When I was watching Ben True running in the men’s 5,000m qualifying heat, I was wondering if the heat was getting to him. The announcers mentioned before the race started how the temperatures were in the upper 70s, over half of the race would be done in full sun, and the humidity was at the highest its been during the World Championships so far. In short – non-ideal conditions for long distance running. We know that he’s great in muddy cross country conditions, but will heat and humidity prohibit him from making the top 5 finish for an automatic berth to the final in his IAAF World Championships debut?
Let me say it this way – if you were cheering him on, he made the race rather exciting.
Through the first half of the race, he stuck to the rail in the middle of the 20-person pack, allowing various other people to dictate the pace. Early on, the group appeared to be hitting a 14-min finish as no one was willing to push the pace early. The 2km was done in 5:47.83, while the 3km was 8:38.77. By the 4km mark, True was back in 11th place and a little over 3 seconds behind the leader as the leader came through in 11:13.13.
But the True magic started to appear with two laps to go as True moved to the outside and started to pick off some of the runners ahead of him. A front pack of 7 or 8 athletes – one of them being True – started to pull away just before the bell being run. True maneuvered around the other athletes during that final lap – starting on the inside rail, passing two runners while on the rail, and then slowly moved away from the rail during the final turn so he could unleash his kick with minimal interference. He began to sprint with 120 meters to go, and while out in lane 3, passed enough runners to secure an automatic berth for the finals with a 2nd place heat finish in 13:45.09 behind Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet (13:45.00).
True will have a few days to recover from this race, as the final will be contested on 8/29 at 7:30am ET. UPDATE: Letsrun.com’s interview with True after his heat is available online here.
Our only other competitor tonight is Haiti’s Samyr Laine in the triple jump qualifying round. Automatic qualifiers need to jump past 17 meters, and then the next best jumpers will qualify until they have a 12 person final. After everyone’s second attempts, Laine sat in 16th place with a best leap of 16.23 meters. Unfortunately for Laine, he did not meet the auto mark or the cutoff. He finished with a best distance of 16.23 meters, which placed him 11th in his qualifying heat. He would have needed a distance over half a meter longer in order to qualify for the finals.
Source: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images AsiaPac