Tag Archives: Matthew Centrowitz

The 10 Most Thrilling, Mind-Blowing Races of 2021

From Athing Mu and Karsten Warholm on the track, to Peres Jepchirchir and Des Linden on the roads, these runs kept us on the edges of our seats.

After a year of race cancellations in 2020 because of COVID-19, in-person competition returned in a big way in 2021—and with it came a slew of historic performances.

The Tokyo Olympics this summer featured a number of world records and exciting podium finishes. Collegians broke through during their full season comeback to set records and mix it up with pros. And the World Marathon Majors returned with all six races scheduled within 42 days of each other, paving the way for some unprecedented accomplishments in the fall.

With a year’s worth of competition to reflect on, the Runner’s World editors picked 10 races that stood out from the rest. Here are the performances that put us on the edge of our seats in 2021.

Sydney McLaughlin of Team United States poses in front of the scoreboard after setting a new world record in the Women’s 400-m Hurdles Final on day 12 of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 04, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo : Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Sydney McLaughlin Breaks the World Record—Twice

This year, Sydney McLaughlin solidified herself as the greatest 400-meter hurdler of all time. The then-21-year-old kicked off the championship portion of her season by winning the final at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in 51.90, shattering the world record set by fellow Team USA standout Dalilah Muhammad at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

In Tokyo, McLaughlin won Olympic gold in 51.46, improving on her world record.

Allyson Felix celebrates winning her 11th Olympic medal.

Allyson Felix celebrates winning her 11th Olympic medal.

Allyson Felix becomes the most decorated track star in U.S. history

In her fifth Olympic Games, Allyson Felix clocked two stunning performances. The first was in the women’s 400-meter final when the champion sprinter earned bronze in 49.46, her 10th Olympic medal. The podium finish made her the most decorated female Olympian in track and field, and she passed Merlene Ottey and tied Carl Lewis, who has 10, as the most decorated American athlete in track and field.

Days later, Felix passed Lewis in the record books when she contributed to Team USA’s gold medal in the 4×400-meter relay. With a 49.38-second second lap, Felix maintained the lead for the Americans, who ultimately won in 3:16.85—a time less than two seconds off the world record of 3:15.17.

Karsten Warholm smashes his own World Record

Karsten Warholm goes into Hulk mode after setting the world record

A few weeks after breaking the previous world record in the men’s 400-meter hurdles, Karsten Warholm shattered the time again by winning Olympic gold in 45.94. The Norwegian came out on top in an all-out sprint to the finish against Team USA’s Rai Benjamin to claim his first Olympic medal and improve on the previous record of 46.70 set in Oslo in July.

Warholm’s performance in Tokyo marked the first time in history that an athlete has run under the 46-second barrier in the 400-meter hurdles. His celebration was also a major highlight; after seeing his time, the 25-year-old was overcome with emotion and ripped apart his jersey.

Molly Seidel of the United States celebrates after winning bronze at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Molly Seidel takes bronze in the Olympic marathon

In her third 26.2 ever, Molly Seidel became the third American in history and the first since 2004 to earn a podium spot at the Olympic Games. During the marathon in Sapporo, the Notre Dame graduate put in a hard surge with 5K remaining to finish third in 2:27:46.

The breakthrough performance was the latest in a series of successes at the distance. Seidel made her marathon debut at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, where she finished second to make her first Olympic team. In October 2020, she lowered her personal best to 2:25:13 at the London Marathon.

Three months after Tokyo, Seidel improved still by finishing fourth at the New York City Marathon in 2:24:42, bettering the American course record set by Kara Goucher in 2008.

Teenager Athing Mu becomes first American since 1968 to win Olympic gold in the 800 meters. PHOTO: Getty Images

Teenager Athing Mu becomes first American since 1968 to win Olympic gold in the 800 meters

Capping off a season that rewrote the record books, Athing Mu led the women’s 800-meter final wire-to-wire to win Olympic gold. In the process of clocking 1:55.21 in Tokyo, the 19-year-old became the first American gold medalist in the event since Madeline Manning Mims in 1968. She also lowered her own American record.

As a freshman at Texas A&M, she set collegiate records in the 400 and 800 meters before winning two NCAA outdoor titles and later turning pro. The Tokyo Games was Mu’s first open international competition.

Eliud Kipchoge defended his Olympic medal, winning the men’s marathon held in Sapporo. Photo: Getty Images

Eliud Kipchoge repeats as Olympic champion with huge winning margin

After pulling away from the pack at mile 19, Eliud Kipchoge cruised to victory for the second time to repeat as champion in the men’s marathon at the Olympic Games. In Sapporo, the world record-holder from Kenya finished in 2:08:38, 1:20 ahead of silver medalist Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands. His winning margin is the biggest since Frank Shorter won the 1972 Olympic marathon.

Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir wins the women’s marathon final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Sapporo on August 7, 2021. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

 Peres Jepchirchir wins back-to-back marathons

Just 13 weeks after winning the Olympic women’s marathon, Peres Jepchirchir won the New York City Marathon and became the first person since Shorter in 1972 to earn Olympic gold and then come to a major fall marathon and win again.

The Kenyan finished in 2:27:20 on a sweltering day in Sapporo on August 7, besting world record-holder and countrywoman Brigid Kosgei. On November 7, the two-time half marathon world champion fought off competitors Viola (Lagat) Cheptoo and Ababel Yeshaneh on the final stretch to secure another victory in Central Park. She covered the New York City course in 2:22:39.

Jacob Kiplimo breaks the half marathon world record

 Jacob Kiplimo breaks the half marathon world record

On November 21, Jacob Kiplimo lowered the world record by winning the Lisbon Half Marathon in 57:31, a 4:23/mile pace. The Olympic bronze medalist from Uganda improved on the previous world record of 57:32 set by Kibiwott Kandie at the Valencia Half Marathon in December 2020.

Kiplimo raced a mostly solo effort, breaking away from the competition just after 3K, and blazed through the 15K in 40:27—the fastest time ever recorded for the distance. He slowed down slightly in the later stages but held on just enough to dip under the record.

Des Linden sets the 50K record

Des Linden sets the 50K record

A little over a year after finishing an agonizing fourth place at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, Des Linden set her sights on a thrilling new challenge: The 50K world record.

On April 13, on a deserted bike path outside of Eugene, Oregon, the two-time Olympian covered 50K (31.06 miles) in 2:59:54, more than seven minutes faster than the previous record of 3:07:20, set by British ultrarunner Aly Dixon in 2019. Linden averaged 5:47/mile pace to set the new record.

Cole Hocker (center) and Yared Nuguse (left) both qualified for the U.S. Olympic team as college athletes. Photo: CORTNEY WHITE

Two collegians make the Olympic team in the men’s 1500 meters

 The men’s 1500-meter final at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials was a nail-biter, with plenty of exciting buildup to set the stage for an upset and a rivalry.

During the NCAA regular season, then-Oregon runners Cooper Teare and Cole Hocker broke the NCAA indoor mile record by running 3:50.39 and 3:50.55, respectively, on February 12 in Arkansas. In May, Notre Dame runner Yared Nuguse broke the collegiate record in the 1500 meters by clocking a solo 3:34.68 in the first round of the ACC Outdoor Track and Field Championships. In June, Nuguse and Hocker faced off at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, where Hocker out-kicked Nuguse. The middle-distance stars met again two weeks later as only two collegians in the 1500-meter final at the Trials in Eugene, Oregon.

With an all-out sprint down the homestretch, Hocker won the national title in 3:35:28, beating 2016 Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz, who finished second. Nuguse secured his place on the Olympic team by placing third, but he withdrew from the Games with a quad strain.

Source: runnersworld.com

Jake Wightman runs away with 5th Avenue Mile title

The 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, Jake Wightman took the top honors at the 5th Avenue Mile that was held on Sunday (12) in New York City.

Wightman, who won this event in 2018 and knew how to gauge his effort to the finish, ran a very speedy  and calculative race that led him to clinch the title the second time in 3:49.6, with Australian Oliver Hoare forced to settle on the second place in 3:50.4. Another British athlete, Jake Heyward closed the podium three finishes in 3:50.4

The 27-year-old Wightman, like his countrywoman Reekie, was concluding a long season on the track, which included a 10th-place finish in the Olympic 1500-meter final.

“That’s a straight mile PB, but I feel pretty grim now,” Wightman said of his win, which was nearly five seconds faster than his win in 2018. “That was hard work.”

Unites states was represented by Sam Prakel who crossed the line in fourth place in 3:50.5.

Matthew Centrowitz darted out of the pack just before halfway to earn the $1,000 bonus, before finishing 14th in 3:56.4.

LEADING RESULTS

MEN

  1. Jake Wightman     (BRT) 3:49.6
  2. Oliver Hoare         (AUS) 3:50.4
  3. Jake Heyward       (BRT) 3:50.4
  4. Sam Prakel           (USA) 3:50.5

Paul Chelimo to battle Matthew Centrowitz at New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile

The 2016 Rio Olympic 5000m silver medallist Paul Chelimo from the United States will be leading a star studded field of elite athletes at the New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile that will be held on Sunday (12) from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to Grand Army Plaza.

Chelimo will battle for glory with the 2016 Olympic 1500m champion Matthew Centrowitz who won the 2012 edition in 3:52.4.

He nearly won again in 2016 but was piped at the line by his then Nike Oregon Project teammate Eric Jenkins and finished second. Centrowitz, who did not make it out of the semi-finals of the 1500m, last month at the Tokyo Olympics, will be running on Fifth Avenue for the sixth time.

“I’m excited to return to New York for my sixth race down Fifth Avenue, a race I first won nine years ago,” Centrowitz said through a statement. “Heading back East and ending my season there is like a great end-of-summer tradition, and I’m looking to show the rest of the guys I’ve still got a step or two left in 2021.”

Chelimo won bronze in the same discipline in Tokyo last month, has never run on Fifth Avenue before. However, he has finished on the podium before in two road races in New York: the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5-K in 2018 where he topped and United Airlines NYC Half where finished in third place.

“I’ve already run a 5-K and half marathon in New York, so now I just need to check the mile and the marathon off my list,” Chelimo said through a media release. “Running a straight line down Fifth Avenue is very different than running laps on a track, and I’ve got more road racing experience than the other guys in this field. I’m confident in my finish, so if I can keep it close through halfway, I think I can beat the milers at their own game. Go hard or suffer for the rest of your life.”

The 2016 Olympic 800m bronze medalist, Clayton Murphy  is also in the field, as are 2017 European Athletics Indoor Championships 3000m bronze medalist Adel Mechaal of Spain, and 2018 European Athletics Championships 1500m bronze medalist Jake Wightman of Great Britain.

The reigning champion and five-time winner Nick Willis of New Zealand will not defend his title.

Centrowitz delights crowd with solid double at USATF Distance Classic

On a beautiful spring evening on the campus of Occidental College distance runners took to the track at the USATF Distance Classic looking to hit a new gear as the USATF Outdoor Championships quickly approach.

Craig Engels, the 2018 World Indoor 800m finalist, came from behind to defeat a stacked men’s 800m field in 1:47.40. Carter Lily took second crossing the line in 1:47.54 and Harun Abda was third in 1:47.87. Olympic 1500m gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz finished fifth with a season best 1:48.36. In his outdoor season debut, 2017 World Indoor Champion Boris Berian returned to the track from an achilles injury to finish in 1:50.70.

The four fastest men’s 1500m times came out of heat one with John Gregorek winning in 3:36.95, Jordan Gusman finished second with a time of 3:37.52, Hassan Mead crossed the line in 3:38.32 and Edward Crawford clocked 3:38.67. Centrowitz returned an hour after the 800m to win section two of the 1500m, holding off Kyle Merber for a time of 3.38.99. Merber clocked 3:39.15 and Colby Alexander finished in third in section two in 3:39.74.

In the women’s 800m, Ce’Aira Brown out kicked Hanna Green and Brenda Martinez in the final 100m, missing a new personal best by less than a second with a time of 2:00.38. Green clocked 2:01.40 for second place while Martinez, the meet and stadium record holder finished third with a time of 2:02.03.

Shalaya Kipp won the women’s 3000m Steeplechase in 9:44.34 and M.J. Erb won on the men’s side in 8:32.78.

In a tight battle in the 5000m, Lauren Paquette edged out Rachel Cliff in 15:19.17. Cliff crossed the line in 15:20.66. To close out the night, Reid Buchanan clocked 13:33.38 to defeat George Parsons.