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Inside Track: Solinsky’s record-breaking debut
Except for a training run, new American distance find Chris Solinsky might not have become the first North American runner to break 27 minutes in the 10,000 metres.
“We were planning to run a steeple (3,000 metres steeplechase) actually … until after one of my tempo-runs when Jerry (Coach Jerry Schumacher) decided that we’d switch it to the 10,000,” Solinsky told a conference call.
The 25-year-old had the internet buzzing about his run of 26 minutes, 59.60 seconds in his debut at the distance during Saturday’s Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational in California.
The performance wiped out Meb Keflezighi’s 2001 American record of 27:13.98, was the fourth-fastest 10,000 metres debut ever and the year’s fastest.
Although a ways from Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele’s 2005 world record of 26:17.53, it showed much promise from the primarily 5,000 metres runner who also competes at 1,500 metres.
“I’ve actually been trying to get Jerry (his coach) to let me run a 10k in the spring for quite awhile,” said Solinsky, who by two spots missed making the 2008 U.S Olympic at 5,000 metres and was 12th in the 2009 world championships.
“I’ve always felt that I’ve been a strength runner and (in) a lot of my training from high school on, there were no structured workouts,” he said. “I’d just get out there and just kind of hammer myself into the ground.”
The lack of pressure to perform well on Saturday also helped, Solinsky said.
“All the talk was about Galen (U.S. Olympian Galen Rupp) going for the (American) record,” said Solinsky, a two-time collegiate champion at 5,000 metres. “I had nothing to lose.”
That will change in the coming weeks as the 25-year-old goes for a mark he personally considers more significant.
He would like to break 13 minutes in the 5,000 and has scheduled two Diamond League races likely to include Bekele, who is also the world record holder at the shorter distance.
The first chance comes June 4 in Oslo and the second July 3 in Eugene, Oregon.
“It’s something that I’ve had a mission to do the last three or four years,” said Solinsky, whose personal best is 13:12.24. “So obviously, yes it would (mean more), but obviously when the significance of the 26:59 sets in, I’ll appreciate that a lot more.”
He and his coach have discussed briefly perhaps moving up to the 10,000 for the 2011 world championships and 2012 London Olympics.
“But to be honest with you, my heart if still is in the 5,000,” he said. “I feel like I have unfinished business and I’ll try and cap that off before my heart is in the 10,000.
LONDON THE ONE? Three times world 200 metres champion Allyson Felix is hoping her Olympic luck will change at the 2012 London Games. Twice Felix has been the Olympic runner-up, gaining silver in both 2004 and 2008. “I’m hoping that the third time will be a charm when I go to London, the American told a conference call this week.
Reuters Athletics writer Gene Cherry blogs about the sport each Friday.
PHOTO: Kenenisa Bekele (C) of Ethiopia runs with Chris Solinsky (L) of the U.S. and Collis Birmingham (R) of Australia in their men’s 5000 meters first round heat during the world athletics championships at the Olympic stadium in Berlin, August 20, 2009. REUTERS/Michael Dalder