21-year-old Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha came so excruciatingly close to breaking Hicham El Guerroj’s 3:48.45 indoor mile world record on Saturday at the Millrose Games in New York City, running 3:48.46 to miss matching the fastest performance ever by a heartbreaking .01 seconds.
The final lap of Yomif Kejelcha's 3:48.46 mile, which was just .01s away from a World Record. pic.twitter.com/08tBCYcdfa— FloTrack (@FloTrack) February 9, 2019
Kejelcha agonizingly crumbled to the track after running the second-fastest indoor mile all-time, just a breath shy of the Moroccan El Guerrouj’s world record from 1997. The Nike Oregon Project runner put everything into the effort, passing just past halfway in a scintillating 1:52.99 while taking on the pacing duties entirely by himself from then on.
Kejelcha had the record in reach as he hit the bell in 3:20.13, and the two-time World indoor champion closed well to split a 28.33 final lap. It was a brilliant display of fitness and determination, as Kejelcha managed to run the last 800m in 1:55.47 all by himself. But unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough.
Perhaps with a little better pacing— Kejelcha surpassed pacer Rob Napolitano just shy of 800m, a lap short of the original plan— and the Ethiopian would’ve had a little more left, but it’s tough to nitpick a mile performance that fell just .01 short of El Guerrouj. Kejelcha went all-in at the Armory, and he’ll have other shots to take down a record currently held by the greatest miler of all-time.