Olympic Trials Men’s 5000 — Paul Chelimo Tough To Pass

Paul Chelimo was ready to initiate his go-wide strategy as they came into the homestretch. (MIKE SCOTT)

DEPENDING ON POINT OF VIEW, Paul Chelimo is either a competitor, a tactician or a cheater.

Down the stretch of the 5000 he gradually veered from the rail to inside of lane 4. He was going for it, going for the win, going for another Olympics. Check, check, check.

“Go hard, or suffer for the rest of your life,” the Rio silver medalist said in the race’s immediate aftermath.

He acknowledged moving out to make it hard for the Bowerman TC duo of Grant Fisher and Woody Kincaid to overtake him.

After a mad dash to the finish, Chelimo was 1st in 13:26.82 edging Fisher (13:27.01) and Kincaid (13:27.13). Respective closing 400s were 52.83, 52.99 and 52.74. Cooper Teare was 4th in 13:28.08 off a 53.97. Fisher and Kincaid, 2nd and 1st in the 10,000 the first weekend, became the first pair to finish in the top 3 of both long distance races at the same Trials.

The race was moved to 10a.m. because of the heat wave and was run in mid-80s temps. Nonetheless, the 30-year-old Chelimo said he was prepared for such conditions and wanted it hotter.

Chelimo said it was the Bowerman runners’ goal to “take me down.” He added: “Why lose the race if I train harder than them? You gotta love challenges, because it’s a good way to test my fitness before Tokyo.”

Earlier in the race, Chelimo wagged his finger at those behind him. He explained he was upset about body contact. “I got clipped a lot of times, like over six times. That’s not a good sign,” he said. “Chances are that you might get tripped. I was in front most of the time, and I was still getting clipped. What if I was in the middle?”

Neither Bowerman runner complained about Chelimo’s drifting. Fisher said he would not want to win on a DQ and he would drift out, too, admitting, “That’s smart racing there.”

The pace was not slow, but neither was it fast enough to stretch the field. Beginning with the third go-round, the favored Chelimo was 1st or 2nd at the end of every lap. Laps 8, 9 and 10 were run in the 68-to-69 range, so the field remained bunched. With 800 left, Connor Mantz had the lead, but 7 others were within a second.

10K winner Kincaid was 6th after spending multiple laps trying to get off the rail. “I was like, ‘OK, this is going to be full-on sprint,’ and I started moving all-out very early because I had to get outside,” he said. “I remember coming with 200 to go. I just kept having to go wider and wider and wider.”

Oregon’s Teare, who led a 4-6-7-8-9 finish by NCAA participants, held out hope for Tokyo in case Fisher or Kincaid drop the 5K. Both said they plan to double.

NCAA winner Teare said he was grateful to come into this “in one piece” under Oregon distance coach Ben Thomas. “I can’t put an emotion on it right now. It hasn’t really set in,” he added. “Thinking 4 years ago I would get 4th place, I would’ve never thought.”

MEN’S 5000 RESULTS

(June 27)

1. Paul Chelimo (Nik) 13:26.82

(pace—66.33, 62.90 [2:09.23], 63.92 [3:13.14], 64.81 [4:17.95], 63.64 [ 5:21.59], 65.85 [6:27.44], 65.15 [7:32.59], [3K-8:07.26], 68.94 [8:41.53], 67.70 [9:49.23], 69.66 [10:58.89], 63.22 [12:02.11], 59.21 [13:01.32], 25.50)

(finish—25.50, 52.83, 1:56.52, 3:02.92, 4:12.25);

2. Grant Fisher (NikBowTC) 13:27.01 (25.68, 52.98, 1:56.36, 3:01.95, 4:11.85);

3. Woody Kincaid (NikBowTC) 13:27.13 (25.71, 52.74, 1:56.57, 3:01.89, 4:12.07);

4. Cooper Teare (Or) 13:28.08 (26.56, 53.96, 1:57.07, 3:02.87, 4:12.74);

5. Emmanuel Bor (USAr) 13:30.30 (28.74, 56.12, 1:59.49, 3:05.00, 4:15.78);

6. Morgan Beadlescomb (MiSt) 13:30.90 (27.91, 56.31, 1:59.77, 3:05.37, 4:15.14);

7. Robert Brandt (Gtn) 13:32.21;

8. Conner Mantz (BYU) 13:32.69;

9. Nico Young (NnAz) 13:35.94 (x, 10 AJ);

10. Eric Jenkins (Nik) 13:39.72;

11. Hassan Mead (NikOTC) 13:47.85;

12. Casey Clinger (BYU) 13:50.20;

13. Ian Shanklin (NCSt) 13:50.71;

14. Garrett Heath (BrkB) 13:55.33 (2:40.81);

15. Eduardo Herrera (Co) 14:00.46;

… dnf—Thomas Ratcliffe (NikBowTC).

HEATS (June 24)

I–1. Jenkins 13:43.18; 2. Fisher 13:43.41; 3. Kincaid 13:43.41; 4. Teare 13:43.78; 5. Heath 13:44.48; 6. Herrera 13:45.33; 7. Sydney Gidabuday (unat) 13:48.75; 8. Biya Simbassa (unat) 13:52.19; 9. Willy Fink (UArm) 13:54.86; 10. Josef Tessema (unat) 13:55.23; 11. Lawi Lalang (USAr) 13:55.32; 12. Kirubel Erassa (Hoka) 14:08.35.

II–1. Chelimo 13:36.66; 2. Young 13:36.74 (x, 10 AJ); 3. Mead 13:36.80; 4. Bor 13:36.84; 5. Brandt 13:36.95; 6. Beadlescomb 13:37.17; 7. Ratcliffe 13:37.80; 8. Clinger 13:39.27; 9. Mantz 13:39.31; 10. Shanklin 13:42.99; 11. Ryan Hill (Hoka) 14:12.20.

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