valuable lesson: you cannot win the gold medal if you do not put yourself in position to do so. He would do well to remember that in Paris this summer.

Olin Hacker wanted to run brave and did just that

One man who will have no regrets after tonight is American Olin Hacker, who finished 5th in his first world final on the track. Hacker made a big move with 350 to go and almost got to the lead and was 2nd with 250 to go. He would fade to 5th, but that is still a terrific result for the 2022 NCAA 5,000 champ.

“My whole goal going into this one was to run brave, and it was scary,” Hacker said. “[My coach] was saying there’s no point in running this without going for the win. And even if I don’t win, I feel like I put myself in the position to do it.”

Hacker runs for HOKA NAZ Elite and was full of praise for coach Jack Mullaney, who took the reins of the group in October 2023. Mullaney, a former assistant at the University of Portland, was not particularly well-known in the running world when he was hired to replace Alan Culpepper. But the team has produced some impressive results this winter, with Hacker’s run tonight and Adrian Wildschutt’s 12:56.76 world leader in the 5,000 at Boston University in January.

Hacker was an interesting case coming out of college two years ago. He was on an upward trajectory, having won an NCAA 5,000 title in his final race, but he was also 25 years old and in his seventh year of college due to a combination of injuries, redshirting, and COVID. Had he already reached his potential or was he a late bloomer? Signs are pointing toward the latter as Hacker has dropped his 5,000 pb from 13:19 to 13:08 since turning pro and is now a contender to make the Olympic team at that distance in June.

Doom upsets Warholm in 400

Everything was going according to plan for Karsten Warholm in tonight’s 400m final. He had the lead at the bell and the lead coming off the final turn, and he ran a strong time of 45.34 seconds, which would have been enough to win two of the last three world finals. The problem for Warholm was that Belgium’s Alexander Doom ran the race of his life to snatch the gold medal and relegate Warholm to silver.

Doom ended 2023 strong by running a pb of 44.92 at Worlds in Budapest and has kept that momentum going indoors, running a 45.89 indoor pb in Metz on February 3 and then pbs in the semis (45.69) and final (45.25) in Glasgow, the latter setting a Belgian indoor record. It is hard to pass in the indoor 400 but Doom timed his move perfectly and was a deserved champion tonight.

Warholm, meanwhile, said that he only decided to run World Indoors a week ago and had been doing hurdle training until then. He did run a few indoor workouts to get ready but that wasn’t quite enough to win gold tonight.

“Looking back at it, I probably should have done a little bit more lactic training,” Warholm said. 

Holloway repeats as world champion to win his 63rd straight 60m hurdle race

Death, taxes, and Grant Holloway in the 60-meter hurdles. The world record holder is now a two-time world indoor champion and the unassailable GOAT of the event. Holloway remains a perfect 63-for-63 in his career over the 42-inch barriers, and his 7.29 winning time tonight was his fourth time under 7.30 (no one else has ever done it once).

But Holloway doesn’t dwell on his stats. He knows his win streak is long but it’s not something he focuses on.

“That’s for you guys,” Holloway said. “Y’all keep counting. My goal is just to keep winning.”

There may come a day when someone beats Holloway in a 60 hurdles race, but it will not be in 2024.

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