By Robert Johnson
March 1, 2013
Lopez Lomong is an American record holder.
The two time Olympian, who was born in the Sudan but immigrated to America at age 16 in 2001 and had the honor of being the US flag-bearer at the 2008 Olympics, will now be known for more than just being an incredible refugee story and US flagbearer. Tonight he was able to just do enough to get under the 13:07.15 old American record that Bernard Lagat ran on the same Armory track at the 2012 Millrose Games as Lomong clocked 13:07.00.
Running in front of a small, but loud crowd of a few hundred, Lomong was just able to find a 30.6 unofficial final 200 (61-high final 400) to get the record in a race that was set up for Lomong and his fellow Jerry Schumacher coached teammates to take a crack at the IAAF ‘A’ world championships standard of 13:15.00. 2012 US Cross Country champion Chris Derrick also got the ‘A’ standard as their other teammates struggled at the end of the race after a hot early pace.
The race was rabbitted incredibly well by Travis Mahoney through 2000 and Dan Huling through 3500 – perhaps a little bit too well in the end for the athletes who struggled at the end. The goal was for Huling to hit 7:55 for 3000 (7:57 for 3000 is 13:15 pace) but Schumacher admitted to me before the race he said 7:55 thinking they’d likely be off a tiny bit and he really hoped it would be more like 7:57-8. In actuality, the rabbits were on their game 100% as they hit 3k in 7:53.3. Right at 3k, American 2 mile outdoor record holder Matt Tegenkamp and Elliott Heath cracked and struggled to maintain contact. By 3200 (8:25.07) after a quick second 1600 of 4:10.66 (1st 1600 of 4:14.41), they were officially dropped and on their own. Teg, would end up running 13:35.46 and Heath 13:33.22.
US steeplechase record holder Evan Jager, Derrick, Lomong and 2011 world championship 5000 member Andrew Bumbalough were still tightly bunched in that order. Shortly after the second rabbit Huling dropped off at 3500 meters, Bumbalough started to lose contact with the pack. Bumbalough would end up at 13:23.68. And then we were down to three, Jager, Derrick and Lomong.
Just before 3600, Derrick took the lead for a short while as Jager started to fall back. Once Jager fell off, he fell off hard as he’d end up finishing in 13:33.37 before sprawling to the track (pictured left). Up front, Derrick didn’t lead long as Lomong decisively went to the lead before the 4k mark. Lomong would lead the entire last 1000. It was now a race against the clock. With 800 to go (11:03.36), Lomong had a good shot at the record. Last year when Lomong made his professional debut at 5000 and run 13:11, he closed in 2:01 and that was despite kicking 400 meters too early.
In the end, it wasn’t easy. Lomong got the number of laps down right this time, but the blazing finishing kick wasn’t there. Urged on by the waving of Schumacher, Lomong was able to find enough over the last 200 to send the crowd into a frenzy.
Video of Lomong’s run via Flotrack
Post Race Reaction
You can watch the post-race trackside interview that Derrick and Lomong did with track announcer Ian Brooks (sorry for the tiny picture but we tried out a new camera as the flip line has been discontinued). Additionally, in the one on one interview Derrick talks about how he started to doubt his fitness when Schumacher downplayed expectations the day before the race and told the guys he was sure they could break 13:20. Derrick also talks about his two teammates not racing tonight – Alan Webb and German Fernandez - as well as his goals for the upcoming world cross country championships.
There is also an interview with Matt Tegenkamp who since college has made ever world’s team that he has tried out for but at age 31 faces a tough battle to make the 10,000 team this year. We also have unofficial and official splits as well, plus the live blog coverage of the meet embedded for your review.
Quick Take #1: After the race, I had dinner with Jager, Tegenkamp, Lomong, Schumacher and their agent Tom Ratcliffe as well as Sports Illustrated writer David Epstein. A good portion of the dinner was spent arranging for Lomong to be drug-tested by USADA. Lomong is flying to Albuquerque tomorrow morning and will be met by a drug tester there. It was funny as the two previous American record-holders at dinner (Tegenkamp 2-mile, Jager steeple) had a debate as to whether or not you must be drug tested for an American record to stand officially.
Quick Take #2: Schumacher like every coach wants everything to go perfectly well. He definitely thinks the guys who struggled at the end are in better shape than their times indicated, but had trouble as the pace was so honest throughout. If the race hadn’t been so hot so early, it’s likely Lomong would have come up just short of the American record. Short of having two separate races, one that went out at 13:10 pace and one 13:20 pace, there wasn’t a whole lot he could have done differently.
Quick Take #3: While Schumacher clearly wanted more and Jager wasn’t happy with the way the race ended, everyone in Schumacher’s group that finished the race today except for Tegenkamp would have been in the US top 10 all-times indoors prior to tonight with their time. The new US top 14 all-time indoor list is as follows:
All Time Top 14 US runners at 5000
1. 13:07.00 Lopez Lomong 03/01/13
2. 13:07.15 Bernard Lagat 02/11/12
3. 13:11.44 Galen Rupp 02/19/11
4. 13:12.00 Chris Derrick 03/01/13
5. 13:20.55 Doug Padilla 02/12/82
6. 13:22.6 Alberto Salazar 02/06/81
7. 13:23.68 Andrew Bumbalough 03/01/13
8. 13:26.92 Bruce Bickford 02/09/85
9. 13:29.3 John Gregorek 01/20/85
10.13:33.2 Matt Centrowitz 02/06/81
10.13:33.22 Elliott Heath 03/01/13
12.13:33.37 Evan Jager 03/01/13
14.13:34.72 Mark Coogan 01/31/92
Quick Take #4: Lomong leads the 2013 US list right now at 800 and 5k. That’s really nice range. Well actually, I guess he’s #2 in the 800 as Leoman Momoh or Arkansas beat Lomong’s 1:46.53 about 75 minutes before the 5k tonight. That’s still sick range.
Quick Take #5: There was one other racer in the field tonight. Oklahoma State’s Girma Mecheso did a good job of hanging on to the pack for about 2400 before ending up a lap down, but he still ran 13:45.61. That time puts him 17th on the NCAA list – and only 16 goes – so he’s hoping someone doesn’t declare.
Part of the last 400 of Lopez’s American record 5000 meter 13:07.00 performance (Warning: Awful video quality)
|Unofficial 200 Splits|
For Race Leader
31.72 – 31.72
31.09 – 2:07.50
31.24 – 2:38.74
31.97 – 3:10.71
31.83 – 3:42.54
31.87 – 4:14.41
31.14 – 4:45.55
31.23 – 5:16.78
31.07 – 5:47.85
31.18 – 6:19.03
31.05 – 6:50.08
31.55 – 7:21.63
31.69 – 7:53.32
31.75 – 8:25.07
31.84 – 8:56.91
32.10 – 9:29.01
32.27 – 10:01.28
31.23 – 10:32.49
30.87 – 11:03.36
30.74 – 11:34.10
31.06 – 12:05.16
31.23 – 12:36.39
30.58 – 13:06.97
|Relive the race via the live-blog from scribblelive.|
Official Race Results/Splits
Men's 5000m run ========================================================================= Name Year School Seed Finals ========================================================================= 1 Lomong, Lopez Nike 13:07.00 2 Derrick, Chris Nike 13:12.00 3 Bumbalough, Andrew Nike 13:23.68 4 Heath, Elliott Nike 13:33.22 5 Jager, Evan Nike 13:33.37 6 Tegenkamp, Matt Nike 13:35.46 7 Mecheso, Girma Oklahoma Sta 13:57.06 13:45.61 -- Huling, Dan Nike DNF -- Mahoney, Travis New Jersey-N DNF 1k split 1 Mahoney, Travis New Jersey-N 2:38.88 2 Huling, Dan Nike 2:39.14 3 Jager, Evan Nike 2:39.40 4 Derrick, Chris Nike 2:39.63 5 Lomong, Lopez Nike 2:39.89 6 Bumbalough, Andrew Nike 2:40.10 7 Tegenkamp, Matt Nike 2:40.31 8 Heath, Elliott Nike 2:40.53 9 Mecheso, Girma Oklahoma Sta 13:57.06 2:40.78 2k split 1 Heath, Elliott Nike 5:16.67 2 Huling, Dan Nike 5:16.92 3 Jager, Evan Nike 5:17.17 4 Derrick, Chris Nike 5:17.40 5 Lomong, Lopez Nike 5:17.67 6 Bumbalough, Andrew Nike 5:17.89 7 Tegenkamp, Matt Nike 5:18.13 8 Mahoney, Travis New Jersey-N 5:18.37 9 Mecheso, Girma Oklahoma Sta 13:57.06 5:18.64 3k split 1 Huling, Dan Nike 7:53.46 2 Jager, Evan Nike 7:53.71 3 Derrick, Chris Nike 7:53.94 4 Lomong, Lopez Nike 7:54.18 5 Bumbalough, Andrew Nike 7:54.39 6 Tegenkamp, Matt Nike 7:54.70 7 Heath, Elliott Nike 7:55.05 8 Mecheso, Girma Oklahoma Sta 13:57.06 8:01.03 -- Mahoney, Travis New Jersey-N DNF 4k split 1 Lomong, Lopez Nike 10:32.64 2 Derrick, Chris Nike 10:33.26 3 Bumbalough, Andrew Nike 10:35.11 4 Jager, Evan Nike 10:35.82 5 Heath, Elliott Nike 10:44.68 6 Tegenkamp, Matt Nike 10:45.08 7 Mecheso, Girma Oklahoma Sta 13:57.06 10:53.16 -- Huling, Dan Nike DNF -- Mahoney, Travis New Jersey-N DNF