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February 20, 2017

All around the world: Your weekend track wrap-up from Birmingham, New York, Kenya and more

Despite another weekend of watching some Big East Basketball and keeping hope alive for Marquette’s NCAA tournament bid, I managed to purchase some airport and wifi on my flight to catch up on all of the weekend’s track and field action from around the world and try to bring it to you all in one place. Marquette won. I had great time in Milwaukee. A lot of people ran fast. The world can be a beautiful place at times. Here we go!

UK: Laura Muir dominates; Mo wins final indoor race

The IAAF World Indoor Tour closed out with a bang in Birmingham as Laura Muir and Mo Farah clocked European records.

Muir remains on fire. She already has the 3,000m European record from earlier in the season and now owns the 1,000m record. She beat Kelly Holmes’ British and European record of 2:32.96 by more than a second with her 2:31.93. In my weekend preview, I told Maria Mutola to not sleep and I’m sure she’s awake now as he world record of 2:30.94 was definitely in jeopardy. Muir running all out from the gun and looking drained on the ground has become routine for her  but so have records.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLQpbni_BA8

Farah didn’t go unchallenged as Albert Rop (a former Kenyan turned Bahrain star) pushed him in that final kilometer and resulted in a few over-the-shoulder looks. The double-Olympic champion took the victory in 13:09.16 to Rop’s 13:09.43. For those curious about how many Americans have run faster, the answer is three: Galen Rupp (13:01.26), Lopez Lomong (13:07.00) and Bernard Lagat (13:07.15.) It’s a nice way for Farah to end his indoor career as he plans to retire at the 2017 World Championships in London. He will now resume his training in Ethiopia before opening the 2017 outdoor campaign.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7P_Amo2sKE

The United States had strong showings as Kate Grace fell just shy of Jen Toomey’s American record of 2:34.97. She finished second to Muir in 2:36.97. Casimir Loxsom set a world best in the men’s 800 with his 1:46.13 victory. Ben Blankenship held off a late challenge by Australia’s Ryan Gregson in the men’s 1,500 to take the victory in world leading-fashion in 3:36.42.

Low key though: One of the most impressive performances was double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson’s 6.98 win in the women’s 60. She sits behind Merlene Ottey and Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce on the all-time list for Jamaica.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Edy1eab3DA&feature=youtu.be

Kenya: Cross country national championship surprise

Leonard Barsoton is not as big of a name in the track and field circles but he is the 2013 world cross-country silver medalist and now the 2017 Kenyan cross country national champion as he defeated Geoffrey Kamworor and silver medalist Bedan Karoki (fresh off the Dubai Marathon). Baroston, Kamworor and Karoki went 1-2-3, which easily makes them the favorite for the upcoming world championships in Kampala, Uganda. The rest of the team is comprised of Vincent Rono, Leonard Komen and Leonard Lagat.

A little background on Barsoton:

He’s been training in Japan the past five years, according to Capital Sport. The cross country success doesn’t translate as well onto the track. Last year, he was 12th at the Pre Classic’s 10,000 in 27:31.86. He took third in the Kenyan national championships in 2015 and then finished fifth at Worlds in China. He plans to transition to the marathon in December and will try to make the Kenyan squad in the 10,000 for London. On Saturday, his coach celebrated with the popular Kenyan beer Yusker, which I’ve actually had at a bar in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and it’s not that bad.

Kamworor has already shown success on the roads but remains intent on trying to beat Farah on the track, which is part of the reason why he is bypassing a spring marathon to race XC and then track. He also didn’t have the best build-up for this national championship as training was reportedly hindered by illness but should be ready to roll for Kampala.

The women’s race, which was a 10K course, was won by Irene Cheptai ahead of Faith Kipyegon and Lilian Kasait, who may be familiar from her 2013 World Youth title at 3,000. Another familiar name on the women’s team is 2015 world champion steeplechaser Hyvin Kepkemoi.

Manhattan: WR and U.S. high school records fall

As we’ve extensively covered on this site and on our Twitter account, the HOKA One One New Jersey-New York Track Club relay team of Donn Cabral, Ford Palmer, Graham Crawford and Kyle Merber ran a solo 16:12 to break the previous world record of 16:16.

The record-setting run may have overshadowed another brilliant run by Olympian Sydney McLaughlin as she ran 36.82 to break Francena McCorory’s 36.96 record from 2006. Next up: Sanya Richards-Ross’ outdoor 400 meter high school record? Richards-Ross pulled off her record-setting run at 17 years old and McLaughlin doesn’t turn 18 until August.

Staten Island: Ocean Breeze welcomes pros for the first time

Robby Andrews vs. Andrew Wheating for bragging rights to “Andrew” and a good ol’ throwback. Andrews got the win in 3:59.36 over Wheating’s 4:00.32. Sam Penzenstadler, who took down Andrews a few weeks ago, managed to hang with them and took third in 4:00.70. In the women’s mile, Rolanda Bell ended her indoor season with the “W” in 4:4:.40 for New York’s Central Park Track Club over Justin Fedronic’s 4:44.59.

Utah: Casey Clinger runs 8:54 to win 3,200m at Simplot Games

You can have fun with your NCAA conversions. Clinger running 8:54 at about 4,500 feet is very impressive even if some haters will try to discredit it because he’s altitude adjusted being from American Fork. He also beat the rest of the field by at least 26 seconds. Clinger is committed to BYU.

Miami: Tyrese Cooper celebrates early and gets DQ’ed

At the Louie Bing Track and Field Classic, high school star Tyrese Cooper started celebrating just before crossing the finish line and the initial reports said he ran sub-21, which doesn’t look like that was the case in this short and totally unreliable Instagram video.

He still ran 45.45 for the 400 and it’s only February so expect his name to be heard often during the outdoor season.

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