USATF Men’s 5000 — Lomong’s Kick Earns Him A Double

In a classic bared-tooth duel to the finish, Lopez Lomong prevailed over Paul Chelimo. (MIKE SCOTT)

THIS WAS MORE than a footrace. It was two races—one for the podium; one for the WC team. That’s a lot to digest in 13-plus minutes of back-and-forth in a 5K that started fast, became tactical, and ended fast. Winners: Lopez Lomong, Hassan Mead, Drew Hunter. Losers: Paul Chelimo, Woody Kincaid.

Lomong, now 34, finished 1st on Sunday in 13:25.53 with the same kind of closing speed that had brought him victory in Thursday’s 10,000. He ran his last lap in 53.34 to Chelimo’s 53.68. Because of a series of injuries, Lomong has not worn a Team USA singlet at an OG/WC since ’13. “I really wanted to win this race. I want a title. That’s all it is,” he said. “The moment we slowed down, I threw the standard out of the way and just tried to go out and win the race.”

That’s why he kept up with Chelimo despite an opening pace of 57-plus (yes, sub-60) through 400m, 2:30 at the kilometer and 4:07 at a mile. Lomong recalled Chelimo’s front-running meet record of 13:08.62 from ’17, when Chelimo ran the first kilo in 2:35. “I thought we would continue that kind of pace,” Lomong said. “Then it became a tactical race… a one-on-one, championship-style race.”

Lomong’s Bowerman TC teammate Kincaid made it a group of 3 building a 30m lead as the race reached the midpoint. Chelimo, despairing that he could not drop Lomong, slowed to a 70-second lap heading into the 3000 and essentially gained nothing from his early ploy. He motioned to the others to take a turn in front; the pack caught up.

“As soon as I realized they were just sitting by me, I figured out, like, it makes no sense to keep doing the same thing and then just get outkicked at the end,” Chelimo explained. “I figured out the best thing was just to save for the last few laps. I had to slow down and take the risk.”

At the bell, 7 were within 0.74: Chelimo, Lomong, Mead, Hunter, Kincaid, Riley Masters and Ben True. Chelimo held on until about 50m left, when Lomong spurted again for an 0.27 margin at the tape. Chelimo was 2nd in 13:25.80 and Kincaid 3rd in 13:26.84 (with a 54.33 final lap in which he lost almost a second to Lomong). Since neither Lomong nor Kincaid have the WC standard of 13:22.50, neither can run the event in Doha. But 4th and 5th can: Mead 13:28.04 and Hunter 13:29.19.

Lomong became the meet’s first 5/10 doubler since Galen Rupp at the ’12 Olympic Trials. He also became a career 15/5/10 tripler, the first in more than a century. Lomong won the 1500 in ’09 & ’10, and the 10,000 in ’18 & ’19.

Bowerman coach Jerry Schumacher had had to talk him out of running a 1500 semi the day after the 10,000. “I chose wisely,” said Lomong, who added that he would not have attempted the 5000 in Doha even if did have the Worlds standard. He will save doubling for the 2020 Olympics.


USATF MEN’S 5000 RESULTS

(July 28)

1. Lopez Lomong (BowTC) 13:25.53

(pace—29.89, 58.06 [1:27.95], 63.00 [2:30.95], 63.88 [3:34.83], 69.01 [4:43.84], 66.92 [5:50.76], 67.61 [6:58.37], 70.19 [8:08.56], 67.64 [9:16.20], 68.71 [10:24.91], 65.15 [11:30.06], 62.13 [12:32.19], 53.34)

(finish—53.34, 1:55.47, 3:00.62, 4:09.33);

2. Paul Chelimo (Nik) 13:25.80

(53.68, 1:56.02, 3:01.04, 4:09.81);

3. Woody Kincaid (BowTC) 13:26.84 PR

(54.33, 1:57.29, 3:02.25, 4:11.08);

4. Hassan Mead (NOTC) 13:28.04

(55.73, 1:58.16, 3:03.23, 4:12.01);

5. Drew Hunter (adi) 13:29.19

(56.71, 1:59.09, 3:04.05, 4:12.84);

6. Riley Masters (Nik) 13:31.39

(58.63, 2:00.82, 3:06.05, 4:14.88);

7. Ben True (Sauc) 13:33.13

(60.20, 2:02.77, 3:07.78, 4:16.37);

8. Hillary Bor (NikUSAr) 13:44.44;

9. Willy Fink (DaveRT) 13:49.02;

10. Lawi Lalang (NikUSAr) 13:50.21;

11. Jacob Thomson (BAA) 13:53.47;

12. Connor Winter (TinE) 13:56.48;

13. Dillon Maggard (BrkB) 13:59.20;

14. Travis Mahoney (HokaNJNY) 14:00.72;

15. Zach Panning (HansB) 14:01.55;

16. Jeff Thies (TinE) 14:03.99;

17. David Elliott (unat) 14:04.99;

18. Abdisamed Abdi (HansB) 14:34.84;

… dnf—Tommy Curtin (SaucFree), Kirubel Erassa (Nik), Josef Tessema (unat). ◻︎

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