From Tokyo to Stanford: Galen Rupp and Chris Solinsky new US distance stars
By Aron Taylor, Milesplit Contributor
By Aron Taylor, Milesplit Contributor
Few events across the American track & field circuit create such excitement as the elite 5000 meter and 10000 meter races. The 5000 meter and 10000 meter races were first brought to the forefront of US distance running in the late 1960’s when American Bob Schul and teammate Bill Mills won Olympic Gold Medals at the 1964 Olympic Games. Since that moment, the energy and focus of countless decades of US competitors have been squarely rooted on duplicating this moment in US distance running.
Since 1964 the world record over 10000 meters has dropped 1:58.07 seconds (28:15.6 to 26:17.53) while the American record has dropped 1:18.00 seconds (28:17.6 to 26:59.6). Legendary runners have made assaults at the record books, each seeking to reclaim the fire that surrounded the 64’ Olympics, no doubt fueling the American running boom that followed. A torch that was picked up at the recent Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational in Stanford, California on May 1, 2010.
Interviews conducted 1-on-1 by MileSplit.us National Editors Aaron Rich & Margot Kelly from Prefontaine Hall @ Nike World Campus - Beaverton, OR, May 3rd.
May 1, 2010: Chris Solinsky 26:59.60 / Galen Rupp 27:10.74
The prep prodigy from Steven’s Point, Wisconsin Solinsky has a body of work few can match. A career of first’s, Solinsky has never failed to produce eye-popping performances establishing himself as a winner.
As a prep Solinsky was Foot Locker National Cross Country Champion as a senior winning in 14:41 for the largest margin of victory in event history. In track as a senior was Arcadia champion graduating with personal bests of 8:43.24 (US#1) for 3200m and 4:03.80 (US#5) for 1600m. (Photo by Andrew McLanahan, PhotoRun.net)
Galen Rupp was likewise a tremendous prep and collegiate athlete. Finishing high school with the 3000 meter record of 8:03.57 and the 2000 meter record of 5:18.50. Rupp was likewise a 4:01.8 miler and 3:45.3 1500 meter runner. Rupp also set the American Junior Record of 13:37.91 for 5000 meters breaking the 40 year old record held by Gerry Lindgren. Rupp is also ranked #4 all-time for the prep 10000 meters when he ran 29:09.56 in 2004. As if a precursor of things to come on May 7, 2005 Rupp broke Rudy Chapa's heralded American Junior 10K record with a 28:15.51. Rupp was a prep phenom. (Photo: Rupp sets the AR JR Record 28:15.51, Running Shots)
As a collegiate athlete Solinsky was two-time NCAA Champion over 5000 meters winning back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007, adding to a 2005 and 2006 NCAA Indoor 3000 meter and 2007 Indoor 5000 meter championships. Rupp on the other hand was also a collegiate champion, claiming "the triple crown" winning the 2009 outdoor 5000 meter, outdoor 10000 meter and the 2008 NCAA cross country national championships. Rupp also claimed the 2009 Indoor 3000 meter championship and set the American Record for the indoor 5000 meters at the Tyson Invitational with an incredible 13:18.12.
A Champion at every level it was only a matter of time before Solinsky and Rupp established themselves as the top distance runners in America. 26:59.60 has convincingly established Solinsky as one of the great US distance runners of all-time, 27:10 has likewise elevated Rupp as one of the best of all-time. What’s the next notch for Solinsky and Rupp…Olympic Glory?
US 10000 Meter Record Holder Progression
26:59.60 Chris Solinsky, Stanford, California, May 1, 2010
*27:10.74 Galen Rupp, Stanford, California, May 1, 2010
27:13.98 Meb Keflezighi, Palo Alto, California, May 4, 2001
27:20.56 Mark Nenow, Brussels, September 5, 1986
27:25.61 Alberto Salazar, Oslo, June 26, 1982
27:29.16 Craig Virgin, Paris, July 17, 1980
27:39.4 Craig Virgin, Walnut, California, June 17, 1979
27:43.6 Steve Prefontaine, Eugene, Oregon, April 27, 1974
27:51.4 Frank Shorter, Munich, September 3, 1972
27:58.2 Frank Shorter, Munich, August 31, 1972
28:08.0 Greg Fredericks, Seattle, June 16, 1972
28:17.6 Billy Mills, Augsburg, August 12, 1965
28:24.4 Billy Mills, Tokyo Olympics, October 14, 1964
On May 4, 2001 almost 15 years after Nenow ran 27:20.56, Meb Keflezighi drops the American record to 27:13.98. During the previous 15 years the world record had been broken nine times and dropped 51.06 seconds. The world record at the end of 2001 was held by Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia who had run 26:22.75 on June 1, 1998. Keflezighi would be ranked #2 in the US in 2001. The American 10K Record ended 2001 only 51.23 seconds off of the world record.
On September 5, 1986 Mark Nenow running in a meet in Brussels, Belgium smashed Salazar’s record running 27:20.56. Nenow’s time would fall just short of the world record 27:13.81 set in 1984 by Portugal’s Fernando Mamede. Nenow would be ranked #2 in the world and #1 in the US in 1986. The American 10K Record ended 1986 only 6.75 seconds off of the world record.
(Photo right: Mark Nenow setting the record; Running Shots)
On June 26, 1982 Alberto Salazar came narrowly close to setting a new world record when he dropped the US record to 27:25.61. Regarded as one of the great competitors of all-time the 81’ US National Champion Salazar was a mere seconds from breaking Rono’s existing mark of 27:22.47. Salazar would be ranked #2 in the world and #1 in the US in 1982. Salazar is currently ranked #10 all-time on the prep 5000 meter list (14:04.8). Alberto Salazar was inducted into the USATF Hall of Fame in 2001 and the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in 2000. The American 10K Record ended 1982 only 3.14 seconds off of the world record.
On June 17, 1979 Craig Virgin ran 27:39.4 to break Prefonatine’s US record over 10000 meters. The world record had been set by Kenya’s Henry Rono on June 11, 1978 with a time of 27:22.47. Virgin is currently ranked #4 all-time on the prep two-mile list (8:40.9) and #7 all-time on the prep 5000 meter list (13:58.2). Running in the US National Championships Virgin won by a convincing margin of 44.8 seconds over Ric Rojas and Frank Shorter to establish the new US record. Virgin would again lower the record on July 18, 1980 with a record 27:29.16. Craig Virgin would be ranked #2 in the world and #1 in the US in 1979. Craig Virgin was inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in 2001. The American 10K Record ended 1980 only 6.69 seconds off of the world record.
(Photo: Virgin, Salazar, Nenow battling; Running Shots)
In 1974 Steve Prefontaine set sights on Britain Dave Bedford’s world record of 27:30.80. Bedford had broken the venerable Viren’s record on July 13, 1973 by 8 seconds. On April 27, 1974 Prefontaine lowered the American record to 27:43.6. Pre would be ranked #10 in the world and #2 in the US in 1974. In would be another five years before the American record would again be touched. Prefontaine is currently ranked #6 all-time on the prep two-mile list (8:41.5) and #4 all-time on the prep 5000 meter list (13:52.8). Steve Prefontaine was inducted into the USATF Hall of Fame in 1976 and the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in 2000. The American 10K Record ended 1974 only 12.8 seconds off of the world record. (Photo: Prefontaine battling Lindgren, Running Shots)
Billy Mills American Record 28:15.6 would fall on June 16, 1972 when Greg Fredericks would run 28:08.0. In that year Olympic Marathon Champion Frank Shorter would further drop the record to 27:58.2 on August 31 and three days later dropped the record to 27:51.4. Frank Shorter would be ranked #5 in the world for 1972. Frank Shorter was inducted into the USATF Hall of Fame in 1989 and the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in 1998. By the end of 1972 the world record time was held by Lasse Viren of Finland who ran 27:38.35 in the Munich Olympics. Shorter would be awarded the Track & Field News US Athlete of the Year. The American 10K Record ended 1972 only 13.05 seconds off of the world record.
When Billy Mills won the 64’ Olympics in US record time of 28:24, the world record of 28:15.6 was held by Ron Clarke of Australia. Mills would go on to run 28:17.6 in 1965 a mere 2 seconds off of the world record. Billy Mills would be ranked #1 in the world for 1964. Billy Mills was inducted into the USATF Hall of Fame in 1976 and the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in 1999. Clarke would go on to lower that time to 27:39.89 later in 1965. The American 10K Record ended 1965 only 37.71 seconds off of the world record.
(Photo right: Billy Mills winning 64’ Olympics, Running Shots)