Men's 5,000m: Bernard Lagat's 3:57.80 Close Wins A Thriller Over Chris Solinsky And Galen Rupp

By LetsRun.com
June 24, 2011
*Race Video And Results At Bottom Of Page

The men's 5,000m final on Friday night lived up to its hype. The race featured not only the two fastest Americans ever at 5,000m, American record holder and former World Champ Bernard Lagat, and Chris Solinsky, but also Matt Tegenkamp (sub-13:00 runner) and Galen Rupp, who had put on a thrilling battle the night before in the 10,000m, with Rupp closing in 1:52.5 for the win.

Race Starts Slow To Set Up A Memorable Finish

Ed Moran brought the impressive field through 400 in 66.1 and 800 in 2:17.5 with Chris Solinsky in second, Bernard Lagat in third, a masked Galen Rupp in fourth and Matt Tegenkamp in fifth. Despite the slow pace, the rest of the field knew who the alpha males in the field were and gave them respect. With Moran still in control, the pace dallied even further, 3:30.0 at 1,200. It was clear pretty quickly that this race and the slow pacing would mirror last night's 10k.

With nine laps to go, Stanford's Jacob Riley took the lead and the pace increased slightly with a mile split of 4:39.9, which was actually slower than last night's tactical 10K. With Riley leading, the next 400 was 67.5, as they split 5:47.5 at 2k.

Tegenkamp Starts The Real Racing

The tempo of the race changed completely with seven laps to go. Training partners Tegenkamp and Solinsky surged to the lead as Lagat sat comfortably in third. The main signal that the race was on, however, came when Rupp removed his mask, much to the delight of the crowd. The Hayward Field crowd would be in for a treat over the final 2,800 meters.

A 61.5 lap (led by Tegenkamp) brought the group through 2,400 and then at halfway, the contenders were beginning to separate from the rest of the field. In addition to the top four, Solinsky's and Tegenkamp's training partner Andrew Bumbalough sat in fifth, Brandon Bethke (who trains with Nick Willis) sixth, and Ben True in seventh behind Rupp.

Tegenkamp continued hammering away at the front with a 61.4 and hitting 3k in 8:21.75.

A 63.0 lap brought the top seven through 3,200 in 8:53.4 as Tegenkamp was determined to do the pacing chores. With a mile to go, the lead group was now five, as True and Bethke were 10 meters back.

Solinsky Makes It Memorable Over The Final Mile
Another 62.8 lap by Tegenkamp kept the pressure on. Right before three to go, the fans got to the matchup they were hoping for: Solinsky surged to the front followed by Lagat and Rupp. The 3:06.19 1,200m that Tegenkamp led was just a prelude of what the fans were going to witness over the final mile.

Tegenkamp had clearly sacrificed himself for his teammate as he was dropped with the 60.6 lap thrown down by a determined Solinsky. The three contenders Solinsky, Lagat, and Rupp in that order, were all of a sudden fifty meters clear of the rest with just 800 to go. Solinsky was the most fresh, as Lagat had run the 1,500 semifinals yesterday and Rupp was coming off his impressive win in the 10k. How much would the 1,500 and the tactical (but hard-closing) 10k take out of them?

A 59.8 by Solinsky brought the Big 3 to 600 to go and it was still anyone's race. At the bell, it was still Solinsky hammering in front with Lagat and Rupp in tow.

Solinsky continued to apply the pressure and looked like he might open up a gap with 300 to go, grinding away and continuing to lower the pace. But even as Rupp showed signs of discomfort and fell back by five meters, Lagat would not be dropped.

Solinsky ran 58.3 (from 600 to 200) as he and Lagat opened up 10 meters on Rupp with 200 meters remaining. Rupp was not quitting and gave it one final effort to bridge the gap, but Solinsky and Lagat both had a little something still in reserve for the final 100m. Coming off the final turn, Lagat surged by with 80 meters remaining to win, as he ran his last lap in 56.79 and the last 4 laps in the 3:57.80. Solinsky had closed in 3:58.57 and yet had come up a half second too short. Rupp closed in 4:00.04 and it left him ten meters back in third.

Bumbalough managed fourth, but was fourteen seconds behind, all from the final four laps. Tegenkamp hung on for fifth after launching Solinsky to the front.

This was one race that lived up to the hype. Before the race, if you told Rupp he'd close in 4:00-flat, we bet he would have taken it. Same thing if you told Solinsky he would close in 3:58. The only problem for them was a man named Bernard Lagat. Lagat's finishing speed is legendary in the 5,000m and it has brought him World Championships gold and silver.

Post-Race Comments: American Showdown In Monaco July 22nd, Solinsky Hears The Message Boarders, And Lagat Wants To Go Sub-12:50
Bernard Lagat said he was not planning on doubling at USAs until about 2 weeks ago when a race the first week in Europe fell through. He thus was left without a race until the middle of July, so he decided to double here.

Lagat believes he is in the best 5,000m shape of his life and said Solinsky pushed him Friday. He said, "Chris did not make it easy. He took control of the race ... It may have seen easy by the way I was following him but I was working (hard)."

Lagat will run the 5,000m in Monaco on July 22nd versus Solinsky AND Rupp. Lagat wants to make American history in Monaco. He said he wants "12:50 or a little bit under."

Turning to Saturday's 1,500m final, he said of his fellow competitors, "They'd better be ready to go."

Chris Solinsky said he and Tegenkamp discussed keeping the pace honest before the race and that is what Tegenkamp did. As for the kick Solinsky said he thought he had one more gear in reserve but came up short. He said, "I should have hit it earlier, but I wanted to make sure I had something left for the homestretch."

As for his hamstring injury that caused him to drop out Prefontaine, Solinsky said he is still not 100%. He said he was probably 75-80% for Pre and 90-95% here.

As for Daegu, Solinsky said, "I'm very confident that by Daegu I can be 100% ready to run with anybody ... I'd like to go for the win. My dad goes on the message boards a lot more than me and he tells me a lot of what people say. I think I've been getting ripped apart for being overconfident and going for wins, but I truly believe if you're not going for the win, why run the race?"

Solinsky also said he "really, really wanted to run the 10k" here and he "fought for the 10" but his coach Jerry Schumacher told Solinsky his best shot for medaling at Worlds was the 5,000m. One of the deciding factors was Solinsky's size and ability to handle the heat and humidity in Daegu. Ten days ago, they agreed Solinsky should run the 5,000m here.

Galen Rupp confirmed he will attempt the double at the World Champs in Daegu where the 10,000m is before the 5,000m, saying it is a "doable double."

Rupp says he plans to run in Birmingham (July 10) and in Monaco (July 22) where he will likely take on Solinsky AND Lagat. Could he go sub-13:00 and have a huge PR and take down the American record on July 10th? It's not as crazy as it would have sounded two days ago.

Quick Take #1: Holy SH**. What a great race.

Quick Take #2: We knew Bernard Lagat could close a 5,000m like this, but we didn't know Chris Solinsky could. After Rupp's close in the 10,000m, some might have suspected this was possible for him. What was most impressive was not only the last 1,600, but also the last half of the race. Lagat ran roughly 6:18 (12:36 pace) and Solinsky 6:19 (12:38 pace)

Quick Take #3: Let's take a minute to praise Kenenisa Bekele's 12:37.35 world record. As fast as this race was over the last half, Bekele ran faster than Solinsky's second half pace for the entire race. Amazing.

*Splits here, results below.

1 Bernard Lagat Nike 13:23.06
2 Chris Solinsky Oregon TC Elite 13:23.65
3 Galen Rupp Nike 13:25.52
4 Andrew Bumbalough Nike 13:39.94
5 Matt Tegenkamp Oregon TC Elite 13:44.58
6 Edward Moran Nike 13:47.00
7 Chris Derrick Stanford 13:47.28
8 Ryan Hill North Carolina State 13:47.59
9 Brandon Bethke unattached 13:48.61
10 Benjamin True In the Arena New Hampshire (IT 13:52.62
11 Stephen Furst adidas Raleigh Track Club 13:54.54
12 Jacob Riley Stanford 14:06.07
13 Maverick Darling Wisconsin 14:09.26
14 Phillip Reid Asics Aggie Running Club 14:22.68
DNS Tim Nelson Oregon TC Elite
DNS Bolota Asmerom Saucony

Bernard Lagat Talks About His Win And The 1,500 Final

Chris Solinsky Addresses His Message Board Critics

Galen Rupp Discusses His Weekend

Full 2011 USATF 5,000m Video

Sunday:
Men's 800m:
LRC Men's 800m: Nick Symmonds Makes it Four in a Row
Women's 800m: LRC Women's 800m: Alysia Goes Wire to Wire
Women's Steeplechase: LRC Emma Coburn Wins, Stephanie Garcia Falls, and Hey Delilah Goes to Korea

Saturday USATF Coverage
Men's 1500m: LRC Matt Centrowitz Jr Pulls Away from Bernard Lagat
Women's 1500m: LRC The Thrill Victory (Morgan Uceny) and Agony of Defeat (Christin Wurth Thomas)
Men's Steeple: LRC Billy Nelson's Return to Oregon is Successful

Friday: USATF Coverage
Men' 5000m: LRC Men's 5,000m: Bernard Lagat's 3:57.80 Close Wins A Thriller Over Chris Solinsky And Galen Rupp
Women's 5000m: LRC Women's 5,000m: Molly Huddle Impresses, Hastings And Bizzarri Continue The Mammoth Mojo
800m Semis: LRC All the Favorites Advance And KD Asks For Some Energy From His Fans In The Final
*Ashton Eaton Sets PR With Decathlon Win, Olympic Gold Medallist Bryan Clay Falls In 110 Hurdles And Doesn't Finish The Meet
*Walter Dix Just Outleans Justin Gatlin To Win US Champs 100 
*SI's Tim Layden Takes a Look at Justin Gatlin's Situation
*Post Race Interviews

Complete Thursday USATF Coverage: *10k Photos
Men's 10k: LRC Men's 10,000m: Galen Rupp Closes Out Matt Tegenkamp With 1:52.5 Final 800m
Women's 10k: LRC Women's 10,000m: Shalane Flanagan Goes Wire to Wire Over Kara Goucher and Field
1500m Round 1 and Men's Steeple Round1: LRC Thursday's 1500m Heats: 2011 US Leader Russell Brown Bows Out
800M Round 1: LRC: 800m Round 1 Goes According to Form

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