USATF Distance Classic — 5000s Not To Be Forgotten

Elle St. Pierre had not raced a 5000 in nearly 2 years. Running from the front here, she chopped 24.05 from her best and closed in 63.24. (JEFF COHEN)

WESTWOOD, CALIFORNIA, May 17 — A pair of sparkling 5000s adorned the USATF Distance Classic, held the night before the main Los Angeles Grand Prix program. The men’s race featured a field worthy of a global championship, replete with World Record holders and World and Olympic champions. Not surprisingly, the comp produced U.S.- and world-leading performances.

Britain’s Sam Atkin took care of the early 5K pace, staying on the lights through a steady flow of 62-second circuits, hitting 3000 in 7:47.05. A lap later, he lost his grip and the pack started bunching. Cooper Teare moved to the front for a spell before Berihu Aregawi took over approaching 4K (10:25.31). The Ethiopian stayed in front past the ringing of the bell, with teammates Selemon Barega and Biniam Mehary and Ugandans Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo jockeying for position behind him, as AR holder Grant Fisher fought to remain in contention.

On the last lap, the real speed belonged to Barega, who closed in 54.15 to clock 12:51.60. Aregawi kept the fight up to the end for his 12:52.09. Both Cheptegei (12:52.38) and Kiplimo (12:52.91) stayed ahead of Fisher’s 12:53.30. Mehary finished 6th in a PR 12:54.10 as 11 broke 13, including training partners Teare (9th in 12:54.72) and Cole Hocker (11th in 12:58.82). The depth of the competition was verified by the fastest-ever times for places 8 and 9. Fisher’s run was the fourth-fastest by an American; Teare moved to No. 4 performer.

Noted Fisher, “This was a great field to not have to travel to Europe to get.”

Elle St. Pierre’s run in the women’s 5000 turned out to be a sobering demonstration of her incredible fitness. She led from the start, clicking off the steady laps as only Venezuela’s Joselyn Brea and Whittni Morgan tried to stay close. After 3000 (8:54.50) the World Indoor 3K champ turned up the notch to sub-70 laps. At the bell, Brea still shadowed her, but St. Pierre sprinted powerfully to cover the last circuit in 63.24 for a PR 14:34.12 to move to No. 5 on the U.S. all-time list. Brea clocked 14:36.59, and Britain’s Hannah Nuttall was far back in 3rd (14:57.91). A pack of American women occupied the next 8 places, all under 15:15, led by Ella Donaghu’s PR 14:58.39.

“I was just trying to get the Olympic standard and have some opportunities open for me,” St. Pierre explained. “I knew I’d probably PR in the 5 because I hadn’t run it in a long time.”

The evening’s races provided a solid stream of notable performances. Sammy Watson took the 800, kicking past Canada’s Jazz Shukla, 2:00.73–2:01.18. In another section, Kate Grace reemerged after nearly 3 years away from competition, clocking 2:01.93 in 1st. Grace, 35, gave birth to a son, River, 14 months ago.

Ceili McCabe took the steeple in a Canadian Record 9:20.58 ahead of Madie Boreman’s PR 9:21.98 with ’22 world champ Norah Jeruto next in 9:22.45. Tokyo Olympian Heather MacLean showed she is back in the 1500 mix with a wire-to-wire win in 4:02.49.

On the men’s side, it was Hobbs Kessler who showed off his speed in the 800, cruising a PR 1:45.07 for the win over Mexico’s Jesús López (1:45.23) after being in last place at 200 and squeezing between two others on the homestretch before bumping past López on the inside.

“I feel pretty good about it,” said Kessler, “like I have some gears… It’s not a route I’m proud of at all, but I’m proud I got the win.”

The steeple went to Canada’s Jean-Simon Desgagnés in 8:16.49 with Matthew Wilkinson (8:16.59) and Alec Basten (8:19.96) both setting lifetime bests. In the 1500, Kessler’s training partner, Morgan Beadlescomb, also had a kick to show off, capping his PR 3:35.84 with a 55.54 final lap that gapped his pursuers. Matt Wisner, another fast finisher, got a PR 3:36.45, followed by Johnnie Gregorek (3:36.55) and Brannon Kidder (3:36.57).


800: 1. Hobbs Kessler (US) 1:45.07 PR; 2. Jesús López (Mex) 1:45.23; 3. Festus Lagat (Ken) 1:45.28; 4. Reece Sharman-Newell (GB) 1:45.50; 5. Abraham Alvarado (US) 1:45.62 PR; 6. Josh Hoey (US) 1:45.65; 7. Luciano Fiore (US) 1:46.45; 8. Ronaldo Olivo (Spa) 1:46.47.

1500: 1. Morgan Beadlescomb (US) 3:35.84 PR; 2. Matt Wisner (US) 3:36.45 PR; 3. Johnny Gregorek (US) 3:36.55; 4. Brannon Kidder (US) 3:36.57; 5. Casey Comber (US) 3:36.87; 6. Waleed Suliman (US) 3:37.04; 7. David Ribich (US) 3:37.41.

St: 1. Jean-Simon Desgagnés (Can) 8:16.49; 2. Matthew Wilkinson (US) 8:16.59 PR; 3. Alec Basten (US) 8:19.96 PR; 4. Zak Seddon (GB) 8:20.77 PR; 5. Derek Johnson (US) 8:20.90 PR; 6. Joey Berriatua (US) 8:21.98 PR; 7. Duncan Hamilton (US) 8:23.10; 8. Matthew Clarke (Aus) 8:24.37; 9. Isaac Updike (US) 8:25.88; 10. Daniel Michalski (US) 8:28.07; 11. Christian Noble (US) 8:28.29;… 14. Evan Jager (US) 8:35.99.

5000: I–1. Selemon Barega (Eth) 12:51.60 (WL);

2. Berihu Aregawi (Eth) 12:52.09; 3. Joshua Cheptegei (Uga) 12:52.38; 4. Jacob Kiplimo (Uga) 12:52.91;

5. Grant Fisher (US) 12:53.30 (x, 4 A);

6. Biniam Mehary (Eth) 12:54.10 PR; 7. Moh Ahmed (Can) 12:54.22; 8. Sam Atkin (GB) 12:54.66 PR;

9. Cooper Teare (US) 12:54.72 PR (4, 10 A);

10. Stewart McSweyn (Aus) 12:56.07 PR; 11. Cole Hocker (US) 12:58.82 PR; 12. Morgan McDonald (Aus) 13:00.48 PR. (best-ever mark-for-place: 8–9)

II–1. Abdihamid Nur (US) 13:04.40 PR; 2. Drew Hunter (US) 13:08.57 PR; 3. Ahmed Muhumed (US) 13:08.73 PR; 4. Bob Liking (US) 13:09.31 PR; 5. Olin Hacker (US) 13:09.64 PR; 6. Dylan Jacobs (US) 13:10.66 PR; 7. Eduardo Herrera (Mex) 13:12.20 PR; 8. Kasey Knevelbaard (US) 13:13.23 PR.


800: I–1. Sammy Watson (US) 2:00.73; 2. Jazz Shukla (Can) 2:01.18; 3. Olivia Baker (US) 2:02.23; 4. Meghan Hunter (US) 2:02.34; 5. Kendra Coleman (US) 2:02.77; 6. Kaela Edwards (US) 2:02.95.

II–1. Charlene Lipsey (US) 2:02.16; 2. Kassidy Johnson (US) 2:02.59.

III–1. Kate Grace (US) 2:01.93.

1500: I–1. Heather MacLean (US) 4:02.49; 2. Dorcus Ewoi (Ken) 4:05.53 PR; 3. Ellie Leather (GB) 4:06.12 PR; 4. Christina Aragon (US) 4:06.53 PR; 5. Rachel McArthur (US) 4:06.67 PR; 6. Yolanda Ngarambe (Swe) 4:06.69; 7. Alexina Teubel (US) 4:07.33; 8. Laurie Barton (US) 4:07.68 PR; 9. Anna Gibson (US) 4:08.06 PR; 10. Angel Piccirillo (US) 4:08.12; 11. Maddy Berkson (US) 4:08.50 PR; 12. Km Deeksha (Ind) 4:08.51.

II–1. Lauren Ryan (Aus) 4:08.15 PR; 2. Grace Stalnaker (US) 4:09.27.

St: 1. Ceili McCabe (Can) 9:20.58 NR; 2. Madie Boreman (US) 9:21.98 PR; 3. Norah Jeruto (Kaz) 9:22.45; 4. Lea Meyer (Ger) 9:22.51; 5. Alicja Konieczek (Pol) 9:22.52; 6. Angelina Ellis (US) 9:25.25 PR; 7. Logan Jolly (US) 9:26.23 PR; 8. Amy Cashin (Aus) 9:26.85; 9. Elizabeth Bird (GB) 9:32.95; 10. Lexy Halladay (US) 9:39.26.

5000: 1. Elle St. Pierre (US) 14:34.12 PR (5, 6 A);

2. Joselyn Daniely Brea (Ven) 14:36.59 NR; 3. Hannah Nuttall (GB) 14:57.91 PR; 4. Ella Donaghu (US) 14:58.39 PR; 5. Allie Buchalski (US) 15:01.75; 6. Abby Nichols (US) 15:03.17 PR; 7. Bethany Hasz (US) 15:05.80 PR; 8. Whittni Morgan (US) 15:11.35; 9. Elly Henes (US) 15:12.69; 10. Annie Rodenfels (US) 15:13.30 PR; 11. Katie Wasserman (US) 15:14.15.

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