M 5000: Galen Rupp Battles Caleb Ndiku; Ben True and Hassan Mead Chase Sub-13:00

By LetsRun.com
August 20, 2014

The Diamond League is back and for fans of American distance running, that means a chance to see largely dormant stars Galen RuppBen True and Hassan Mead in action once again. Because of the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships, the trio have combined to race just once since July 11 — True’s 27:51 third-place effort at the Beach to Beacon 10K on August 2. They’ll face a strong field in Stockholm on Thursday as Commonwealth/African champ Caleb Ndiku, World Championship medallists Hagos Gebrhiwet and Isiah Koech and 2014 world leader Edwin Soi are all entered.

Other event 2014 DN Galan previews are here: *M 800: Can 1500 Man Ayanleh Souleiman End Nijel Amos’ Dominance?
*Jenny Simpson vs. Sifan Hassan vs. Abeba Aregawi in 1500; Emma Coburn Highlights Steeplechase

Discuss this race in our fan forum:

Men’s 5,000 (2:15 p.m. ET)

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Note: The full start list appears at the bottom of this article.

The only sub-13:00 of 2014: Edwin Soi wins in Paris The only sub-13:00 of 2014: Edwin Soi wins in Paris

Will anyone break 13:00?

This has been the question at every Diamond League race and so far the answer has been yes just once, when Soi ran 12:59.82 to win in Paris on July 5. While we’re holding out hope that a group will go with the rabbits and push the pace once they drop out, we’re not going to get too excited about Rupp’s chances at the American record (12:53.60) or True and Mead’s chances at sub-13:00. All three have shown good fitness at points this year but would require near-perfect conditions in terms of pacing and weather to accomplish those goals. The pacing in Diamond League races has been far from perfect this year and there’s no reason to expect it will be any better in Stockholm.

Well perhaps there is one reason. The Continental Cup is still to come in September, but the main championship portion of the season (Commonwealth Games, Euro Champs, African Champs) is over. And history suggests that the post-championship 5,000s on the Diamond League tend to go fast. Here’s a look at what’s happened since the Diamond League began in 2010 (2010 races are post-Euros since the Commonwealth Games weren’t until October; all other years are post-Worlds/Olympics).

Date Venue Winning time # of guys sub-13:00
8/6/2010 Stockholm 12:53.46 6
8/19/2010 Zurich 12:55.03 6
9/16/2011 Brussels 12:58.32 3
8/30/2012 Zurich 12:58.98 3
9/6/2013 Brussels 12:58.75 3

That doesn’t guarantee that we’ll see a flurry of sub-13:00s in Stockholm, or even in the final DL 5,000 in Zurich next week. But recent history does suggest that guys on the circuit like to get after it at the final events of the year. Of course, recent history suggests that there would also be more than one sub-13:00 by August 20 (an average of 18.25 per year from 2010-2013) and has not been the case in 2014.

It really comes down to whether you think we’re due for a fast race or that the slower times on the circuit this year are a growing trend. The evidence points toward the latter. In 2010, there were 28 total sub-13:00 performances (some guys had more than one). That number shrank to 22 in 2011, 21 in 2012 and 11 last year. This year, it’s currently at 1. The number would certainly be higher if the top guys had gone with the rabbits in some of early races this season, but they haven’t and the results are slower times. Maybe we’ll finally see a fast race in Stockholm, but if it follows the pattern of DL races this year, expect a winning time above 13:00.

So who’s going to win?

The best guy this year has been Caleb Ndiku. The 21-year-old Kenyan has not been invincible in 2014, but he’s won several big races and, not counting Mo Farah, would be the favorite if Worlds were to be held today (and even Farah may not be good enough to beat Ndiku right now). Ndiku won World Indoors in the 3,000 in March, won at Prefontaine in May and recently claimed victories at the Commonwealth Games (over Koech) and the African Champs (over Koech, Yenew Alamirew and Hagos Gebrhiwet). Ndiku was only seventh in the last DL meet in Paris, but that reportedly came during a heavy period of training according to his coach, Renato Canova. (For more information on Ndiku, check out this messageboard thread in which Canova describes in detail Ndiku’s training leading up to his Commonwealth Games win).

If Ndiku is focused on this race and recovered from CGs and the African champs, he is your winner. However, in the thread mentioned above Canova states that Ndiku’s focus will now shift to the Continental Cup on September 13. If Ndiku is training through Stockholm, he could be vulnerable as a result. He just raced a hard 5,000 at the African Champs on August 14 (just one week before Stockholm), while guys like Soi, Rupp and Thomas Longosiwa are all well-rested. It’s hard to pick just one guy for the win, but we’re tempted to go with Soi, who won in Paris and was third in Glasgow (behind Gebrhiwet, who was a DNF at the African Champs and Alamirew, who will not run here) in an upset.

How fast will Rupp run on Thursday in Stockholm? How fast will Rupp run on Thursday in Stockholm?

American Dreams

If there is hope for Rupp challenging for his first-ever DL win (the Pre Classic 10K in May was not a Diamond Race event) it’s the result of Ndiku and Koech, two of the top guys in the event, having to race again so quickly after the African Champs. Rupp hasn’t raced since Paris and will have had almost six weeks of uninterrupted training before he toes the line on Stockholm.

(Of course, Rupp hasn’t been able to just focus on this as his wife gave birth to twins during that time frame).

With Ndiku and Koech racing twice in an eight-day span, it seems that they’re unlikely to chase a fast time on Thursday. That’s two less guys willing to do the work and follow the rabbits, and Rupp may not doesn’t mind if the pace dawdles (even if it could be in his best interest to run the kick out of Ndiku and Koech), as he wants to work on his kick. At the pre-meet press conference, Rupp said:

“This year I really want to work on my tactics, on winning races, especially when it is a slow race with a fast ending,””There are so many talented runners in the 5000m and 10,000m that people are hesitant to go out to the front because they know there will be four or five behind relaxing and getting ready to go out in a sprint finish, so it’s tough.”

Two guys that want the past to be fast as they need to break 13:00 are True and Mead.

True looked very good in taking third at Beach to Beacon and when LRC caught up with him in Maine, he felt very confident in his chances of running well in the final two DL 5,000s. Mead wasn’t as good his last time out (13:26 for 11th in Glasgow on July 11) but has had a solid year and ran well to take third at USAs. Unless one of them makes an extremely brave move (which True has done before), they’ll have to depend on the guys up front to get the pace going and try and hang on for the ride.

Canadian Record?

One guy who will want the pace to be fast is Cam Levins of Canada, Galen Rupp’s teammate. Jeff Schiebler‘s Canadian record of 13:13.96 has stood since 1998 and Levins ran 13:15 at CGs so he’s got a great shot at it.

LRC Prediction: Someone breaks 13:00 but not True or Mead. No victory for Rupp but a Canadian record for Levins.

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BARUSEI Geofrey 01.01.1994 KEN
CHERU Tesfaye 02.03.1993 ETH 13:25.33 13:25.33
EDRIS Muktar 14.01.1994 ETH 13:03.69 13:09.08 7th at Worlds last year
ESSALHI Younés 20.02.1993 MAR 13:16.07
GABIUS Arne 22.03.1981 GER 13:12.50 13:25.50 7th at Euro champs
GEBRHIWET Hagos 11.05.1994 ETH 12:47.53 13:06.88 WC silver medallist won Glasgow DL but DNF at African Champs
KIPSIRO Moses Ndiema 02.09.1986 UGA 12:50.72 13:28.23 Commonwealth Games 10k champ
KOECH Isiah Kiplangat 19.12.1993 KEN 12:48.64 13:07.55 WC bronze medallist was 2nd in Glasgow and at African Champs
LEVINS Cameron 28.03.1989 CAN 13:15.19 13:15.38 Just missed PR in Glasgow; bronze in 10k at Commonwealths
LONGOSIWA Thomas Pkemei 14.01.1988 KEN 12:49.04 13:01.74 Olympic bronze medallist was 4th in Glasgow
MEAD Hassan 28.08.1989 USA 13:02.80 13:02.80 13:02 in May, 3rd at USAs, but just 13:26 in Glasgow
NDIKU Caleb Mwangangi 09.10.1992 KEN 13:01.71 13:01.71 The man to beat in ’14 is coming off wins at Commonwealths, African Champs
RONO Vincent 01.01.1982 KEN 13:16.52 13:16.52
RUPP Galen 08.05.1986 USA 12:58.90 13:00.99 Hasn’t raced since running 13:00 for 4th in Paris on July 5
SOI Edwin Cheruiyot 03.03.1986 KEN 12:51.34 12:59.82 World leader won in Paris, 3rd in Glasgow
TRUE Ben 29.12.1985 USA 13:02.74 13:02.74 Sub-13 attempts at Pre and Paris fizzled but ran quick 27:51 to take 3rd at Beach to Beacon 10kyy

Other event 2014 DN Galan previews are here: *M 800: Can 1500 Man Ayanleh Souleiman End Nijel Amos’ Dominance?
*Jenny Simpson vs. Sifan Hassan vs. Abeba Aregawi in 1500; Emma Coburn Highlights Steeplechase

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