Chris Solinsky Is The Tallest And Heaviest Sub-27 Man In History

The 6'1", 160-pound American is the first man over 6 feet and over 141 pounds to break 27. His 13:12 5k PR also makes him the 2nd-slowest 5k guy to ever do it.

By LetsRun.com
May 4, 2010

Chris Solinsky's 26:59.60 10,000 meter American record from last week was shocking on a number of levels. In running 26:59, Solinsky became the first non-African-born runner to break the 27:00 barrier. Additionally, Solinsky set the record in his 10,000 meter debut.

However, many distance running aficionados were stunned that someone as "big" as Solinsky was able to do so well at the long 10,000-meter distance. Conventional wisdom is that someone so tall and so heavy shouldn't be able to run so fast for such a long distance. The LetsRun.com message board is currently full of threads relating to Solinsky's size, including the following:

*How heavy is Solinsky? *SOLINSKY'S muscles vs WEBB'S muscles *The Official "Solinsky: Admit you were shocked" thread *Weight of Chris Solinsky and Matt Tegenkamp


Too Fat To Break 27 Minutes

We decided to do some research and see if the talk was warranted. Indeed it is.

According to tilastopaja.org, Solinsky tips the scales at 73 kg and stands 185 cm tall. What does that mean to Americans? Well, that's 160.9 pounds and 6 feet, 0.83 inches, or basically 6'1" (in an online chat made possible by Kimbia.net (chat replay here) on May 4, 2010, Solinsky reported that his height was 6'3/4'' and he said he weighs "anywhere between 164-166").

That may not sound heavy to you, but there is a reason that the IAAF recap of his record-breaking race referred to Solinsky as "barrel-chested 25-year-old Wisconsin native." By distance running standards, Solinsky is significantly heavier than your average 6'1" distance runner, and most truly elite distance runners (just like world class gymnasts) aren't even near 6'1".

For comparison's sake, take Solinsky's training partner, Matt Tegenkamp. Tegenkamp is the exact same height as Solinsky, 185 cm tall. How much does he weigh? Tilastopaja lists Teg at 66 kg, which is 145.4 pounds. So Teg and Solinsky are the same height but Solinsky is carrying an extra 15-20 pounds around. Conventional wisdom said that someone like Solinsky wouldn't excel at the longer distance of 10,000 meters because he'd have to carry that extra 15 pounds around for 25 laps, but conventional wisdom was simply wrong this time.

History was clearly on the skeptics' side of the debate. We've done some research and looked up the height and weight of every sub-27 man in history. We also looked at their 5,000-meter PRs.

Video: Chris' Dad On Chris' Weight

"He was paying all sorts of attention to DyeStat as he was progressing up and of course all sorts of people know everything on DyeStat so they were saying that he would never amount to anything because he was too big and all this kind of stuff. And he was worrying about it and I was telling him, 'You know what, Chris? It all comes back down to who you are and your own motivation.'"
*More Wisconsin to Worlds Video Here

Our research shows that Solinsky is the heaviest and tallest sub-27 guy in history. He also is the 2nd-slowest at 5,000 meters.

Solinsky is the first 6-foot tall man to have broken 27. The 2nd-tallest? None other than Paul Tergat, who was 5'11.65" (182 cm).

In fact, prior to Solinsky, only two men over 140 pounds did it. The next heaviest men to have broken 27 were Mark Bett of Kenya and disgraced drug cheat Mohammad Mourhit of Belgium and both tipped the scales at 141.1 lbs (64 kg).

Prior to Solinsky, the 5' 11.6" and 136.7 pound Paul Tergat was a giant in 10k circles. No more.

We guess this just proves that stereotypes are made to be broken. Fueling isn't an issue for a 10,000 like it is for a marathon, so if someone is successful at 5,000 with a given weight, we guess they can be equally as successful at 10k. Solinsky has drawn comparison to another man who is considered big for a world class distance runner - Craig "Buster" Mottram. Mottram, though not a sub-27 10k man, has a PR comfortably under 13 minutes in the 5k and is slightly taller than Solinksy at 188 cm, but is also listed as being a couple of pounds lighter at 72 kg.

In the table below, see the heights, weights, and 5,000-meter PRs of all the sub-27 men in history. In terms of 5,000 PRs, only Olympic marathon champ Sammy Wanjiru has a slower 5,000 best. Wanjiru ran 13:12.40 to Solinsky's 13:12.24.

Country Runner 5k PR 10k PR Height (cm. / ft.) Weight (kg. / lbs.)
ETH Kenenisa Bekele 12:37.35 26:17.53 160 /  5' 3" 54 / 119.05
ETH Haile Gebrselassie 12:39.36 26:22.75 165 / 5' 4.96" 56 / 123.46
KEN Paul Tergat 12:49.87 26:27.85 182 / 5' 11.65" 62 / 136.69
QAT (KEN) Nicholas Kemboi 13:01.14 26:30.03 163 / 5' 4.17" 50 / 110.23
ETH Abebe Dinkesa 12:55.88 26:30.14 169 / 5' 6.54" 55 / 121.25
KEN Micah Kogo 13:00.77 26:35.63 170 / 5' 6.93" 60 / 132.28
KEN Paul Koech 12:56.29 26:36.26 170 / 5' 6.93" 60 / 132.28
ERI Zersenay Tadese 12:59.27 26:37.25 160 /  5' 3" 56 / 123.46
MAR Salah Hissou 12:50.80 26:38.08 176 / 5' 9.69" 62 / 136.69
QAT (KEN) Abdullah Ahmad Hassan 12:56.27 26:38.76 170 / 5'6.93" 54 / 119.05
ETH Sileshi Sihine 12:47.04 26:39.69 171 / 5' 7.32" 55 / 121.25
UGA Boniface Kiprop Toroitich 12:57.11 26:39.77 167 / 5' 5.75" 53 / 116.84
KEN Samuel Wanjiru 13:12.40 26:41.75 163 / 5' 4.17" 52 / 114.64
KEN Eliud Kipchoge 12:46.53 26:49.02 170 / 5'6.93" 56 / 123.46
KEN Moses Ndiema Masai 12:50.55 26:49.20 168 / 5' 6.14" 54 / 119.05
KEN Sammy Kipketer 12:52.33 26:49.38 166 / 5' 5.35" 52 / 114.64
KEN Moses Mosop 12:54.46 26:49.55 165 / 5' 4.96" 54 / 119.05
ETH Assefa Mezgebu 12:53.84 26:49.90 175 / 5' 8.90" 55 / 121.25
KEN Richard Limo 12:56.72 26:50.20 167 / 5' 5.75" 53 / 116.84
KEN Charles Kamathi 13:02.51 26:51.49 165 / 5' 4.96" 51 / 112.44
KEN William Sigei 13:06.15 26:52.23 178 / 5' 10.08" 57 / 125.66
BEL (MAR) Mohammed Mourhit 12:49.71 26:52.30 170 / 5'6.93" 64 / 141.10
ETH Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam 12:52.80 26:52.33 178 / 5' 10.08" 56 / 123.46
KEN John Cheruiyot Korir 13:09.58 26:52.87 172 / 5' 7.72" 57 / 125.66
KEN Mark Bett 12:55.63 26:52.93 180 / 5' 10.87" 64 / 141.10
KEN Leonard Komon 12:58.24 26:57.08 175 / 5' 8.90" 52 / 114.64
KEN Josphat Muchiri 13:05.33 26:57.36 170 / 5'6.93" 53 / 116.84
KEN Yobes Ondieki 13:01.82 26:58.38 168 / 5' 6.14" 55 / 121.25
USA Chris Solinsky 13:12.24 26:59.60 185 / 6' .83" 73 / 160.94
KEN Bernard Kipyego 13:09.96 26:59.61 160 / 5' 3" 50 / 110.23

*Please note: earlier we listed 160cm as 5' 0.99" when in fact 160cm is 5' 3". Apologies for the error.

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