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Will We See a Sub-13 5,000m Performance at Payton Jordan?

Published by
RunnerSpace.com/Pro   Apr 29th 2014, 3:25pm

Bowerman Track Club Eyes Big Performance at Stanford

By Scott Bush

This weekend at the Payton Jordan Invitational, the Bowerman Track Club (BTC), formerly known as Team Schumacher, looks to do something special. While the group hasn’t come out and publicly said it quite yet, you can see they are lining up their group to go after a very fast mark over 5,000m.

Five BTC individuals are entered, with Evan Jager, Lopez Lomong, Chris Derrick, Andrew Bumbalough and Ryan Hill all attacking the 5k distance. Their PRs: 


There are few opportunities, both domestically and internationally, where the core of their 5k group could line-up and really get after a specific time, feeding off one another, controlling the race and using the energy of the group to power them through. All this has to make fans wonder if they’ll set the early pace to really go after a sub-13 clocking.

We’ve Seen This Before

In March of last year, Lopez Lomong set the then indoor American 5k record of 13:07.00, while many of his teammates set the pace, collectively pushing Lomong towards the record. Schumacher’s group is one of the rare teams capable of this type of tactic and effort, which worked to perfection for Lomong.

Don’t forget, Lomong ran his eye-opening 13:11.63 outdoor best at Payton Jordan two years ago. The race where he stopped a lap short, only to pick it back up and prove he’s capable of running that much faster. This time he’ll have other athletes counting laps with him.

Experience Is On Their Side

FACT: Jerry Schumacher has coached five of the top ten fastest American 5,000m runners of all-time. While current 5k standouts Jager, Derrick and Lomong are racing, don’t forget that Chris Solinsky and Matt Tegenkamp actually lead the list. You can bet this group racing at Payton Jordan has pulled a little wisdom from Solinsky and Tegenkamp.

Schumacher oversaw the workouts of both Solinsky and Tegenkamp when they smashed the 13-minute barrier. Solinsky broke 13:57 three times in 2010 and Tegenkamp ran 12:58.56 in 2009. Schumacher knows what it takes to break the magical mark and you can bet he’s been watching his current 5k guys closely, comparing notes from the past. This type of experience only helps.

They Won’t Be Alone

While the five BTC athletes obviously have a pace in mind, they won’t be alone. Ben True holds a PR of 13:11.59 and has said numerous times that he’d love to challenge the 13-minute barrier sooner rather than later.

Diego Estrada is another challenger, holding a PR of 13:15.33 from Payton Jordan last spring. The American has high hopes for his 2014 season and throwing himself into the mix adds another athlete to the pack.

Then you have Matthew Centrowitz, running his professional debut over 5,000m. The Alberto Salazar trained athlete has a mere PR of 13:47.73, but that came back in 2010. He’s won a couple 1,500m medals since then and clearly established himself as one of the very best in the United States.

Olympians Donn Cabral and Mohammed Ahmed, along with Aaron Braun, Garrett Heath and Hassan Mead are all potential threats to dip under 13:15, simply adding to the depth.

It’s a rare day to watch a 5,000m race with the talent and depth this year’s Payton Jordan men’s 5k field holds. With the hot mid-week temperatures of Palo Alto cooling off nicely by Sunday, and the Bowerman Track Club group coming off of an intense altitude session in Flagstaff, get ready for what could very well be the best distance race we’ll see in the United States in 2014.

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