2010 Oslo Bislett Games Preview- A Distance Treat For LetsRun.com Fans

Men's Distance Action - Solinsky/Lagat 5k, Kiprop/Mekonnen 1,500, Rudisha/Kaki 800 - Will Headline Friday's Oslo Meet

By LetsRun.com
June 3, 2010

Friday's Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway seem like the perfect treat for LetsRun.com fans. The meet is very distance oriented, and particularly oriented towards the men (the only prime women's distance event is the steeple and there are no American entrants). The meet starts Friday at 20:00 local time or 2:00pm Eastern time. You can watch it on TV (live on BBC, 8pm eastern on Universal Sports) or live online. Of course we will have results, recap, photos and video highlights as soon as we can find them.

Here are our quick men's distance previews. In sprint and field event action, you've got Asafa Powell in the 100m, new American record holder in the HJ Chaunte Lowe vs. Blanka Vlasic and much more. The IAAF preview is here.

12th IAAF World Athletics Championships - Day Nine
Solinsky Ahead Of Lagat?

Solinsky And Lagat In Rabbited Men's 5,000 - Will The AR Fall And Who Will End Up With It?
The most interesting event of the night should be the men's 5,000, which many are billing as an American record attempt. Americans Bernard Lagat (former world champion) and Chris Solinsky (fresh off his 26:59.60 10k American Record) are both in the field. They'll have their hands full with a stacked field and will have their sights on Dathan Ritzenhein's stunning 12:56.27 American Record of last year. The field includes Tariku Bekele (Kenenisa's brother has run 12:52.45 before but missed last year's track season), Olympic bronze medallist Edwin Soi (12:52 PR, 12:55 last year, first track race in 2010), the in-form Vincent Chepkok (12:51.45 for 2nd in the heat of Doha last month) and the favorite on paper, 2003 World Champion Eliud Kipchoge (12:51.21 for the win over Chepkok in Doha, 12:46.53 PR).

After the 12:51 in warm weather in Doha, the winning pace in Oslo seems almost certainly to be under the 12:56.27 American Record. Top pro coach Renato Canova pointed out that for the last 3 years, many of the top races have not used rabbits, and that is why times have not been as fast. With any emphasis on time in Oslo, the field is so great that 12:56 will be beaten.

That brings us to Lagat and Solinsky. If you want to jump on the Solinsky bandwagon, we're not sure if there is any room left. He opened his 2010 outdoor season with an incredible 26:59 American record 10k debut. The weather was perfect, the race was magical, and Solinsky's finish was breathtaking. Now people are expecting him to challenge Lagat and Ritz's American record.

We don't see it happening. Solinsky's 5k PR is 13:12. Sure his 26:59 was much, much better than that. Having said that, we have seen nothing to indicate Solinsky should beat Lagat over 5k. Lagat has the better PR, the better finish, and we don't all of a sudden think Chris Solinsky is better than Lagat at 5k. According to all-athletics, they've raced 4 times in their career at 5k, and Solinsky never has been within 5 seconds of Lagat.

We're not saying it's not going to happen, it just doesn't seem likely. Who's the better 5k runner? Bernard Lagat or Chris Solinsky? Until Solinsky beats Lagat or age catches up to Lagat, we're going to put our money on Lagat. Has age caught up to Lagat? We don't think so. Many point out he was outkicked in Ostrava last week. Sure, it happened, but Lagat still ran 7:32.49 for 3k. That's pretty good and indicates he's ready for a fast 5k (for comparison's sake, realize Solinsky's 3k PR is 7:36.90). Lagat is no longer invincible (he lost in the mile at Drake), but he's still great (he destroyed the field at World Indoors in the 3k) when it matters.

The problem for Lagat and Solinsky is what do they do if this is a 12:50 or better race? That is uncharted territory for both of them. Lagat's 5k PR is a relatively modest 12:59.22. 12:50 is a lot faster. If he goes with a 12:50 pace and dies, that is the way we most see Solinsky beating him and getting the record. The American record is most likely to fall if the pace is just under 13:00-flat with a race at the end. If that is the scenario, we see the record falling for sure and for Lagat to be the guy getting it. Will that happen? Who knows?

If an American is going to put the record around 12:50, we still think the runner to do this is Lagat, not Solinsky.

Predictions: Win: Kipchoge American Record: Lagat

What Do You Think?