Women's 10000m, will Ayana reign supreme or will T. Dibaba make history?
This is a very intriguing race. On paper, based on the last two years and what's gone down thus far any logical person would say this is all Almaz Ayana. She has been untouched with the absense of Genzebe Dibaba over 3-10k. Heck even when Genzebe was running the 5k, she got her doors blown off by Ayana last year at worlds. We saw Almaz almost run the world record twice over 5k so far this year, and keep in mind folks she's so fast that she can't even find a women quick enough to take her to 3km as she needs about 8:27/8. 8:30 is 14:10 pace. Any women who could potentially pace her is in 14:30-40 shape and would just race themselves. I only mention this to just show how far ahead of the other women she is. Then at the Ethiopian trials she just ripped the field apart and ran 30:07. That said, Tirunesh was early in her build up and has 6 weeks more fitness in the bank and she's the two time defending Olympic champ. Heck she's 11/12 lifetime over the distance with her only loss coming to Ayana at the trials this year.
So, I'm giving Tirunesh the benefit of the doubt, if she can find the form she's shown in the past I feel like she's got better closing speed then Ayana which is the only chink in her armor. At age 31 can Dibaba bring back the form that showed her closing out 30 flat 10k's in 59 point. Let's not forget Ayana in chasing Dibaba's record after all. I'm very much torn, I'm going to go with the upset here and actually take Dibaba. I know it sounds crazy but I feel like she may know something we don't and wouldn't come back if she didn't think she could win gold. I think Ayana will take 2ed and then go on to double back in win the 5km with ease.
Now, for the last spot. Well, we know it's going to be fast, that's a 100% certainty, I'd even say we could see a sub 30 taking the win. There will be no sit and kick in this race, it's not to Ayana's benefit and it's not how she runs. So the question then becomes who of the rest could run between 30:00 and 30:10? Well, I'd venture to say we should favor Alice Aprop, she's got some super credentials and has the second fastest time in the world this year. Then if she has an off day I'd put last year's world champ, the legendary Vivian Cheruiyot in there, she's a seasoned veteran who's had many EPIC battles with Dibaba over the years and knows how to win, she could very well grab a medal. I'll also add Etheopia's Geleta Burka, she's super strong, not a ton of closing speed but can certainly click off 72's for most if not all the race just don't expect anything under 63 from her at the bell.
I guess we should mention our North American contingent here as well. Unfortunately, this isn't a great year to be running the 10k, I mean Molly Huddle may get herself into AR shape but I fear that's not going to be enough. Even if she's with the leaders or lets say the front two are gone and then she's with a pack of 2 or 3, she's not going to close the last 800 in under 2:10 and it'll take at least that to break the ladies I've mentioned above. I'd say she could close in maybe 2:12-14 but no much faster. That said I'm holding out hope, she's in great shape and knows anything can happen. As for the others...I mean I don't think either of the other two American's can run under 31:30, perhaps like 31:20 in a Payton Jordan type setting running 75.5's the whole way but they will very likely get lapped. As for Lanni and Natasha, I'm super excited with have two girls in this race. That's the key thing here for them, their best bet is to try to run their PR's as evenly as possible. Look to break 32, forget everyone else and trust that the best way for them to finish as high as possible is to run steady and to the fastest their fitness will allow and know that some girls will get in over their head and die. I wouldn't recomend going with the the American's, Infeld or Hall as they both run 15 flat for 5km and are in 31:30 or a little better shape. They may blow up and then our girls can eat them up over the last 2 km.
Men's 10000m can GK break away or will Mo be there with 2 to go then make him look like he's walking it in?
This is another great one, with 1 main story line. We all know what GK and Karoki need to do here, if they don't it's going to be a very easy day at the oval office for Mo Farah. The boy's need to work together, possibly get Tanui in there as well, though I doubt he's strong enough as Galen dropped him in a 26:44 race but he could help for at least 7/8km. They need to get on it from the first lap, just rolling 2:40/km the minute that gun goes off. Come through 3000m in 7:59-8:02, 5km in 13:18-21, then just try like all hell to push on at that pace and hope to get a little gap.
It's obvious GK is the best in the world over the half, and I suspect by the time he's 25 he will own the Marathon WR, he's beyond strong. And let's give him credit, he ran 12:59 for 5km as well, that's excellent range. The problem is, I feel like Mo is very much a track runner, he's nervous in a race as long as 13.1 miles and let's gaps open, heck he let Bekele open up one with a little over a mile to go at the great north run that year. But he will never allow that to happen in a race on the track. And with the form he's displayed recently in Birmingham, Monaco and London...he's very confident.You can just tell by how Mo moves on the track in the last lap in comparison to GK and even Karoki, they seem rigid and like they aren't comfortable moving under 60 seconds/lap pace, while Farah is relaxed even the last 80m, he's straining for sure when he's closing the last 800 of a 5k in 1:48 or running a 3:28 1500 but he's still moving with fluidity. Even comparing him to a speedster like Ndiku, the same can be said.
I can't bet against Mo here, he's more vulnerable in this race then the 5km but I don't think GK or Karoki are fit enough to get away from him. When I look back at the 2000's the only guy's who could beat Mo over 10k are Geb, Bekele, Tergat and Shihine. GK will have his time in 2020, hopefully doubling in the 10k and the Marathon.
Now, what about Rupp? Should he be in the conversation here? As much as I'm a huge fan, the answer is no, and there's 2 reasons he doesn't have the same odds in his favor like he did in 2012. The first is the fact that there are 3 guys in better shape and 1 around his fitness. The second being his speed has felt the effects of the marathon training. You can't be in 3:50 mile shape and sub 2:10 marathon shape....it just doesn't work like that. (Well Farah was when he ran 2:08 but he's the outlier). Galen was breaking 13, running 3:34 for 1500m and 7:30 for 3km in 2012, he had to sacrifice that closing speed to chase the marathon. His best hope is that it's a sub 27 minute race, he's very strong and can still probably PR in the 10k. But he's likely not going to close a sub 27 race with a final 800 any quicker then 1:58 and if he's not away with the first two he's in trouble. I hope he pulls something off but don't expect an upset.
M. Farah via sub 55 last lap, letting up for a Mo-Bot
My week that was in training.
Monday - 62' with 4X15" strides
Tuesday - 77' with 4X15" strides
Wednesday - Fartlek 94' total with 30' of 1' @ 5:00/mile into 4' @ 5:30/mile. Felt super chill.
Thursday - 75' with 4X15" strides
Friday - 47' recovery jog
Saturday - 76' with 8X30"/90" at mile race pace mid run.
Sunday - 122' Long run, just ROLLIN!!
So yeah, that was my week, she was a good one, I'm really getting excited for the 5km champs, I've got a 5km pace work session of 400's tomorrow which I'll do on the track, just trying to get into that 70 second quarter rhythm feeling really comfortable.
Alright folks, I've taken up enough of your time, I'll be back Friday to break down the Marathon.
Keep that chin tucked, hands high and let em' fly,
DF - OUT!