Walter Mencken 11:31 a.m., Feb. 1
“Guess what he just did? He broke the Olympic Trials Record of Steve Prefontaine. Is that destiny? [He] did it at Hayward field. He’s also an Oregon Duck. He also trains in Oregon and he beat Bernard Lagat for the first time in his career. 14 times they’ve raced in his career and now Galen Rupp has beaten the man who really established outstanding distance running, over the last few years, in the United States.”
What a night for American running and for Galen Rupp. Right?
A 40-year-old record falls at the same venue in which it was set. Rupp is a native Oregonian, Prefontaine was a native Oregonian and both raced for the U of O Ducks. Simpatico
Rupp gets passed by Lagat’s immortal “kick” but comes back with one of his own and beats Lagat. Rupp wins both the 10,000 and 5,000 events at the trials.
Was it a great night after all?
Let’s take a closer look starting with Prefontaine’s 40-year-old Olympic Trials record. That year in Munich, “Pre” came in fourth—outside the medals.
Rupp’s time of 13:22 would not have been fast enough to qualify for the Olympics if he had not already achieved the “A” standard earlier this year. In fact, Rupp, Lagat, and Lomong all had the “A” standard already. If they hadn’t, it could have been a much different race—as we saw with the women.
13:22 is 24 seconds slower than Rupp’s best time this year and 26 seconds slower than this year’s fastest 5,000 which was turned in by Great Britain’s Mo Farah. 26 seconds equals about half a lap.
Rupp beat Lagat for the first time. Lagat had publicly stated that he was at 90% of where he’ll be for London. Lagat is scheduling his training to peak in London.
I don’t want to rain on anyone’s Olympic Trials, it’s rained enough, but 13:22 just isn’t fast enough. It’s the 10th fastest time run by an American this year. What is important is that our three best runners qualified.
I want nothing more than to see Rupp, Lagat, or Lomong medal in five weeks but they will have to beat the home town favorite, Mo Farah and the world record holder (12:37) Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia. Bekele won gold in both the 10,000 and 5,000 in Beijing.