Galen Rupp Is Defeated As Hagos Gebrhiwet Sets New World Junior 3,000 Record of 7:32.87

January 2, 2013

Galen Rupp fans, there is good news and bad news.

The good news is Rupp ran a 7:33.87 – the 2nd fastest actual 3000 run in US history (#4 if you count 2 mile conversions) – beating the Olympic 5000 silver medallist in the process. The bad news – he lost the race to a guy who possibly might be Ethiopia’s third ruler in the Haile Gebrselassie – Kenenisa Bekele line of rulers of the 5000/10000, Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet.

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Gebrhiwet, who is still just 18 years old, surprised everyone in the building including Rupp by taking the lead just before 2k and then quickly accelerating to gap Rupp. Once in the lead, he never faltered and in the end he was rewarded with a new world junior record of 7:32.87 – just eclipsing Isaiah Koech‘s 7:32.89 from last year. Rupp to his credit never gave up once gapped and came back on Gebrhiwet a bit at the end but Gebrehiwet’s victory was never seriously in doubt over the last lap.

The race was rabbitted well through a first 1600 of 4:02-3 flat. Throughout the early going, Rupp was right on the heels of the rabbit while Olympic 5000 silver medallist Dejen Gebremeskel stayed a few meters back from Rupp with Gebrhiwet right behind him. Just after 1200 meters in, we were wondering if Rupp was going to have a solo race against the clock as Gebremeskel started to fall even farther behind. But Gebrhiwet quickly responded and went around Gebremeskel roughly 3:45 into the race. Then just before the 2k mark (5:04.24), Gebrhiwet rapidly accelerated. Instantly a gap opened up on Rupp and it was a lead that Gebrhiwet never gave up as ESPN announcer Tim Hutchings cracked, “This isn’t part of the script.”

All Time US Marks at 3000
+ = converted from 2 mile
7:32.43 Bernard Lagat (Nike) 02/17/07
7:33.45+ Galen Rupp (Nike) 02/11/12
7:33.77+ ——Lagat 02/12/11
7:33.87 —— Rupp 2/2/2013
7:34.65 ——Lagat 02/21/08
7:34.71 ——Lagat 02/02/2013

2000 meters in is arguably the hardest part of a 3000 and Gebrhiwet struck at the perfect time with a 58 second 400 (More: MB: Gebrhiwet just ran won of the most tactically savvy races I’ve ever seen).

In the end, he only closed in 29 high over the last 200 but it was enough to hold off a late close from Rupp.

“I came in more wanting to win than anything else – that stung a little bit more,” said Rupp to ESPN’s Lewis Johnson when asked about coming up short of Bernard Lagat‘s American record of 7:32.43

“Once I dropped off, I tried to keep it going. He made a big move. I came close – just a little bit short.”

Pirctue of Hagos Gebrhiwet Hagos Gebrhiwet after winning the 2013 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix 3000.

Gebremeskel didn’t completely pack it in after falling off the battle for the win as he ended up third in 7:43.32. Garrett Heath ended up winning the battle for fourth amongst the pack of mostly US-based runners as he ran 7:53.37.

As we said in our preview, there is no shame in Rupp losing to Gebrhiwet who has a 12:47 pb. In fact, we’ll end this race recap with an excerpt of what wrote about Gebrhiwet in our race preview and then a comment about it:

The field also includes Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet who has run run 12:47 and is still just 18 years young. Considering that world record holder Kenenisa Bekele‘s 5000 pb at age 18 was 13:13, it seems possible that in a few years we’ll be looking at Gebrhiwet as the third heir in the Ethiopian 5,000 and 10,000 reign that began with Haile Gebrselassie – Gebrselassie, Bekele, Gebriwet.

We’ll likely find out very soon if this guy is on his way to being an all-time great or not. In fact, we’d go as far as to say if he wins this race in impressive fashion, watch out world. He was incredibly improved last year as he went from finishing 5th at the World Youth champs in 2011 in 7:45 and having a 14:04 5000 pb to running 12:47 in one year. If he just improves a tiny bit this year, no one in the world will be able to touch him.

We are hesitant to pick him though because he ran Boston last year and was only 4th in 7:44.08 (winning time 7:38.29). Then a month later in March, he was only 4th at the U-20 African XC champs. Given his less than stellar early year results last year, we are hesitant to pick him this year.

Given the fact that today’s race was hard fought, we’re not ready to annoint Gebrhiwot just quite yet as the next Bekele-Gebrselassie, but if he won this race with the same training as say he had at this time last year, then yes, the rest of the world is in BIG trouble.

picture of Hagos Gebrhiwet Hagos Gebrhiwet getting ready to strike at the 2013 New Balance Indoor Games.
Event 19  Men 3000 M
        NBIG:   7:34.50  2008        Craig Mottram, AUS        
       World:   7:24.90  2/6/1998    Daniel Komen, KEN         
    American:   7:32.43  2/17/2007   Bernard Lagat, Nike       
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
  1 Hagos Gebrhiwet              ETH                    7:32.87
  2 Galen Rupp                   USA                    7:33.67
  3 Dejen Gebremeskel            ETH                    7:43.32
  4 Garrett Heath                USA                    7:53.37
  5 Ciaran O'Lionaird            IRL                    7:53.69
  6 Donn Cabral                  USA                    7:55.63
  7 Miles Batty                  USA                    7:57.33
  8 Andy Baddeley                GBR                    8:02.70
 -- Haron Lagat                  KEN                        DNF
 -- Mark Wieczorek               USA                        DNF
 -- Erik Van Ingen               USA                        DNF

More: *MB: Gebrhiwet just ran won of the most tactically savvy races I’ve ever seen
*MB: Rupptured – old school training wins.. Blue collar Ethiopians show al salad .. Not so fast
*MB: Once again Rupp loses
*MB: Official 2013 USA Cross Country Women’s and Men’s Race Discussion Thread


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