Athletics: Kejelcha Rips Through Mile In World Record Time Of 3:47.01

Kejelcha Rips Through Mile In World Record Time Of 3:47.01

By Doug Binder, DyeStat Editor, March 4, 2019


Born 1 August 1997 (age 21)
Oromia, Ethiopia
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 58 kg (128 lb)

(DyeStat)– With a furious finishing kick, Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia left no doubt this time in his world record attempt in the indoor mile.

Kejelcha, of the Nike Oregon Project, ran 3 minutes, 47.1 seconds to smash the 22-year-old world record by the legendary Hicham El Guerrouj (3:48.45) in the Bruce Lehane Invitational Mile World Record Attempt.

Kejelcha, 21, was ushered through the first half of the race by three pace-setters, including Erik Sowinski and Harun Abda.


Kejelcha improved his PR in the 1,500 meters with an en route time of 3:31.25, but he did not surpass Samuel Tefera’s all-time record of 3:31.02 from earlier this month in Birmingham, England.

Johnny Gregorek of the New Jersey-New York Track Club/HOKA ONE ONE, running to second place, crashed through the 3:50 barrier with 3:49.98 — fast enough to move to No. 2 on the all-time U.S. list. He narrowly missed Bernard Lagat’s American record of 3:49.89, which was set in 2005.

Sam Prakel was third in 3:50.94 and moved to No. 5 on the all-time U.S. list.

Starter Tom McTaggart added a bit of history to his long resume. He was also the starter for Eamonn Coghlan’s world record and first sub-3:50 mile (3:49.78 in 1983).

Ce’Aira Brown won the women’s mile that preceded the world record attempt, in a personal-best 4:28.12, No. 11 in the world this year and just outside the top 25 all-time U.S. indoor performers.


Salazar: Kejelcha Aiming At 1,500, Mile WRs

By Doug Binder, DyeStat Editor, February 28, 2019

Yomif Kejelcha is going for a world record Sunday – and possibly two – in the Bruce Lehane Invitational Mile at Boston University.

Salazar and Kejelcha

The world record attempt will begin at 4 p.m. EST and follows the conclusion of the three-day IC4A/ECAC Championships. Both events will be carried live on RunnerSpace.

Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar said Wednesday that Kejelcha is fit and ready to go.

“I would say he’ll be the most rested that he’s been right now before any race this season,” Salazar said. “He’s not in better shape than he was at Millrose, because there hasn’t been enough time to do better workouts.”

Kejelcha missed Hicham El Guerrouj’s 1997 world record in the indoor mile by .01 seconds Feb. 9 in the Wanamker Mile at the NYRR Millrose Games, running 3:48.46.

That race was preceded by a Thursday workout that Salazar estimates was, “a little bit too hard.”

“It’s a fine line between over-doing it and under-doing it to get your legs feeling just right,” Salazar said.

A week later, Kejelcha ran in Birmingham, England to go after El Guerrouj’s 1,500-meter world record (3:31.18), which he set 10 days before he ran the mile record in 1997.

Fellow Ethiopian Samuel Tefera stole Kejelcha’s thunder, however, when he ran 3:31.04 to eclipse the record, and Kejelcha finished second in 3:31.52. At Millrose, Kejelcha’s en route time was 3:33.17.

In Boston, with Erik Sowinski employed as a pace-setter and FAT timing at the 1,500-meter mark, Kejelcha could nail down both records.

“He likes the 1,500 (meters), but I think the mile is more prestigious,” Salazar said. “He’s going for the 1,500 record, and afterwards just hope to maintain so he can get the mile as well.”

Sowinski plays a key part in the effort and Salazar believes he is the right man for the job.

“(Pacing) is crucial,” Salazar said. “You don’t want any big swings. Sometimes it’s a hard thing for a pacer to stay cool, and not overcompensate, if an early lap goes too slow. We want it to be as even as possible, 28.3 seconds for each 200.”

That means Sowinski will try to arrive at 800 meters in 1:52, and 1:53 at 880 yards.

“Sowinski, to me, is the most consistent middle-distance front runner in the world,” Salazar said. “He can run 1:46 in his sleep.”

Salazar has been public over the past couple of months about the world-record attempts, saying that they add excitement to the sport.

Kejelcha is a bit more modest in declaring his intentions, but Salazar said he is excited to do it.

“He’s gung-ho for it,” Salazar said. “He’s very shy and humble, so getting him to say ‘I want to break the record,’ it’s hard for him.”

The Nike Oregon Project group, aside from Kejelcha, had a big day Sunday at the Toyota USATF Indoor Championships in New York. Donavan Brazier ran an all-time world best in the 600 meters, with Clayton Murphy winning the 1,000 meters and Craig Engels winning the mile.

“It was a great day for us, obviously,” Salazar said.

A rumored 800 meters will not be part of Sunday’s schedule. Murphy has experienced some tenderness in his hamstring and is ready to end the indoor season. And Brazier, who earlier broke the American record at the NYRR Millrose Games in the 800, is content to stop as well.

The Oregon Project has evolved in recent years with new athletes coming in, half of whom are coached by Salazar and the other half by Pete Julian.

In addition to Kejelcha, Salazar oversees the training of marathoners Galen Rupp and Jordan Hasay, and middle-distance stars Murphy and Sifan Hassan.

Julian coaches Brazier, Engels, Shannon Rowbury, Japanese marathoner Suguro Osako and Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen.

Sunday’s world record attempt by Kejelcha will also include a second story line. Jesse Garn will handle the pacing for Engels, Johnny GregorekHenry WynneKyle Merber and others who will attempt to meet the IAAF World Championships “A” standard, which is 3:36 for 1,500 meters.