There was a lot of hype in the days leading up to the Firefly Recovery indoor 5,000m in Virginia on Thursday night, which was advertised as an American record-breaking attempt by Paul Chelimo. We may not have gotten a new record, but we did get an exciting race, with Chelimo’s training partner Emmanuel Bor pulling ahead to upset for the win in 13:05.60. With a previous outdoor 5,000m personal best of 13:56.7 from 2013, this is a massive PB for the Kenyan runner, and his result puts him 12th on the all-time world indoor record list.
In order to break Rupp’s American indoor record of 13:01.26, Chelimo needed to run 31 seconds per lap of the 200m track. To help him do this, the meet organizers made use of the Light Speed Pacing System, which is a wireless LED pacing light that assists runners with setting target paces. With two pacers running at the front, the lead pack broke away early and were right on pace for the first mile, clocking a 4:10. Bor took over the lead from Chelimo shortly after, and began gapping him just as their pacer, American Willy Fink, dropped back.
From there, Bor ran an incredible race but was unable to break Rupp’s record. Chelimo came in 2nd place, well off his goal with a time of 13:12.51, followed by Fink in 13:34.00. This was a huge race for Bor, putting him now in 12th place in the world rankings behind Canada’s Mohammed Ahmed, who owns an indoor PB of 13:04.60. If Bor was an American, it also would have given him the number two spot on the American all-time record list behind Rupp.