Multiple NCAA champion Edward Cheserek produced the second-fastest indoor time in history, 3:49.44, to win the mile at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational in Boston on Friday (9).
The US-based Kenyan had won two mile races already this indoor season, but neither one of those were in ideal conditions. The first, a 3:54.73 clocking, was set at altitude in Albuquerque. His second, a 3:53.85 victory in Winston-Salem, was achieved on a flat 200m track.
But, assisted by two pacemakers for three quarters of the race, Cheserek found the conditions to his liking at the Boston University Track Center. The 24-year-old was able to cover each of the eight laps in about 28-29 seconds before crossing the finish line in 3:49.44.
Hicham El Guerrouj, who holds the world indoor record at 3:48.45, is the only man in history with a faster indoor mile performance. Cheserek also smashed his own Kenyan record of 3:52.01 which he set last year.
Aside from El Guerrouj and Cheserek, only two other men – Ireland’s Eamonn Coghlan and USA’s Bernard Lagat – have ever bettered 3:50 indoors.
Cheserek's next race is over 3000m at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Boston on Saturday.
Harrison flies to 7.72
Several world-leading marks were set at the Clemson Tiger Paw Invitational in Clemson, but the headline performance came from Kendra Harrison.
After clocking a season’s best of 7.81 in her heat, the 100m hurdles world record-holder sped to a 7.72 victory in the final. Her time tied the North American indoor record, set in 2010 by two-time world indoor champion Lolo Jones.
Harrison’s training partner Omar McLeod, the world and Olympic 110m hurdles champion, suffered his first 60m hurdles defeat since 2014. He won his heat in 7.46 but was beaten in the final by 20-year-old Grant Holloway of the University of Florida, who won in a collegiate record of 7.42, taking 0.07 off the PB he set three weeks ago on the same track.
World U20 200m champion Michael Norman produced the fastest debut indoor 400m in history to win over two laps of the track in Clemson. The 20-year-old sped through the first 200m in 20.91 before going on to cross the finish line in 45.00, taking him to seventh on the world indoor all-time list. Nathan Strother finished second in 45.56.
Jamaica’s Akeem Bloomfield, also 20 years of age, was just marginally slower in the second heat. The Auburn University student clocked 45.02 to take 0.35 off Pete Coley’s Jamaican indoor record and move up to equal eighth on the world indoor all-time list.
Later that afternoon, Norman teamed up with his USC teammates Zach Shinnick, Rai Benjamin and Ricky Morgan to win the 4x400m in 3:01.98, the second-fastest time in history.
Manyonga breaks African indoor long jump record
Four days after making his career indoor debut, world long jump champion Luvo Manyonga was back on an indoor runway on Sunday (11), this time at the Meeting Elite en salle de Metz. And once again, he was in record-breaking form.
After fouls in the first two rounds, he landed an 8.12m jump in round three. Having found his stride, he then improved with each of his remaining jumps, leaping 8.22m and 8.27m before ending his series with 8.40m.
Not only did his winning mark better the South African record of 8.32m he had set earlier in the week, it also added four centimetres to the African record set 12 years ago by Ignisious Gaisah.
Manyonga had to produce a big leap in the final round as Cuban teenager Juan Miguel Echevarria had taken the lead with his last-round jump of 8.34m. The last time two men jumped beyond 8.34m in an indoor competition was back at the 1999 IAAF World Indoor Championships.
Double world silver medallist Marie-Josee Ta Lou sped to a 7.07 clocking in the women’s 60m to win by 0.02 from Carina Horn, whose time of 7.09 broke the South African record. Ta Lou now joins fellow Ivorian Murielle Ahoure at the top of the 2018 world list for the event.
Ben Youssef Meite, also of the Ivory Coast, recorded the fastest time in the men’s 60m with his 6.55 in the heats, but he was beaten in the final by Jamaica’s Kimmari Roach, 6.59 to 6.61.
One hour after winning the 60m ‘B’ final in 6.66, Olympic bronze medallist Christophe Lemaitre won the 200m in 20.53.
Lavillenie and Braz renew rivalry
For the first time since the 2016 Olympic Games, Thiago Braz and Renaud Lavillenie filled the top two places in a pole vault competition. But unlike in Rio, they shared pole position at the Perche Elite Tour meeting in Rouen on Saturday (10).
Lavillenie was the first to take the lead, entering the competition with a first-time clearance at 5.60m. Braz, who had one failure at 5.50m, also got over 5.60m on his first try but then needed two attempts at 5.70m while Lavillenie only needed one.
Lavillenie was the next to falter, though. After a failure and a clearance at 5.78m, the world record-holder registered a failure at 5.84m. Braz, meanwhile, successfully negotiated that height with his first try.
The pair were then matched at 5.90m as they both got over it on their first attempt. Braz then skipped straight to 6.00m, at which he was unsuccessful, while Lavillenie took two tries at 5.95m before one final failure at 6.00m. But both men were happy enough to share first place with a world-leading height.
For Braz especially it marked a notable return to form; this was his best clearance since winning the Olympic title in Rio 18 months ago.
In fifth place, world decathlon champion Kevin Mayer added 20 centimetres to his lifetime best with a clearance at 5.60m.
World and Olympic champion Ekaterini Stefanidi won the women’s contest with a season’s best of 4.82m. Britain’s Holly Bradshaw, making her season’s debut, finished second with 4.60m.
Karalis sets world U20 pole vault record
On the second day of the Greek Championships, Emmanouíl Karalís set a world U20 pole vault record (pending ratification) of 5.78m.
The 2015 world U18 bronze medallist had first-time clearances up to and including 5.71m, his first PB of the competition. He then cleared his record height and went on to have decent attempts at 5.86m.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF