Galen Rupp Sets 5k AR at Tyson: Behind the Scenes, by Walt Murphy


Walt Murphy, one of our most important observers of the sport, wrote a fine update on the 5,000 meter race at Tyson Invitational. My guess is that Walt was at all three of the races over 5,000 meters that he writes about. In anycase, checking out the videos from 1981 and 1982 after watching the coverage from ESPN today will be a lot of fun! Enjoy!

In two weeks, Galen Rupp has set Collegiate records at 3k, and now AR, Collegiate and American Collegiate at 5,000 meters with his Tyson race on Friday! Photo from his 3k race at BIG, courtesy of

Walt Murphy's News and Results Service
(c)Copyright 2009-all rights reserved. May not be reprinted or retransmitted without permission

For complete results of the Tyson Inv., go to:

Doug Padilla's American Record of 13:20.55 for 5000-meters had stood for 27 years. In the days leading up to Friday's Tyson Invitation in Fayetteville, Arkansas, there was talk that Oregon senior Galen Rupp might be ready to challenge that mark, along with the Collegiate Record of 13:20.4, which had been set by UTEP's Suleiman Nyambui at the 1981 Millrose Games Finishing 2nd in that race was Rupp's coach since high school, Alberto Salazar.

With Salazar watching from trackside, Rupp battled throughout the race with Ethiopia's Bekana Daba, who had beaten him at 3000-meters the previous week in Boston, and Liberty University's Sam Chelanga.

Daba prevailed at the end, winning in 13:17.89, while Rupp's runnerup time of 13:18.12 gave him the records he was after. As a bonus, he also broke Salazar's Oregon school record of 13:22.6, which was the American Record at the time. Chelanga, who had finished 2nd to Rupp in their memorable duel at last fall's NCAA X-Country Championships, was also under Nyambui's Collegiate Record with his 3rd-place time of 13:19.79. Chelanga broke the Eastern Collegiate mark of 13:22.17, which was set by Providence's Geoff Smith when he finished behind Padilla and Salazar at the 1982 Millrose Games.

You can watch the complete 5000s from the 1981 and 1982 Millrose Games at: (scroll down to find the races) 1981--1.Nyambui 13:20.4, 2.Salazar 13:22.6
1982--1.Padilla 13:22.55, 2.Nick Rose 13:21.27, 3.Smith 13:22.17, 4.Salazar 13:25.16

The John McDonnell Mile, named after the legendary Arkansas coach who retired after the 2008 collegiate season, promised to be a fast one, with Nick WIllis, who had run 3:53.54 the week before in Boston, saying that he was ready to run 3:50-3:51 if necessary. A time in that area would break John Walker's New Zealand indoor record of 3:52.8. And the field also included the likes of Chris Lukezic, Alan Webb, and Arkansas junior Dorian Ulrey, who had run 3:57.60 last month.

But no one in the field chose to follow pacemaker Mark Thompson, who had been asked to run 1:56 for the first 1/2-mile. It was almost comical as Thompson had as much as a straightaway lead over the pack as they went through the first 1/4-mile in about 65 seconds. You would think someone would pick up the pace after such a slow opening, but the 1/2-mile was reached in a pedestrian 2:08. Willis, with a 54+ last 1/4-mile, had no trouble winning the race in 4:02.70, with Chris Lukezic finishing 2nd in 4:03.87. Ulrey was in 3rd with a lap to go, but fell after he appeared to get tangled up with Rob Myers(4:05.13), who was right behind him. Alan Webb, still trying to work his way into top form, finished 4th in 4:05.60. It was one of the slowest winning times in a "major" indoor meet in recent years and might have caused John McDonnell to have some regret over having his name associated with the race(-:

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