The men’s 5000m was moved to 10 AM on the last day of the Trials, due to the heat. Just four hours later, the meet was suspended due to the temperature in the stadium hitting 108. It resumed around 8:30 PM in the evening.
The men’s 5000m is 12.5 laps of chess-like moves. Tactics are everything. With the key players all having made the Olympic Trials and Olympic standards, it came down to racing.
Paul Chelimo was the 2016 Olympic silver medalist and 2017 World Champion bronze medalist, both at 5000 meters. Paul is tough, I watched him run 13:08 to win the US Champs in hot Sacramento!
This was a race to watch again and again!
Sean MacPherson wrote this story! Sean writes for SOJC, and takes a class with Professor Lori Shontz. Lori Shontz and Larry Eder edit all pieces from SOJC members.
Paul Chelimo wins a very physical 5000m!
By Sean MacPherson
SOJC Track Bureau for RunBlogRun
Paul Chelimo drifted his way to Tokyo on Sunday morning in a feisty and hot men’s 5,000 meters. The 2016 Olympic silver medalist used tactics and dragged his competition all the way out to lane four over the final 100 meters, winning in 13:26.82.
Grant Fisher and Woody Kincaid of Bowerman Track Club, who had already finished 1-2 in the 10K nine days prior – took second and third, respectively, in 13:27.01 and 13:27.13.
As Chelimo rounded the final turn in first, he dragged Fisher and Kincaid out to lane four over the final home stretch. It was a move that drew public scrutiny, but Chelimo said it was a fair race tactic.
“This race, everyone was fit, it’s not like those Bowerman guys showed up to get second and third,” said Chelimo. “At the end of the day, you have to take it to them mentally, too. Make sure they put in the work and run the longest distance. That was my goal, to drift them all the way to the stands.”
“I don’t think it is illegal to drift out,” he said. “That is just what happens on the home stretch. “You come off the corner and you have momentum. You naturally kind of drift out. It is also a good strategy to drift out. That is just how racing is done in my opinion
Chelimo led from the front for much of the race, saying he was clipped no fewer than six times. At one point in the race, Chelimo chirped to the group behind him.
“I was just telling them it’s becoming too much,” Chelimo said. “I was in front most of the time, and I was still getting clipped. What if I was in the middle?”
After the field went through 3,000 meters in 8:07, BYU’s Conner Mantz made the first major move with 1K to go. Chelimo took over with 550 meters to go, and the five-man contingent of Chelimo, Fisher, Kincaid, Cooper Teare of Oregon, and Emmanuel Bor of the U.S. Army was battling for three spots.
“Down the stretch, I realized I wasn’t going to catch Chelimo,” said Kincaid. “I looked to my left and saw Cooper was right there, and I was like, ‘All right, I can beat Cooper.'”
Teare stuck in lane one, watching his Olympic hopes fade away as the medalists sprinted away in lane four. Teare, the NCAA 5K champion, finished fourth in 13:28.08.
Kincaid and Fisher have become a package deal in distance events. After placing top three in both the 5,000 and 10,000, both athletes now have an opportunity to double in Tokyo. While Teare would directly benefit from a scratch with his fourth-place finish, both athletes said they plan to compete in both events. Still, Teare took a half-glass-full outlook on his race.
“That was a class field, Olympians in there, so it’s definitely sweet for sure,” said Teare, who now faces a decision on whether to go pro. “There could still be an opportunity and I think I put myself in a great position.”