The interesting stories are coming thick and fast just lately. Too fast to post on, which is why we didn’t cover the story of Chris Solinsky, who, last weekend, because the first American runner below the 27-minute barrier over 10,000m. In a race that was set up as an attempt on the record by Galen Rupp, Solinsky stole the show, and won in 26:59.60. Rupp did succeed at breaking the record, but he finished ten seconds back, in fourth.
Solinsky, however, is a name that not many would have picked to get anywhere close to the record. But just as Dathan Ritzenheim shocked everyone when he (comfortably) broke 13 minutes for 5,000m in Zurich last year, Solinsky produced the big surprise of the year so far.
His performance is further confirmation of a golden period for US-distance running. Yes, they have a long, long way to go to challenge the very best Kenyans and Ethiopians for depth and sustained quality of performance, but in the current generation of US-runners, you have an Olympic marathon medalist, a sub-60 half marathoner, a sub-13 5,000m runner, a New York Marathon champ, and now a sub-27 min 10,000m man. On the women’s side, top performers over 800m, 1500m (probably the best nation over this distance in 2009), and medals on the track over 10,000m and the marathon, and suddenly US-running is mighty competitive, which is brilliant for the sport.
Solinsky – the “fatty” world record holder
The Solinsky story will be interesting to follow later this year, when he runs more 5,000m races. For now, what is most interesting, in a quirky way, is the analysis that Letsrun.com produced yesterday, showing that Solinsky is the heaviest runner ever to break 27 minutes, and by some margin too.
Check out the table at the bottom of this post, and compare Solinsky, a relative giant at 73 kg (161 lbs) to the runners above him. Bekele at 54 kg (119 lbs), Gebrselassie (56 kg/123 lbs), Tergat (63kg/132 lbs) and Sammy Wanjiru (52kg/115 lbs) are some of the names on that list.
There are only 30 men in history who have done it, but Solinsky is 9 kg heavier than the next heaviest guys (Mohammed Mourhit and Mark Bett at 64 kg/141 lbs). In other words, until Solinsky, nobody heavier than 65kg had run sub-27 minutes, which is quite remarkable!
He is also the tallest (Paul Tergat held that record, but Solinksy is 3 cm taller than him, and the second slowest in history over 5,000m to break 27 minutes, but that should change when he gets to the track later this year.
Solinsky himself earned Letsrun’s quote of the day when he joked that his friends used to tell him that he’d broken the “fatty world record”. All things are relative, as distance running teaches us all the time, but well done to a guy who on paper, would stand little chance of achieving what he has. The tide continues to rise in the USA, and hopefully the European season sees them racing the Kenyans and Ethiopians to even faster times.