ita over wrote:
Sub 12:50 is the new sub 13. There are enough guys now under the 12:50 barrier or capable going under 12:50 that just running 12:55-12:59 is not going to get you desired placings. Look at where Bekele finished with a stellar 12:55 time.
Besides Rupp I really don't see any US runner capable of 12:50. Including Lagat. Lagat's potential is tapped out at 12:52 at best. US distance running, at least for the 5k, is in trouble. We need more fast 1500m guys (like David Torrence) to move up.
US distance running (5k) isn't in trouble, it's doing fine. Lot's of guys are closing in on 13.00 with some having gone under (Lagat, Ritz, Rupp, Teg, Solinsky) recently. Kennedy was thought to be a star running that 15+ years ago, now it is almost commonplace. The problem is that too many think that others shouldn't be able to run faster - or must be on drugs. Why shouldn't they run faster? - even guys like Levins (who was he 2 years ago?) or Mo Ahmed are running faster (over 10k) than Rupp did at that age. There are talented foreigners out there who are simply prepared to out-work many Americans, both in training and racing.
This race was an Ethiopian trial with some good Kenyans along for the ride. Shame that no Americans were in it, but understandable asit was too close to the US trials meet. Heck Jack Buckner ran 13.10 25 years ago, and he wasn't that great, and Moorcroft ran 13.00 even earlier (they are Brits and we know they can't run - except Farah).Just as the vast number of top Brit over 1500m (Ovett, Coe, Cram, Moorcroft, Elliott) in the 1980's meant some had to move to 5000m (Moorcroft and Buckner), so the depth also made for a number of 3.35 journeyman (Gladwin, Crabb, etc.) which is a result of it - but that's long gone for Britain now. So too with the Africans (look at the Marathon - where 2h04 doesn't make the Olympic team!!).The point is that depth creates the atmosphere for top performances, and that is what happened in this race. The US has the talent in College for that depth, but can't harness the resources to make it happen. Look at Oregon where Jerry and Alberto have their own groups which have almost nothing to do with each other - this is too much the norm in the US where little "kingdoms" predominate instead of a common focus towards getting the whol country together. That should be the mandate of the USATF, but that organization has even less power than the NCAA, which isn't about development of athletes but about team titles and conference championships.
Now that there are a number of well-coached groups (Oregon Project, etc.) in the US, the depth will increase, but too much in secrecy and isolation. The shame is that there are still not enough good groups for the size of the running population in the US as too much of it is about getting a contract to financially survive, and talented runners simply don't get in the appropriate work in College to make the transition so quit instead upon graduation.