Strength to be in Contention

jn-true-worldsThe 2015 IAAF Track and Field World Championships wrapped up earlier today at the Beijing National Stadium, but HepNation action concluded on Saturday with the men’s 5,000m final.  Ben True has consistently shared his confidence in medaling in this event throughout the outdoor track season, even though this was his first time wearing the Team USA uniform for a world track championships.  Last Wednesday, he showed the field how strong his kick could be in a slow race as he finished 2nd to easily advance from his preliminary heat to the final.

As the men’s 5,000m final were underway on Saturday (morning for the USA, evening in China), it looked like the race would fall into True’s favor.  The pace went out slow – so slow, in fact, that his former coach and former Dartmouth coach Mark Coogan shared on Twitter that the men were on pace for setting a new world record IN THE MARATHON.  True did not mind – he sat on the heels of Great Britain’s Tom Farrell through the first 2km (1km in 3:02.22, 2km in 5:58.88 for True) as they led the whole fifteen person final.  The pace began to quicken as race favorite Mo Farah of Great Britain advanced near the front, but True stayed in contention as he sat in 6th at the 3km (8:47.45) and 9th at the 4km (11:31.67), less than a second from the leaders as the race pack was still incredibly tight.

But with 800m to go did the pack start to thin out as Kenya’s Caleb Ndiku sprinted to the front, pulling Farah, Ethiopians Hagos Gebrhiwet and Imane Merga, American Galen Rupp, and True along with him.  Ndiku, Farah, and Gebrhiwet, began to pull away and establish the medal finish at 500m to go, so the final question for True is if he would be the top American finisher in the race.  True was about 10 meters behind Rupp at the bell and managed to close the gap on Rupp, but he was about 2 steps too short as Rupp ended up 5th and top American in 13:53.90, True was 6th in 13:54.07.  American Ryan Hill was about 5 meters back to finish in 7th in 13:55.10 to give Team USA a strong 5-6-7 finish.   Farah defended his 5,000m world title for the second time, winning in 13:50.38 – the slowest winning time ever. got the chance to talk to True after his race.  While he was content with how it went, he felt that if he was stronger, he could have been in contention longer: “Right now I don’t have the strength to do any moves earlier in the race and hopefully when I get stronger, I can do something like that… I believe that strength is speed and that the stronger you are, the faster you are.”

Next race is Brussells on September 11th, where True aims for his first sub-13 performance.

photo by John Nepolitan

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