A Dream 3,000: The Top 5 American Indoor 3,000 Men Are All Racing 2014 USAs

by LetsRun.com
February 21, 2014

The men’s 3,000 at the 2014 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships is a special race.

Take a look at the US all-time list at 3,000 indoors.

1. 7:30.16    Galen Rupp
2. 7:32.43    Bernard Lagat
3. 7:34.87    Ryan Hill
4. 7:37.40    Garrett Heath
5. 7:37.62    Andrew Bumbalough
6. 7:39.23    Tim Broe

In 2002, Tim Broe earned $25,000 for breaking the American record in Boston by running 7:39.23. Thanks to the crazy-fast 3,000 at the 2014 New Balance Indoor Games a few weeks ago in Boston, Broe is now only #6 on the all-time list. Broe’s one-time American record would have placed him as the fourth American in Boston.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The top 5 on the US all-time indoor 3,000 list – Rupp, Lagat, Hill, Heath and Bumbalough – are all racing USA indoors this weekend.

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Heath has decided to run the 1,500 instead of the 3,000m. Not a bad decision as making the two-man team for Worlds is going to be very tough.

Making up for his departure from the 3,000 is the addition of Lopez Lomong, who until a few weeks ago was the US indoor 5,000 record holder at 13:07.00. Two years ago, Lomong was sixth in the world in the indoor 3,000 after he beat Galen Rupp in Albuquerque to qualify for Worlds (Rupp only made it in the 1,500).

If that’s not enough, the 3,000 start list also includes Will Leer. Leer has “only” run 7:42.95 this year, but he is the reigning US Indoor champ at 3,000 and the 1,500 and he did win the Wanamaker mile in a world-leading 3:52.47 last week. Given the fact the race is at altitude, it’s likely to be somewhat tactical and Leer’s speed makes him a real threat (it should be pointed out that two years ago, Lagat won in 7:47, so it wasn’t too tactical). Also, Leer is a proven commodity at altitude. Earlier this year, he ran 8:08 for 3,000 at nearly 7,000 feet elevation in Flagstaff.

The whole field is as follows:

Men 3,000m





Galen Rupp



2012 Olympic 10,000 silver medalist. Recent indoor AR setter at 5,000 and 2 miles. Dropped out of mile at NB Boston on Feb 8th with a minor foot problem but switched shoes and did a workout immediately after, so perhaps he’s ready to go?

Bernard Lagat



12-time global championships medalist has been super-elite since the mid-1990s and hasn’t lost much to Father Time yet. Came out on top in the 2,000 at Millrose with a new indoor AR of 4:54.74, number 5 on the all-time indoor world list and worth about 3:50.5 for the mile. With no rabbits in the field, watch out for the master tactician and kicker!

Lopez Lomong



6th at 2012 World Indoors in this event in a PR of 7:44.16. 3:32.20 1,500 speed and a former AR holder in the indoor 5,000. SB of 3:58.52 for the mile (but 4:00.69 in Albuquerque is undoubtedly a better mark).

Ryan Hill



Made finals of 2013 WCs in the 5,000 and has looked great this season with a 3:59 mile win over Lomong at altitude and a 7:34.87 3k PR that battled Hagos Gebrhiwet and Dejen Gebremskel all the way to the line in Boston.

Garrett Heath



Running as well as ever with a lifetime best of 7:37.40 in Boston and a win in the short course (4k) at the BUPA Edinburgh XC back in January.

Andrew Bumbalough



8:13 2-miler just ran 4:57.35 for 4th in the ultra-fast 2k at Millrose. 7:37.62 SB at 3k.

William Leer



Double national champ at altitude last year. He’ll face tougher fields this time, but after a big win and lifetime PR (and world leader) of 3:52.47 in the Wanamaker Mile, the confidence has to be high.

Ben Blankenship

Oregon TC Elite


Just set an all-time PR (indoors or out) with 7:46.55 in Boston on Feb. 8th.

Craig Miller

New Balance


2 PRs this season (3:55.09 mile, 7:49.05 3k). Competed well against some of the best at Millrose.

Donald Cabral

Nike / New Jersey New York Track Club


World class steepler (8th in 2012 Olympics and American College record holder at 8:19.14) showed some real mid-d ability with a 5:00.18 for 2,000 at Millrose. Might be ready to blow his 3k PR out of the water.

Timothy Ritchie

Boston Athletic Association


XC/roadie with a 62:00 half marathon best for 9th in US champs.

Zachary Zarda


Former Kansas runner.

Nicholas Hilton

Team Run Flagstaff


Former DII steeple All-American for Lock Haven was 19th at USA XC last weekend.

Craig Forys

New York Athletic Club (NYAC)


8:28 steepler and former NCAA runner-up.

William Nelson


2011 steeple national champ with 8:17.27 PR.

Jim Spisak



Duquesne grad also has run 13:43 indoors.

Aric Van Halen


Former XC and steeple All-American at Colorado. 7:53.74 PR.

Dan Lowry

Playmakers Elite/New Balance


Former Brown All-American (5th year at Michigan).

Adam Vess

Team Run Flagstaff


Former Marist runner.

Tommy Schmitz

Speed Factory Athletics


3:39 PR 1,500 runner is still going strong at 30.

The depth of the field is absurd. Olympic steeplechase finalist Donn Cabral, who ran 7:51.47 in Boston, has just the 10th-fastest seed time. Yet he ran a 5:00.18 2k last week, which equates to about 3:54.8 for the mile.

The Big Two And Three Potential Spoilers

The Big Two

Given their career accomplishments and given their form in 2014, Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp are the favorites to grab the two qualifying spots. Both have Olympic medals on their resumes and both have set American records this indoor season (Rupp at 2 miles and 5,000, Lagat at 2,000).

What is there not to like about them? Well, Lagat is 39. That’s all we can really think of, but that didn’t mean much at Millrose. He excels indoors and is the reigning world champion at 3,000.

As for Rupp, he dropped out of his last race in Boston. Was he really not hurt as coach Alberto Salazar claimed afterwards? It must be remembered two years ago Galen didn’t make the 3,000 team in Albuquerque. He was beaten by Lagat and Lomong. An altitude race without rabbits definitely isn’t Rupp certified Galen’s best conditions. Can he make the team in those circumstances?

Three Potential Spoilers

Lomong is one of our potential spoilers. He hasn’t raced a longer event so far this year. While he told us in Boston that the 5,000 would be his event outdoors in 2014, he’s been racing the mile so far this year.

In his first mile, he lost to new teammate Ryan Hill by 1.69 seconds. In Boston, he was fourth – 1.11 behind Willis. Willis ran 3:53 the next week, so Lomong is in good shape … but good shape won’t cut it here.

28-year-old Will Leer is in the form of his life. He comes in after a lifetime PR at 3,000 in Boston and then a lifetime indoor PR in the mile in New York. However, he’s never been top 3 at USAs outdoors. Getting top 2 indoors isn’t going to be easy as a result. We don’t think there is an honest effort rule in effect, so it will be interesting to see if he even starts the 3,000 as it might be easier to make the team in the 1,500.

The one time Galen Rupp beat Bernard Lagat. *2012 Olympic Trials Photos

Then there is the new guy on the block, Ryan Hill. The first-year pro surprisingly made the US 5,000 team last year outdoors. This winter, Hill, who just turned 24 on the last day of January, proved that was no fluke as he first beat Lomong in the mile in Albuquerque and then ran 7:37 in Boston. A 3:54 miler, he’s got good wheels and he’s our pick to go to Poland if Lagat or Rupp aren’t on their game.

Predictions: We’ve got to go with Lagat and Rupp on this one. If Rupp doesn’t make the team, we imagine he drops out or is a DNS with injury. In terms of who wins between those two, we’ve got to pick Lagat. Yes, Rupp beat Lagat at the 2012 US Olympic Trials in the 5,000. But that’s it.

In races that they’ve finished, tilastopaja says the career record is 17 wins for Lagat, one for Rupp, and that includes six straight wins by Lagat over Rupp at 5,000, including four wins last year (Pre, USAs, Worlds, Brussels).

Yes, Hill is very, very good. He’s on the upswing, but his current situation reminds us of Rupp versus Lagat for much of Rupp’s career. The potential is there and it’s easy to think, “The young guy is going to do it sometime soon.” But it’s smarter to pick the old guy until he’s actually defeated.

Quick Take: This one is must-watch TV. The start time is at 5:45 pm ET and it will be shown on the NBCSN.


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