At the upcoming USATF Indoors, March 3-5, 2017, some of the finest athletes in American track & field will be racing in the cool environs of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Now, the altitude adds some drama to the middle distance races, making the finishes faster and the early part of races time to grab a nap.
But, this year, there are some fun rivalries, and, with a World Champs being outdoors and not indoors, the Championships are about one thing, just who is the very best in early 2017.
Here are five questions we at RunBlogRun want answered from the men’s races!
Updated March 2, 2017. Special thanks to Alan Shank, who updated me on key information on Cas Loxsom and Wallace Spearmon.
1. Can Cas Loxsom draw on his World Leading fitness and win the 600 meters?
Cas Loxsom ran a gutty race in Birmingham Barclaycard Arena on February 18. In front of 12,000 British sports fans, Casmir ran right behind the pace setters, with Cas hitting 50.40 for the 400 meters, 1:17.50 for the 600 meters and 1:46:13 for the lead, the World Leader. Can Casmir Loxsom reach into himself and run a fast 600 meters, perhaps breaking his own World Best?
Cas Loxsom ran 1:14.91 for the 600 meters earlier this season. His World Best is pretty impressive, but his speed and the level of competition could make this race a real battle! How fast can they go?
2. Wallace Spearmon wants to own the 300 meters, is 2017 his year?
I love watching Wallace Spearmon racing. Coming off the turn, Spearmon explodes over the last 50 meters, and his acceleration was tremendous near the end of the race. Christophe LeMaitre uses a similar Over 200 meters, only Usain Bolt has run a smarter race over this distance.
Truth is, the 300 meters may be the best distance for Wallace Spearmon. The distance allows the long legged former Razorback to put his strength and speed to the test. Who can battle Spearmon over 300 meters?
Wallace has dealt with injuries over the past few years, but this winter, we find Wallace Spearmon very fit and the 300 meters and Albuquereque altitude means that Mr. Spearmon could improve on the very best time ever, the 31.88 run by one Wallace Spearmon! Let’s see what Wallace can do!
Let’s see if that 31.88 can be number 2 on the All-time list.
3. Ronnie Baker is fastest 60 meter man in the world in 2017, how much faster can he go?
Ronnie Baker woke some fans up in his run in Torun, Poland (February 10). Then, in Birmingham, Ronnie Baker was, well, not making any mistakes. His 6.46 in Torun gave Ronnie some confidence, as he won the Birmingham Indoor in 6.55, with Kim Collins in second (6.58). Baker is in fine form, and the Albuquerque altitude, plus the very fast track and strong competition, could push Ronnie to a very fast time. Can he challenge Mo Greene’s 6.39? Well, I am no doctor, but Ronnie Baker looks like he can run 6.42-6.43.
Watch for our new interview with Ronnie Baker this weekend!
4. Erik Kynard is coming into shape, can he leap 2.36m WL?
Erik Kynard looked fantastic in Birmingham on February 18. He battled Robbie Grabberz, and Kynard had three strong attempts at 2.33 meters. Kynard is fit and with a home crowd, can Kynard begin his road to London 2017?
Kynard is fast and powerful. He gets excited during competitions, and likes challenges. Watch and see how Kynard reacts to the competition in Albuquerque. He is fit and focused. Just how high can he jump this weekend?
The only athlete in our sport sponsored by the Jordan brand, Erik Kynard is an exceptional athlete. This guy can do anything and everything. Do not be surprised if Erik Kynard clears 2.40m this year.
5. Paul Chelimo in the 2 mile? Take notes on how to get your butt kicked?
Paul Chelimo is a fascinating athlete. His silver medal in the 5000 meters was an amazing race in Rio. In our few minute chat after the race, I noted that Mr. Chelimo had a real chance at beating Mo Farah. It took a while for that to sink in, but Chelimo gets it.
His 3000 meter races (2) so far this indoor season were pretty fast, but not crazy fast. This race, in Albuquerque, will be tactical, with 1000 meters at the end being run in 2:22-2:28. Chelimo knows what he has to do. A consumate racer, Paul Chelimo has dominated the two 3000 meter races he ran in 2016. Chelimo can do that, he is confident and he has a deadly last 800 meters. Watch Chelimo remind people that this young U.S. Army athlete is for real.