When Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen awoke in Dortmund on Sunday she knew it was going to be a special day as the 3000m final at the German Indoor Championships coincided with her 21st birthday. It was a birthday Klosterhalfen will surely never forget.
On a busy weekend of national indoor championships across the continent, Klosterhalfen produced one of the standout performances as she broke the German indoor 3000m record that had stood for 30 years.
Nine years before Klosterhalfen was born, East Germany’s Kathrin Ullrich ran 8:41.79 but the new star smashed that mark to pieces, crossing the line in 8:36.01 to underline her talent as one of the world’s finest young stars. "It's the best birthday I've ever had. It's a great feeling to spend it doing what I like to do and with the people that matter to me," said Klosterhalfen.
She led all the way, showing total dominance and running splits of 2:55.01 for the 1km and 5:48.35 at 2km before picking it up in the final kilometre. Klosterhalfen won by over 19 seconds from European 3000m steeplechase champion Gesa Felicitas Krause (8:54.08) with Caterina Granz third in a personal best of 8:56.29.
Few youngsters run with such maturity as the German who now holds the German indoor and outdoor 3000m records after her 8:29.89 performance last summer at the Diamond League in Birmingham.
Next week, Klosterhalfen will return to Birmingham for the IAAF World Indoor Championships and who knows what is next for this superb athlete?
Last summer she became the youngest runner in history to dip under 2:00 for the 800m (1:59.65), under 4:00 for the 1500m (3:58.92), under 8:30 for the 3000m (8:29.89) and under 15 minutes for the 5000m (14:51.38) having started her season with a silver medal over 1500m at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade.
Muir motors to the 3000m title in Birmingham
Klosterhalfen was only beaten in that race by Great Britain’s Laura Muir - who also won the 3000m crown in Belgrade - and she also warmed up superbly for the World Indoor Championships on the track where the championships will take place.
Muir broke clear of a strong field over the last four laps to win in 8:46.71 ahead of Eilish McColgan (8:50.87), showing some brilliant finishing pace in the process. Muir was still outside nine minute pace through the 2km checkpoint in 6:03.77 but the double European indoor champion shored up the finish time with a closing kilometre of 2:42.94 and 1:32.44 for the last 600m.
“I am really pleased; the win was sort of the important thing and I had to test my speed over the last few laps. I am really pleased with how I executed the race,” said Muir.
— Laura Muir (@lauramuiruns) February 17, 2018
She is in her final year as a veterinary student in Glasgow and she said: “It’s been tough juggling training but so far it’s gone really well and my sessions this week have been very close to PB sessions, so I am in really good form and it’s about maintaining that before the championships.”
The prospect of Klosterhalfen and Muir meeting each other in the form they are in would be some race for European honours, let alone world medals at stake.