Despite immense expectations coming into the Friday evening portion of the Prefontaine Classic, American runners missed out of hyped opportunities to set national records.
When the first kilometer of the women’s 5k went out in a pedestrian 2:58, it was clear that the odds were stacked against Shalane Flanagan regaining her American record. Even when the pace dropped significantly over the last half-mile, Flanagan’s lack of sharpness was evident as she was unable to stay near the Kenyan leaders and struggled home in the race’s final stretches. It wasn’t all doom and gloom as her time of 14:49.68 is a good 5k opener for a runner looking to peak much late in the summer.
The hype of a renewed Chris Solinsky-Galen Rupp rivalry fell through when Rupp failed to show up at the start line. His coach Alberto Salazar explained after the race that Eugene’s pollen count was simply too high to take the risk of Rupp suffering an asthma attack. Solinsky dropped out around the 3000 meter mark complaining about hamstring tightness that has plagued him since returning from Australia in March.
It is understandable that these athletes are looking to save their top performances for later in the summer, but it is disappointing to see U.S. runners unable to put on a good show for their home crowd. These complaints, however, will soon be forgotten if Flanagan, Solinsky, and Rupp are able to tear it up in Europe and at the World Championships in South Korea.
Chris Solinsky speaks to Weldon Johnson of Letsrun.com after dropping out of Pre 10k