What a 5000 meter race in Ostrava..

I watched the 5000 meter race from Ostrava on TV yesterday where El Guerrouj made his senior debute on the distance. Like expected he ran very , very fast, 12.50….

But I was even more impressed with Stephen Cherono who did 12.48…I watched…

his 7.58 race in the steeplechase live already in 2001 as a 18 year old – out of practically nowhere. This guy has some talent. As a 16 year old he ran 3.41 in the 1500 meter (in Malmø) 7.48 in the 3000 meters/London (world age best) and 8.19 in the steeplechase also world age best.

I first heard about this guy back in 2000 when I was in Eldoret and spoke with his brother Christopher Kosgei who won the World Championships steeple in 1999. He said that of his brothers “wait until you see Stephen”. By that time, his younger brother Abraham had already run 8.13 steeple as a 20 year old… probably some good genes in there 🙂

I got my thoughts about El Guerroujs long distance career confirmed in the Ostrava race. He will for sure be able to challenge Gebrselassies world record of 12.39.36 from Helsinki 1998. With a few more races under his belt and some more spesific training he will be right there. But I also got the “Said Sief syndrome” confirmed…. very good 1500 meter specialists get their kick totally run out of them in the longer distances if the overall pace is high enough. Said Sief, with far superior speed was twice in major championships outkicked by long distance specialists with 10 seconds slower 1500 meter personal bests. In yesterdays race El Guerrouj could only close in 60.5 seconds. Same happened in his 7.23 race a few years ago and in his indoors 2 mile race. Not even a slight shift of pace at the end – compared to eg. Gebreselassie who could kick even at world record pace.

And we have not yet seen Bekele the Ethiopian in a real 5000 meter this year.. until Bislett ! What a 5000 meter year it could be… And my prediction for the World Championships this August ? Not Cherono (who will have trouble in the Kenyan trials because of a lack of pure kick in slow races) not El Guerrouj (the Kenyans will run him out with their “rabbit” tactics) maybe Bekele (if he stays injury free) but my real bet goes on Abraham Chebii – the fastest sub 13 minute kicker out there..We will see but I am very excited about the event this year.

All is well. A bit tired on yesterdays track session but I have had a very good week of training so that is ok.