Ben True Keeps His Impressive 2013 Going With A 4th Place Finish
May 25, 2013
Randall’s Island, NY – The big question going into today’s men’s 5,000 was, “Who is going to be Mo Farah‘s biggest threat at Worlds this year? Dejen Gebremeskel or Hagos Gebrhiwet?” Both have PRs under 12:50 and Gebremeskel is the 2012 Olympic silver medalist while Gebrhiwet is the World Junior record holder and has been unstoppable this year, beating Galen Rupp handily indoors and destroying the 3k field two weeks ago in Doha. The other question was, “How will American Ben True do against some of the top 5k runners in the World?”
As for the first question, let there be no doubt. Hagos Gebrhiwet’s spectacular 2013 continued as he dominated this race. He did something you don’t really see anymore in Diamond League races – gap the field early. Before 3k, he had dropped the field and was able to cruise to victory in a new world-leading time of 13:10.03 in cool, windy conditions. In the process, he clearly established himself as Farah’s #1 rival and did nothing to dampen the talk that he might be the third Ethiopian ruler in the Gebrselassie-Bekele reign of the 5,000 and 10,000.
As for True, he competed very well. At 2k, the World Cross-Country sixth placer was ahead of just two guys. At the finish, he was behind just three as he finished fourth in 13:16.94.
Today’s race started off as every other race of the day seemingly did in the cool, damp, and windy conditions (at 1 pm Eastern it was 54 degrees with 15 mph winds), with the rabbits way out in front and with the pack bunched up not wanting to follow in the poor conditions. Leading the pack behind the rabbits was 2011 World XC bronze medalist Vincent Chepkok with Gebremeskel sitting right behind him.
The rabbits realized they were way out in front and slowed down a lot, and by 800 in, the pack actually caught up to the rabbits and was strung out behind them with True sitting in around 7th or 8th. As they came around with 10 laps to go, Gebrhiwet took the top spot (behind the two rabbits) with Gebremeskel following him. Laps 11, 10, and 9 before the finish were run in just under 3:11 for the leaders (63.6 average), but soon the pace accelerated and it became a one-horse race.
Perhaps Gebrihwet told them he was warmed up and ready to run (we tried to ask him after the race but he doesn’t speak English) as the next-to-last 1,600 was very fast – 4:07.7.
61.64 (gives him 5-meter gap on non-rabbits)
61:30 (15+ meters lead)
In the midst of that, after a 6:37.5 halfway split, around 2,800, Gebrhiwet even passed the lead rabbit and led outright on his own. His lead only grew until the very end, when he coasted in to victory and those behind him kicked it in for spots 2-3-4.
It was soon obvious no one was catching Hagos. Behind him, Chepkok ran all alone in second. Behind Chepok, an interesting battle played itself out for spots three and four.
The Race For Third
The American True had gradually been picking people off and with four laps remaining (9:07 for True), he shockingly passed 2012 Olympic silver medallist Dejen Gebremeskel and 2011 world champion Ibrahim Jeilan and moved into third. A lap later (10:08), Gebremeskel lost contract with True and Jeilan. Over the final three laps, True and Jeilan would battle it out for third. Most of the time True was in third. 800 to go was reached in 11:13 and the bell was reached in 12:17. Just before the bell, Jeilan moved into third and he’d stay there as his (roughly) 59-flat final lap got him third (13:16.46). He and True (13:16.94) closed hard and gained ground on Chepkok but were never in serious contention for 2nd (13:15.51). Gebremeskel finished way back in 6th with 13:31.02.
QT#1: Gebrhiwet put up a 13:10 in the wind and rain, running on his own for the last mile-and-a-half with no one to even compete against. Farah is going to have his work cut out for him this year in Moscow. If you had to call it now, you have to pick Gebrhiwet, as Farah’s season has barely gotten started. When is the last time someone destroyed a Diamond League 5k field before the 3k mark?
Our unofficial splits for Gebrihwet:
1:36.7 (first 600)
2:05.43 (first 1,600 of 4:16)
61.64 (gives him 5-meter gap on non-rabbits, True only ahead of two people)
QT #2: True finished within 1.5 seconds of a World 10,000m champion and World XC bronze medalist. He’s definitely at a new level this year and it will be interesting to see how things play out between him and the other top US runners (Rupp, Ritz, Lomong, etc.) at US Champs. We spoke to him after the race and he said that he’s not running any long distance races before USAs (maybe a 1,500) and that he didn’t know that he was battling it out with a former 10,000 champ, but it didn’t matter who it was, he wanted to beat him.
QT #3: This race was a huge step forward for Jeilan, who seemingly came out of nowhere and won Worlds in 2011. After missing last year due to injury, he’s on his way back. We spoke to him and he said his injuries are a thing of the past and talked to us confidently about Moscow. A member of the press asked him if he could beat Mo Farah in Moscow and he didn’t take the bait and gave the double Olympic champ a lot of respect, saying he wasn’t sure about that.
QT# 4: A total disaster for Gebremeskel.
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