Why Galen Rupp WILL/WON’T Get The American Record

by LetsRun.com
June 10, 2014

Galen Rupp is running the 5,000 in Wednesday’s ExxonMobil Bislett Games in Oslo. We break down his American record chances for you below.

Why Galen Rupp WILL Set The American Record

Galen Rupp American Record 26:44.36! (More Rupp AR Photos)

Galen Rupp American Record 26:44.36! (More Rupp AR Photos)

Article continues below player

1. He just ran a race-winning 26:44.36 American record in his last race.

Clearly, Rupp is in supreme shape. This isn’t a championship year where you need to wonder if Rupp is past his peak. He’s clearly in the form of his life and ready to race or he wouldn’t have bothered to enter Oslo in the first place. With twins on the way, there is no reason for him to not burn it extremely hot right now.

A 26:44.36 equates to 12:49.23 according to John Kellogg‘s conversion chart.

Why Galen Rupp WON’T Set The American Record

1. Sub-12:53.60 races are very rare.

Check out the number of races on the circuit over the last five years that have featured anyone in the field running under 12:53.60.

2013 -1 race (2 people did it all year)
2012 -1 race (6 people)
2011 – 1 race (1 person)
2010 – 2 races (2 in one race, 3 in the other people)
2009 – 1 race (1 person)

So Rupp might not do it even if he’s in shape to do it simply due to the fact that very few races go that fast.

2. Compared to his 10,000 success, Rupp is not a proven truly top-notch 5,000 runner.

Don’t get us wrong – with a 12:58.90 PR, Rupp is obviously very good at 5,000 but he’s done little in his career at 5,000 to give indication that he’s likely to run sub-12:53.60 clocking even if he’s lucky enough to be in a race that has a winning time that fast.

The stats above show that unless Rupp finds himself in the equivalent of the Paris 2012 race where six guys broke 12:50, that he needs to finish in the top 3 to break 12:53.60.

Well, Rupp has run eleven 5,000 overseas on the circuit as a pro. Guess how many of them he has finished in the top 4?

Just one. He was second in 13:06.86 in Birmingham in 2011. He has more DNFs than top 4 finishes.

Galen Rupp’s Overseas 5,000s as a pro

13:10.05   9th Gateshead
DNF          Stockholm
13:07.35   12th Zürich

13:06.86   2nd Birmingham
DNF       Monaco
13:28.64   9th Daegu
13:45.04   7th London
13:09.50   9th Zürich
13:05.17   6thMonaco
13:29.87   8th Moscow
13:01.37   5th Brussell

3. Simple Math.

As great as Rupp’s 10,000 in Eugene was, he only lowered his 10,000 PR by 3.64 seconds. Divide that by two and one would think he’d produce a 1.82 PR in the 5,000. His 5,000 best of 12:58.90 is 5.60 seconds off the American record.

4. He lost to Collis Birmingham in his last 5,000.

Are back to back ARs in store for Rupp?

Are back-to-back ARs in store for Rupp? (More Rupp AR Photos)

Verdict: The stats would say don’t look for Rupp to get the American 5,000 record on Wednesday.

The main thing going against him is the fact that the race in Europe historically aren’t that fast, and if they are, only a few guys barely dip under.

But if he ends up in a super-fast race like the 2012 Paris meet, his odds go WAY up. And this is where the resources of the Nike Oregon Project might play a key role. If Salazar and company pay for expert rabbits like they did in Eugene where Stephen Sambu went more than 8,000 meters, then the odds certainly increase. Without Sambu towing the field for 8,100, the American record doesn’t fall in Eugene. If the rabbits are stellar in Oslo and the field decides to go with it (not a given considering the world lead is 13:01), then it can happen.

If he gets the American record, what place will he finish?

Given where he’s finished in his pro 5,000s over the years, we know one thing. A victory by Rupp would stun us a lot more than the American record falling. Where is Rupp likely to finish in the field?

The field includes Yenew Alamirew, who won in Shanghai, as well as Pre Classic winner and world indoor 3,000 champ Caleb Ndiku. It also includes 2012 Olympic silver medallist Dejen Gebremeskel who races on the DL circuit for the first time this year.

One wouldn’t expect Rupp  to beat those guys (2013 Worlds silver medalist Hagos Gebrhiwet is also racing but hasn’t been doing great recently).,

Or maybe we shouldn’t say that. We were surprised to realize that head-to-head at 5,000, Rupp leads Alamirew 5 to 3 in their career. Gebremeskel leads Rupp 5 to 0 in 5000s for their careers but Rupp beat him in the 10,000 at Worlds last year and also beat him at 3,000 indoors this year at Worlds.

As for Ndiku, he and Rupp have never raced at 5,000 (Ndiku leads two to 1 at other distances) but Rupp has one thing going for him against Ndiku as well as other top Kenyans like Isiah Koech. Those guys are likely over-raced and tired.

It’s their fourth 5,000 in just 12 days.

Koech and Ndiku’s recent racing schedule
May 31 – 5,000 at Pre
June 5-  5,000 prelim in Kenya
June 7 – 5,000 final in Kenya
June 11 – 5,000 in Oslo

It’s not easy to race in Eugene, fly all the way to Kenya, race twice and then fly to Oslo. Ndiku actually lost the Kenya Commonwealth Trials to unheralded Joseph Kiplimo.

LRC Prediction: The stats say don’t expect it, but Rupp so defied our expectations in the 10,000, we don’t want to get burned again. We say: Rupp finishes second or third and gets the American record.

PS. We tweeted out this article and asked Bernard Lagat if he was nervous that his AR would fall. Lagat responded: