After finishing fourth in a tough, steamy 10k at the USA Nationals, Dartmouth grad Ben True doubled back to try to make the World Championships in the 5k in Des Moines last month. Try as he might, he wound up in fourth again, missing an automatic berth to Moscow by a single place.
For many, there would have been the remaining hope that he’d advance regardless, as one of the top three, N.C. State’s Ryan Hill, had yet to claim the qualifying standard, something True had already nailed down. But afterward True said that if that happened he wouldn’t have felt like he earned it.
Of course, words and actions are two different things, but not for True. Because today in Belgium, he helped pace Hill to that qualifying time, thus knocking himself out of a spot at Worlds. Hill will now lineup with countrymen Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp.
Haron Lagat was the rabbit in the 5k in Heusden, Belgium, today and he did precisely what he was supposed to — run a series of 64-second laps before leaving it to the competitors to finish as they would.
With the pacer gone, it was True — who said he felt “horrible out there” — who took on the bulk of the work to keep a fast pace. Not only would he take third in 13:11.59, he’d bring Hill around in 13:14.22, a huge personal best and that aforementioned qualifier to Russia.
True shrugged off the notion that he could have held onto a World Championship spot by deliberately slowing the pace. In fact, given how he felt, he admitted that he was surprised that the pace was as fast as it was. True said that he thinks he can run 10 seconds faster than he did today, which would put him in position to flirt with a sub-13 performance.
He also told Flotrack afterward that his plan is to stay in Hanover, N.H., as folks there are “trying to build a track club in the Northeast.” He expects new arrivals soon and will be happy to have training partners for a change.