Men’s National 1500: Garrett Heath Wins, Chris Solinsky’s Lacking Speed And Alan Webb Struggles But Is Happy

by May 31, 2013 Eugene, OR – In the Men’s National 1500 tonight at Hayward Field, 2013 US Road Mile champion Garrett Heath won in 3:38.54 as US mile record holder Alan Webb struggled in his return to middle distance racing and Chris Solinsky discovered that he’s lacking speed. Jonathan Kiplimo (of Kenya) was […]

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May 31, 2013

Eugene, OR – In the Men’s National 1500 tonight at Hayward Field, 2013 US Road Mile champion Garrett Heath won in 3:38.54 as US mile record holder Alan Webb struggled in his return to middle distance racing and Chris Solinsky discovered that he’s lacking speed.

Jonathan Kiplimo (of Kenya) was second in 3:38.61 and Jordan McNamara third (3:38.95). Webb only beat one person and was 10th in 3:45.59. Solinsky was only one spot ahead of Webb, but was way ahead in terms of time – 3+ seconds in 3:42.48.

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Results and analysis below:



Eugene IDL - Prefontaine Classic
Eugene, OR, 31/05/2013

Men' results

1500 Metres - Men                                             

    1 Heath , Garrett                  USA    3:38.54                   
    2 Kiplimo , Jonathan               KEN    3:38.61                   
    3 McNamara , Jordan                USA    3:38.95                   
    4 Blankenship  , Ben               USA    3:39.48                   
    5 Johnson , Brett                  USA    3:39.59                   
    6 Bumbalough , Andrew              USA    3:40.51                   
    7 Boylan-Pett , Liam               USA    3:40.80                   
    8 Heath , Elliott                  USA    3:41.14                   
    9 Solinsky , Chris                 USA    3:42.48                   
   10 Webb , Alan                      USA    3:45.59                   
   11 Acosta , Andrew J.               USA    3:53.04                   
      Batty , Miles                    USA        DNF                   
      Dunbar , Trevor                  USA        DNF                   
      O'Lionaird , Ciaran              IRL        DNS

Post-Race Thought #1: Watching this race live, it was stunning how far back Alan Webb throughout the race. If you were looking for a sign that he was about to regain his magic of 2007, you didn’t get it.

600 meters into the race, the guy next to us was like, “Is that Alan Webb in last?” Yes it was. Webb moved into next to last at 700 (1:44), but the guy behind Webb soon dropped out. At the bell (2:44), Webb was still in last and only beat AJ Acosta who faded big-time.

Post-Race Thought #2: As stunning as Webb’s race was, we were probably more stunned post-race when we encountered an upbeat Alan Webb in the post-race interview era.

The famously impatient Webb, who famously threw a fit two plus years ago when he ran 4:00.70 in the mile in Boston (although some said we ‘breached professional decorum‘ by reporting it), was full of smiles after the race and finally seems to have found perspective and patience. Our full interview with him is embedded on the right but a few highlights.

“I had something left but I kind of lost my momentum (on the backstretch on the last lap) and tried to pick it back up. I felt like I actually, effort wise, that I closed decently well. But that’s kind of the way the 1500 goes. You make a mistake like that and it costs you a couple of seconds.

For me right now, I was thinking I could run right around 3:42ish, and I think If I hadn’t made that mistake, I could have been pretty close to that – and that (goal) was like on a perfect day –  I thought I was right around 4 flat for the mile.

So that being said, it wasn’t incredibly horrible. I’ve been focused more on strength stuff. I’ve done nothing more than 300 meters at that pace. Once I got beyond 300 meters, I was hurting.

Hopefully it will help me in some of the 5s I’m going to run later in the summer.

I haven’t raced that much. I’ve just got to keep putting myself in there and I feel like eventually it will stick. With training, it took me a while to get into a groove with the group and eventually that stuck. So I’ve just got to keep trying, keep trying, keep training.

But compared to a year ago, I’m at least healthy in training.

That’s the biggest positive for me. I know with the races things can change quickly so I’m positive.

When asked if Webb enjoyed the warm applause he got from the Hayward field, Webb said he did but in a way where he was full of self-deprecating humor.

“I haven’t been tearing it up exactly – I realize that –  but it’s not for a lack of effort. I’m trying and hopefully they appreciate that. It does feel good (to get recognized by the crowd). It’s a special place,” said Webb.

When asked about what’s next, Webb again was full of some good humor.

“For now, I’m hoping to run another 5(k) in July. (As for) USAs, I haven’t qualified yet so that’s not in the plans at this point,” said Webb laughing. “Maybe I’ll go commentate or something. My wife has a better chance of getting into the meet than I do.”

“The biggest thing that has helped me is just being with the group and being able to not think so much and kind of just follow along. I know if I just follow along I’m going to be pretty good. I’m only a couple seconds back – when it comes down to it. If I’m in the ball park and I keep plugging away, then eventually I won’t get dropped. On some runs, you get dropped but eventually you can maintain and then eventually you can kick with everybody. I’m just going through some of those growing pains.”

We then proceeded to ask Webb about an idea that was given to us by’s goodfriend, Chris Lear, who wrote the book Sub-4 about Webb’s freshman year at Michigan.  Has Webb, who was a good swimmer before starting to run, ever thought about picking up the triathlon?

Webb said he has, and as recently as January when he was hurt and not running, but said he’s happy with his current situation with Jerry Schumacher’s training group.

“I really want to give this (group a chance). I still got some time left in me. Once again, training with this group is so much fun. I can see myself doing it for a long time because I’m enjoying myself that much and these guys have helped me progress a ton. It’s been a pleasure and I’m (going to) keep on rocking it.”

It appears Webb, who only ran one year at Michigan, has found a team like environment and running on a team is way more enjoyable than running alone.

More: MB: Webb is in the right mind set at least

Post Race Thought #3: Chris Solinsky’s lacking speed but seems to have a good sense of where he’s at and how far he’s come.

Solinsky’s first words in our interview were, “First thing I said to Garrett [Heath] when I finished, ‘I’m sticking to the 5, holy moly (that was fast).’”

He says that while he’s “lacking everything right now” as he continues to make his way back from the hamstring injury/surgery that knocked him out for a year, the speed is his “weakest point right now” as he said, “I literally felt like I was sprinting from the gun.”

Chris also talked a little bit about his disappointing race at Oxy two weeks ago where he was hoping to get the 13:18 “A” standard, but only ran 13:27.03. It was a big letdown after his unexpectedly good 13:23 earlier at Stanford which had given him hope that a sub-13:18 could be just one race away.

He says that after Stanford he probably started “getting ahead of himself” in workouts and “started getting excited trying to make his chances better to make the team.” Talking about that race he said, “I was pretty pissed after Oxy actually … [the problem was partly] fatigue and I think more than anything, going in there with too high of expectations. I put myself in the race to run the standard; I put myself towards the front. I think if I had run a little bit less aggressive, the race would have played out a little better for me and I wouldn’t have got stuck leading with 4 or 5 laps to go. In the past I was fit enough to be able to do that, but I’m just not there yet.”

On his chances of making the team for Moscow 2013 Solinsky said, “I’m still not ruling it out. There’s still hope to make the team. I’d have to run the race of my life and I know that. And the only reason there’s a chance still is you can chase [the standard] after the US Trials. So there’s a chance … basically the way I look at it is that 3rd spot is relatively up for grabs and that’s what I’m going to go for.”

Post Race Thought #4: Former collegiate mile record holder Miles Batty, who was injured this winter, continued to struggle outdoors with a DNF here.

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