Paul Chelimo Just Might Be USA’s Next Bernard Lagat

Last year, Paul Chelimo launched himself onto the U.S. stage after his 3K runner-up finish at the USATF Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon. Chelimo is fresh off winning his second U.S. title and second global medal, and it’s starting to look like he could be USA’s next Bernard Lagat.

Check out Lagat’s early professional running years compared to Chelimo’s:

International Finishes By Age 26

2 Global Outdoor Medals (1500m Silver ’01 and 1500m Bronze ’00)
1 Global Indoor Finalist (3000m 6th ’01)

2 Global Outdoor Medals (5000m Silver ’16 and 5000m Bronze ’17)
1 Global Indoor Finalist (3000m 7th ’16)

Personal Bests By Age 26

1500: 3:26.34
3K: 7:33.51
5K: 13:23.46

1500: 3:39.33
3K: 7:31.57
5K: 13:03.90
*Chelimo has a chance to lower these marks this August/September


Their resumes are eerily similar. Both men have two global medals and both have strong 3k personal bests. Lagat’s all-time great comes in the 1500m with a 3:26, while Chelimo’s 13:03 in the 5K is his most impressive mark, but both men still have very strong international resumes as a whole.

It’s important to recognize that Lagat, after age 26, went on to win 11 more global medals (indoor/outdoor) — an achievement that is in a league of its own. However, Chelimo still has many years of running ahead of him, and based on his past two seasons he may be the USA’s top consistent international medal contender for the next decade, a position Lagat held during the mid/late 2000s.

Chelimo after winning the 2017 USATF 5k spoke about the Chelimo/Lagat comparison:

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