VT’s St. Pierre 1st American Woman to Win Indoor 3,000M World Title

WITH THRILLING FINISHES KERR & ST. PIERRE WIN WORLD INDOOR 3-K TITLESBy David Monti, @d9monti(c) 2024 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved






Elle St. Pierre wins the 3000m at the 2024 World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow (Photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)






Josh Kerr, Selemon Barega, Getnet Wale and Yared Nuguse battle with 60 meters to go in the 3000m final at the 2024 World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow (Photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)






GLASGOW (02-Mar) — Josh Kerr of Great Britain and Elle St. Pierre of the United States took home the gold medals in the 3000m here tonight on the second day of the World Athletics Indoor Championships at the Emirates Arena.  Kerr, 26, became the first Scottish athlete to win a global indoor title since 1993, blazing the final lap in 25.2 seconds and clocking 7:42.98.  Purrier, 29, who won the silver medal at the 2022 edition of these championships, became the first USA women in history to win the World Indoor title at 3000m, sprinting by three-time world champion Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia and setting a championships and North American record of 8:20.87.  Kerr and St. Pierre won the first distance medals awarded at these championships which will see four middle distance finals tomorrow.












In the women’s race, there was no waiting around.  Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech, the 2019 world steeplechase champion, went right to the front and set a fast tempo.  Tsegay, Australia’s Jessica Hull, and St. Pierre got right behind her and Chepkoech ticked off the first kilometer in a snappy 2:48.9.  Tsegay liked the pace, but wanted to take control of the race and went in front on the next lap.  That is where she would stay, lap after lap, burning off all but the best athletes.






At the 2000-meter mark (5:35.8) St. Pierre was sitting in fourth place.  She felt good, and the race was going just as she had expected and discussed with her coach, Mark Coogan.






“The race played out the way that I expected, which I is guess is a good thing,” St. Pierre told reporters.  “Looking at the field going in I knew it would be a fast race.  There was amazing athletes I was going up against.  I was confident that would work to my benefit, and I just tried to get myself into a good position, hang on to the pace, and close as fast as I could.”







At the bell, St. Pierre was sitting in third place just behind Tsegay and Chepkoech.  She waited for the backstretch before surging, successfully passing Chepkoech.  She then set her sights on Tsegay.  Rounding the final bend she went outside and passed the Ethiopian in the homestretch. She stretched her arms to the side as she crossed the line, smiling with delight and perhaps a little disbelief.






“It’s definitely really emotional,” St. Pierre said of her victory.  “It’s a dream come true.  I don’t think it has fully sunk in quite yet.”






Tsegay got the silver in 8:21.13, and Chepkoech the bronze in a national record 8:22.68.  Hull took fourth in an Oceania record of 8:24.39, and Scotswoman Laura Muir took fifth in 8:29.76 after running most of the race behind the leaders.





“In this sport everything happens so I accept this result and I will do better the next time,” Tsegay said in her post-race interview.  “I will focus on the summer now.”






For Muir –who grew up in Dundee, which is a 90-minute drive from here– it was a thrill to compete in front of the Scottish crowd.  She said that she modified her Olympic training program to make sure she could compete at these championships, a meet she would have skipped had it not been in Scotland.






“It’s really difficult when it’s an Olympic year,” Muir said.  “Any other place in the world I wouldn’t have run.  But, it’s here and I really wanted to run here.”












 Josh Kerr wins the 3000m at the 2024 World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow (Photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)






The men’s race was dramatically different, featuring a see-sawing pace followed by a last-lap burn-up.  American Yared Nuguse went through the first 400 meters in a modest 65 seconds, and the field was bunched-up behind him.  That pace was just too slow for the Ethiopian team of Selemon Barega, the reigning Olympic 10,000m champion and Getnet Wale, the fourth-fastest man ever at 3000m indoors (7:24.98).  Barega soon surged to the lead and upped the tempo.






“We had a plan to speed up the race,” Barega would say later.






Barega led through 1000 meters before Wale took over, staying on the front for most of the second kilometer.  Kerr was well off the lead, and was only in seventh place at 2000 meters.  But the Scotsman could see that things were setting up to his liking.  He was confident with his kick and he was just waiting for the right moment to attack.






“I had put the work in and all I had to do was execute, and I’m pretty good at that nowadays,” Kerr told reporters.  He continued: “I knew that was kind of going to be the tactics from the Ethiopians.”






Kerr moved into third position at 2200 meters, then with a lap to go he got up on Barega’s shoulder and hit the gas.  Nobody was going to catch the Tokyo Olympic 1500m bronze medalist.






“It was like a kid on Christmas with 200 meters to go,” Kerr explained.  “I was just waiting for my time and waiting for that 6:00 a.m. alarm and get up and open those presents.”





While Kerr was headed down the homestretch for gold, Nuguse was back in fourth place behind Wale and Barega.  The USA record holder for the mile wasn’t panicking and had saved something for the end. He went past Wale to take third, then set his sights on Barega whom he passed with about 20 meters left in the race.  He won the silver medal in 7:43.59 and was satisfied with his race.






“I wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be to fight for first,” Nuguse said of the final 400 meters.  “Maybe I would like, fight for a medal.  But I feel like I should have been a little bit higher to be able to strike and fight with Josh at the very end because I had a really great finish.  Still, I’m really proud of what I did and what I accomplished.”






Barega, the defending champion in this event, got third in 7:43.64, and Wale was fourth in 7:44.77.  The other American in the race, Olin Hacker, finished a surprise fifth in 7:45.40 in his first global championships.












 Jemma Reekie of Great Britain wins her 800m semi-final heat over Habitam Alemu of Ethiopia and Halimah Nakaayi of Uganda (Photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)







The semi-final round of the 800m saw American Bryce Hoppel and Briton Jemma Reekie post the best times and look the most relaxed at the finish line.






Hoppel, a four-time national 800m indoor champion, began his race today by throwing an arm against Frenchman Benjamin Robert whom the former Kansas Jayhawk thought was getting just a little too close.






“Robert was kind of in on me and I was like, oh, OK, let me just get out here,” Hoppel told reporters.  “I was the one on the outside.  I don’t think I was encroaching on him.  I was just trying to play it clean.”






In the second lap Algeria’s Mohamed Ali Gouaned made contact with Belgium’s Eliott Crestan, and the Algerian lost his balance and bowled into the infield hitting some of the starting line assets set up for the sprints.  His race was over.




“I saw it going on,” Hoppel recounted.  “I knew something was about to happen and I was hoping he didn’t roll over in front of me.”






With 200 meters to go Hoppel was running in third place behind Morocco’s Abdelati El Guesse and Crestan, while Robert and Spain’s Mohamed Attaoui were still close enough behind to be a threat.  Hoppel kept his powder dry, then sprinted wide for his final push to the line.  As he did in the preliminary round, he was able to ease up a little before the finish and nevertheless posted a fast time of 1:45.08.  Crestan (also 1:45.08) and Robert (1:45.28) finished second and third, respectively, and also advanced to Sunday’s final.  El Guesse took fourth in 1:45.45.






In the first heat the defending champion in this discipline, Spain’s Mariano Garcia, used a tactical approach to control the race.  He led his rivals through the first 400 meters in a pedestrian 54.5 seconds, so the entire field was with him including potential medalists Catalin Tecuceanu of Italy, Andreas Kramer of Sweden, and Isaiah Harris of the USA.  Garcia chose to make it a last-lap sprint, and he prevailed over Tecuceanu, 1:47.83 to 1:48.13.






Right on their heels Kramer and Harris scrapped for the third and final qualifying spot.  Kramer had the inside, and that tiny advantage in distance helped him to land third place in 1:48.14, a scant 4/100ths of a second ahead of Harris.






“It was just a battle,” Harris told reporters.  “At the end of the day I didn’t have enough.  I had a good close (but) I let him steal the inside earlier in the race.  I think that’s what cost me in the end.”






On the women’s side, Reekie ran in the second heat after getting a rousing welcome from the partisan crowd.  The Scotswoman was content to let Ethiopia’s Habitam Alemu set the pace, staying right behind her African rival until there was about 50 meters to go.  Then Reekie stepped out into the middle lanes and breezed past her to get the win in 1:58.28 to Alemu’s 1:58.59.






“It means a lot to me to be through to the final here in Glasgow,” Reekie told the flash quotes team here after her race.  “I’m so happy.  The race went to plan and now I can recover and come back tomorrow.”






Uganda’s Halimah Nakaayi, who was with Reekie and Alemu for most of the race, got the third and final qualifying spot from the second heat in 1:58.91.






The first heat saw Jamaica’s Natoya Goule-Toppin lead through 400 meters in a fast 58.14, but the Jamaican began to fade at the bell and ended up finishing last.  Ethiopia’s Tsige Duguma took over the lead from Goule-Toppin and never relinquished it, winning the heat in a personal best 1:58.35.  Benin’s Noelie Yarigo got second in 1:59.45, and Kenya’s Vivian Chebet Kiprotich got home third in a personal best 1:59.65.






Sunday’s finals are set for 21:10 for the men and 21:20 for the women.






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