Galen Rupp Puts On A Clinic As The Sub-13 Guys Punch Their Tickets To London
A Record 11 Guys Break 28:00 As The Top Three All Break The Old Olympic Trials Record
June 22, 2012
In the end, the results will reveal that what many thought was going to
happen - did happen. The three previous Olympians, the three men with
sub 13:00 5,000 pbs, went 1-2-3 and booked their tickets to London 2012.
But don’t let that fool you - this race was well worth the price of
admission and certainly a pleasure to watch as the top three in Galen Rupp (27:25.33), Matt
Tegenkamp (27:33.94) and Dathan Ritzenhein (“Ritz”) all
broke the previous Olympic Trials record belonging to Meb Keflezighi of 27:36.49 dating from 2004.
Who’s Gonna Do The Work?
Starting under a down pour and 58 degree temperatures (but nearly no wind), the question of who would lead the race on the sub 27:45.00 pace that was needed for Ritz to go to London was answered in the first few steps. Galen Rupp and Dathen Ritzenhein shot straight to the front, with Rupp pulling the field through in 64.5 at 400. In third was Ben True.
After a 68.5 second lap, Ritz took the lead and it appeared that the two Oregon Project teammates would be planning to work together to make it an honest race and alternate 800s. A 67.8 third lap kept the duo at the front but with a 66.5 tempo needed for 25 laps, the field was slightly behind Olympic “A” standard pace.
A 67.2 fourth lap brought the field through in 4:28.0 at the mile and Oregon’s Luke Puskedra took the lead, to the delight of the Hayward Field faithful. Puskedra led laps of 67.1 and 67.7 and then Rupp took over again at 2400 and put in a 67.0 to open a slight gap on the field as the lead group now showed Rupp, Ritz, Ben True, former US Army Specialist and former Kenyan Joseph Chirlee (for a nice profile of Chirlee, see here: Joseph Chirlee Biding His Time).
Afterwards, Puskedra told LetsRun.com that it wasn’t pre-planned that he’d help Ritz and Rupp but that he just felt good and liked being up front (click here to see the Puskedra interview on youtube.)
Ritz took over after a 66.2-led Rupp lap and then threw in laps of 66.5 and 66.3 heading through two miles (8:56 for another 4:28). Once again, after another two laps, Rupp turned things back over to Rupp and a break-away of four (Rupp, Puskedra, Ritz and Chirlee) put a small 3 to 5-meter distance on a chase pack that included Stanford’s Chris Derrick, Matt Tegenkamp and Bobby Curtis. Puskedra led for 600 but slowed to 67.6 at 3 miles and Ritz took over again as the pack hit 5K in 13:56.
At this point, the large lead pack included Ritz, Rupp, Chirlee, 2011 US xc champ Brent Vaughn,
Derrick, Tegenkamp, 2012 US xc champ Bobby
Mack, and Aaron Braun.
27:24 man Bobby Curtis was no longer with the lead pack.
The 2nd Half
While the halfway split was 13:56 which is 27:52 pace, it seemed almost certain that the “A” standard was going to fall as the pace was increasing. After 4:28 for the first two miles, the third mile was 4:24.5 and things would only get faster to the finish as the leaders, and particularly Ritz, seemed to get into a groove.
After 5K, the pattern of Ritz and Rupp trading the lead every two laps appeared to stop as the man who most needed the “A”, Ritz, put down three laps at 65 and the lead pack was now eight as Ritz lead all of mile 4 which was run 4:23.7 and the runners were now on 27:45 pace..
With 9 laps to go, we wonder if Galen Rupp’s Catholic roots flared up a bit as he seemingly felt a little guilt for not leading - well either that or 27:45 pace is too slow for a 26:48 guy as he went to the front and surged to a 63.8 and suddenly the Big 3 of Rupp, Ritz, and Teg were clear of the field.
The Olympic drama wasn’t officially over quite yet but it was close. With 8 laps remaining, Braun and Derrick were 10 meters back, and unless they could mount a big counter-attack, the Olympic Team seemed set as the lead trio was now under Olympic A pace. After the Rupp surge, Ritz again put in a series of 65 second laps. Somehow, the duo of Braun and Derrick were still only 15 meters back with 5 laps to go.
Rupp Owns The Last Mile
With a mile to go, Ritz, Rupp and Teg were now 50 meters ahead of Derrick and Braun and needed only a 4:35 final 1600 to insure that all three would be under the Olympic A of 27:45. The last mile belonged all to the American record holder Galen Rupp, and the last mile was a thing of beauty as Rupp led it all and effortlessly pulled away from his credentialed rivals Teg and Ritz.
Ritz & Teg had no response to Rupp’s 62.4 third to last lap, as instantly
Rupp seemingly put 10 meters on Rittz and Teg. In a heartbeat,the race
was over and the only drama remaining would be if Ritz and Teg could
hold on for the top three....they would.
With the rain finally letting up, Rupp cruised home with two final 63 second laps. He looked incredibly easy and finished off his final 1600 of 4:13.2 in style, waving to the Hayward Field faithful during the last 50.
At the bell, Teg pulled into second and pulled away from Ritz, who would finish third but sort of stagger home. Teg’s final 400 was 65.5 as Ritz was barely under 68.
Stanford’s Chris Derrick closed well in 62.51 - to pull away from Braun and make up a lot of ground on Ritz - but third place was never in doubt.
Afterwards, Ritz was anything but apologetic about his last lap.
"Here during the last 100 meters, I knew I was going to be on the team. It's a short period of time but those 15 seconds - when you know you've got it- are what make it worth it. That 4th place finish (in Houston) made this so much better. This was a tough road for me to make this Olympic team but this
is the best one (of my three Olympic teams)," said Ritz.
In the end, as we stated earlier, the top three all got the ‘A’. The top 5 all were under the ‘A’ of 27:45 as it was Rupp (27:25.33), Tegenkamp (27:33.94), Ritzenhein (27:36.09), Derrick (27:40.23) and Braun (27:41.54). The 27:41.54 was a nice 9+ second pb for Braun who had run 27:51.01 previously.
The victor Rupp said after the race that he was actually pleased to see the rain.
"It's good for my allergies so I was actually excited to see that it was raining today. But regardless of the what the weather is, you still have to go out there and compete and get the job done. I was just worried about making sure I hit my times on the lap I had to lead in the beginning and after that
just relaxing as much as possible and getting ready for a big finish."
Results, lap by lap leader splits and post-race interviews with many competitors appear below. More interviews on our youtube page.
Quick Take #1:
11 guys broke 28:00 in the race tonight. Prior to tonight, 28:00 had
only been broken 13 times at the Trials. As a result, the top 11 all ran
the fastest times for place ever at the US trials.
Quick Take #2: Not only did Rupp break the Olympic Trials record, he also broke his coach Alberto Salazar’s best mark in Eugene as Salazar’s best mark in Eugene was 27:30.00.
Quick Take #3: We certainly hope that Stanford's Chris Derrick and Oregon's Luke Puskedra get nice pro contracts as they both deserve it. Puskedra, who came in with a 28:13 pb, was rewarded with a 27:56 pb. We caught up with both of them for interviews (see below).
Derrick's interview is definitely a Recommended Watch as he told us he definitely doesn't feel like an unlucky guy to have missed out on an Olympic birth to three guys who broke the OTrials record or to be a 13:19 and 27:31 but not an NCAA champ. Far from feeling unlucky, he said he's blessed to get to compete against such quality opponents time and again.
Also he talked about how his foot (plantar fascia) hurt more tonight than it did at NCAAs but he did a better job of managing it. He also admitted getting fourth was important as he realizes he'll go to London if someone gets hurt.
Off camera after the interview and not on tape, Derrick thought tonight's sub 28:10 for his former Stanford teammate Jake Riley, who came in with a 28:12 pb, was worth $45,000 for Riley. Derrick said if you are a sub-28:10 guy on Hanson's, he said you got a $5,000 payment for the Trials and then a $20,000 stipend per year.
Recommended Watch Chris Derrick
Bobby Mack After His 27:58
Jake Riley After His 28:08 PB