The most important thing the athletes will be after is World and Olympic qualifiers.
27:40 (men) and 31:45 (women) are the qualifiers for the World Champs in the 10,000m.
For the men the standard is actually 5 seconds slower for London 2012 (27:45). For the 5k the standard are 13:20, 15:14 (15:15 Olympics).
The highlight of this meet is usually the 10,000s. Very few world class 10,000s are ever run anymore and Stanford has near perfect weather every year. Meb set his American record here (27:13), then Solinsky smashed it last year (26:59). Deena Kastor got her record here (30:50) and then Shalane broke it here in 2008 (30:34) and beat it again at the Olympics (30:22 for bronze).
The women's 10k with Shalane Flanagan, American record holder at 5,000m Molly Huddle, and Lineth Chepkurui who pulled out of Bloomsday to run here ($7,000 for first) is getting a lot of attention.
First of all, dismiss any talk of Huddle getting the American record. She has raced Shalane twice this year at USXC (losing by 44 seconds) and world xc (losing by 1:16).
Lineth Chepkurui ran 30:45 on the roads last year at Crescent City but only ran 31:47 last week there and got beat by 11 seconds. She doesn't look in quite the same form as last year (5th at world xc last year, 8th this year). She'll want a world qualifier for sure and maybe a fast time to impress Kenyan selectors. That would be helpful to get the opening 5k faster than 15:30.
There is a possibility Kayoko Fukushi of Japan may go for the national record of Yoko Shibui (30:48.89). If that's the case, it will ensure a fast opening 5k.
On the men's side, a big focus is on Matt Tegenkamp's 10k debut. Seems like he's doing this more to get a 10k under his belt and a worlds qualifier. Chris Solinsky is supposedly just pacing for 4 miles. Talk of 13:40 pace. One would think Solinsky might want to get the London qualifier out of the way but that does not appear to be the plan.
Chris Thompson of Britain's wants Jon Brown's UK record of 27:18 and 13:40 pace would be perfect for that. For another magical night like last year (sub 27) the pace has to be a little bit faster. Last year they hit 5k at 13:34. (Recap here https://www.letsrun.com/2010/solinsky0502.php )
Ben St Lawrence (28:05 pr) who beat Solinsky in Australia earlier this year running 13:10 is in the field but he has run poorly since then.
Bedan Karoki of Kenya who trains in Japan has the fastest pr in the field (27:23) outside of Solinsky yet is the guy being totally overlooked. He only has run 13:23 for 5k but won 2 XC races in Japan this year and has run as fast as he has needed to win. He ran the 5k in Oregon last week and won easily (13:38) but he'll need to go at that pace for 10k on Sunday.
27:20 seems like a reasonable winning time.
The weather looks good tomorrow (and it helps the races are at 9pm west coast time) http://www.wunderground.com/cg...day=Sunday
Post edited 10:10 am Sunday
People have pointed out a few things I missed. I typed it up quickly at a coffee shop and thought "I'm missing a few people" and that was the case.
Missing woman: Sally Kipyego- She really may be the one too look out for. The NCAA star has the fastest pr in the field 14:38 and ran a 4:06 1500m pr last week indicating she is sharp. Thus she may be willing to help push the pace. She should smash her 10k pb of 31:25.
I've now heard from people at Kimbia (agency of Flanagan and Lineth Chepkurui the pace for the women could go out 15:20). For an AR it needs to be just a tad faster (15:20 and 15:02 is not the ideal way to run 30:22) but glad to hear it will be fast.
As for Molly Huddle, I don't want to be too harsh on her. She should smash her pr and get under 31 minutes. She has shown she is tough as nails and she is probably weaker at XC than track. Having said that I don't she is the same caliber athlete as Flanagan on the track. 30:22 in Beijing is amazing. Flanagan still has not run a track race under Schumacher like she did under coach Cook. The bronze at World XC however leads me to believe she is capable of it.
Predictions: 1) Flanagan 2) Kipyego 3) Chepkurui
Missing man: Bouabdallah Tahri- The guy has the best credential in the field at 8:01 steeple for a bronze at the 2009 Worlds. He ran a 13:11 5k last year. This race shows he's moving up to the 10,000m. Solisnky showed last year what people can do in their debuts. However, this is his first race of the year which would indicate to me his emphasis more on just getting the Worlds and Olympic standards out of the way. Still a guy to really watch.
As for the men's pace dropping off after Solinsky drops out and men not hitting the standard I don't think that will be the case. Yes the pace could drop a little. However, Solinsky is going 4 miles. So that gives them 5 laps to go on their own before they can get to a mile to go and think of pushing for home on their own. And the field has too many good guys who want the standard to let 27:40 not happen.
Thompson wants the UK record, Karoki is very good and Tahri is as well. If it's on pace at 6400 no way I don't see the leaders hitting the standard. There is a question how many Americans hit it.
More: Japan running blog on Japanese runners: