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Paul Chelimo falls short in second U.S. indoor 5,000m record attempt

He still wasn't able to take down Galen Rupp's record, but the Olympic silver medalist set a new personal best and made a comeback on his training partner, Emmanuel Bor

After missing the American indoor 5,000m record at the Firefly Recovery meet in Virginia on March 4, Paul Chelimo and Emmanuel Bor took to the track once more for another stab at Galen Rupp’s national record time of 13:01.26, set in 2014. The pair toed the line on Thursday at the Boost Treadmills 5,000m, and while neither athlete managed to take down Rupp’s record, Chelimo did make a comeback on his training partner.

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In case you missed it, in their previous race on March 4, Chelimo was the favourite to win and take down the record. The meet used Light Speed Pacing technology to guide the Olympic 5,000m silver medalist, and Chelimo and Bor started the race at 12:58 pace. They soon fell off the pace, however, and Bor dropped Chelimo at the 3K mark to take the win in 13:05.60, while Chelimo crossed the line in a disappointing 13:12.51.

For this second attempt, they decided to start out slower and see if they could negative-split their way to a sub-13 finish. This meant that instead of going through 3K in 7:47, they split a 7:52.99. In the end, neither athlete managed to speed up enough to get the record (they would have needed to close with 30-second laps), but Chelimo did improve on his previous performance, crossing the line in 13:09.90, setting a new personal best. Bor closed with a blazing last lap of 28.32 for second place, finishing in 13:11.10.

This result puts Chelimo ninth on the all-time U.S. indoor 5,000m list, while Bor’s result from two weeks ago still has him in second behind Rupp. In a post-race interview with LetsRun.com, Chelimo stated that he knows he’s not a favourite for the upcoming Olympic trials, but hinted that we may not have seen the best of him yet.

“If you count me out in any race, I come back and get back at you,” he said.

The U.S. Olympic trials are scheduled to begin on June 18, and the men’s 5,000m will be an exciting race. Several talented athletes will be vying for a spot on the team, including Eric Jenkins, who Chelimo beat by .06 seconds to make the team in 2016 and is currently number three on the all-time U.S. indoor 5,000m list. This result may not be what Chelimo was looking for, but as he said, we certainly won’t count him out just yet.

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