Galen Rupp Kicks Away From Chris Derrick In The Last Lap To Win His Sixth Consecutive US 10,000m Title

June 26, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — American record holder Galen Rupp won his sixth straight U.S. title at 10,000 meters as expected on Thursday night at the 2014 USATF Outdoor Championships here at Hornet Stadium in 28:12.07.

After a pedestrian 14:37 first 5000, which was led by Hanson-Brooks’ Jacob Riley, two-time U.S. cross country champion Chris Derrick got the real racing going around the 5200 meter mark and the race soon turned into a five person affair – Derrick, 27:41 man Aaron Braun, Rupp, Sean Quigley (27:50 pb) and Ryan Vail (27:44/2:10 marathon). Over the final 7 laps, it was a two-person affair between Derrick and Rupp.

Rupp bided his time until 500 meters remained and then he made his move. Derrick had no response and at the bell Rupp already led by ten meters; he cruised to a dominant victory thanks to a closing 800 of 2:03. Rupp ran a 27 first 200 on the last lap and then just cruised it in for a 60.39 final lap.

Derrick ended up second in 28:18.18 with Vail in third in 28:26.02 as Quigley and Braun were 4th and 5th.

*** Thoughts on the race below.

Rupp celebrates Rupp celebrates #6

1. This Race Went Almost EXACTLY As We Thought It Would

Article continues below player.

Go back and read our preview of this race. We said Rupp would win, Derrick would get second and Vail would get third. The other top people that we mentioned were Quigley, Braun and Curtis. We mentioned six names and they went 1-6.

2. Rupp Sets Record For Most USA 10,000m TItles

This is Rupp’s 6th consecutive victory which breaks the record as he was previously tied with Frank Shorter at five. Shorter won in 1970, ‘71, ‘74, ‘75 and ‘77 (although to be fair to Rupp he should have already had the record as Shorter tied for 1st in 1970).

Rupp and Derrick were all alone so the real battle was for 3rd Rupp and Derrick were all alone so the real battle was for 3rd

3. The Real Race Was For Third

While they could have handed out awards for the top two spots days ago when the field was finalized, the real race was for third. Once Derrick made his move after 5K, the three men who ran in 3rd, 4th and 5th for the rest of the race were Aaron Braun, Ryan Vail and Sean Quigley. Braun would lead the other two for the rest of the race until 400 to go.

While this three-way battle for third wasn’t nearly as interesting as it would be in a World or Olympic year, there was at least an element of surprise as we neared the last lap. All three men have 10,000 PRs within 9 seconds of each other (27:41 for Braun, 27:44 for Vail and 27:50 for Quigley) and have similar speed as their 1500 PRs don’t differ by more than 1.23 seconds.

In the end, though, the man with the wheels was actually probably not who you’d expect (although we did predict him 3rd) as Vail, the guy who’s been training for marathons, closed faster than either Rupp or Derrick with a 58.06 last 400 to blow away Quigley and Braun. Not bad for a guy who only ran 3:43.94 for 1500 eleven days ago.

Results (full splits here)Place    Athlete    Time
1    Galen Rupp – Nike Oregon Project”    28:12.07
2    Chris Derrick – Nike / Bowerman Track Club”    28:18.18
3    Ryan Vail – Brooks-     28:26.02
4    Sean Quigley – Boulder Track Club”    28:29.84
5    Aaron Braun – adidas”    28:34.43
6    Robert Curtis – Hansons-Brooks Distance Projec”    28:40.60
7    Brendan Gregg – Hansons-Brooks Distance Projec”    28:48.22
8    Aron Rono – U.S. Army”    28:56.90
9    Jacob Riley – Hansons-Brooks Distance Projec”    29:06.07
10    Girma Mecheso – Nike”    29:11.54
11    Aaron Dinzeo – California (PA)”    29:35.22
12    Devin Monson – Adidas/RogueAC”    29:53.46
13    Christopher Enriquez – Long Beach St.”    29:57.43
14    Christopher Bendtsen – Princeton”    30:05.18
15    John Gilbertson -ASICS Mammoth Track Club”    30:26.99
16    Andrew Wacker – Boulder Running Company/adidas”    30:31.96

4. Derrick And Vail Talk About Mo Trafeh’s EPO Bust

We took this opportunity to ask Derrick and Vail about our Mo Trafeh EPO article as both had tweeted about it today (Derrick here and here, Vail here) and wanted to hear their thoughts.

Derrick said, “That’s an unfortunate situation where everyone involved in the sport didn’t know, like have proof to turn him in, but we all knew. I mean I’ve heard people call him ‘MoPO’”. He said he feels like Trafeh getting banned is a good thing because he is someone he felt shouldn’t have been in the sport and now he’s not.

Trafeh’s lawyer had told us that redemption in the running community was something very dear to him, so we asked Derrick what he would like to hear come from Trafeh when he does publicly speak about his EPO bust. Derrick said:

“You know honestly, I don’t really care. One thing I hope he doesn’t say, is I hope he doesn’t come out with that, pardon my language, but frankly bullshit, ‘Oh everybody’s doing it, I had to do it’ because that’s not true. I think that overall … I mean there’s a couple people that people have suspicions about … but the culture of American distance running is very clean and very solid. … And I hope he doesn’t try to put this on someone else [or the culture]. … I think there’s very few coaches in this country pushing drugs. If you’re going to go out and do that it’s on you.”

Vail lost out on thousands of dollars to Trafeh (he was sixth and fifth in the Gate River Run 15k in Jacksonville in 2010 and 2011; Trafeh won the race both years) and said that it hurt to know Trafeh had been busted with EPO possession.

“I ran with him a lot at Gate River,” Vail said. “He was a really nice guy. Obviously all of us had our suspicions. You’re being stolen from the last three or four years most likely and that’s hard to take. Hopefully there’s some kind of ramification other than him retiring.”

Vail said that he knows it’s unlikely athletes such as himself will recoup money from races Trafeh won, but that he didn’t want to see Trafeh keep the money. He raised a good point: “What’s the incentive to not do it if you get to keep the money and then just retire?”

Vail hinted earlier that some athletes had their suspicions about Trafeh and we asked him to expand on that.

“There was definitely talk among the athletes. He made such a huge jump, crushing his 10k PR in the middle of a 15k. It’s going to draw anyone’s suspicions…When you see unusual jumps like that, it makes you question things.”

Quotes and video interviews below.

Galen Rupp will not run the 5,000 on Friday and is instead preparing for the Paris Diamond League meet.

Rupp is trying to run a fast 5,000 in Paris on July 5 and said he wanted to “run as easy as possible” in the 10,000 at USAs while still getting the win. In this case, it meant sitting on Derrick and going hard with a lap to go. In the end, he didn’t even need to run the full 400 all-out as he had built a sizeable lead by the time he entered the home stretch.

Rupp has won six USA titles in a row now, a remarkable achievement in any event, and he credited coach Alberto Salazar for his consistency over that time period.

“There are certain instances where he’ll let us go, but he’ll hold us back at the appropriate times,” Rupp said. “That’s the art of coaching and what he does: knowing when to push and when to hold us back.”

We were disappointed to hear that Rupp won’t be facing off against his rival Bernard Lagat in the 5,000 on Friday. Rupp said that he and Salazar had targeted Paris from the beginning of the year because it is historically a fast meet. Rupp still wanted to get a race in at USAs because he’s in great shape right now but also wanted to take as little out of himself as possible ahead of Paris. Thus the decision to run the 10,000 instead of the more competitive 5,000.

Rupp was in total control well before 200 remained Rupp’s move was lethal very quickly

Chris Derrick said he thought he needed to practice running hard at the front and thought he did “okay”.

After the 5K Derrick took control of the race and sped up the pace to consistent 65s which dropped everyone except for Rupp. He said that towards the end he started to back off a bit so that he could save something for when Rupp made his move, but that when he finally did with 500 to go, he had nothing left. Derrick said, “I got heavy and for about 30 meters I held him off when he was going to pass, but he wasn’t really going to pass, he was just preparing to do so. And it was over pretty quick. I tried to get my legs moving, but they were just so dead.”

Derrick says he’s working on his speed and feels like it’s improving and wants it to eventually “be a weapon”, but Rupp’s acceleration was just too quick much to keep contact with today. He thinks though it’s important for him to work on being able to “make the race the way I want to make the race” by leading and practiced that today as he could test himself in a year when there was no team to make so he could risk blowing up.

Derrick also had some interesting comments about training in college compared to with Jerry Schumacer and racing in situations where it’s an organized time trial with perfect weather compared to non-perfect conditions where you have to lead. Check out the full interview below for his comments on that as well as his plans for the summer which include some racing in Europe.

Ryan Vail was pleased with third and said that he’s fitter than he thought he was.

Vail wasn’t sure how fit he was for a 10,000 coming into the race and chose not to go with Derrick and Rupp when the break occurred. Looking back, he said that he probably could have gone with them but it would have been a risk — one that he was unwilling to take given Derrick and Rupp’s pedigree and Vail’s own uncertainty about his current fitness level.

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