Bowerman Track Club’s Lopez Lomong and Ryan Hill Go 1-2 as Cam Levins Falters

February 14, 2015

NEW YORK  — Coming into the Paavo Nurmi Men’s 5000, the talk of North American distance circles was Canadian Cam Levins, who was expected by most to shatter his own Canadian record of 13:19.16 and perhaps approach Jeff Schiebler‘s all-time Canadian record of 13:13.96 (outdoors). That’s far from what happened as Levins was way off his ‘A’ game tonight.

6 guys in contention the final lap Six guys in contention the final lap

In the end, the glory belonged to Nike Bowerman Track Club’s Lopez Lomong, who won in 13:27.60. His teammate Ryan Hill, who did most of the work in this one, was second in 13:27.80. It was a very exciting finish that had the crowd on its feet, as at the bell, six runners were within three-quarters of a second of the lead. Levins ended up a disappointing sixth in 13:33.35.

With rabbit Trevor Dunbar only expected to go out in 8:00 for the first 3k (13:20 pace), if the pace was going approach 13:10, they’d have to negative split it. With Levins off his game, however, the rest of the field seemed a bit surprised as no one went with Dunbar. Dunbar hit 3k in 8:00.98, but the nearest racer (Ryan Hill) was 4.5 seconds behind. Hill would lead for basically the next 7 laps until Sam Chelanga got the racing going with a 29.14 third-to-last lap.

The modest pace meant that the entire field was still in the race with 1k to go (Dan Huling and German Fernandez dropped out). It was a race that seemed more fitting for a U.S. or NCAA Championship final, and it took Lomong everything he had to hold off Hill on the homestretch as Lomong won on the track where two years ago he set his pb and a then-American record of 13:07.00.

The big surprise was Cam Levins’ total lack of a response with three laps to go. Two weeks ago, Levins blew by NOP teammate Galen Rupp like it was nothing to cap off his mile/2-mile double at the Armory Track Invitational, but this time it was Levins who could not respond after Chelanga took off with 600 to go. Levins was ultimately beaten by Lomong, Hill, NOP teammate Suguru Osako (who ran his second straight solid race, taking third in 13:28.00 after finishing second behind Levins two weeks ago in the 2-mile) Donn Cabral (13:28.64) and Andrew Bumbalough (13:28.68), taking sixth in 13:33.35. Chelanga crossed the line fourth in 13:28.58 but was later DQ’ed.

1 Lomong, Lopez Nike BTC 13:27.60
2 Hill, Ryan Nike BTC 13:27.80
3 Osako, Suguru Nissin Foods 13:28.00
4 Cabral, Donn Nike 13:28.64
5 Bumbalough, Andrew Nike BTC 13:28.64
6 Levins, Cam Nike OP 13:33.35
7 Tegenkamp, Matt Nike BTC 13:41.90
8 Farrell, Tom Nike OTC 13:42.17
Fernandez, German Nike BTC DNF
Huling, Dan Nike BTC DNF
Dunbar, Trevor Nike DNF
Chelanga, Sam Nike DQ

Quick Take #1: Lomong, who went to high school in New York, feels that running at the Millrose Games is always special and was happy just to win

Once he realized a fast time wasn’t in the cards (he had been hoping to hit the standard of 13:23 for Worlds), Lomong just focused on racing the field and it obviously worked out very well for him. Next up for Lomong is the mile at USA Indoors. He won the 1500 last year and said he’d like to defend his title in Boston in two weeks.

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Quick Take #2: Ryan Hill was happy with the Bowerman Track Club’s 1-2 finish.

After the race, Hill said he was a little surprised no one wanted to do the work in this one so he took over and kept things honest, but not quite honest enough for them to get the 2015 World Championship standard of 13:23.00, which is a time they specifically came to get (Hill thought the group would have to run Stanford now as times from 2014 don’t count).

When he was leading, Hill said he expected the field to jump him from behind as he thinks when one is leading it deadens the legs a bit and thus it takes some time to respond. Respond he did, but not quite enough to get Lomong on the last lap.

Still, Hill was clearly pleased that two Jerry Schumacher-coached teammates went 1-2 and took the scalps of Alberto Salazar’s Nike Oregon Project team members Suguru Osako and Cam Levins. The rivalry between the two groups certainly is real. Hill even said he wished Galen Rupp was here.

Quick Take #3: A disappointing result from Cam Levins

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At the pre-meet press conference, Levins seemed quietly confident that he could go out at 13:20 pace and negative-split his way to a pb (13:15 is his outdoor best) but neither he nor the rest of the field went with rabbit Trevor Dunbar (who did a great job pacing). Levins, who looked so good on this track two weeks ago, just didn’t have it today and didn’t speak to media after leaving the track.

One bad result is no reason to panic, especially after such a strong performance two weeks ago. But it has to be disappointing for Alberto Salazar that his two distance men — first Rupp, now Levins — have looked so sluggish over the final laps in recent weeks.

Quick Take #4: A disaster for German Fernandez

While the end of this race was very good for coach Jerry Schumacher, the beginning was not. Former teen phenom German Fernandez, who had shown some signs of life at the U.S. Club Champs last fall, fell off hard after a 4:19.94 opening 1600. His second 1600 was 4:36.55 and Fernandez ended up a DNF after 3800 as lappage was going to occur if he continued. His teammate, Dan Huling, also was a DNF.

On the boards: What the Hell is happening to German Fernandez?

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Disclosure because our trust with you matters: The NYRR Millrose Games was an advertiser on this week. This is not part of any advertising package.

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