Centro Returns to Form, U.S. Women's 5K List Sees Changes, The Goose Is Loose!

The stars showed up at the Track Meet in California this weekend while some conference championship marks and performances made history.

This is the CITIUS MAG Newsletter, a weekly round-up of the biggest stories in the running and track & field community with analysis and commentary by me, Chris Chavez. If you’ve been forwarded this email or stumbled upon a link online, you can sign up and subscribe here:

I was away for most of the weekends in the Poconos with some friends so I wasn’t able to watch most of this weekend’s action live so I spent my Sunday night and Saturday morning catching up on things to bring you all the notable news and results from the past few days

Here are some of the notable runs from The Track Meet in California:

– Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz showed a return to form with a 3:35.26 win in the men’s 1,500m. So many people overreacted to his 1:50 season opener in the 800m. I noted how it’s too early to rush to any conclusion on someone who has made every world championship and Olympic team since 2011. His win this weekend just showed that he’s going to be ready for when it matters in just a few weeks. (There was a big fall at the start of the race that took out Moh Ahmed and Eric Avila that maybe should have been recalled and brought the runners back to the start. Mac Fleet had a detailed breakdown of what happened on Twitter.)

– A common theme we’re starting to see at these domestic U.S. meets is some British dominance. Laura Muir won the women’s 800m in 1:58.71 and Katie Snowden took the 1,500m in 4:02.98. In the 800,  Purrier ran 1:59.99 to join Mary Decker, Suzy Favor Hamilton, Anna Willard, Shelby Houlihan, Shannon Rowbury and Christin Wurth-Thomas as the only American women to have broken two minutes for the 800 and four minutes for the 1,500m outdoors. Of that list, only Houlihan, Rowbury and Purrier have broken 15 minutes for the 5,000m. 

Zouhair Talbi, who fans of the Trials of Miles Qualifier series would remember from his 10,000m win in Texas and 5,000m victory in Kansas, continued his hot streak. The Morrocan won the men’s 10,000m in 27:20.61. Emmanuel Bor of WCAP was the top American in second place running 27:22.80 to just beat out Joe Klecker 27:23.44. NCAA champion and recent CITIUS MAG Podcast guest Conner Mantz took fourth in 27:41.16 to just miss the Olympic standard by 13 seconds.

– Oh Canada! Andrea Secccafien set a national record with her 31:13.94 win in the women’s 10,000m. The previous record of 31:41.59 was held by Natasha Wodak since 2015. Ednah Kurgat, the 2017 NCAA Cross Country champion out of New Mexico now running for the U.S. Army, was the top American in 31:21.65 to nip Sara Hall at the finish line by .25 seconds. Big run for Asics’ Makena Morley to drop her personal best from 32:28.58 to 31:25.19 but was one of four women who just missed out on the 31:25.00 Olympic standard by less than a second.

– Reigning 1,500m and 10,000m world champion Sifan Hassan won the women’s 5,000m by 16 seconds in her outdoor season opener. If we want to talk about range, she will be dropping all the way down to the 800 meters to flash some speed at the Trials of Miles New York City Qualifier this Friday night. (Subscribe and watch live, for free on the CITIUS MAG YouTube Channel.)

– Five women broke 15 minutes. 11 new women qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials. Josette Norris, who Run Your Mouth podcast host David Melly said to buy stock in back in early March, was the top American with her 14:51.42 win. That puts her ahead of Deena Kastor on the all-time list at No. 9. Rachel Schneider in third place with a 14:52.04 slides in at No. 11 U.S. all-time now. Emily Sisson’s fourth place finish in 14:53.84 has her at No. 12 on the all-time list now. In the last 12 months, Jen Rhines, Kara Goucher and Lisa Uhl have been bumped off the top 10 U.S. all-time list.

– Moh Ahmed bounced back to win the men’s 5,000m in 13:18.49. Great Britain’s Andrew Butchart, who has been training with Mo Farah according to Instagram, ran 13:20.39 for second place.

Meanwhile in the NCAA…

– Notre Dame’s Yared Nuguse had one of the most baller conference championship performances of the weekend by deciding to go out and solo a 3:34.68 to set a new American collegiate record and win the first heat of the men’s 1,500 at the ACC Championships. That performance also keeps him atop the list as the fastest American of the year.

Terrance Laird is one of my favorite college athletes to follow on Instagram for the highlights he’s able to share on there. The LSU junior won the SEC men’s 100m in 9.80 (+3.2m/s wind), 200m in 19.82 (1.7 m/s) and 4x100m. His 200m win was the fifth-fastest performance of all-time in NCAA history. He’s already the third-fastest NCAA 200m guy ever since his 19.81 at the Texas Relays in March.

– Alabama junior Tamara Clark clocked a 10.87 (+2.7m/s wind) win in the women’s 100m and a 21.89 (+4.1 m/s) wind to match the double on the women’s side. 

– Texas A&M star Athing Mu won the women’s 400m in 49.84, which gives her a U.S. junior record and makes her the eighth member of the sub-50 and sub-2:00 club. Mu is just 18 years old. Statistician Jon Mulkeen noted that the next-youngest member to join that club was Germany’s Dagmar Neubauer, who was 21 years old when she pulled off the feat. 

– LSU junior JuVaughn Harrison is going to be entertaining to watch at the NCAA Championships and Olympic Trials as the United States’ best high jump talent at the moment. He cleared 2.36m. In the last 10 years, only Erik Kynard has jumped higher but he hasn’t been able to do it since 2015. Harrison is the future and the future is now.

– I’m starting to wonder what Athletics Kenya may be thinking in their Olympic selection process regarding Wesley Kiptoo because the Iowa State sophomore pulled off the 3,000m steeplechase (8:31.82), 5,000m (13:29.92) and 10,000m (28:22.98) triple at the Big 12 Championships in Manhattan, Kansas. He ran the 10K on Friday (with a 4:19 first mile), came back for the steeplechase on Saturday and closed his weekend with the 5,000m on Sunday (with a 2:33 first kilometer). He won each of those races by at least 13 seconds. [h/t Rory Linkletter]

– The men of Oregon won their 14th consecutive PAC-12 conference championship title. There was a 46-man 5,000m final that ended with Cole Hocker and Cooper Teare going 1–2 in 13:32.68 and 13:34.45. Teare claimed the 1,500m title in 3:39.81. Hocker set a personal best of 1:46.39 but it was only good enough for third in the 800 as USCs Isaiah Jewett and Oregon teammate Charlie Hunter ran 1:45.16 and 1:46.34, respectively. USC’s women won their third consecutive team title with many thanks to Twanisha Terry’s wins in the 100m (11.10) and 200m (22.72).

– This is the energy that I’m trying to channel this Friday night in my mile race.

Elsewhere Around the World

– The New York City Marathon will return at 60% capacity or approximately 33,000 runners on the starting line in Staten Island on Nov. 7, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday. The race typically hosts more than 55,000 runners in a normal year. NYRR’s website has more information including the fact that there will be a staggered start; runners will need to test negative or show proof of vaccination and there’s no lottery for entry this time around.

Great news to start the week. I can’t wait to enter. It’s the 50th anniversary and there’s no better day in the city than marathon Sunday. Can’t wait for the party on the streets. Dr. Fauci for Grand Marshal. Make it happen, New York Road Runners.

– I’m still trying to wrap my head around who Titus Ekiru is. The 29-year-old Kenyan ran 2:02:57, which was Dennis Kimetto’s world record in 2014 but now just gets you fifth on the all-time list, to win the Generali Milano Marathon in Italy on Sunday. He entered the weekend with a 2:04:46 personal best from this race in 2019. After the race, he said: “Maybe I can run 2:01 in the future.” The next time you may see Ekiru race 26.2 miles could be at one of the major marathons in the fall because he was not listed on Kenya’s shortlist for the Tokyo Olympics. 

On the women’s side, Hiwot Gebremaryam Gebrekidan ran 2:19:35, which I believe is the first sub-2:20 of 2021 and the first one we’ve seen since Peres Jepchirchir’s 2:1:16 win in Valencia last December.

– The Jamaican high school championships, aka Champs, made its return for the first time since 2019. That’s one of the meets that’s on my bucket list to attend someday but it’s so bizarre to see photos and videos of it being held without any spectators due to the pandemic.

Molly Seidel put a call out on Instagram looking for a race to substitute in place of missing the Olympic Marathon test event in Sapporo. She ended up in New Boston, New Hampshire, where she clocked a 71:36 for the women’s title and a third place finish overall. 

– Congratulations to former Colorado Buffaloes cross country star Morgan Pearson for making the U.S. Olympic team in the triathlon. He finished third at the World Triathlon Championships in Yokohama. He made up 35 places on the running portion and finished third overall, which locked up his spot because the highest-placing man in the top 8 secured an auto qualifier for Toyko.


The grand finale! The New York City Qualifier is the last stop on Trials of Miles Racing’s 2021 meet calendar before the U.S. Olympic Trials. The meet is going to be held at Icahn Stadium on Friday night, May 21. 

The Knicks are in the playoffs. The Liberty are 3–0 to start their season.  The Yankees have won six of their last 10 games and sit just outside of first place in the American League East. New York is far from dead. There hasn’t been a pro meet this big in New York City since the Diamond League pulled its Big Apple stop after 2015. We’ve been allowed to have 800 fans in the stands for this meet. If you’re in the New York City area, this is one of your few chances to see some of the stars that will represent the United States at the Tokyo Olympics in action.

Get your tickets here. (NOTE: Anyone who attends the event must either provide proof of vaccine or produce a negative Covid test within 72 hours of the event.)

For those unable to attend in-person, the free YouTube Live stream with me and Kyle Merber will be back. Ali Feller, the host of the Ali on the Run Show, will be hitting the sidelines for interviews. 

The action gets underway with six races at 6 p.m. ET before the main event starts at 7 p.m. These races will be streamed on YouTube. Set your reminder on YouTube now to watch live.

The main event will begin with an exhibition mile featuring me and New York Times best-selling author and Revisionist History podcast host Malcolm Gladwell. Will we go sub-5? My personal best is 5:09 from last October. I don’t know if I’m in better shape right now (I did have some decent workouts in the last two weeks) but I’m ready to give it my best shot and glue myself to pacer Brian Schroy.

It feels like we’ll have a slew of podcast hosts in the house since “More Than Running” host Dana Giordano (4:08.62 PR) and her BAA teammate Erika Kemp look to show off some of their fitness after a long altitude stint in Park City Utah.

The men’s 1,500m is made up of some of the best East Coast 1,500m pros. Isaac Updike ran a 3:41.47 personal best at the Texas Qualifier but that’s way before he broke through with his 8:17.74 for the 3,000m steeplechase in Eugene. Former Oregon teammates Eric Jenkins (3:35.94 PR) and Colby Alexander (3:34.88) look to stop him. 

One of the best events of the night will be the men’s and women’s 800s. Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy headlines the men’s side with his 1:42.93 personal best. He’s one of four men who have run under 1:45. Sifan Hassan, Charlene Lipsey and Shelayna Oksan-Clarke are the three sub-2 women racing. Hassan’s 1:56.81 personal best was set at the Monaco Diamond League.

The men’s steeplechase will have Travis Mahoney, Jordan Mann, Brian Shrader and Germany’s Johannes Motschmann looking for marks for the Olympic trials and Olympics. On the women’s side, we’ll see Katie Kunc try and get closer to the standard for Tokyo after she set a 9:44 personal best at the Trials of Miles Kansas City Qualifier.

For more information on the meet, check out the Trials of Miles Racing website

I’ll have a new episode of The CITIUS MAG Podcast coming on Wednesday.

In the meantime, you can check out…

Sam Snyder on Social Sport talking about where conservation, political organizing and running intersect.

– Get to know Dan Michalski, who ran 8:21 to get the Olympic standard at the USATF Distance Open, on Run Your Mouth. He now runs for Tracksmith in their Amateur Support Program and works at LeTourneau University to juggle with his training that has him as the top steeplechasers in the world for the year.

That’s it from me in the latest edition of the CITIUS MAG Newsletter. Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this, learned something new or have any questions or commentary on anything featured in this issue, feel free to hit my inbox: chris@citiusmag.com

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