2013 USA Men’s 5000 Preview: Galen Rupp, Bernard Lagat and Then Who?

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by LetsRun.com
June 21, 2013

Predicting the outcome of the men’s 5000 at the 2013 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships isn’t easy. One glance at the 18 accepted entrants will show you why. Pay close attention to the asterisk*.

5000 Entrants Seeded According to 2013 Best Time

1    13:07.00i              Lopez Lomong*  
2    13:07.76               Bernard Lagat                      
3    13:08.69               Galen Rupp*                        
4    13:09.04               Chris Derrick*                     
5    13:09.53               Dathan Ritzenhein*                
6    13:14.44               Ben True*                         
7    13:14.60               Evan Jager*    
9    13:15.50               Hassan Mead    
9    13:18.42               Dan Huling*     
10   13:20.01               Garrett Heath*   
11   13:21.55               Will Leer*  
12   13:23.62               Chris Solinsky
13   13:23.68i              Andrew Bumbalough   
14   13:24.15               Bobby Curtis*    
15   13:29.08               Jeff See*        
16   13:29.55               George Alex
17   13:33.22i              Elliott Heath
18   13:53.52               Ryan Hill*
* = doubling back from another event at USAs

12 of the other 18 accepted entrants are already running another event at USAs. We expect many of them, if they qualify in that other event, not to show up on the start line (like the steeplers Jager and Huling).

Regardless, picking two of the three team members is easy in our mind. Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp will be going to Moscow in the 5000. Why would we doubt the 2012 Olympic silver medallist Rupp, particularly after he crushed Dathan Ritzenhein, Chris Derrick and Ben True in the 10,000 on Thursday?

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We wouldn’t. He’s going to make the team.

The 38 year old Fountain of Youth

Lagat was the top American at the 2013 Prefontaine 5000. At age 38, he’s not quite what he used to be but he’s still very good. He was fourth in the Olympics last year. Plus it’s going to be a hot blood-bath on Sunday so this race is almost certainly going to be tactical and Lagat is a former miler.

Who wins between Rupp and Lagat? Well Rupp finally got the 0 for his career against Lagat off his back at last year’s Olympic Trials. That being said, Lagat beat him at Prefontaine. But the pollen was high at Pre, it’s not in Des Moines. As a result, Rupp is the pick. He’s in his prime whereas Lagat is a year older but a win by Lagat wouldn’t be a big surprise.

So who gets third?

If everyone was fresh, we’d pick Lopez Lomong to get third. However, he’s doubling back from the 1500 and we’re not even sure he’ll start this race. Plus even if he does race, he hasn’t raced a 5000 since his indoor 5000 record of 13:07.00 so we think picking someone else is a bit safer.

Dathan Ritzenhein is our pick for third.

After Prefontiane, we watched Ritz go on and on in the post-race workout when Mo Farah, Matt Centrowitz and Galen Rupp all stopped much earlier. At the time, we thought, ‘Man he looked good in the race and attacked it, and he just seems so full of energy afterwards. He’s only going to get better in the weeks to come.’

That seems to be the case. At Pre, Ritz was beaten by Derrick. Yesterday, he finished well ahead of Derrick and told us afterwards he thought he could beat Rupp. Ritz has run 12:56 in the past at 5000. Why wouldn’t he be our pick for third?

We can’t think of any reason.

Other than the fact that just as we were about to publish this article we found out Ritz has gone home to visit the family. Given the fact that he is incredibly injury prone and has zero chance of medalling in the 5000, this was a smart move. Derrick also is not doubling back.

So if Lomong runs, he’s our pick but if not, then it gets real interesting. If Jager runs, he’s our pick, but again we don’t think that will happen.

Who else could get third?

The big wild-card here is Chris Solinsky. We’d love to see the 12:55/26:59 performer get back on a Worlds team after nearly ripping his hamstring off his pelvis in 2011. He’s still only 28 (just one year older than Rupp) and when he was healthy and in his prime, there had never been an American born distance runner who was as good as him. Remember, he made mince-meat of Rupp when he set his American record of 26:59, putting 11-seconds on him in the last 800.

Solinsky was hoping initially just to get healthy this year, but when he ran 13:23 in April, he started dreaming of Moscow. A 13:27 in May dampened his expectations and then he only ran 3:42 for 1500 at Prefontaine. There’s nothing he’s done this year that makes us think he’ll make it, but studs like him can’t be discounted.

We know a lot of fans would like to see Ben True bounce back from fourth in the 10,000 to get third here. True’s very good, but he’s never done anything to indicate he can run with 12:55-13:10 guys on the track.

And while True ran the 1500 in college and has good speed, he is a pretty big guy, and bigger guys from New Hampshire probably weren’t made to do well in the scorching heat. That’s a shame as the weather in Moscow is much more likely to resemble New Hampshire in the summer than Des Moines. But True is tough as nails as shown by his sixth at World Cross Country so he can’t be written off.

Before we knew Ritz and Derrick weren’t running, we didn’t like True’s chances at all. But if Lomong doesn’t show as well, then he’s got a good shot.

But if the big guys don’t double back, it’s almost open-game for third as there are a lot of guys with good speed with a shot. Will Leer (although he probably won’t double if he makes it in the 1500), Garrett Heath, Andrew Bumbalough (4th place at the Trials last year).

Quick Thought (QT) #1: Rupp, Lagat, Ritz – that’s your team top-2 most likely. Now if Lomong shows up, it gets real interesting he should be third, but zero 5000s outdoors makes us a bit nervous.

QT #2: It’s a shame USATF only let in 18 guys as it’s very likely there are less than 15 starters here, as we’ve already lost two guys. There were guys who ended up in the over-crowded men’s 1500 because they didn’t get in here like former Princeton runner Joe Stilin. USATF should tell guys, “Hey you’re number 19, but we’re going to start the race with 18 so do what you want.”

USATF should start with 18 – not accept 18.

Entrants Below

Men 5,000m – Men
Name Affiliation Mark Status Declaration
Bernard Lagat Nike 13:07.76 qualified declared
Galen Rupp Nike 13:08.69 qualified declared
Chris Derrick Nike 13:09.04 qualified declared
Dathan Ritzenhein Nike 13:09.53 qualified declared
Benjamin True Saucony 13:14.44 qualified declared
Evan Jager Nike 13:14.60 qualified declared
Hassan Mead Nike / Oregon TC Elite 13:15.50 qualified declared
Daniel Huling Nike 13:18.42 qualified declared
Garrett Heath Saucony 13:20.01 qualified declared
William Leer Nike 13:21.55 qualified declared
Chris Solinsky Nike 13:23.62 qualified declared
Robert Curtis Hansons-Brooks Distance Project 13:24.15 qualified declared
Lopez Lomong Nike 13:24.47 qualified declared
Ryan Hill North Carolina State University 13:26.34 qualified declared
Andrew Bumbalough Nike 13:26.67 qualified declared
Elliott Heath Nike 13:28.20 qualified declared
Jeff See Saucony 13:29.08 qualified declared
George Alex 13:29.55 qualified declared
Maverick Darling University of Wisconsin-Madison 13:30.40 provisional not accepted
Benjamin Bruce adidas 13:30.79 provisional not accepted
Luke Puskedra Nike 13:31.88 provisional not accepted
Joseph Stilin University of Texas at Austin 13:33.13 provisional not accepted
Elliot Krause University of Wisconsin-Madison 13:34.30 provisional not accepted
Andrew Bayer Indiana University 13:34.82 provisional not accepted
Craig Miller New Balance 13:35.51 provisional not accepted
Bolota Asmerom TRANSPORTS Racing Team 13:36.79 provisional not accepted
Alan Webb Nike 13:37.68 provisional not accepted
Forest Braden 13:37.93 provisional not accepted
Jeramy Elkaim University of Oregon 13:39.35 provisional not accepted
Trevor Dunbar University of Oregon 13:40.66 provisional not accepted
Daniel Quigley University of Missouri-Columbia 13:43.38 provisional not accepted
Jonathan Peterson Team USA Minnesota 13:45.86 provisional not accepted
Andrew Springer Georgetown University 13:46.05 provisional not accepted
Jacob Riley Hansons-Brooks Distance Project 13:46.33 provisional not accepted
Parker Stinson University of Oregon 13:31.70 provisional scratched
Kevin Williams University of Oklahoma 13:38.57 provisional scratched
Stephen Furst adidas 13:41.69 provisional scratched
Erik Olson Stanford University 13:46.12 provisional scratched
Andrew Wacker Boulder Running Company/adidas 13:41.45 provisional
David Torrence Nike NM not qualified

The 1:59:40 GOAT shirts are here
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