Bernard Lagat Wins Melbourne Track Classic 5,000

American Gets "A" Standard As Surprising Ben St. Lawrence Is Second, As Jeff Risely Stuns Asbel Kiprop And Nick Willis In 1,500 And David Rudisha Cruises In 800

March 3, 2011

At the 2011 Melbourne Track Classic tonight, America's Bernard Lagat took the home victory in 13:08.43, as the top finishers all got what they wanted - an IAAF "A" qualifying time of sub-13:20.00.

The race was paced well, as the rabbits took the field through 3,000 in 7:58.74 (13:18 pace). At that point, there were still six runners in contention - Lagat, Ben St. Lawrence (Australia), Chris Solinsky (USA), Matt Tegenkamp (USA), Andy Bumbalough (USA) and Collis Birmingham (Australia). After the rabbits stopped, Lagat led for a while before Solinsky took his turn at the front, with the pace lagging ever so slightly, as with three laps to go, the clock read 10:07-08.

As the runners approached the last 1k, the pace started to accelerate and with 800 meters to go (11:10), the lead pack was down to four - the expected big three of Solinsky, Lagat and Tegenkamp, all sub-13:00 5,000-meter runners, plus the surprising St. Lawrence, who came in sporting a 13:25.88 personal best. With 500 meters remaining, the American record holders at 5,000 in Lagat (12:54.12) and 10,000 in Solinsky (26:59.60) separated themselves from the pack and it looked like it was a two-man race, as Solinsky led and Lagat ran directly behind him. However, St. Lawrence's night wasn't over and he started to gain on the leading duo as they approached the bell. With 250 meters to go, just as St. Lawrence was about to catch the leading duo, Lagat seemingly sensed him from behind and went to the front, and Solinsky had no answer.

Somewhat surprisingly, St. Lawrence kept charging and as the runners made the final turn to enter the homestretch, one started to wonder if the seemingly impossible was about to happen: "Could St. Lawrence actually roll up Bernard Lagat?" The answer was no, as Lagat would power away to victory.

In the final 50, Solinsky would rally and try to kick down St. Lawrence, but St. Lawrence managed to hold on a get a well-deserved second in 13:10.05 - a stunning 15-second-plus PR - as Solinsky (13:10.22), Tegenkamp (13:16.27) and Bumbalough (13:16.77) would all get the coveted "A" standard. St. Lawrence wasn't the only runner having a huge personal best, as the race represented a huge breakthrough for Bumbalough, who came in sporting a 13:30.77 PR.

"I came in here really wanting a PB. I thought I'd take a chunk off but I didn't think I'd almost be getting pass Lagat," said a very happy St. Lawrence after the race.

Runners left on the outside of the Olympic "A" standard were former World Championships bronze medallist Craig Mottram, who finished 7th in 13:25.15 and American Tim Nelson, eighth in 13:28.09.

After taking a victory lap, a pleased Bernard Lagat had a few post-race comments. "I had so much fun running here today. I knew that I had been training really, really well," said Lagat.

In other action in Melbourne, 800-meter world record holder David Rudisha opened up his 2011 campaign in good form, as he cruised to a 1:43.88. American Nick Symmonds had a strong 800 opener as he almost broke 1:45 for the 7th time in his career, as he was second in 1:45.08 - by far the best opener of his career. His previous best opener was the 1:47.79 he ran last year (although it should be pointed out that he normally opens up indoors).

In the men's 1,500, Australia's Jeff Riseley showed that sometimes history does repeat itself, as for the second-straight year, he got a surprising win over the Olympic gold and silver medallists in Asbel Kiprop and Nick Willis. Last year, Riseley got the win before being plagued by plantar fascia problems for much of the rest of the year. This year, he came in saying he was in even better shape and he proved it, as he won going away in 3:36.71 - nearly a full second up on Kiprop (3:37.63). Last year, Risely won by .36.

American mile record holder Alan Webb, who had been struggling so far in 2011, saw his 2011 fortunes improve drastically, as he finished just behind Kiprop in third in 3:37.82, nearly a full second up on Willis, who was fourth in 3:38.76.

In the women's 800, Jamaica's Kenia Sinclair dipped under 2:00 for the win in 1:59.63 as Great Britain's Jemma Simpson won the ladies 1,500 in 4:08.49.

Middle distance and distance results appear in the table below. Full results available here.

More: *LRC Melbourne Talk *LRC 5k Talk *More 5k Talk

Men's 800 Results
1 David Rudisha KEN 1:43.88
2 Nick Symmonds USA 1:45.09
3 Lachlan Renshaw 87 NSWIS 1:45.66
4 Tyler Mulder USA 1:45.73
5 Alexander Rowe 92 VIS 1:46.28
6 James Gurr 84 NSW 1:46.52
7 Abraham Chepkirwok UGA 1:47.10
8 Tristan Garrett 89 NSW 1:48.16
-- Sammy Tangui KEN DNF

Men's 1,500 Results
1 Jeffrey Riseley 86 VIS 3:36.71
2 Asbel Kiprop KEN 3:37.63
3 Alan Webb USA 3:37.82
4 Nick Willis NZL 3:38.76
5 James Kaan 91 NSWIS 3:39.87
6 Nicholas Toohey 88 QLD 3:41.10
7 William Leer USA 3:41.42
8 Brenton Rowe 88 VIC 3:41.69
9 Lee Emmanuel GBR 3:41.91
10 Lachlan Chisholm 80 NSW 3:42.29
11 Brett Robinson 91 ACT 3:42.61
12 Grant Page 83 TAS 3:42.72
13 Malcolm Hicks 88 NZL 3:42.84
14 Jordan Williamsz 93 VIC 3:51.83
-- Gilbert Kipchoge KEN DNF
-- Mark Fountain 82 VIC DNF

Men's 5,000 Results
1 Bernard Lagat USA 13:08.43
2 Ben St Lawrence 81 NSWIS 13:10.08
3 Chris Solinsky USA 13:10.22
4 Matt Tegenkamp USA 13:16.27
5 Andrew Bumbalough USA 13:16.77
6 Craig Mottram 81 VIS 13:25.15
7 Tim Nelson USA 13:28.09
8 Jeremy Roff 84 NSWIS 13:37.48
9 Isaac Songok KEN 13:38.43
10 Collis Birmingham 86 VIS 13:42.14
11 Liam Adams 86 VIC 13:44.60
12 David McNeill 86 VIC 13:51.95
13 Youcef Abdi NSWIS 13:53.00
14 Craig Miller USA 14:01.40
15 James Nipperess 91 NSWIS 14:06.74
16 Russell Dessaix-Chn 79 NSW 14:07.32
17 Alan Craigie 83 ACT 14:24.21
-- Paul Hoffman VIC DNF
-- Philo Saunders ACT DNF
-- Brandon Bethke USA DNF

Women's 800 Results
1 Kenia Sinclair JAM 1:59.63
2 Tamsyn Lewis 79 VIC 2:01.50
3 Katherine Katsanevakis 88 VIC 2:02.60
4 Holly Noack 85 WA 2:02.64
5 Kelly Hetherington 89 VIC 2:03.12
6 Sianne Toemoe 90 NSWIS 2:03.85
7 Erica Fountain VIC 2:05.18
8 Caitlin Pincott 83 QLD 2:05.31
9 Kelly Young 84 NSW 2:05.55
10 Angie Smit 92 NZL 2:05.88
11 Trychelle Kingdom 91 VIS 2:09.25
-- Anneliese Rubie NSW DNF

Women's 1,500 Results
1 Jemma Simpson GBR 4:08.49
2 Kaila McKnight 86 VIS 4:08.94
3 Bridey Delaney 90 NSW 4:11.01
4 Georgie Clarke 85 VIC 4:12.01
5 Lisa Corrigan 84 ACT 4:19.48
6 Hannah Newbould 92 NZL 4:19.82
7 Anna Laman 97 NSW 4:20.12
8 Amanda Paulin 90 VIC 4:20.60
9 Linden Hall 92 VIC 4:27.33
10 Emily Loughnan 88 WA 4:28.07
11 Stacey Stanley 96 VIC 4:29.00
12 Lara Nicod 86 NSW 4:30.48
13 Lisa Stanton-Smith 90 VIC 4:32.47
-- Eliza Curnow 92 VIC DNF




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