USATF Men’s 10,000 — What A Kick By Lomong!

It took Lopez Lomong only 55.59 seconds to finish off his PR 27:30.06. (MIKE SCOTT)

A 2-TIME OLYMPIAN, Lopez Lomong did not represent Team USA in 2015. Or 2016. Or 2017. Was the former Lost Boy Of Sudan lost at the end of his track & field career? “It hurts to sit down and watch on television and see all these guys running well,” he acknowledged. As the saying goes, the pain of regret is worse than anything else. So Lomong persevered through hamstring and iliotibial band injuries and sciatica. Last year he even agreed—gasp—to run the 10,000 after being an Olympian in the 1500 (Beijing) and 5000 (London). “You see 25 laps, I would be like, ‘Forget it,’” he said. “I would rather do two 800m, two 1500m. But now, the older you get, why not? I don’t want to walk out of the sport and say, ‘I wish I’d got this.’ This is the moment.”

At age 34, perhaps it is.

Lomong was a repeat winner in the longest track race, lowering his PR by 49 seconds for a 27:30.06 that moved him to No. 14 on the all-time U.S. list. His previous best was 28:21.37 from Stanford last year. This come-from-far-behind win was one of the most impressive runs at such a distance since the nationals began with a 5M race in 1880. The only faster winning time was the meet record of 27:25.33 by Galen Rupp in ’12.

Considering Lomong ran his closing 400 in 55.59 and has one of the biggest ranges in the sport’s history, he will be an intriguing figure ahead of the World Championships. Few have ever run as fast as 1:45.58 for 800 plus 27:30 for 10K, as Lomong has. “That’s amazing. I didn’t think about,” he said. “It’s something I celebrate about. I just put my head down. In the World Championships, we’ll see what I can do. I’ll go back to the drawing board and see how I can go back and be competitive.”

He won last year’s title in a “tactical” 28:58.38. Shadrack Kipchirchir—outkicked in that race—was determined not to allow that again. He towed the field through the 2000 in 5:30 and 5000 in 13:45.3. He said his goal was to finish in 27:30, even with a light rain and 82% humidity. “I was like, ‘Whoever wins has to run. I just went and pushed it,” he said. Kipchirchir ran 27:02.55 in finishing 9th at the ’17 WC and is No. 3 in U.S. history. Yet he could never drop Lomong. “Every lap, he was just right by me,” he said. “He hung tough.”

Lomong picked up an impressive 17 seconds on the final lap, in which a slowing Kipchirchir ran 72.54 for a 27:47.71. It was the fourth successive runner-up finish for Kipchirchir at the Nationals. Leonard Korir was 3rd in 28:01.43 to claim the third Doha spot. BYU’s Connor McMillan closed in 59.90 for 4th in 28:20.18, edging Kirubel Erassa’s 28:20.20 at the line. Erassa was with Korir with a lap left but ran the last one in 82.47.

Lomong called himself the “grandpa” of the Bowerman TC and said the “young energy” of teammates fuels him. His only regret on this night was not meeting the Olympic standard of 27:28. “I love running. I love to prepare and try to wear that USA on my chest and represent my nation the best I can,” he said. “That’s what motivates me, the people, the American people cheering me. That’s why I keep putting my shoes on and going for it.”


USATF MEN’S 10K RESULTS

(July 25)

1. Lopez Lomong (Nike/BowTC) 27:30.06 PR (AL) (14, x A)

(pace—65.85, 63.84 [2:09.69], 67.07 [3:16.76], 67.49 [4:24.25], 66.01 [5:30.26], 67.15 [6:37.41], 66.23 [7:43.64], 67.69 [8:51.33], 68.39 [9:59.72], 65.16 [11:04.88], 62.70 [12:07.58], 65.26 [13:12.84], 65.78 [14:18.62], 67.27 [15:25.89], 67.86 [16:33.75], 67.97 [17:41.72], 66.58 [18:48.30], 66.83 [19:55.13], 68.40 [21:03.53], 68.19 [22:11.72], 67.97 [23:19.69], 66.39 [24:26.08], 64.09 [25:30.17], 64.30 [26:34.47], 55.59)

(finish—55.59, 1:59.89, 3:03.98, 4:10.37);

2. Shadrack Kipchirchir (Nik) 27:47.71 (72.54, 2:17.31, 3:21.41, 4:28.21) (13:45.3);

3. Leonard Korir (NikUSAr) 28:01.43 (63.90, 2:11.04, 3:19.56, 4:27.88);

4. Connor McMillan (BYU) 28:20.18 (59.89, 2:07.57, 3:15.89, 4:24.57);

5. Kirubel Erassa (Nik) 28:20.20 (82.46, 2:29.59, 3:38.11, 4:46.44);

6. Connor Winter (TinE) 28:21.81 PR (61.15, 2:08.80, 3:17.07, 4:25.97);

7. Reid Buchanan (MamTC) 28:22.80;

8. Reed Fischer (TinE) 28:23.30 PR;

9. Zach Panning (HansB) 28:23.86;

10. Aaron Templeton (unat) 28:25.34 PR;

11. Willy Fink (unat) 28:45.57;

12. Paul Hogan (BAA) 28:49.57;

13. Clayton Young (Asics) 29:06.80;

14. Jacob Thomson (BAA) 29:09.73;

15. Alex Monroe (Roots) 29:10.85;

16. Ben Bruce (HokaNAz) 29:16.08;

17. John Reniewicki (AzSt) 29:33.28;

18. Trevor Dunbar (BAA) 29:37.60;

19. Kevin Lewis (TMn) 29:42.98;

20. Lucas Stalnaker (USMC) 30:31.07;

21. Timothy Rackers (BouTC) 30:39.42;

… dnf—Garrett Heath (BB), Joel Reichow (TMn), Brian Shrader (SaucF). ◻︎

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