Galen Rupp artwork
courtesy of The Shoe Addicts
The New Balance Mile, held as part of the 2014 NB Indoor Grand Prix, was billed a big showdown: Nick Willis, 2008 Olympic silver medalist, already running a 3:55.1 mile outdoors in 2014, Galen Rupp, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist, and in 2014, having set 5,000m AR of 13:01.26, and two mile AR of 8:07.41, wanting a competitive mile. Add to that, Leo Manzano, coming down from altitude, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist at 1,500m, plus Lopez Lomong and Nate Brannen, and you have a mile field.
But, races never go the way one thinks….
The race went out okay, in 29.2 for the first 200 meters. Then, it slowed down, hittin 61.1 and 2:02 for the 800 metes. The pacemaker, Willis, Rupp, Brannen, Lomong were all there, but seemed stuck in slow mode. At the 1000 meters, the race picked up as Willis took charge and quickly began his long drive to home. Willis is a savvy miler and gets the tactics that gave him two wins over the mile here already (2009, 2010), plus a third place (2011).
Nick Willis had one thing on his mind: winning, and Galen Rupp, started to look a bit tired as they wound up. Just before the field hit the 1200 meters in 2:58, Galen Rupp winced and pulled up, leaving the track. He was in obvious pain and walked down the track and then, finding a staff personel, headed to the back of the track, through the mixed zone. He told the Lets Run team that he felt some pain in his leg. He was not sure it was serious, but he was obviously disgruntled.
Well the race continued, even as fans shockingly saw Rupp pull out. Nick Willis continued to fly around the track, using a 59 second last quarter to take the race in 3:57.71. The field was bunched up, and the race was modest, to New Balance Indoor standards, but, as in championship races, it was all about the racing, and today, Nick Willis showed that he has what it takes.
Several hours later, I sent Alberto Salazar a note on Galen Rupps condition, thinking the worst. Rupp does not pull out of races as a habit. Alberto was quick to reply, noting that Galen Rupp had an issue with a cuboid bone in his foot. He had it realigned, and he was fine. In fact, Rupp went on to do 8k of serious speed work. So, in fact, Galen Rupp was not injured.
Here is note that Alberto sent me, in his exact words:
“He’s fine. He had a cuboid bone on foot get jammed out if (sic) alignment and after getting it popped back in place it didn’t hurt and he was able to get in 8k of very hard intervals. So no injury whatsoever!”
Perhaps the intense racing and training over the past few weeks took something extra out of Galen Rupp. We are grateful that Galen Rupp is not injured, but as track fans see the race in Boston as a chance missed to see Galen Rupp and Nick Willis go at it, full bore, digging deep over the last 200 meters as fans roar and the battle comes down to two, determined, middle distance runners.
So, we will have to save our excitement for Albequerque and Sopot!