Josh Kerr and Elle St. Pierre Win World Indoor 3k Titles With Thrilling Finishes

American Elle St. Pierre and Great Britain's Josh Kerr captured the gold medals in the women's and men's respective 3000m events at the World Athletics Indoor Championships 2024 at the Emirates Arena. 

Josh Kerr 3000m wins the 3000m at the 2024 World Indoor Championships

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2024 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved


GLASGOW — 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.

Read Also: RRW: World Best For Two Miles For Josh Kerr At 2024 Millrose Games

THE WOMEN GO OUT HARD

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. 

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

“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.

Read Also: Sinclaire Johnson upsets Elle St. Pierre in 1500m at 2022 USA Championships

“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.”

THE MEN PLAY IT TACTICAL

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. 

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

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.

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