Terrier Classic Preview: How Fast Can Kipchirchir Go In 3K?

The Boston University track looks to once again play host to some fast times at this weekend’s John Thomas Terrier Classic. A very quick pace is being planned for the men’s 3000m, and the men’s mile has a competitive field of pros and collegians. On the women’s side, distance runners Natalja Pilusina, Kellyn Taylor, and Elinor Purrier are expected to compete as are sprinters Shalonda Solomon, Jessica Beard, and Joanna Atkins.

Here are the full entries and the schedule for Saturday’s meet, and you can watch the BU John Thomas Terrier Classic LIVE on FloTrack.

Below are just a few of the events we’re following:

Invitational Men’s 3000m 

When: Friday, 7:10 PM ET

Names to Watch: Shadrack Kipchirchir, Kirubel Erassa, Emmanuel Bor, Iliass Aouani, Jonathan Green

Kipchirchir’s personal bests at 5000m (13:18) and 10,000m (27:05) indicate he’s due for something quick on Friday night. His personal best in the 3000m of 7:56.20 from his collegiate days at Oklahoma State will surely be rewritten. How much he lops off that mark will be fun to see. The rabbit is scheduled to go out at sub-7:40 pace. 

For perspective, breaking 7:40 is a top-20 American indoor mark all-time. A time under 7:37 puts you in the top eight. Anything faster than 7:34 and you are in rarefied air with Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp. 

Kipchirchir’s former Oklahoma State teammate Kirubel Erassa could provide a challenge if Kipchirchir falls off the pace. His personal best of 7:49.17 comes from the same year at Kipchirchir’s — 2013.  Iliass Aouani of Syracuse and Jonathan Green of Georgetown are the top collegians entered. Aouani has a personal best in the 3000m of 7:57.67 and Green finished 10th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in 2017. 

Men’s Mile

When: Saturday, 3:10 PM ET

Names to Watch: Shadrack Kipchirchir, Kirubel Erassa, Justyn Knight, Hamish Carson, Peter Callahan, Emmanuel Bor

Many of the same men who are running the 3000m on Friday are entered in Saturday’s mile — Kipchirchir, Erassa, and Emmanuel Bor. Just like with the 3000m, expect Kipchirchir to overhaul his personal best. He’s never broken four minutes for the mile, or the equivalent in the 1500m. That should change if he’s able to rebound from the race the night before.

There are also some top entrants who will be fresh for Saturday. NCAA cross country champion Justyn Knight of Syracuse is on the start list. His personal best in the mile of 3:56.87 comes from Boston in 2016. New Zealand’s Hamish Carson has already raced five times indoors at the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018. He posted a 3:57.24 in the mile in December. And don’t overlook Peter Callahan, who ran 3:37.57 in the 1500m outdoors last year.

Women’s Mile

When: Friday, 4:10 PM ET

Names to Watch: Natalja Pilusina, Kellyn Taylor, Millie Paladino

Piliusina is a former NCAA champion and current professional competing for the Brooks Beasts. Her personal bests of 2:01.59 in the 800m and 4:09.51 in the 1500m outdoors put her as the favorite based on entry marks. She opened last week in Albuquerque with a modest 2:10.02 at altitude. Kellyn Taylor, one of America’s best marathoners, will be dropping way down in distance to compete on Saturday. How close can she get to her personal best of 4:34.41 as she continues her preparations for that other race in Boston in April?

Also keep your eye on Millie Paladino of Providence, who comes in with a lifetime best of 4:34.49.

Men’s 800m

When: Saturday, 11:40 AM ET

Names to Watch: Eliud Rutto, Sam Ellison, Allen Eke, Christian Harrison, Mitchell Black

Eliud Rutto is in his first year out of college, where he starred at Middle Tennessee State. He ran 1:45.37 outdoors last year and opened his indoor season with a 4:00.25 mile performance last week. He’s expected to be challenged by Allen Eke, Sam Ellison, Christian Harrison, and 2016 DIII outdoor champion Mitchell Black. 

Women’s 800m

When: Friday, 1:10 PM ET

Names to Watch: Elinor Purrier, Claire Mooney

New Hampshire’s Purrier finished fourth in the steeplechase at the 2017 NCAA Championships and has shown impressive range throughout her career. She finished 18th at the NCAA cross country championships and has run 2:04:02 in the 800m, 4:12.35 for 1500m, and 8:55.68 in the 3000m. In this shorter distance, she should have a competitive race. Ireland’s Claire Mooney put up a 2:04.23 last summer

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