Friday, July 2, 2010

Runner’s World Previews Pre Classic with Matt Tegenkamp

Runner’s World chatted (briefly) with Matt Tegenkamp in the final days before Saturday’s Prefontaine Classic, the sixth stop in the inaugural season of the IAAF Diamond League. Along with teammate Chris Solinsky, Tegenkamp will compete in the Men’s 5000m against many of the best in the world, including World Championship-medalists Tariku Bekele, Eliud Kipchoge and Joseph Ebuya, and the hottest name in the 5000m event at the moment, Imane Merga, winner in Oslo and Rome, and third in Doha. Fans are hoping to see the first-ever sub-13:00 clocking on US soil, and both KIMbia athletes figure to be in the mix.

However, while Solinsky ran 12:56.66 in Oslo on June 4th, Tegenkamp’s sterling 12:58 PB was logged last summer, with his 2010 season spent only on under-distance to this point: three runs at 1500 meters. As Runner’s World spent its recurring “A Brief Chat With” feature with Matt, interviewer Peter Gambaccini focused largely on Tegenkamp’s entering the unknown of his first 5,000m of the season. Tegenkamp was quite candid on his plan of attack, even offering up some first-rate racing advice: Do you think this will be a race where there will be just this one lead pack trying to go under 13:00? Do you imagine that no matter how fast the leaders go out, you’ll be trying to stick in there as long as possible?

MT: Yeah, I think that’s the way I go into any race. Like I say, I know I’m fit. I think with the quality of the people that are in there, there’s really not going to be a second pack until very late in the race. So yeah, I fully expect to get in there. Even though I say I’m in over my head, I still have to go out there and compete with whoever’s in the race. Sometimes if you just don’t worry about anything but the person that’s in front of you, things tend to turn out pretty well. Just get in there and hammer away.

The hammering begins at 2:02 PT (5:02 ET) on Saturday, as the Men’s 5000m meets the track. Watch the meet on NBC at 4:30-6:00pm ET, or catch a rebroadcast of the coverage on Universal Sports at 3pm on Sunday. The Meet Website lives here.

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