Chris Solinsky runs 12:56.45: Third Time is the charm, by Larry Eder, 5,000m chart by K. Ken Nakamura

Solinsky_Chris1b-Stockholm10.jpg
Solinsky in Stockholm, DN Galan, 5,000m, photorun.net.

Chris Solinsky broke thirteen minutes for the third time last night, at the Weltklasse in Zurich. This puts the Stevens Point, Wisconsin native in a unique position, as he is the only non-African runner EVER to go sub thirteen minutes over 5,000 meters three times in one season.

What was qualitatively different about Solinsky's race in Zurich was that Solinsky was in the race with 1,000 meters to go, and he was battling Imane Merga for second with five meters to go: Solinsky is a racer. He was engaged.



Solinsky_Chris-Oslo10.jpg
Solinsky enroute to his first sub 13: 12:56.66, Oslo, photorun.net.

Thirty years ago, in the pages of Runner's World, Brooks Johnson wrote a piece about why
American distance runners were getting beat. They could not stay up with the leaders, and when it came to kicking, they could not engage.

Solinsky_ChrisFV-Stanford10.jpg
Solinsky runs AR, 26;59.6 for 10,000m, May 1, 2010, photorun.net.


Lots of hard questions later, a whole new generation of coaches, track clubs, and athletes, we are getting some of the answers. From Kim McDonald with Bob Kennedy, to Jerry Schumacher with Matt Tegenkamp, Chris Solinsky and Shalane Flanagan to Alberto Salazar with Galen Rupp, Kara Goucher and Amy Begley, to Terrance Mahon with Deena Kastor, Anna Pierce, Morgan Uceny, to John Cook with Leonel Manzano and too many others to mention. The torch is being passed. Groups like Zap Fitness, Brooks Hansons, and Team Minnesota are key to our success. Long term relationships like Coach Larsen and Meb Keflizighi are key to athletes growing and coaches learning more about their athletes. Those are the building blocks to the U.S. being successful once again over middle and long distances.

While I was interviewing Brooks last weekend, he paid Alberto Salazar a huge complement. Brooks Johnson said that what make Alberto such a strong coach is that he encourages his athletes to do the things he did not do to be a better runner: Plyo, swimming, bounding, stretching.

Kara Goucher told the assembled media in 2007, after her bronze medal at 10,000 meters, that she was convinced that she had done everything she could to prepare for Osaka, so she could just focus on the race. Deep thoughts.

Think that US is not having influence on other teams? Look at the success of UK Athletics Endurance group, with Mo Farah and Chris Thompson going 1-2 in Barcelona. Farah ran
a brutally fast last 1,000 meters, in 2:25.44, and Thompson literally battled down the final
fifty meters to earn his silver. Ian Stewart, UK endurance mentor, preaches hard work, altitude and focus. Coaches like Mark Rowland (for Chris Thompson), embrace that theme. 

In speaking to Chris Solinsky the night after his glorious AR at 10,000 meters, I found a tired but thougthful young man. Chris noted that he was not sure where he would be racing in 2011, 2012. He spoke of plans through 2016-2020. He was enthused.

What a wonderful conundrum to have, running 26:59.96 for 10,000 meters to start the season, and sub 13 minutes three times at 5,000 meters to end his season. Solinsky is learning to race at the highest levels of our sport. I am always of the sort that athletes should race at distance where they have speed advantage, and for Solinsky, 10,000 meters may be it. But, it also seems to me, that Chris Solinsky will run much faster, and entertain track fans for a couple Olympiads to come! 





Solinsky_Chris-Stockholm10.jpg
   Solinsky in Stockholm, DN Galan, photorun.net.

Number of sub-13 minutes 5,000m in a season, by K. Ken Nakamura

Solinsky became the first Non-African to record 3 or more sub 13 minutes 5000m in a season.

Number of sub-13 minutes 5000m in a season  

Name

Country

Number of sub 13 minutes 5000m

Year

Kenenisa Bekele

ETH

6

2006

Haile Gebrselassie

ETH

4

1997

Salah Hissou

MAR

4

1999

Benjamin Limo

KEN

4

1999

Abraham Chebii

KEN

4

2003

Vincent Chepkok

KEN

4

2010

Daniel Komen

KEN

3

1996, 1997, 1998

Salah Hissou

 

3

1996

Thomas Nyariki

KEN

3

1997

Haile  Gebrselassie

 

3

1998, 1999

Assefa Mezegebu

ETH

3

1998

Abraham Chebii

KEN

3

2003

Kenenisa Bekele

ETH

3

2003, 2008, 2009

Eliud Kipchoge

KEN

3

2003

Isaac Songok

KEN

3

2006

Tariku Bekele

ETH

3

2010

Imane Merga

ETH

3

2010

Chris Solinsky

USA

3

2010
































 

 



Solinsky became the first Non-African to record 3 or more sub 13 minutes 5000m in a season 

Number of sub-13 minutes 5000m in a season  

Name

Country

Number of sub 13 minutes 5000m

Year

Kenenisa Bekele

ETH

6

2006

Haile Gebrselassie

ETH

4

1997

Salah Hissou

MAR

4

1999

Benjamin Limo

KEN

4

1999

Abraham Chebii

KEN

4

2003

Vincent Chepkok

KEN

4

2010

Daniel Komen

KEN

3

1996, 1997, 1998

Salah Hissou

 

3

1996

Thomas Nyariki

KEN

3

1997

Haile  Gebrselassie

 

3

1998, 1999

Assefa Mezegebu

ETH

3

1998

Abraham Chebii

KEN

3

2003

Kenenisa Bekele

ETH

3

2003, 2008, 2009

Eliud Kipchoge

KEN

3

2003

Isaac Songok

KEN

3

2006

Tariku Bekele

ETH

3

2010

Imane Merga

ETH

3

2010

Chris Solinsky

USA

3

2010


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