The TEN: Grant Fisher Wins As 8 Men Break 27:00 & Nico Young Runs 26:52

Nico Young DESTROYED The Collegiate Record To Finish In 2nd Place as Tsigie Gebreselama Ran The First Sub-30:00 Women's 10,000 on US Soil

In one of the deepest 10,000-meter races ever contested, it was Grant Fisher who kicked best to win The TEN on Saturday night in Southern California. Fisher, the American record holder at 26:33, did not lead a step until the final straightaway, when he slung past former Bowerman TC teammate Moh Ahmed and sprinted away to victory in 26:52.04 with a 56.78 last lap. He led eight men under the 27:00.00 Olympic standard – of all the 10,000m races in history, only the 2011 Pre Classic (nine) featured more sub-27:00s.

“I mean to hit the standard, that was the goal and I got it done so it feels good,” Fisher said on the broadcast after the race. “It was the perfect race setup and a lot of guys did a lot of work, not including myself so I really appreciate them.

Kevin Morris photo

“I think anybody in this race would rather get 15th place and run 26:59 than win and 27:01. So getting the time, that’s the game right now. This was a key step to get to Paris. I needed this in my pocket. So good to have it done, now I’ll focus on the Trials.”

As for where we can next find Grant, he said he would be headed to In-N-Out Burger after the race.

Northern Arizona University star Nico Young’s scorching 2024 season continued as he finished 2nd in 26:52.72 to obliterate Sam Chelanga’s 27:08.39 NCAA record from 2010 and become the first collegian under 27:00. (Habtom Samuel of Eritrea and the University of New Mexico quickly became the second, finishing 5th in 26:53.84).

Andreas Almgren (26:52.87 Swedish record), Ahmed (26:53.01), Samuel, Adrian Wildschutt (26:55.54 South African record), Woody Kincaid (26:57.57 pb), and Edwin Kurgat of Kenya/Under Armour Dark Sky Distance (26:57.66) were the other men to run under the Olympic standard. It was a great night for running fast with temps in the mid-50s and winds of just 3 mph.

The women’s race saw four women hit the Olympic standard of 30:40, led by winner Tsigie Gebreselama of Ethiopia (29:48.34). Weini Kelati, Australian Lauren Ryan, and Brit Megan Keith also hit the Olympic standard as Alicia Monson’s American record attempt fizzled and she wound up dropping out. More on that race below, but first a few quick takes from the men’s race.


Quick Take: The men’s race delivered

Shortly after rabbit Ahmed Muhumed dropped at halfway, the men’s leaders fell slightly behind the Wavelight, which was set to 27:00 pace. But Ahmed, Samuel, and Wildschutt all took turns at the front and made sure the lights were never beyond reach, and by the bell it was clear there were going to be a bunch of sub-27:00s with the main question being who would win the race.

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Fisher, unlike his indoor season where he ran from the front at Millrose and BU, was content to put his faith in his kick and it paid off as he broke free in the final 100 for the win. Meanwhile Nico Young looked sensational in closing in 57.61 for 2nd place and showed no ill effects from his 5k/3k double at the NCAA championships just one week earlier. Though the order at the finish ultimately didn’t matter much, it was fun to see Young duking it out with the pros in a deep, competitive race.

Quick Take: Nico Young’s 2024 season is quickly climbing the ranks of the greatest ever by a collegiate distance runner

Kevin Morris photo

Entering 2024, Nico Young had never won an NCAA title and his 6th-place finish at the 2023 NCAA XC champs was only his third-best result at that meet (he was 4th in 2020 and 2nd in 2022). Now, less than three months into 2024, he is putting together a season for the ages. Consider what he has done since New Year’s Day:

-3:57 mile at 7,000 feet in Flagstaff
-12:57 NCAA 5k record at BU (first collegian and youngest American sub-13:00)
-NCAA titles at 3k and 5k, including a meet record in the 3k
-26:52 NCAA 10k record at The TEN (first collegian and youngest American sub-27:00)

Young was always viewed as a big talent, but now he’s a big talent who has suddenly developed a kick and has smashed two of the biggest barriers in collegiate distance running. Has anyone’s stock risen so quickly? 

Young is also in great position to make the Olympic team as almost all of the top American 10,000 runners were in this race (Paul Chelimo and Sean McGorty were the main absences) and Young beat all of them convincingly except for Fisher. Young is one of just three Americans with the Olympic standard, which gives him a leg up on the likes of Joe Klecker (27:09) and Abdihamid Nur (27:17), but those men won’t be easy to beat at the Trials in June, assuming both run the 10,000.

Quick Take: Three Americans run sub-27:00 in the same race

As recently as 2021, only two Americans had ever run sub-27:00 – Chris Solinsky and Galen Rupp. Tonight, three Americans ran sub-27:00 in the same race: Fisher, Young, and Kincaid. This is what the all-time US list looks like now:

26:33.84 Grant Fisher 2022
26:44.36 Galen Rupp 2014
26:52.72 Nico Young 2024
26:57.57 Woody Kincaid 2024
26:59.60 Chris Solinsky 2010

Why all the fast times? Obviously super shoes played a role in the fast times tonight, but they’re not the only factor. World Athletics setting faster Olympic standards has caused the entire sport to aim higher, and the athletes had perfect weather and great competition to chase the times at The TEN. You will not find a better setup for a sub-27:00 race.

Quick Take: Woody Kincaid bounces back

Kincaid took a shot at the Olympic standard of 13:05 in the 5k indoors and came up way short, running 13:15 at BU on January 26 – not a great sign considering he ran 12:51 at the same meet a year ago. Well, Kincaid showed tonight that he is plenty fit. A year ago at The TEN, Kincaid ran 27:06 and tonight he ran the fastest 10,000 of his life, 26:57.

Kincaid remains a very dangerous man as we head towards the Trials. Though he was not close to Fisher or Young on the last lap, he still closed fast (57.57) and the pace at the Trials will be far slower than it was tonight, which should make him more of a factor. Kincaid has beaten Fisher to win two of the last three US 10k titles.

Quick Take: Andreas Almgren becomes the fastest European-born runner ever

Going in, many were optimistic about Almgren’s chances given he had just run 59:23 at the Barcelona Half on February 11, and he delivered on the hype, clocking 26:52.87 for 3rd in his first career track 10,000. Almgren’s time is #3 on the all-time European list behind Mo Farah (26:46.57) and EPO cheat Mohammed Mourhit (26:52.30).

Almgren is the first European-born man ever under 27:00. Of the 78 men to have broken 27:00, five were born in North America, one in Europe, and the other 72 in Africa.

Almgren’s range is quite remarkable. In 2014, he ran 1:45 for 800 and earned bronze at World Juniors. Now, after adopting double threshold training, he’s run 59:23 and 26:52 (and is still quite fast over shorter distances as he ran 3:32 and 7:37 last summer).

Quick Take: Do as little work as possible

Kevin Morris photo

Grant Fisher won a 25-lap race after leading just 100 meters of it. While Fisher’s tactics might have made Steve Prefontaine roll over in his grave, it’s smart to do as little work as possible in races. In December, Graham Blanks did zero work and got the collegiate 5k record. Tonight, Fisher did zero work and got the win.

When the rabbit stepped off at 5000, Luis Grijalva and Abdihamid Nur were both up front and both took some time at the lead. Neither one of them got the standard although both ran a PR — Grijalva ran 27:26.02 (previous pb of 27:42.56) and Nur ran 27:17.28 (previous pb of 27:42.73). 

Quick Take: The US Olympic 10,000 hopefuls are as follows

We know after tonight that the US will send three men to Paris in the 10,000 as FIsher, Young, and Kincaid all hit the standard. Additionally, by running 27:07 Klecker will improve the number of points he has for the Road to Paris list. He came in ranked #22 (they take 27) and after tonight we think he’ll be in the top 25 as Klecker should be the top ranked guy in the world without the standard. 

For the women, Monson and Kelati have the standard and Katie Izzo for now has one of the eight cross country spots with World XC still to be run. Assuming Fiona O’Keeffe runs just the marathon, it looks like Natosha Rogers will be ranked around #27 when the new rankings come out. 

Women’s race: Tsigie Gebreselama runs first sub-30:00 on US soil as chaos unfolds behind her

Kevin Morris photo

This race was billed as an American record attempt for Alicia Monson, who ran 30:03 at this race last year. This time, Monson was hoping to go significantly faster as the pace lights were set to target 29:37, with the lights starting at 72-seconds-per-lap for the first 3k (30:00 pace) before gradually getting faster. Behind her, there would be a second set of pace lights targeting the Olympic standard of 30:40.

It took way less than 5,000 meters for those plans to fall apart. Up front, World XC silver medalist Tsigie Gebreselama was the only woman to go with Monson, and when pacer Taylor Werner dropped out at 2 miles, Gebreselama took up the lead and within two laps had opened a 10-meter gap on Monson but was struggling to hang on to the pace lights. Gebreselama would hold on to an impressive 29:48.34 victory, a 16-second pb that moved her to #9 on the all-time list and gave her the first sub-30:00 ever run on US soil. But Monson, who did not even make it halfway on sub-30:00 pace, was not having a good day and wound up dropping out.

The pacer for the second group lasted just over two kilometers and when she dropped, American Weini Kelati was the only one to show initiative and try to stick on the standard. 2022 US champ Karissa Schweizer would lead a charge to bridge the gap but would ultimately fall well short of the standard. Instead, it was Kelati (30:33.82), Lauren Ryan (30:35.66 Australian record), and 21-year-old Scot Megan Keith (30:36.84 in her 10,000 debut) who would get the standard. 

Everyone else in the race was lapped by Gebreselama, with Rachel Smith best of the rest in 5th in 31:04.02. 39-year-old marathoner Keira D’Amato easily picked up the US Olympic Trials auto standard of 31:30 at 31:05.31 while 40-year-old Sara Hall just missed it at 31:32.52. But Hall should be safe for the Trials as they take 24 women and only 6 US women broke 31:30 last year and only 7 Americans did it tonight.


Quick Take: This race was a disaster for Alicia Monson

Monson bypassed World Indoors and World XC because she wanted to prove to herself that she was capable of running well under 30:00. If she did that, she told in December, it would have made her feel more confident that she would be strong enough to kick for a medal going into the Olympic 10,000 in Paris this summer. Instead, she could not even run 5k at 30:00 pace and wound up dropping out.

Monson is too good for one bad race to derail her whole season. She will still be a force to be reckoned with at the US Olympic Trials and presumably the Olympics. But this was the race she had built her entire fall/winter around, and for it to fall apart so quickly has to be dispiriting.

Quick Take: Great Britain has its own Parker Valby and her name is Megan Keith

American fans have been losing their minds over Florida’s Parker Valby, and for good reason. But the Brits have a distance prodigy of their own in Megan Keith, who, like Valby, is just 21 years old. Keith ran 14:56 on the track for 5,000 last summer, won the Euro U23 XC title in December and just ran 30:36 tonight. How good is that? Well, if Keith was in the NCAA, she would have just broken the collegiate record by 42 seconds.

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