Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational, Stanford

What an event on Saturday night! The earlier races were as you would expect at a high quality distance meet, where everyone is out to put in a good early season time. There were exciting finishes to many of the races, none more so than the women's 5000m, where World 1500m bronze medalist Shannon Rowbury (who had been training in San Louis Potosi while I was there) undid the 100m lead that Olympic 10,000m bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan had in the final lap, and went on to win by a clear distance. It was good to know some of the people racing, and Hannah (England) looked to be in prime position to win the women's 1500m with 200m to go but unfortunately didn't have the finishing kick to take it. But the highlight of the evening was the last race, the men's 10,000m.

Billed as an area record attempt by Olympian Galen Rupp, the race more than lived up to expectations, produced many personal bests, and an American and a Canadian record. The biggest shock of the race was the fact that, though Galen finished inside the old American record, he had to play second fiddle to fellow Nike representative Chris Solinsky, who, with a scintillating final 800m of 1:55 ran away to achieve the first sub 27 minute race by a non-African born athlete. Most surprisingly, this was Chris's debut at the distance, and he still considers himself a 5,000m runner!

Interesting post race analysis on the world's most popular athletics website reveals that Solinsky is also the biggest athlete to break the 27 minute barrier, and by a long way. I really like their message board post of the week:

If you set a paradigm concerning who will excel at some endeavor by reference only to those who have done well in the past and then enforce the paradigm by coaches or talent scouts or even the athletes themselves, then you never even test your paradigm and you will not know what human limits exist.

Give a shot to the tall sprinter (Bolt) at 100m, the slow twitch marathoner at 5000m(Ritz), the heavy middle distance runner (Solinsky) at 10000m, and if they fail, they fail.

Add to that, the short guy in the high-jump (Holmes), the guy with the unconventional sprinting action in the 400m (Johnson), and the woman with the bobbing head in the marathon (Radcliffe) and there is hope for anyone. Who said that you need to be like those that have gone before you?

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