Men’s 10,000: Galen Rupp Goes for Sixth Straight Title

June 25, 2014

Men’s 10,000 Final: Thursday, 9:00 pm Pacific (12:00 a.m. ET, technically Friday morning)

As of now, Galen Rupp is set to go for his sixth straight 10,000 meter title at this week’s USATF Outdoor Championships in Sacramento. But according to this story by The Oregonian’s Ken Goe, whether he runs at USAs is dependent on the delivery date for his wife, Keara, who is pregnant with twins. If Rupp is on the line in Sacramento, he should easily win U.S. 10,000 title #6. If not, it’s Chris Derrick‘s race to lose. We preview the race below.

Name Affiliation DOB PB SB Comment
Galen Rupp Nike 5.8.1986 26:44.36 26:44.36 5-time defending champ, AR holder, 4th at ’13 Worlds, 2nd at ’12 Olympics
Ryan Vail Brooks 3.19.1986 27:44.05 N/A 6th in ’13; 64:06 half marathon in Feb.; 2:10:57 for 10th in London Marathon in April
Aaron Braun adidas 5.28.1987 27:41.54 N/A 5th in ’13; DNF at Pre 10k; 13:33 5k at Oxy in May; 2:19 marathon in LA in March
Robert Curtis Hansons-Brooks 11.28.1984 27:24.67 27:46.30 13:46 at Oxy and 27:46 at Payton Jordan; 11th at Bolder Boulder on May 26
Sean Quigley Boulder Track Club 2.8.1985 27:50.78 N/A 7th at Bolder Boulder; 13:42 at Payton Jordan
Girma Mecheso 1.16.1988 27:52.38 N/A 16th in last two races: 5k at Pre (13:45) and BAA road 5k (14:28)
Aron Rono U.S. Army 11.1.1982 27:31.15 28:03.51 13:35 at Portland Track Festival on June 15
Chris Derrick Nike / Bowerman Track Club 10.17.1990 27:31.38 N/A 3rd last year; 4th at Payton Jordan (13:08), 9th at Pre (13:15, top American)
Brendan Gregg Hansons-Brooks 5.15.1989 28:28.54 28:28.54 13:48 5k in Canada on May 31
Jacob Riley Hansons-Brooks 2.11.1988 28:08.36 28:32.59 13:49 for 2nd in 5k on May 31 behind college/pro teammate Gregg
Parker Stinson Oregon 3.3.1992 28:34.71 28:51.98 8th at NCAAs
Aaron Dinzeo California (PA) 12.17.1991 28:40.88 28:40.88 3rd at NCAA Division II champs
Christopher Bendtsen Princeton 2.29.1992 28:49.08 28:49.08 Ivy 5k champ was 9th at NCAAs in 10k
Andrew Wacker Boulder Running Co./adidas 9.24.1988 28:52.81 N/A Former Colorado runner ran 65:39 half marathon in San Diego on June 1
Devin Monson Adidas/RogueAC 29:00.23 29:00.23 Ran 37-sec PR at Portland Track Festival to beat Solinsky and qualify
Christopher Enriquez Long Beach St. 29:12.46 29:12.46 20th at NCAAs
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Rupp’s plans

Rupp is America's best at 10,000 meters

Rupp is America’s best at 10,000 meters

It doesn’t take long to explain why Rupp is the favorite. He’s the American Record holder at 10,000 meters, running 26:44.36 at the Pre Classic on May 30, over 40 seconds faster than anyone else in the field has run. He was fourth at the World Championships last year and earned the silver medal at the London Olympics. He hasn’t lost this race at USAs since 2008. Need more? He’s got the best kick in the field, with 3:34 1500 speed, he just beat a slew of World/Olympic 5,000 medalists in the Oslo Diamond League 5,000 and he’s healthy. If Rupp runs this race, he wins.

That, of course, is the question: will Rupp run? He’s entered in the 5,000 and 10,000 in Sacramento, but according to the report in The Oregonian, Rupp’s plans are still up in the air and very much dependent on his wife’s pregnancy. Rupp’s coach, Alberto Salazar, is actually quoted in the piece as saying he’d prefer Rupp to skip USAs and run the 5,000 in the Paris DL meet on July 5, where he could take a crack at Bernard Lagat‘s American record of 12:53.60.

No matter when Rupp ends up racing, his wife’s pregnancy bears monitoring because it’s already had an impact on his 2014 season. Rupp was beaten by Collis Birmingham in his outdoor opener at Oxy and ran just 13:19 for 5,000, a far worse performance than his 26:44 10,000 just two weeks later. He said that he’d been dealing with some personal stuff ahead of Oxy, which Salazar said included sleeping at the hospital for the better part of a month while his wife was on bed rest. Things are bound to get hectic again right around the birth, so pay attention to the gap between the birth and Rupp’s next race. If they’re less than a week apart, he might not be as rested enough to perform at his best in that race.

Mr. Consistency

Derrick probably won’t win if Rupp starts, but he’s a lock for second and becomes the favorite if Rupp decides not to race in Sacramento. Since he turned pro in 2012, Derrick has run at five U.S. championships and run well every time. Take a look:

Race Date Distance Time Place
2012 Olympic Trials 6/22/2012 10k 27:40.23 4th
2013 U.S. XC Championships 2/2/2013 12k 35:38.6 1st
2013 USATF Championships 6/20/2013 10k 28:52.25 3rd
2014 U.S. XC Championships 2/15/2014 12k 36:14.0 1st
2014 US 15k Championships 3/15/2014 15k 43:16.0 2nd

Derrick didn’t run well in the 10,000 at Worlds last year (he was 18th), but other than that, it’s hard to find a truly bad race on his resume. He wasn’t pleased with his 13:08 at Payton Jordan in May, but that was still less than a second off his PR; he ran just 13:15 at Pre, but he still finished as the top American on a warm and windy day not conducive to fast times. His PR isn’t miles better than the rest of the field, but if you’re going by consistency and championship performance, it’s Rupp, big gap, Derrick, big gap, everyone else.

Best of the rest

Around the world, the top 5,000/10,000 runners are eschewing the track for the roads, and the same is true in the U.S. TUnless you’re a stud like Rupp, it’s very difficult to carve out a living solely on the trackThere just aren’t that many 5,000s (and especially 10,000s) in the U.S. that offer good competition and prize money. Solid but not world-class 10,000 guys like Bobby CurtisRyan Vail and Aaron Braun are all running USAs because USATF will usually pay for their travel and, unlike a race like Payton Jordan, there’s prize money on offer ($7,000 for first down to $500 for eighth). But we’d be surprised to see any of them on the track again in 2014. The Peachtree Road Race on July 4th is offering just US prize money this year as it’s the US 10k road champs, so there is a big day there.

Those three and Sean Quigley are the best bets for the third spot. Vail has the best performance this year with a 2:10:57 10th place in the London Marathon, but he might not have the closing speed in a tactical race (just 3:43.94 in the 1,500 at the Portland Track Festival on June 15). Braun was fifth at USAs in the 10,000 last year (top returner after Rupp and Derrick) and ran a quick 61:38 half marathon in Houston in January, but since then he ran a subpar 2:19 marathon in LA in March and DNF’ed the 10,000 at Pre in May. Curtis (11th, 30:32) and Quigley (7th, 30:05) both ran pretty average races their last time out in the Bolder Boulder 10k. It’s really hard to pick just one of them for third, but at gunpoint we’d probably go with Vail based on his success in London and his sixth-place finish last year.

LRC Prediction

1. Rupp 2. Derrick 3. Vail

More: Discuss this race in our forum: 2014 USA m10k Preview: Men’s 10,000: Galen Rupp Goes for Sixth Straight Title – Don’t Forget Chris Derrick

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