Lap 100: Sponsored by New Balance
The New Balance Indoor Grand Prix will be held on February 4, 2023 at the TRACK at New Balance, the brand new, state-of-the-art indoor track and field complex located across the street from New Balance's world headquarters in Brighton, Mass.
The meet will be shown live on NBC from 4pm to 6pm EST and will feature stars like Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, Femke Bol, Heather MacLean, Trayvon Bromell, Gabby Thomas, Ciara Mageean, and more. And of course, CITIUS MAG will be there covering the event, including a LIVE post-meet show of After The Final Lap.
It’s time to really kick off the indoor season — see you at the TRACK!
Woody breaks the American 5k Record 🇺🇸
This race was appropriately hyped beforehand as the marquee event from the first real weekend of indoor track for professionals – and that ol’ reliable oval at Boston University once again delivered. Coming into the weekend, OAC’s Joe Klecker was not shy about his fitness, and with a rabbit of Ollie Hoare’s caliber, the call for a sub-13 minute clocking was a realistic one. The US 10,000m champion absolutely delivered, running 12:54.99 – a ten second personal best and the fourth fastest American performance of all time!
There was just one problem: Woody Kincaid’s kick.
The pace was hot from the get-go as Klecker led the pack through the first 1600 in 4:11 and followed it up with another in 4:08. For some perspective, Grant Fisher came through 3200m five seconds slower when he set the record of 12:53.73 in 2022. But with one lap to go when a Klecker W looked like all but a foregone conclusion, Woody pulled one more gear out of his ass and closed in 26.2 to run 12:51.61 – the new 5000m indoor American record.
After the race, Woody shared that he is no longer training with the Bowerman Track Club, which was more or less already known. He joined the team after exhausting his NCAA eligibility in 2016 and since has been a staple in the club’s endless stable. He spent some time coaching himself this fall before linking up with Mike Smith’s group in Flagstaff a month ago, but it would appear that relationship is not yet set in stone.
For generally tight-lipped track athletes, having a camera stuck in one’s face while adrenaline is still pumping can reveal a level of candidness generally derived from tequila, and Woody’s transparency was fascinating to hear. He shared that he is still considering a return to Bowerman, though he is craving a change of scenery. And while the move to Eugene seems to be universally disliked, it wasn’t the motivating factor. Instead, Woody seemed to be making a plea to Mike Smith via YouTube to let him stick around.
Schumacher allegedly said, ‘I think you’re throwing away your career by leaving,’ which on the surface seems like a harsh negotiation tactic. That’s likely meant as a reference not just to the training, but the deep arsenal of training partners and the Oregon-backed resources. But as far as replacements go, Luis Grijalva and Abdi Nur are not the worst. (And on a personal note, I’d rather log my easy miles on the ponderosa pine-lined trails than around a turf field… but that’s just me.)
Woody graduated from Portland as a two-time All-American with personal bests of 7:48 and 13:32 – something that needs to be shouted from the rooftops to give hope to the next generation of guys with approachable levels of talent. Clearly, some part of the formula was working.
At different points in a career, athletes may start looking for different things and once you’ve stepped out of the cave you’ll be blind trying to reenter. Credit deservedly goes to great coaches, strong programs, good cultures, and nice facilities. But athletes so regularly use the pronoun “we” when discussing their success that you’d think it was a relay. Watch the race and what do you see? Only one guy runs 12:51 – and Woody was all by himself out there.
In defense of the off-distance WR 🇬🇧
Please consider joining the CITIUS MAG editorial team in the removal of “World Best” from your vocabulary. If it looks like a world record, smells like a world record, and no one has run faster, then it’s a world record!
This weekend in Manchester the Olympic and World Championship silver medalist, Keely Hodgkinson broke the 600m WR in 1:23.41. The previous record of 1:23.44 was set by Russia’s Olga Kotlyarova in 2004. Keely’s in good company; Olga’s neighboring personal bests? 49.77 and 1:57.24.
This was clearly not a bad way to open the season, especially a couple of weeks before Athing Mu takes her shot at Millrose, a 600m race that got a bit more interesting with the addition of Ajeé Wilson to the field. The reigning 800m World Indoor champion kept her ongoing Armory win streak alive last weekend, as she beat Sage Hurta over 1000m, winning in 2:35.97.
Admittedly, the 600 is not the strongest mark on the books – the outdoor record by Caster Semenya is quite a bit faster at 1:21.77. And the men’s record is 1:13.77 by Donavan Brazier, which is fast by all accounts except maybe if you compare it to David Rudisha’s 1:14.30 split en route to the outdoor 800m WR.
Which brings me to my second, spicier take of this section.
Although they both involve running, indoor and outdoor track are different sports. Not entirely, but comparing speed from 200m to 800m during the different seasons is more akin to tennis players rallying on grass or clay. (As you go up in distance the pendulum seems to swing in the opposite direction. When I tell someone my mile best, I hope that they don’t look up to see where it’s from!) The emphasis on off-distance events (like the nobel 600m, the humble 1000m, the mighty 300m) separates the two seasons and can provide a unique barometer for each.
So here is my asinine proposal: It is now illegal to run the 200, 400, or 800 indoors — those are outdoor-only events moving forward.
‘You get a sub 4! You get a sub 4!’ -Oprah
Putting eight dudes from a single team under four-minutes in the mile in a decade would be a nice achievement for many programs. UW did it in… well, just under four minutes. (Check out Boston College’s Steven Jackson make school history.)
Just an impossibly good run by an entire training group. In particular, this is a huge statement race by Joe Waskom. The guy’s already proven his racing bonafides by winning an NCAA 1500m title off a fierce kick in 3:45.58. Now he’s shown that he’s capable of pressing off of a hot pace – 3:51.90 is the NCAA #3 all-time.
After hopping on my soapbox about the use of “we” earlier, I had to lead off with commending the athletes. But now that that’s out of the way, Andy Powell, man. Between his Husky crew, and the handful of pros still under his guidance that are available for 1300m of pacing, is there a better coach for middle distance men in the country right this instant?
It’s hard enough getting the recipe just right for one highly talented athlete. It’s another thing entirely to prepare an entire group of guys to perform this well on a given day. But that’s the beauty of a team firing on all cylinders like UW is right now: things start clicking for a couple of guys, and the rest of the squad draws confidence from that.
Back when I ran 3:35 my senior year, I’m pretty sure every one of my teammates who raced that day in Swarthmore also set a big PR. They just don’t get as much shit about it.
Tuohy really can mile! 🐺
If leading with a headline and photo of the third place finisher is wrong, then unsubscribe to this newsletter. When Alicia Monson ran 4:23.55 to win the Dr Sander Invitational it felt validating, at least for me. Call me Nostradamus but based on the viral workout video from the week before I thought that a sea-level effort would be worth exactly that. Granted she led the whole thing after the rabbit dropped out before 600m.
Second place finisher Whittni Orton ran 4:04 last year in her first professional season and has picked up right where she left off with a 4:23.97. If she was still in college, the graphic would belong to her, but NCAA records aren’t set in hypotheticals.
The most recent NCAA Cross Country champ may have run 4:06.84 for 1500m, but technically 4:24.26 is a nine second personal best. However, unlike the professionals who have had all fall building toward this, Katelyn Tuohy had a different schedule. After running a full cross country season, she kept things going until a 5000m in December and then has since rallied, presumably following a break, to open her season in an off event with what is considered by scoring tables to be the fastest mark of her career.
Don’t forget that to make the US 5000m team in 2022, third place finisher Emily Infeld ran her last 1600m in 4:25. The game has changed! The next time your coach is looking for one more leg in the 4x400, they might start looking at the cross country runners.
Nobody keeps the Guse in a cage 🪶
Like many of you, when Yared Nuguse decided not to start at the Tokyo Olympics I thought, ‘well, that is certainly not what I would have done!’ I mean, jogging 1500m on a hurt leg could have been the highlight of his career! Well, consider this my apology.
There was a year or so period there when Yared’s career was a little bit of a roller coaster with extreme highs and lows. But since finishing 11th at the USATF Champs in 2022, he has been lights out on the track as a professional!
1st - Murphey Classic - 3:34.95
1st - Sir Walter Miler - 3:53.34
1st - Luzern, Switzerland - 3:36.34
1st - Padova, Italy - 3:33.26
And finally, the new American Record at 3000m in 7:28.24. This time is now the outright record and faster than Grant Fisher’s 7:28.48 from Monaco. I wish I knew if Grant was watching on Friday night and what his reaction was. Like he definitely cried, right?
To anyone who watched Yared’s 3:57 mile at altitude, there was no question of fitness. The man is like a centaur, except I’d say his bottom half more closely resembles a gazelle’s than a horse's. And his arm carriage seems to be smoothing out, which must be from the 100 push-ups Ritzenhein requires the team to do every night right before bed.
The mindset to be great in college is different from what it takes as a professional. Yes, you have teammates, but your collective score doesn’t count – and prize money, unlike team points, can lead to a bit more bad blood. While there are many things to praise the OAC about in terms of the thoughtful way it has been formed, the most notable is that they’re able to maintain the vibe of being a team because almost no athlete is in direct competition with one another.
Look at the current roster:
Nuguse (USA, 1500) - Hoare (Aus, 1500) - Beamish (NZ, 5000) - McDonald (Aus, 5000) - Romo (Esp, 1500) - Klecker (USA, 10000) - Raess (Swi, 5000)
Hurta (USA, 800) - Vissa (Ita, 1500) - Monson (USA, 10000) - Norris (USA, 1500/5000) - Obiri (Ken, Marathon) - Báez (Esp, 10000)
The head-to-head match-ups to make a national team are virtually non-existent. This isn’t an accident and it’s bad news for any graduating senior who wants to join OAC and overlaps with one of these individuals. If that’s you, my best advice is to move to another country and take up the steeplechase.
That successful adjustment for Nuguse coming out of college is likely in large part due to the fact that it probably still feels like he is on a proper college team. Yes, he can now afford a yellow sports car to get him to and from practice, but in most other ways, his day-to-day isn’t really that different from what it was at Notre Dame. He’s just showing up each day for a run and a good laugh and that makes for a good transition.
Catching up with Dani Jones 🏃♀️
There is no shortage of talent in the mile at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix this weekend, but only one woman in the field has won four NCAA titles. A product of the University of Colorado by way of Indiana, Dani Jones is now entering her third year as a pro since graduating as an all-time great Buff. On Saturday she opened up her season at Boston University with an indoor 800m best of 2:01.68 to confirm what she already suspected – the fitness is there! I caught up with her while she’s back training in Boulder to hear more about how the year has started.
Congrats on a strong race this weekend – that’s an indoor 800m best, right? How’d it feel out there?
Yeah, it is! It’s been seven months since my last race and we definitely haven't been doing 800-specific work so far. I would have liked to beat a few more people but it was a great start.
How tough is it to open up the season with an 800? I'm guessing you're deep into mileage and training right now.
I kind of did it on purpose. I wanted to do something fast leading up to Grand Prix. Last year the mile there kind of wound up as it went, and I didn't necessarily think I was ready for it at the time. So I thought it would be good for me as more of a training stimulus than anything. But it was a lot of fun and now I want to do another one.
And I saw you came back to rabbit after! I’m assuming that felt good as well?
Cory [McGee] brought them through the first 1k then I went to 2k. I probably consumed more espresso than I should ever drink in one day between the morning race and evening pacing.
You are in year three now as a professional – that’s basically veteran status! What have you learned in that time?
It seems weird to think about that. Last year I had a rough end to the season because I was hurt, tired, and beat up. And so I wasn't putting a ton of pressure on indoors this year. The goal was to have a solid chunk of training coming in, and then I ended up having the best fall I've ever had – so that was a nice surprise! And now I have bigger goals indoors, but it’s mostly about still enjoying myself and competing well.
What exactly did you have plaguing you at the end of last year?
I had an injury in my foot. We never got a scan or anything since it hurt bad enough that I wasn't able to run so we figured it was bone related. It was sad to cut things short – starting in June, I took like 20 days off or something. That’s the longest break I’d had in a long time, but it ended up being the right decision because now I feel good!
Joe [Bosshard] is obviously very thoughtful and methodical in his training. After a season ends that way, what are the conversations like when beginning a new year?
Joe's definitely good at giving you perspective. I tend to be more disappointed as time goes on after a race, and he gets more excited about it – even last weekend! He reminds me that we're doing good work and things are going to start clicking. But to do that I have to have the right attitude and remain positive.
He’s an adaptable coach. Workouts are changing all the time, and we aren’t afraid to try new things. I am still a relatively new athlete in his eyes, and I trust him to make the right decisions. Now in year three there is so much good aerobic work that’s been done that it’s going to start paying off.
When you say you had your best fall ever, what specifically does that look like to make you believe that?
I think as a middle distance runner I am always good at running 64-second quarters or fast 200s. But my weaknesses have always been running anywhere between five to six minute pace – the long tempos and the long runs coupled with surviving high mileage. There have been big improvements in those areas. Joe's philosophy is that you always have to be strong, even for a mile, because that’s what it takes to run 64s and then close hard.
Now you say you're a middle distance runner, but I vaguely recall you winning an NCAA cross country title and the 5000m outdoors. Is there any thought of returning to the event?
That's definitely a popular opinion here! But I have to be reminded of that cross country race. I do think I'm capable of running a good 5000m, but I feel like I have a lot of potential in the 1500, which is my favorite event. It feels like I've only just begun to scratch the surface there, so that's where my heart's at. But you never know later in your career what you're going to do!
Is it as much fun to be a Boss Babe as it appears? It seems like there’s such a good energy and a really supportive situation. Does it feel like you're almost still in college with that atmosphere?
I mean, I almost feel like it is better than college. It's certainly not just a front. Everyone is really supportive and fun. I love doing pre-meet because it just feels like we're laughing as we do strides and raising each other up while everyone else is being serious. It is a testament to what Joe and Emma [Coburn] have created – what you see is true. We all have the same big goals, and we're all good friends. I know it's unique and I know how fortunate I am to be a part of it.
Have you been to the TRACK yet or will this be your first time there?
I was in Boston in December and I was lucky enough to get in and see all the new facilities – I was so blown away by it. I'm biased, but I have plenty of love for New Balance as a company and how they treat their athletes.
If you get in an elevator the day before with someone who is a runner but has never been to a professional track meet in person, what’s your pitch about why they should go watch this weekend?
I’d say it's not the same watching track athletes on TV as it is seeing them in person. You get a totally different perspective of how good they are and how pretty it is to watch when you’re actually there.
In partnership with OLIPOP
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Rapid Fire Highlights 🔥
Northern Arizona’s Drew Bosley broke Yared Nuguse’s NCAA 3000m record, running 7:36.42 at BU. Any thought that he was more of a cross country guy has quickly gone by the wayside – this boy can run 30s!
Luis Grijalva ran a personal best of 3:53.53 in the mile at BU in what is being referred to as the world lead. This is only moderately confusing because oversized tracks do not count, which disqualifies all the fast times run out in Seattle.
Abby Steiner is flexing her range at the start of the year running 50.59 at the Razorback Invitational to improve by over a second in two weeks and to grab the fastest time in the world.
Texas’s Clayton Carroza ran 1:46.28 to set an NCAA 800m lead and to set the facility record at Boston University.
Drew Hunter won the Dr Sander Invitational in 3:55.57 to earn an auto-bid to the Wanamaker mile. Except he was already in it! So second place finisher Eric Holt has been added to the field.
At the Osaka Women’s Marathon, Ethiopia’s Haven Hailu ran 2:21:13 after a sub-70 first half made it a contest of who could fall off pace the least.
Betsy Saina won the Seville Half Marathon in 1:08:25. Let this serve as a reminder that the former multiple-time NCAA champ from Iowa State has run 14:39/30:07/1:07/2:22 and in 2021 became eligible to represent the US. If you are wondering why you haven’t seen any results from her lately, she welcomed her son Kyla in December 2021, but she is back!
There’s no other way to put it: too many people ran too well to give them all their due credit in this newsletter. One such full-section omission is Lucia Stafford, whose 2:33.75 1,000m mark from BU established a new North American record, and is the ninth fastest time ever indoors. There’s plenty more I’d love to say here, and I trust Stafford will run fast enough at NBIGP or Millrose to do so!
Dina Asher-Smith broke the British 60m record in Karlsruhe with a time of 7.04. Meanwhile, former record holder Asha Philip was controversially DQ’d from that same race for a “false start” for too good of a reaction time. GB’s George Mills won the 1500 in 3:35.88 and 17-year-old Ethiopia’s Abdisa Fayisa won the 3000m in 7:40.35.
Aleia Hobbs ran 6.98 for 60m in Arkansas for .09 second PB and the fastest anyone has clocked in the last 24 years.
WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK 📺
New Balance Indoor Grand Prix | 2/4 | 3 - 6pm ET | NBC | Schedule |
Camel City Invitational | 2/2 - 2/3 | Elites Saturday 2pm ET | RunnerSpace | Entries |
Czech Indoor Gala | 2/2 | 11am ET | Flotrack
BU Scarlet and White | 2/3 - 2/4 | DMRs Friday + Open Saturday | Flotrack | Schedule
Thank you readers. Take this test please! 🤓
Don’t worry — I’m not about to get all emotional about publishing the 100th edition! As you’re hopefully well aware, I get a lot of enjoyment out of writing this newsletter each week and appreciate all 13,544 subscribers! I get some input via emails each week, but for the most part I just send this thing off into the abyss and have no idea how it’s being received. With that in mind, it’s finally time for you to give me some feedback. This shouldn’t take more than five minutes to answer but it’d be a great help if you could take this anonymous survey and then tell everyone you know to subscribe for Lap 101!
Thank you so much to New Balance for sponsoring this week’s newsletter! If you live in the greater Boston area, then I will see you at the TRACK on Saturday.