Friday, August 27, 2010

One For the Books: Solinsky’s 2010 Concludes Sunday

You know the times Chris Solinsky has put up this year. Now, here’s a little perspective to go with them, before he finishes up his season in Rieti on Sunday:

  • Solinsky owns the #1 all-time American performance for 10,000m. With room to spare.
  • He is the only American ever to have run under 12:58 more than once.
  • He is the only American ever to have run under 12:59 three times.
  • In 2010, Solinsky averaged 12:59 for the 5000m in four races.
  • This season alone, he turned in the #2, #4, and #5 all-time American performances for 5,000m… 60% of the five best performances in US history!

By comparison, the fastest 5000m season, prior to Solinsky’s 2010, would have to go to a fellow member of the KIMbia family — Bob Kennedy, in 1996.  Kennedy’s record in 5000m finals that year was a staggering 13:12.14, 12:58.75 (AR), 13:12.35, 12:58.21 (AR), 13:06.12, 13:04.14, and 13:20.24.  At the time, those races notched the #1, #2, #6, #8, #11 and #12 American performances of all time. (#4, #5, #7, and #9 also belonged to him, from prior seasons. The word “wow,” comes to mind.) Kennedy’s average 5000m from that season is an extremely impressive 13:07.

What do all these numbers mean? To be clear, both athletes achieved such heights largely because they defined success on a global level, and not simply domestic comparisons.  Taking an international view, Kennedy finished 1996 ranked 6th in the world in the 5000m by Track and Field News.  Solinsky figures to be in that neighborhood this year. (All-Athletics.com Rankings should have him somewhere around 8th going into the Continental Cup, a meet in which he will not compete). Moreover:

  • In their respective “splendid seasons,” each had multiple Top 5 finishes in the very best meetings on the pro circuit.
  • In particular, Solinsky is now one of just sixteen men ever to have run under 13:00 in a single season (per Track and Field News).

Clearly, each athlete belongs on the short list of “World’s Best” when compared to his peers and contemporaries. And while Chris may be finished with 5000m races for the year, he will travel to Rieti for one last race, this time over 3000m.  Kennedy’s best in 1996 was 7:31.69 — we find out Sunday if Solinsky will continue to equal America’s finest middle-distance season.

Or if he, perhaps, can exceed it.

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One Response to “One For the Books: Solinsky’s 2010 Concludes Sunday”

  1. [...] While there are many worthy candidates on the men’s side – Chris is up against Tyson Gay, David Oliver, Christian Cantwell, and Bernard Lagat – Solinsky has inarguably had the breakout year of the five finalists, making the jump from talented American to bona fide international stud. Not to take anything away from Messers. Lagat and Oliver who each had an outstanding, American Record season… but Solinsky didn’t just take a razor to the 10,000m American Record.  He brought a chainsaw. Chris shredded the nine-year-old mark of Olympic silver medalist and New York City Marathon Champion Meb Keflezighi by 14-seconds.  In his debut at the distance. He quite literally redefined what people thought a man of his background could do at distance. As a nice throw in, Chris went on to put himself on the US all-time lists at #2 in the 5000m and #5 in the 3000m. And the 5000m season was quite possibly the best by an American ever, as we showed (with stats!) a few months ago.  [...]