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Kenyan Edwin Cheruiyot Soi kicked past a virus-stricken Mo Farah on the home straight to win the 5,000 meters Saturday in the Prefontaine Classic.
Farah, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist at 5,000 and 10,000 meters, put himself in position to win, having the lead and inside position at the bell.
The race opened up as the runners shifted gears on the back straight. Soi shot around Farah with 200 to go and pulled away to win in 13 minutes, 4.75 seconds before a Hayward Field crowd of 12,816. The time is a 2013 world best.
Farah came in second in 13:05.88. U.S, record-holder Bernard Lagat was fifth. Galen Rupp, Farah’s teammate on the Nike Oregon Project was sixth.
It was the meet’s marquee men’s race, and lived up to the billing. The top 10 finishers – including Portland-based runners Chris Derrick and Dathan Ritzenhein – finished in under 13:10. The world-leading time for 2013 coming into the race was 13:10.03.
“I was very happy to see my kick coming back,” said Soi, the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist in the 5,000. “That isn’t my No. 1 kick. I’m going to need a better one than that.”
That is probably true, because Farah still is feeling aftershocks from a nasty stomach virus that levelled him two weeks ago. He declined interviews in the track side mixed zone. Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar said Farah threw up after he was out of sight.
“He said it’s not as bad as last time,” said Salazar, who gave Farah some antacids and a sports drink before the Oregon Project runners began a post-race workout. “It’s just a lingering thing. It’s not really bad. But he’s not at 100 percent.”
Salazar tried to talk Farah out of running the 5,000, the distance at which he set the Pre Classic record last year in 12:56.98, suggesting he enter the less-taxing mile and just concede he wouldn’t beat the world-class milers in the field. Farah insisted on running the 5,000 to win, and almost did. The loss is his first in an outdoor final since the 2011 World Championships.
Rupp probably isn’t as sharp as he will be in three weeks at the USA Track & Field Championships, but his time of 13:08.69 is comfortably under the IAAF World Championships “A” standard. Derrick bettered the standard too.
“I’m disappointed now,” said Rupp, U.S. record-holder at 10,000. “But it’s all about having it at the end.”
Defending champion Silas Kiplagat won the Bowerman Mile, coming from behind on the home straight to catch Asbel Kiprop two steps from the finish line in an electrifying finish. Kiplagat’s winning time of 3:49.48 is the best run in the world this year. Kiprop placed second in 3:49.53.
Portland-based Olympians Lopez Lomong and Matthew Centrowitz weren’t factors. Lomong was ninth and Centrowitz 10th. Olympic bronze medalist Leo Manzano didn’t finish the race, although he did not appear to be hurt.
“I wasn’t in the top half to be kicking with those guys,” Centrowitz said. “It was definitely a difficult finish. When you’re in no-man’s land back there, it’s hard to stay motivated.”
The 800 had been expected to feature world record-holder David Rudisha, but he withdrew citing a knee injury. In Rudisha’s absence Mohammed Aman won in 1:44.42.
Symmonds made his patented late move, but couldn’t sustain it on the home straight.
“I had some mixed emotions about David pulling out,” Symmonds said. “On one hand it opens it up for athletes coming in to compete for a win. On the other hand, if I’m ever going to beat David it’s going to be here. One of these years I would love to race him here.”
As it was, the race was Symmonds’ first 800 since last summer.
“I didn’t put a ton of pressure on myself for this one,” he said. “I think this and the more race-specific stuff I do from here for the next couple weeks will prepare me well for the USAs.”
The meet didn’t escape without controversy. A good finish to a sizzling fast men’s steeplechase was marred when Kenyans Consesius Kipruto and Ezekiel Kemboi bumped just before the finish line in a race won by Kirpruto in a meet-record time of 8:03.59.
Judges reviewed the contact. Kipruto kept the record – bettering the mark 8:08.08 set by Paul Koech in 2007 – and Kemboi was disqualified.
U.S. record-holder Evan Jager and Dan Huling — both members of Nike-based Team Schumacher – finished fifth and ninth in times of 8:08.60 and 8:22.38 respectively, both bettering the World Championships “A” standard
“I really tied up in that last lap,” Jager said. “I thought I might have been able to get the American record (8:06.81) if I ran a real good last 200. But I was a little beat and struggled to get over the water barrier and the final barrier.”
— Kenyans In Europe (@kenyans_eu) June 3, 2013