Paul Chelimo Wants to Do 5,000/10,000m Double at Worlds, Speaks Out Against Olympic Qualifying Changes

March 17, 2019

NEW YORK — Paul Chelimo made his half-marathon debut today at the 2019 United Airlines NYC Half and finished third in 1:02:19.

Afterwards, Chelimo said one of the reasons he made his half-marathon debut is because he wants to attempt the 5,000/10,000m double at the World Championships this year in Doha, Qatar, and he thought the half marathon would make him stronger.

“I’m going to go to the Shanghai Diamond League [next to run the 5,000] and then look for a 10k. The goal this year is to double to do the 5k and 10k at the World Championships,” Chelimo said.

The schedule at Worlds this year is very favorable to doubling, especially for someone who is first and foremost a 5,000m runner like Chelimo. For the first time that we can remember, the 5,000m is before the 10,000m at Worlds. The 5,000m heats are on Day 1 of Worlds, with the 5,000m final on Day 4, while the 10,000m is a straight final on Day 10.

With that schedule, Chelimo noted, “I have nothing to lose to go ground it out in the 10k.”

Chelimo’s coach Scott Simmons did note that the double at USAs is not as easy. (The official schedule for USAs is not on the USATF website, but the meet is only over four days. Usually, the 10,000m is on Day 1.)

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Chelimo will be back on the track soon

As for Chelimo’s half marathon debut today, Chelimo said his legs weren’t quite ready for the hills in New York.

“It’s a debut, but I wanted the win. I just came short. I’m very fit but the New York Half is no joke. I’m used to the track, [where it is] definitely flat. Just up and down, up and down… I just didn’t have the turnover. I feel I can do well in the long distances. I have to get that mileage in and get used to it so my legs can handle the pace.”

Chelimo is tempted to give the half marathon on a flat course a shot, saying, “I’m tempted to go for the American record in the half (59:43 from Ryan Hall), at the end of this year, or maybe next year.”

Much of the buzz in the media/agent/elite athlete room for the NYC Half was on the Olympic qualifying changes announced by the IAAF this week and clarified by USATF in a statement to on Friday, and on the 5,000 meters being dropped from the Diamond League.

In summary, the IAAF announced it will go to a system that selects roughly half the Olympic spots from a world ranking system, rather than a time-based system, yet USATF announced it will not go off of world rankings to select its Olympic team from the top 3 at the Trials, but rather will put an emphasis on the times people have run. (We will have much more on this this week, but we had two of the most prominent coaches in America calling and texting us this weekend, trying to clarify if USATF’s statement to on this really was true. We had one of the most prominent agents in the World tell us at the NYC Half, that our story on USATF has to be wrong).

One thing in speaking to many athletes, coaches, and agents this weekend was that none of them said they had been consulted by the IAAF or USATF on these proposed changes.

Chelimo said, “I feel like the rules were made without consultation from athletes. I don’t know how they came to that decision. To them maybe it works, but to me, if you take off the 5k from the Diamond League and then reduce the time to 13:13, to me it makes no sense. How are people going to get the times to get the standard? So then we have to run in small races to get that 13:13.”

Chelimo noted that USATF’s statement that it will select athletes who have the absolute time standard in selection for the Olympics will favor athletes like him who are likely to have the standard before the Trials. He said, “For me, it’s easier for me to get to the Olympics,” but he still was against the system as he knows how special the Olympic Trials are in America.

“It doesn’t favor upcoming athletes…Where is that athlete going to get that time to run fast? For me, I’m not really worried about getting 13:13, but we just have to consider other upcoming athletes…Now I feel like the Trials, which is big in the United States especially, is not as fun as before. I want to go into the Trials knowing that a) I’m top 3, I have the standard, I’m going to the Olympics. But it’s going to feel different if you go there and you don’t know what to expect. You can be 5th place and they’re like ‘oh you are going to the Olympics.'”

Videos with Chelimo and his coach Scott Simmons below.

Scott Simmons

You can discuss Paul Chelimo’s intent to double here.

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