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Rupp Lowers Own US 10K Record at Pre

AMERICAN RECORD FOR RUPP AT PREFONTAINE CLASSIC
By David Monti, @d9monti

(c) 2014 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(Used with permission)

EUGENE
(30-May) — The two-day Prefontaine Classic got off to a fast start at
Hayward Field here tonight, as Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp broke
his own American record, winning the most competitive 10,000m race in
the world so far this year in a world-leading 26:44.36. His mark, the
second fastest ever on U.S. soil, surpassed his own American record of
26:48.00 set at the Memorial Van Damme meeting in Brussels in 2011.

Rupp, 28, said that running a record tonight was not his primary goal. Instead, he was simply trying to win over a tough field.

“Honestly,
I wasn’t looking at a time until about a quarter mile to go, a lap to
go,” Rupp told reporters after the race. “Other than that, I was just
worried about competing. You know, I felt great the whole race.”

Australian
Olympian Ben St. Lawrence got the race off to a good start, leading the
field through the first 3000m in 8:03.08 before retiring. Pacemakers
Mike Kigen and Stephen Sambu of Kenya, and Dawit Wolde of Ethiopia
tried to keep the pace high, but lap times crept up to over 64 seconds,
even flirting with 65 seconds. Through 5000m in 13:26.44 and 8000m in
21:32.24, Rupp stayed focused on his main rivals, Kenya’s Paul Tanui
and Bedan Karoki who were still with him and Sambu, who decided to
finish the race.

“I could tell the pace was starting to slow
down a little bit,” Rupp said. “So, I thought those guys may be getting
tired. So that’s when I decided to just go for it.”

With a
little more than two laps to go, Rupp surged to the front, and his
rivals could not cover the move. He clipped off the penultimate lap in
59.4 seconds, and with his coach Alberto Salazar shouting to him from
the side of the track, he ran the final circuit in 58.5 seconds to get
the record. Rupp, who said the partisan crowd helped carry him tonight,
was surprised by his strength over the final laps.

“Honestly, I
didn’t know what to expect coming in here,” Rupp explained. “It’s early
in the season, but my training had been going well. I was definitely
feeling tired from all the volume we were doing and workouts have been
pretty intense. We rested this week and felt a little better, but I was
just really worried about competing.”

Rupp’s performance didn’t surprise Salazar, however.

“I’m
real pleased with it,” Salazar told Race Results Weekly. “His training
has gone phenomenally well. I’m not surprised at all.”

Behind
Rupp, Tanui –the 2013 IAAF World Championships bronze medalist at the
distance– finished second in a career best 26:49.41. Karoki, who runs
for the DeNA team in Japan, also set a personal best, clocking
26:52.36. Sambu, who was only contracted as a pacemaker for the race on
Wednesday, came home fourth in 26:54.61. He recently showed excellent
fitness by winning the UAE Healthy Kidney 10-K in New York City in a
personal best 27:39.

Also tonight, Kenya’s Job Kinyor won the
800m in a solid 1:44.70, followed by a fast-closing Elijah Greer –like
Rupp, a former Oregon Duck– in 1:45.30. Erik Sowinski, the reigning
USA 800m indoor champion, took third in 1:45.64. Reigning world indoor
champion Chanelle Price won the women’s two-lap race in 2:00.38 over
Maggie Vessey (2:00.48) and Canadian Melissa Bishop (2:00.52). Mary
Cain, who made her 2014 outdoor debut here finished 8th in 2:02.31.

The
40th Prefontaine Classic continues tomorrow, highlighted by the return
of 2012 Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha of Kenya and the Bowerman
Mile.

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