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Great Britain’s Josh Kerr took down Sebastian Coe’s 1500m American soil record by finishing the Stumptown Twilight race in the time of 3:31.55. Kerr improved the British-on-American-soil record of 3:32.53 by Coe in 1984. He also improved the all-time American soil record run by Rashid Ramzi in 2006 in the time of 3:32.34. Kerr won the race by four seconds over Puerto Rico’s Rob Napolitano who clocked a 3:35.63 to take second. American Colby Alexander ran 3:35.81 for third.

Photo credit: Luke Webster/Brooks Running

According to the Brooks Beast team, Kerr, over the past few months, “has been putting together a solid block of training in Albuquerque, NM as he hopes to represent Great Britain if selected for the Olympic team.”

The performance is well under the Tokyo Olympic standard of 3:35.00.

The current world record is held by Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj at 3:26.00 from Rome 1998. The British and European record is held by Mo Farah at 3:28.81. Kerr’s previous best was set during the 2019 Doha World Athletics Championships at 3:32.52 where he finished in sixth position.

Natalia Hawthorn

Natalia Hawthorn is enjoying the best season of her career so far. The Vancouver, BC athlete has achieved several personal best times over 10K on the road, 5000m and in the 1500m.

At Portland, she twice clocked new bests in back-to-back weeks. Thursday she ran to exactly the Tokyo Olympic standard of 4:04.20. The previous week, at the same Griswold Stadium, during the Portland Track Festival, she missed the standard by just .27. The difference from one week to the next was in her race tactics. She started and finished with more focus on Thursday.

“I was able to get off the start line quickly to position myself towards the front of the lead pack,” said the 26-year-old. “[I got] just behind the pacer and fellow Canadian Kate Van Buskirk. When the pacer dropped at 800m, Kate VB kept leading the charge for the next lap as we maintained our goal pace of 65 sec. With about 250m to go, I knew we needed to close strong to get standard — I surged to the front and started charging for the home stretch.”

Hawthorn took the win. Finishing in second was Alicia Monson of On Running Club clocking a 4:07.20. Van Buskirk finished third in the time of 4:07.12. It was Monson’s third personal best in six months. In December, she recorded at 31:10.84 in the 10,000m. In March she ran the 5000m distance in the time of 15:07.65. The Olympic standard is 15:10 and 31:25.00 for the two events, respectively.

For Toronto’s Van Buskirk, perhaps the pacing work led to her finishing in third position. She has run as fast as 4:05.38. She raised some eyebrows in May with a new 5000m best of 14:59.80. Her 1500m best from 2014 and her May 2021 performance are equal in value according to World Athletics at 1163 points. The Glasgow Commonwealth Games bronze medallist was assumed retired by many, that is until May, when the 33-year-old (34 on June 9) ran one of the all-time Canadian performances. Van Buskirk is also known for hosting the Canadian Running Magazine’s The Shakeout Podcast.

For Hawthorn, she wasn’t going to let a race tactic determine her result, “this time, I made sure to keep my eyes past the finish line, to ensure I ran through it strong rather than naturally slowing down while crossing it. To my luck, I hit the exact standard of 4:04.20!”

Van Buskirk and Hawthorn are now off to Nashville for another opportunity to compete in the 1500m at the Music City Distance Carnival.

“After that, I’ll be making my way back to my home away from home in Spokane, WA where I’ll connect with my coach, Chris Johnson, to decide on what we do next!”

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