Abdihamid Nur laid down a dominant last 1,000 meters to win the US title over 5,000m. The two time Olympic Medalist, Paul Chelimo, stormed home to finish in second. Bowerman Track Club Athlete, Sean McGorty, rounded out the podium in third. It was a chaotic race with some upsets and many questions answered. It seems the US will be sending another phenomenal 5,000m team to the World Championships in Budapest.
A Tactical Masterclass
This race lived up to the hype brought by the elite field. The race was won in 13:24 in almost 80 degree weather, yet it still felt tactical when viewing. Almost the entire field stayed in it until less than a mile to go.
There were so many big names still in the lead pack with a mile to go that it seemed like it would take a heroic move to break open the field. That is exactly what happened.
Abdihamid Nur took over with 1,000 meters to go and shut the race down. He is only in his first full year as a professional, yet he looked like a seasoned veteran. Nur closed down the final 1,000 meters in 2:21, which is absolutely rolling. He even closed the final 400 meters in 53 seconds.
When Nur broke away from the field, a group of five followed closely in suit. In this group, the second and third place finishers (Paul Chelimo and Sean McGorty) both stayed closely attached. Each ran clean races to secure their spots on the podium. Chelimo even had a late storm in the final 100 meters to catch Nur, but Nur found one last gear to push home in the lead.
The fourth place finisher, Joe Klecker, had one of the most impressive closes in the field. After doubling back from the 10,000m, he found a final layer of strength to close the gap on the lead pack and pass six athletes in the final 600 meters. His 27.51 final 200 meters was enough to catch the 1500m specialist, Cooper Teare, in the final stretch.
A Rising Star
With such a dominant win, it seems Abdihamid Nur has arrived. He showed absolutely no fear in that final 1,000 meters, leaving no doubt. To be able to close like that is special, and there are not a lot of people capable of doing so.
Some have even compared Nur’s move to the way in which Mo Farah would close down 5,000m and 10,000m races, running an extremely hard final 1,000 meters. Farah would take the kick out of of other athletes’ legs by going from very far out. But, he would still have a lethal final lap himself. It seemed as though Nur had quite a similar close.
Nur could be one of the next stars for the US in distance running. At only 25 years old, he already looks very composed when racing. It will be very interesting to see how he competes on the international stage this season.
Coming off of an eleventh place finish in last year’s World Championships 5,000m final, he will certainly be looking to improve.
One athlete’s storyline that is especially inspiring is Paul Chelimo. Chelimo is a two-time Olympic Medalist over 5,000m. He is known for his tenacious approach in both training and racing.
Chelimo hit a rough patch last season when he finished eleventh in the US 5,000m Championships. This was his lowest finish in many years and it seemed bleak that he could make a comeback to being an integral part of Team USA.
Coming into this season as an underdog, Chelimo did not back down. He ran a personal best of 27:12 over 10,000m in London. Chelimo then ran a strong 13:03 5,000m to knock out the World Championships qualifying standard. He decided that he would take a shot at both events at the US Championships in order to give himself a better shot of making the team in Budapest.
Chelimo came up just short of the team in the 10,000m, coming in fifth place. So, his back was against the wall coming into the 5,000m final. If he missed the team, would Chelimo be able to return to the international stage on the track? It turns out nobody will be asking that question anytime soon.
When it mattered most, Chelimo executed. With his heroic effort for second place, he finds himself back on Team USA. Fans will get to see Chelimo race yet another 5,000m at a global championship. It seems as though he lived up to his mantra ‘Go Hard or Suffer for the Rest of Your Life’.
Sean McGorty is in a very unique spot currently.
McGorty is the only athlete who finished in the top 3 both in the men’s 5,000m final and 10,000m final. this means that McGorty could represent the United States in both events if he had the World Championships time standard in each event.
This is where it gets interesting, McGorty does not have the World Championships time standard in either event. He could rely on world ranking to get into an event, but it seems as though his ranking is a bit too low currently to do so. So, McGorty will likely have to go after the standard in at least one of the events he qualified in.
If McGorty does choose to go after the standard, he only has until July 30 to do so. With this short of a time period, it seems likely that he could scratch one event to focus on another. It will be very interesting to see what path he chooses to follow over the next few weeks.
Although it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the US Championships, there is an even bigger Championship coming up.
The World Championships in Budapest this August will be well worth the wait. Although the team has not been set just yet, the United States will surely be sending a magnificent trio for the men’s 5,000m.
This leaves everyone wondering: Could a medal could be in store for the US men in the 5,000m? Tune into the World Championships this August to find out.
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Featured image courtesy of Christian Peterson (Getty Images).
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