Beijing Perspective-Reflections on the Men's 10,000 Meters, by Larry Eder


The men's 10,000 meters was a classic Bekele era race: first half fairly tame, then the hammer goes down and the suspense begins, when will Mr. B make his move? Here, your blogger considers the 10,000 meter for men, held earlier in the week and provides you with something to ponder.....

The picture above shows Sileshi Sihine, fiance of Tirunesh Dibaba, silver medalist,Kenenisa Bekele, World record holder, 5,000m, 10,000 m, now two time Olympic gold medalist at 10,000 meters (Athens and Beijing) and Haile Gebrselassie, sixth in his fourth Olympic 10,000 meter final, after two Olympic golds, Atlanta and Sydney, plus fifth in Athens and sixth in Sydney.

The race pace did not tolerate pretenders,not in a championship 10,000 meters. Kidanne Tadesse of Eritrea,younger brother of Zerzeny Tadesse, bronze medalist form Athens, ran the only way he could-from the front, pushing and pushing. His 13:48 for the first 5,000 meters did string out the pack, but the 13:12 for the second 5,000 meters put it out of reach for just a few! Kidanne Tadesse of Eritrea finished twelfth.

I have nothing but admiration for Haile Gebrselessie, the two time gold medalist at 10,000 meter, our current world record holder for the marathon. When Mr G took over and lead from 5,000 meters to 6,000 meters, he pushed the pace. His continued presence near the front broke more of the runners, including Tadesse.

The pace of the next three kilometers were 2:39 to 2:40, and the pretenders were gone. Zerzenay Tidasse of Eritrea lead kilometers seven and eight, then Micah Kogo of Kenya took over, leading through nine kilometers.

Haile Gebrselassie took over once again, for the last two and one half laps. Pushing the pace down to 2:26 for the final 1,000 meters, Haile gave it all he had, finishing sixth in 27:05. Five runners went past him over the last lap, with three passing him over the last three hundred meters! Haile still possesses some serious speed for a marathoner, but that final gear is just not there anymore. (In his defense, Haile has had rough achilles issues this spring, and his shoes, an adidas special flat, is set with a special spike plate-we will try and get a photo of those! ).

This is where Bekele is at his best. Running the tough pace of a high stakes world championship or Olympic final, Kenenisa Bekele can turn on the last 300 meters, and that he did, with the last 200 meters being just a tad over 25 seconds! His finish secure, watching Bekele run for the gold medal is watching a champion at his heights! Sileshi Sihine continues to impress, pushing the pace and challenging Bekele, trying to find that weak spot, or that moment of indecision. Bekele was decisive here, in 27:01.17, an Olympic record.

Micah Kogo of Kenya took the bronze, just holding off his countryman, Masai,
for the bronze medal.

Afterwards, Haile Gebrselassie noted, " If the pace had been faster in the first half, I would have had a chance for a medal." So noted..

In the end, the 10,000 meters lived up to its hype, with tough pace, a negative split for half and a deafening last 1,000 meters, where the top distance runners in the world behave like sprinters over the last 300 meters, and four seconds separated first through sixth. In those six were three Ethiopians, two Kenyans and one Eritrean.

First non--African was Selim Bayrek of Turkey in eleventh and then, Galen Rupp of the US in thirteenth. Kudos to Rupp for running so close to his personal best, and running a seasonal best in an Olympic final ( his splits: 14:00/13;36).

Another classic 10,000 meters to put in the Olympic history books.

1000m Alejandro Suárez MEX 2:50.15
2000m Kidane Tadasse ERI 5:27.32
3000m Kidane Tadasse ERI 8:09.93
4000m Kidane Tadasse ERI 10:59.51
5000m Kidane Tadasse ERI 13:48.00
6000m Haile Gebrselassie ETH 16:33.92
7000m Zersenay Tadese ERI 19:14.71
8000m Zersenay Tadese ERI 21:53.78
9000m Micah Kogo KEN 24:34.07

10,000 Metres - M FINAL
17 August 2008 - 22:45
Position Athlete Country Mark .
1 Kenenisa Bekele ETH 27:01.17 (OR)
2 Sileshi Sihine ETH 27:02.77 .
3 Micah Kogo KEN 27:04.11 (SB)
4 Moses Ndiema Masai KEN 27:04.11 (SB)
5 Zersenay Tadese ERI 27:05.11 .
6 Haile Gebrselassie ETH 27:06.68 .
7 Martin Irungu Mathathi KEN 27:08.25 (PB)
8 Ahmad Hassan Abdullah QAT 27:23.75 (SB)
9 Fabiano Joseph Naasi TAN 27:25.33 .
10 Boniface Kiprop Toroitich UGA 27:27.28 .
11 Selim Bayrak TUR 27:29.33 (NR)
12 Kidane Tadasse ERI 27:36.11 .
13 Galen Rupp USA 27:36.99 (SB)
14 Dickson Marwa Mkami TAN 27:48.03 .
15 Abdihakem Abdirahman USA 27:52.53 .
16 Abdellah Falil MAR 27:53.14 .
17 Juan Carlos de la Ossa ESP 27:54.20 .
18 Hasan Mahboob BRN 27:55.14 .
19 Dieudonné Disi RWA 27:56.74 .
20 Essa Ismail Rashed QAT 27:58.67 .
21 Samwel Shauri TAN 28:06.26 .
22 Felix Kikwai Kibore QAT 28:11.92 .
23 Carles Castillejo ESP 28:13.68 .
24 Ayad Lamdassem ESP 28:13.73 .
25 Jorge Torres USA 28:13.93 .
26 Surendra Kumar Singh IND 28:13.97 .
27 Günther Weidlinger AUT 28:14.38 .
28 Kensuke Takezawa JPN 28:23.28 .
29 Juan Carlos Romero MEX 28:26.57 .
30 Sergey Ivanov RUS 28:34.72 .
31 Takayuki Matsumiya JPN 28:39.77 .
32 Teklemariam Medhin ERI 28:54.33 .
33 Eric Gillis CAN 29:08.10 .
34 Rui Pedro Silva POR 29:09.03 .
35 Alejandro Suárez MEX 29:24.78 .
. Cuthbert Nyasango ZIM DNF .
. David Galván MEX DNF .
. Mohamed El Hachimi MAR DNF .
. Khoudir Aggoune ALG DNS

2 Comments | Leave a comment


Your points are well taken. I think Dita made a bold move and stayed together for the last half! The men's race was insane. Hats off to Ritz and Ryan for running pretty smart races. The World Champs and Olympics are such that new talents come out of the woods. A mid race surge in Beijing would not have worked, I believe, in hindsight because the lead pack was way too far out of sight.

Larry Eder

Hello, LARRY,

Here's a note that I sent to STEVE SPENCE on aspects that the Men's Marathon commentators might want to highlight on Sunday, based on the Women's Marathon and commentary last weekend.

Could you please move it along to CRAIG and ED?

All best, and thanks for your reports,


Hello, STEVE,

Great Games so far, um? Humanity looks pretty good when seen through performances and demeanors of so many of the 2008 athletes.

Last weekend's commentary by CRAIG and ED on the Women's Marathon was good but missed some elements that are likely to figure in the Men's race next weekend.

1. TOMESCU-DITA (sp.) was executing exact tactics when she picked up the pace to 5:16 among those miles with many turns and short sight-lines. Break will probably occur over same crooked stretch in Men's race.

2. The entire chase-pack basically failed to compete as they should have and especially the Chinese and Kenyan pairs did not work together as they could have. Men's race should see more team-work.

T-D was tiring a lot toward finish (92 last 400 vs. 78 for C. N. and the Chinese bronze-medalist.

3. T-D deserved more credit. Her win was like a 1:45 800 Meters guy running 48 for the first lap and holding on to win.

4. Two Olympic Men's Marathon winners were near T-D's age (or older) --LOPES and WOLDE .

5. Humidity as a sapping factor should be more noted.

I think the U. S. could get three in the top ten and maybe even two medalists--in particular If R H and D R execute a mid-race surge.

Please pass along any e-mail or phone contacts you have for ED or CRAIG. Feel free to pass this along to BRAD and/or TERRANCE, too.

All best, and congratulations to you ll on NEELY's terrific race in the national race last June.


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