WTW: Teenage Excellence at Arcadia & in Australia, Plus Hillary Bor (Sort of) Smashes the US 10-Mile Record

The Week That Was in Running, April 1 -7, 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. 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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69 Boys Break 9:00 at Arcadia as Daniel Simmons Wins in 8:34.96

The boys’ 3200 meters at the Arcadia Invitational has become for high school runners what the Boston University 5,000m races have become for college and pro athletes: a chance for the best distance runners in the country to come together and chase fast times in perfect conditions.

This year’s race pitted NXN champion JoJo Jourdon against high school indoor 5,000m record holder Daniel Simmons (13:38 pb) against high school indoor 2-mile record holder Drew Griffith (8:34 pb). In the end, it came down to a final straight duel between Simmons, who was outkicked by .04 by Simeon Birnbaum last year, and Nike Indoor Nationals 2-mile champ Nathan Neil

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This time, Simmons held on for the win in 8:34.96 to Neil’s 8:35.32. Neil actually had the fastest last lap (57.16) but was only fourth at the bell, while Simmons (57.52 last lap) was leading. Simmons will run at BYU next year while Neil is headed to Washington.

Beyond Simmons and Neil, the depth was insane in the 3200m at Arcadia. 20 boys broke 9:00 – in the B heat. In the invitational section, 37 of the 38 runners broke 9:00, with 27 under 8:50 and 7 under 8:40. In total, 69 boys broke 3200 at Arcadia on Saturday, which smashed the previous record of 44 set last year.

Simmons’ American Fork (Utah) High School team accounted for four of those sub-9:00s on their own, including three sub-8:50s. Here’s AF’s fab four:

8:34.96 Daniel Simmons, senior
8:38.34 Ben Jaster, senior
8:46.10 Kaden Evans, junior
8:58.26 Ben Bradshaw, senior

The last few years have seen a rapid shift in what it takes to win at Arcadia. Consider that in 2019, just five years ago, Nico Young set a meet record of 8:40.00 when he won Arcadia. Heck, as recently as 2018, the winning time was 8:50. This year, Young’s time would have placed him 8th. 

Arcadia’s depth has improved for the same two reasons as the BU 5,000. The first is that Arcadia has become a virtuous cycle: every year, more boys break 9:00, which in turn attracts even more boys hoping to break 9:00 the following year. The second reason is, of course, super shoes and super spikes, with the table below the latest evidence of how technology has changed the game at all levels of running (the spikes became widely available to high schoolers coming out of the pandemic in 2021).

Arcadia Invitational boys’ 3200m results, 2018-24

Year Sub-8:40 Sub-8:50 Sub-9:00
2024 7 28 69
2023 3 17 44
2022 2 8 32
2021 0 2 15
2019 0 4 14
2018 0 0 16

On the girls’ side, the standout performer at Arcadia was junior Sadie Engelhardt, who won the mile for the third straight year in 4:34.31. That’s a slight improvement on the 4:34.45 Engelhardt ran at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in February.

Engelhardt’s time was the second-fastest outdoor mile ever by a US high school girl, behind only Katelyn Tuohy’s 4:33.87 from 2018. Overall it’s #4 (Mary Cain and Alexa Efraimson have run faster indoors), though others, including Engelhardt herself, have run faster after converting their 1500 times. Engelardt ran 4:09.70 for 1500 against the pros at The TEN on March 16, which converts to a 4:29.73 mile according to LetsRun’s 1.0802 conversion.

More: MB: Official Arcadia 2024 Live Discussion Thread

Claudia Hollingsworth Continues To Roll

The fastest teenage metric miler was running down in Australia as 18-year-old Claudia Hollingsworth’s amazing 2024 season continued. She lowered her U20 1500 NR from 4:04.45 to 4:02.96 to win the Box Hill Classic in Melbourne by more than 10 seconds (2nd place 4:13.13), meaning the Australian U20 record is now faster than the American U20 record (Alexa Efraimson’s 4:03.39). Hollingsworth has also run 1:58.81 for 800 this year.

Currently, Hollingsworth’s SBs rank her #1 in all of Australia in the 800 this year and #2 in the 1500 (behind Jessica Hull’s 4:01.19). The Australian championships begin on Thursday in Adelaide, and Hollingsworth, who is coached by Craig Mottram, is entered in both events.

Only one non-East African/non-Chinese woman in world history has broken 4:00 as an official U20 athlete and that is Zola Budd (nee Pieterse), who ran 3:59.96 in 1985 at age 19. Budd also ran 4:17.57 for the full mile as an U20 athlete (equivalent to a 3:58.45 1500). America’s Addy Wiley ran 3:59.17 last September at age 19 but she turned 20 in October and thus wasn’t officially a U20 athlete.

If Hollingsworth wants to break 4:00 as an official U20 athlete, she’ll have to do it during this calendar year as she turns 19 on Friday.

In case you are wondering, the official U20 world record belongs to China’s Yinglai Lang at  3:51.34 in 1997 but virtually no one believes that was done clean. Ethiopia’s Birke Haylom ran 3:54.93 last summer, a time only surpassed by four different Chinese teens from the same race at the Chinese National Games in Shanghai on October 18, 1997.

*TFN’s U20 record list

Stat of the Week

Hillary Bor celebrates his USATF 10 Mile title and new American record of 45:56 at the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in Washington, D.C.

45:56 – new American record set by Hillary Bor at the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-miler on Sunday in Washington, D.C.

60:13 – half marathon pace run by Bor on Sunday.

So congrats to Bor (and Nathan Martin, who bounced back from a 7th place showing at the US Olympic Marathon Trials with a 46:00) for breaking the old record of 46:11. But we provide that stat to show you the American record is a relatively soft one considering the American record in the half is 59:43.

Ryan Hall’s 10-mile split during his half marathon AR was 45:33, while Galen Rupp split 45:54 for 10 miles during a 60:23 half in 2020. But neither Hall nor Rupp’s split times were officially ratified as an American record.

Bor finished third in the race as there was a three-way sprint for the win, won by 2021 NCAA indoor 5000 champ Wesley Kiptoo of Kenya/HOKA NAZ Elite in 45:54 as 60:00 half marathoner Raymond Magut of Kenya was second in 45:55.

In the women’s race, Sarah Chelangat, who ran a Ugandan record of 14:40.88 last year on the track (and 30:40 on the roads), got the win in 51:14 (67:10 half marathon pace) eight days after finishing as the first non-Kenyan at World XC (6th place).

American Emily Durgin showed she was recovered from the US Olympic Marathon Trials where she was 9th as she was second overall in 51:26 (67:26 half marathon pace).

More: RRW: Hillary Bor (45:56) Smashes His American Record at Cherry Blossom 10-Miler, Finishes Third As HOKA NAZ Elite’s Wesley Kiptoo Wins 

Seven Seconds Prove To Be Costly At World’s Richest Marathon

The biggest first-place prizes in the world of marathoning in 2024 were offered last week at the Daegu Marathon, where $160,000 US was offered to each of the winners. The only caveat is the women had to run 2:20:00 or faster to get all of that money and the men had to run 2:05:00 or faster.

(Editor’s note: The original version of this article said the women’s-only Nagoya Marathon offered a larger prize for first place, but Nagoya dropped its prize money from $250,000 to $150,000 this year.)

Neither of those things happened so the prize money ended up being $100,000 each for the men’s and women’s winners. Ethiopia’s Ruti Aga won the women’s race in a course-record 2:21:07. Had Aga, who ran 2:18:07 for 2nd in Dubai in January, run seven seconds faster, she would have won $130,000, which was the payout for a win between 2:20:01 and 2:21:00. She went out in 66:28 for the first 20k (2:20:14 pace).

58:42 half marathoner Stephen Kiprop won $100,000 as well in the men’s race by running a pb of 2:07:20. He went out in 59:50 for the first 20k (2:06:14 pace).

Race Results Weekly reported that the conditions were a little warm and sunny but not crazy: 11C/52F, 72% humidity, 0.9 m/sec wind at the start, 18C/64F, 39% humidity, 3.0 m/sec wind at the finish.

But kudos to the race for promoting the fact that it’s offering the richest prize purse in the sport of marathoning for the year 2024.

More: *Daegu Marathon Prize Purse Details


The fastest marathon last weekend came in Paris where Ethiopia’s Mestawut Fikir debuted with a win in 2:20:45 while compatriot Mulugeta Uma won the men’s race with a 2:05:33.

2016 Olympic 5000 champion Vivian Cheruiyot, the 2018 London Marathon champ, returned to the marathon for the first time since dropping out of London in 2020. Cheruiyot, 40, who gave birth to her second child in 2021, was third in Paris in 2:21:46.

Daniel Ebenyo Appears To Be In Good Shape

Daniel Ebenyo, the world 10,000 silver medallist last year, didn’t run World XC this year. Instead, he went for the world record at the Berlin Half Marathon last week but had to settle for a win in 59:30. Ebenyo went out in a scorching 13:28 for the first 5000 (the 57:31 WR is 27:15 pace for 10k) but slowed in warm conditions. Regardless, he’s undefeated on the year having won two XC races prior to this.

The fastest half marathon over the weekend came in Prague where Sabastian Sawe, the 2023 world half champ, ran a 58:24 course record, a week after finishing 7th at World XC. Sawe, who trains in Kapsabet with Boston Marathon champ Evans Chebet and Tokyo Marathon champ Benson Kipruto, had barely raced outside of Kenya before 2022 but has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top of the sport. Since the start of 2022, he’s won six of his eight career half marathons and run under 59:00 four times.

Sabastian Sawe’s half marathons

Date Event Result
January 30, 2022 Seville 1st, 59:02
March 6, 2022 Rome-Ostia 1st, 58:02
October 23, 2022 Valencia 6th, 59:23
December 23, 2022 Bahrain Night 1st, 58:58
April 2, 2023 Berlin 1st, 59:00
October 1, 2023 World Half 1st, 59:10
October 22, 2023 Valencia 5th, 58:29
April 6, 2024 Prague 1st, 58:24

Ethiopian’s Gete Alemayehu (68:10 in Prague) and Tekle Muluat (66:53 in Berlin) were your women’s winners in the two races.

Ajee’ Wilson Opens Up 2024 Campaign

The Miramar Invitational was held on Saturday in Florida and it’s best known for super fast windy sprint times. Initially, world champions Sha’Carri Richardson and Shericka Jackson were both meant to open their seasons at Miramar but both wound up withdrawing. Instead, the meet served as the 2024 opener for Ajee’ Wilson who didn’t run indoors this year for the first time ever as a pro.

Wilson, who turns 30 in May, has historically thrived indoors, but Wilson’s coach Derek Thompson said they skipped the indoor season in 2024 to focus on outdoors, where Wilson will attempt to make her third Olympic team.

Wilson’s 2024 opener didn’t go great as she was just third in the 600 in 1:27.86. Wilson’s time equates to just a 2:03.89 800 according to John Kellogg (multiply by 1.41).  

The race was won in 1:23.80 by former Arkansas runner Shafiqua Maloney, who ran 1:58 for 800 indoors. Maloney’s time was a national record for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Wilson was more than four seconds behind Maloney and also lost by .05 to the Atlanta Track Club’s Sadi Henderson, who only ran 2:04 indoors.

Speaking of Wilsons opening up their 2024 seasons, new pro Britton Wilson began her open campaign in Miramar on Saturday as well, running 51.07 to win the 400 on a windy day (she had run the 4×400 at Texas Relays a week earlier). Wilson ran some incredible times during her 2023 campaign at the University of Arkansas, which included a 49.48 American indoor record at NCAAs and collegiate records of 49.40 and 49.13 in the semis and final at SECs. But she ran much of the season while managing shin injuries and was clearly hurt at Worlds, where she exited in the first round after running 53.87.

Wilson is also a talented hurdler, winning the NCAA title and finishing 5th at Worlds in 2022, so it was interesting to hear Ato Boldon reveal on the Miramar broadcast that she will be focusing on the flat 400 in 2024.

The pieces are now falling into place for the Paris Olympics. Wilson, who tried an ambitious 400/400 hurdles double at 2023 NCAAs, will target the 400 at the Olympics while Femke Bol is doing the 400 hurdles only. The biggest domino still to fall, of course, is Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone. Boldon said he has heard McLaughlin-Levrone is leaning towards doing the 400 only but stressed that those were unconfirmed rumors.

It’s worth noting that the 400 hurdles comes after the 400 at the US Olympic Trials, so if disaster strikes for either Wilson or SML, they could still try to make the team in the hurdles.

More: Miramar Invy: Kenny Bednarek Beats Christian Coleman Over 200m, 20.35 To 20.43 Sada Williams won the women’s race in 22.82. Shericka Jackson was supposed to race, but delayed starting her 2024 season for the third time, pulling out at the last minute.

Russ Cook Runs From The Most Southern Point To The Most Northern Part of Africa

It’s amazing that Russ Cook ran from the bottom of Africa to the top – South Africa to Tunisia, a journey of more than 10,000 miles in just under a year, during which time he was robbed and kidnapped in two different incidents. But in an article praising Cook’s feat, the Telegraph called the World Runners Association “killjoys” for pointing out that Denmark’s Jesper Olsen ran from the top of Africa (Egypt) to the bottom (South Africa) 14 years ago. The WRA aren’t killjoys. They’re just doing what most journalists would appreciate – providing context for a rare achievement.

Embed from Getty Images

Yes Cook is a badass, but he’s not the first to run vertically across Africa. He’s the first to do it along the western edge of the continent, and he’s the first to do it from the southernmost point to the northernmost. But to erase Olsen’s feat (or that of Nicholas Bourne, who ran from Cape Town to Cairo in 1998 according to Guinness World Records) would be foolish. 

Olsen didn’t run nearly as far as Cook (2,000 miles less) and ran slower (434 days), but he still ran across Africa vertically. Erasing him and Bourne from the history books would be like saying someone who runs across the US but starts in Georgia and ends in California didn’t really run across America because they didn’t go the longest way possible and start in Maine.

More: British Man Russ Cook Becomes First Person To Run The Entire Length Of Africa

Other Accomplishments of Note


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