Matt Tegenkamp Moving Up To 10,000

US 5,000-Meter Star Will Make Debut At Longer Distance Day Before 2011 Prefontaine Classic

By LetsRun.com
April 1, 2011

In a shocking development that is bound to please the LetsRun.com community, former Wisconsin Badger Matt Tegenkamp has told LetsRun.com exclusively that he's going to move up to the 10,000 meters starting at a special 10k that will be held the night before the 2011 Prefontaine Classic.

The news was stunning, as Tegenkamp had previously vowed (some would argue it was vowed for him on LetsRun.com) that he didn't do the 10,000 and said he was exclusively a 5,000-meter runner. In a phone interview with LetsRun.com, Tegenkamp said the decision to move up in distance ended up being pretty easy once he got himself to actually contemplate it.

"I had always vowed never to do a 10,000, so I honestly never contemplated it until last year when my training partner Chris Solinsky, whom I consider to be like an inferior little brother, ran it and set the American record," said Tegenkamp. "After that, I decided to try to analyze the stats to see if it was a good idea and once I did I was blown away by what they data showed me."

"I was pretty stunned and it was a bit hard to swallow but I realized that I'm honestly no good at the 5,000. I mean I've run 23 of them since turning pro and won only two of them and one of those races was a Trials heat. Moreover, only one of them was a sub-13:00," said Tegenkamp. "I was stunned to realize that even in college, I rarely won at 5,000, as my best finish at NCAAs was third and I was just 5th in the 5k my last year at Wisconsin. Yeah, I know I almost medalled at Worlds in 2009, but that was in a 13:46 race - a sit-and-kick race, like the time I did my best at NCAAs and got third in Austin in 2004. That was even slower, a 14:11. What am I supposed to do - stay in the 5,000 and hope a global championship is run in over 13:45 so I have a chance? That might happen actually in 2016 in Rio - isn't Brazil hot as heck? - so maybe I'll move back then, but until then I like my chances way better in the 10,000, as all of the really good African long distance runners have left the track for the far more lucrative road circuit."

At this point, the LetsRun.com employee doing the interview tried to cheer Tegenkamp up, as it seemed he was being overly negative about his chances at 5,000. The LetsRun.com employee pointed out that Tegenkamp had made the finals of the last 3 global championships, but Tegenkamp was having none of it.

"The theme in pro running right now is 'Everyone moves up and excels,' and I'm not going to miss it. Wheating is a 1,500 star, Solinsky is a 10k star, and Rupp's gonna be a marathon star like Hall. Hell, Hall is the perfect example of this. He beat me at 5,000 in college and now is a marathoner. I've got to at least run 10,000," said Tegenkamp.

(Editor's note: While the interview was done on Wednesday, Tegenkamp said for contractual reasons with the Pre Classic and Nike that we couldn't post the story until April 1st)

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