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LetsRun.com's Preview of Women's 5k and Men's 10k Finals
July 4,  2008

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Start lists

Men's 10k Analysis - The 10k is always a hard event to predict as a lot of the guys in the race don't race very often. We expect this race to turn into a two-person battle between Rupp and Abdi. The battle for 3rd is very hard to predict. Below we give you some insight on the 7 guys with the A standard of 27:49.00 as well as the other guys we think might hit the A standard.

Hitting the A standard is going to be a monumentally difficult task. The weather will be pretty good - 65 with a wind of less than 10 mph, but by Stanford and Mt. Sac conditions, those temperatures are high and windy. Of course, working in the athletes favor is that the 20,000 fans at Hayward will be cheering them on. You'd have to go to 20 years of distance nights at Mt. Sac/Stanford to equal that amount of spectators.

We don't think anyone will hit the A standard unless some of the gusy with the A help out with the pacing duties. We find it a bit odd that Rohatinsky didn't run a 10k this year before the Trials. Does that mean his coach Alberto Salazar has something up his sleave? Will Rohatinsky, Rupp and Goucher work together? Or at least Rohatinsky and Goucher?

We doubt Rupp will help out as in the post-race press conference after the women's 10k, it was clear that Amy Yoder Begley was told Kara Goucher wouldn't be helping with the pacing duties. The women's group is sort of set up to help Kara, the men's for Rupp. Unless Rupp thinks a fast pace is his best chance?

Who knows. It should be exciting.

Guys With A Standard

Abdi Abdirhman - Galen Rupp will have a hard time beating Abdi for a very simple reason. When motivated and healthy, Abdi is arguably the greatest American to ever lace them up and run 25 laps on the track. He comes into the Trials after just missing the American record at Pre when he ran 27:16 - a time Rupp's mentor, Alberto Salazar, never ran. Abdi though sometimes doen't bring his best performances when he needs them most. If he's on, it's over. He wins.

Galen Rupp - Rupp is like the Dallas Cowboys - you either love him or hate him. That being said, either way, you have to admit the guy is damn successful. He made the world championship team last year and there is little reason to think he won't make the Olympic team here. He'll have the support of the Hayward crowd field as he'll be wearing the Oregon Duck jersey which can't hurt. Rupp was clearly energized by the crowd when he won his heat in the 5k earlier in the week.

At the adidas meet this year, Rupp beat 5k Olympian Dobson. He did pull out of a 5k with an injury scare but he looked fine in the 5k trials here.

Meb Keflezighi - This guy is the American 10k record holder and an Olympic marathon medallist. It's foolish to discount his talent level. That being said, it's hard to make the Olympics on only 7 weeks of training. Meb Keflezighi Trying To Make Olympics on 7 Weeks of Training His first run was May 9th. If he does it, his accomplishment should be placed right up there with Joan Benoit making the 1984 Olympic Team after knee surgery.

Ed Moran - Last year, he ran 13:20 and then 27:43 two weeks later. This year he ran a 13:30 5k - slower than last year but that was a long time ago on May 4th. He didn't follow it up with a 10k but hist most recent showing at the Steamboat 4-miler wasn't great as he finished 5th.

Jorge Torres - Like Moran, Torres ran 13:30 this year on May 4th. So his training was going pretty well back on May 4th. How will that translate at the Trials? We'll find out on July 4th. Torres ran a great 8k in Central Park in March to win the US 8k road title.

Hard to believe that Torres waited until 2006 to move up to the 10k. A guy with 3:41 speed needs to be in the 10k earlier. He's got a good shot at the team in the 10k that's for sure this time around.

Scott Bauhs - Rupp has been viewed by Nike and Alberto as the future of American distance running for quite some time. Well Bauhs is sort of the every day man's Rupp. The guy is 3 days younger than Rupp and without the high altitude tents, anti-gravity treadmills or even a D1 scholarship, has managed to run 27:45

James Carney - Carney must be on cloud 9 as he enters the Trials in the midst of his best year by far as he's dropped his 5k time from 13:39 to 13:31 and 10k from 28:31 to 27:43. Carney also ran the 8k in March where he finished 11 seconds back of Torres. Those results likely give him confidence. His most recent outing though likely shattered much of it as he only ran 13:49 on May 31st when Rohatinsky ran 13:30.

Guys Who Don't Have The Olympic A But Will Push The Pace Hoping To Make Top 3 & Get The A

Fasil Bizuneh - He set a big PR earlier in the year but just missed the A (27:50). He chased the A again in Ethiopia but missed it. Clearly he's running well in 2008, can he step it up and PR to make the team?

Josh Rohatinsky - Watching two Alberto Salazar trained athletes make the team in the women's 10k likely gave Rohatinsky confidence as he'd like to make the team with Rupp in Eugene. His last outing was a good one as he ran 13:30 tow in in Portland on May 31st.

Adam Goucher -
'Gouchergate' aside, this guy deserves to be in the field based on his accomplishments. This race may be his last realistic shot at the Olympics as he's 33. The problem is coming into the Trials he'd only run one race all year - a 3:45 1,500. But what we know is it's foolish to count this guy out. If he's in the hunt with a mile to go, he is a COMPETITOR. The problem is he needs to get the Olympic A as well as finish top 3. Not likely to happen. We can't imagine if things had been going well that Goucher wouldn't have run a 5k or 10k before the Trials. Talent and guts only go so far. In 2000, it was good enough to win the Olympic 5k Trials. In 2008, the American competition is just too tough to think that's a likely outcome.

It will be great to see him toe the line one last time though in the Trials.

LRC Predcitions:
1) Abdi 2) Rupp 3) Torres. Third in our minds will likely go to Torres, Rohatinsky or Bauhs. The story of this trials seems to be that of Oregon people doing well so we almost went with Rohatinsky but we think trying to run fast takes a lot of energy. The ones who push the pace in time trials don't often end up on top. On an emotional level, we wanted to pick Bauhs but Torres was 2nd at US cross and first in the US 8k.

Women's 5k Preview

There has been a great deal of action since the first distance final of these Olympic Trials, the women's 10K. And as a reminder after all the big excitement from the 800 and other events which have transpired in the meantime, that 10K final was a real treat, with two of America's top international distance hopes, Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher going head-to-head, not to mention the inspired run of Amy Yoder Begley to make the team and dip under the Olympic A standard. Begley will not be running, but the 5K final offers another opportunity for U.S. distance fans to see Flanagan and Goucher go head-to-head again. But this is unlikely to be just a two-woman show. There are a number of other top talents in the field of 16 who have the ability to make this a terrific race.

For example,Sara Slattery finished 7th in the 10K final and ran 15:08.32 back in 2006. Her best this season is 15:26.38. Another seasoned competitor, Renee Metivier Baille,has a 5K PR of 15:15 and ran well in the prelims and Julie Culleyset a PR in the prelims and has had a very good season. Recent Stanford grad Arianna Lambie has a PR of 15:19.42, former Notre Dame All-American Molly Huddle has run 15:17.13 and was one of a handful of American women to have the Olympic A in the 10K and current Virgina Tech Hoakie Tasmin Fanning looked strong in the preliminary rounds while setting a PR - these three young runners have the capability of an upset top-three finish. But with all due respect to the women mentioned, the four who already have the Olympic A standard of 15:09.00 and appear to be the class of the field, from a performance and experience perspective:

Shalane Flanagan
- the American record-holder with a mark of 14:44.80 at 5000 meters, Flanagan appeared to have zero difficulty winning her semi-final heat, running her third mile in 4:49.7. Flanagan won the 10K a week ago by setting a hard tempo mid-race that broke things open and set up a final three-some of herself, Goucher and Begley. Then she wisely allowed Begley and then Goucher to lead before storming home for the win in the last lap. Don't be surprised to see a similar strategy here, where Flanagan insures a fast enough pace to winnow down the field before setting up a big kick if she hasn't already run clear of the rest of the field. The defending USATF 5000 champ, Flanagan is the woman to beat in this race.

Jen Rhines- An Olympian at 10K in 2000, Rhines has enjoyed a career renaissance at the shorter distances in recent years. Now 34, Rhines broke 15:00 for the first time in 2006 and lowered her PR to 14:54.29 in Oslo in June. Further evidence of her increasing speed came with her 8:35.03 3000 in Monaco in July 2007. Rhines finished 2nd to Flanagan in the 5000 at the 2007 USATF meet and was 5th at the 2000 Olympic Trials in the 5000.

Kara Goucher- Goucher has been on a roll in the past year, winning a bronze medal at the 2007 World Championships in the 10K and beating Paula Radcliffe in the half-marathon later that year. Having already made the Olympic team in her track specialty the 10K, Goucher will have nothing to lose in this race. She has a seasonal best this year of 14:58.10 and ran a PR 14:55.02 in Berlin last summer. She finished 2nd to Lauren Fleshman at the 2006 USATF meet. Goucher looked very strong in both the 10K final and her 5K prelim on Monday and is a tough competitor. She'll be tough to keep off the team as well.

Lauren Fleshman- Seeking her first Olympic berth, Fleshman had a bizarre race at the 2007 USATF meet, coming to a complete stop before regrouping and finishing fourth, behind Flanagan, Rhines and third-placer Michelle Sikes.Fleshman has been very open in interviews about working with a sports psychologist to deal with some of the stresses that led to this disappointing and unusual result. As a three-time NCAA Champion at this distance, Fleshman has always been known as a tough and cerebral competitor and her public acknowledgments of her challenges and shortcoming has been brave. It appears that Fleshman has put last year's race behind her and as one of four women in the field with the A standard seems to be a likely contender for a spot on the team. In fact, she set a PR 14:58.48 to win the Reebok meet in NYC earlier this season and if healthy will also be tough to dislodge.

 
Letsrun.com Picks:
1.  Shalane Flanagan
2.  Kara Goucher
3.  Jen Rhines


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