Monday, February 14, 2011

Nelson Beats Deep Field, Solinsky Runs World Leader in Seattle

Woe to he who forgets a 13:20 5000m man.

After the pundits at LetsRun.com touted a match-up of Alan Webb, German Fernandez, and Sam Chelanga in Saturday’s Husky Invitational 3000m — while others cooed over entries from Matt Centrowitz, Garrett Heath, Ian Dobson and Diego Estrada — it was Tim Nelson who emerged the victor with a time of 7:49.95. The time was just one second off Nelson’s outdoor PB for 3000m, and the California-native admitted that he believes he had it in him to go well below that mark, saying modestly, “I felt pretty good.”

Having often run his best races in the shadow of more decorated names or more eye-catching performances, it was sweet vindication for the 2009 World Championships runner to notch a second standout win in his professional career. Asked to compare the run at the Husky Invitational to his victory in the Kim McDonald 10,000m at Stanford in 2009, Nelson said, “I’d say [this] is bigger, [although] some of the guys clearly had an off day.” Left in the wake of the ever-modest Nelson: one Olympian, one American Record Holder, one NCAA record holder, one American Junior Record Holder, a World Championships Team member, and a collective array of nearly a dozen NCAA titles.

Earlier that day, teammate Chris Solinsky threw down a 3:54.52 to slice over a second off of his own facility record from one year earlier and win the Men’s Mile. After a pacer stepped off the track around 600m, Solinsky led every step of the rest of the race, demonstrating excellent early-season strength. “It felt great considering I led most of it and it was my first race since August,” he explained. “I was hoping it would be a bit faster, but leading took a few seconds off.” Solinsky still won well-clear of 2nd place, and still reset his PB for the Mile, indoors or out, just as he did here in 2010.

Last year’s mark of 3:55.76 came after a back-and-forth battle with Galen Rupp, and set Solinsky up for a 2010 season that speaks for itself. If the 10,000m American Record Holder is this far ahead of where he was last year, it can only portend great possibilities. Playing it low key, though, Solinsky affirmed his satisfaction, saying, “It was a great rust-buster and left me happy with where I am at this point of the year, heading into Melbourne.”

There, along with Matt Tegenkamp and the clearly very fit Nelson, Solinksy will open his outdoor season with a 5000m.

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