USATF Men’s 5000 — Chelimo Continues American Dominance

Paul Chelimo hasn’t lost a track race to an American since the end of the ’16 season. (KEVIN MORRIS/PHOTO RUN)

Paul Chelimo was the clear favorite, and for good reason. Since the end of the ’16 season, he had not lost a track race to an American. His victories in that time span included 3 indoor USATF titles (at 3 different distances) and last year’s outdoor 5000. As expected, he successfully defended his title in Des Moines and he did so with apparent ease, almost toying with the field.

He took the lead on the first backstretch and then, on the second lap, picked up the pace. “I’m really, really confident with my kick,” he said later, “but no matter what, you don’t want to take the risk. I wanted to take the sting out of those guys a bit and see what they could do and what they could do with the moves and everything and see who was strong enough to react to the moves.”

By the third lap, the field had strung out and the only runner to stay within a second of the leader was Tommy Curtin, who finished 6th last year. That turned out not to be so wise; after a lap of chasing Chelimo, Curtin fell off the pace and he dropped out of the race with less than 4 laps remaining.

After a few more fast circuits, Chelimo settled into a more relaxed pace and allowed U.S. Army teammate Emanuel Bor to take the lead for a couple of laps. With the slower pace, the field closed the gap, and with 4 laps to go, the top 13 were separated by less than 2 seconds, with Chelimo back in the lead. There was still a closely-bunched pack of 9 with 2 to go, when Sam Parsons moved from near the back of that pack to take the lead briefly.

But Chelimo was having none of that. He quickly retook the lead and never relinquished it. With a lap remaining Ryan Hill, Hassan Mead and Riley Masters passed Parsons. Hill, Mead, Masters and Bor remained in contention as Chelimo picked up the pace on the last lap, but coming off the final turn, Chelimo (13:29.47) unleashed a monster kick and the others couldn’t respond, with Hill (13:29.67) being closest. Said the winner, the 27-year-old former Kenyan, “With 2 laps to go, I knew it was going to be a kickers’ race. I tried as much as I could to save for the last 200.”

Chelimo, who has a PR of 13:03.90, said that his next goals are to break 13:00 for the first time and to break Bernard Lagat’s AR of 12:53.60. His plan is to “just get a race, get good pacers, me and a couple of guys, and just go for it as much as I can, and see what’s gonna happen.”


USATF MEN’S 5000 RESULTS

(June 24)

1. Paul Chelimo (USAr) 13:29.47

(31.16, 62.68 [1:33.84], 66.66 [2:40.50], 64.53 [3:45.03], 63.69 [4:48.72], 66.29 [5:55.01], 68.33 [7:03.34], 67.51 [8:10.85], 69.08 [9:19.93], 68.25 [10:28.18], 64.33 [11:32.51], 61.19 [12:33.70], 55.77)

(13.1, 26.6, 55.77, 1:56.96, 3:01.29, 4:09.54);

2. Ryan Hill (BowTC) 13:29.67

(13.3, 26.7, 55.89, 1:56.46, 3:01.06, 4:09.29);

3. Hassan Mead (OTC) 13:30.12

(13.4, 27.0, 56.26, 1:57.44, 3:01.90, 4:10.11);

4. Riley Masters (Nik) 13:30.23

(13.5, 26.9, 56.25, 1:57.22, 3:01.77, 4:09.58);

5. Emmanuel Bor (USAr) 13:31.52

(14.2, 28.2, 57.37, 1:58.72, 3:03.12, 4:11.35);

6. Grant Fisher (Stan) 13:32.00

(13.7, 27.8, 57.79, 1:59.09, 3:03.29, 4:11.51);

7. Reid Buchanan (SkechMam) 13:32.41

(14.1, 28.4, 57.98, 1:59.04, 3:03.62, 4:11.85);

8. Sam Parsons (adi) 13:35.16;

9. Joe Klecker (Co) 13:41.65;

10. Jacob Thomson (Ky) 13:45.03;

11. Willy Fink (unat) 13:45.36;

12. Trevor Dunbar (BAA) 13:46.20;

13. Dillon Maggard (UtSt) 13:55.06;

14. Joe Stilin (Zap) 14:05.73;

15. Phillip Reid (HokaAgs) 14:13.86;

16. Jack Keelan (Stan) 14:16.47;

17. Tim Rackers (BouTC) 14:20.12;

18. Josef Tessema (AMD) 14:20.51;

19. George Kelly (Adams) 14:34.92;

… dnf—Zachary Zarda (KCSm), Tommy Curtin (SaucF). □

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