Featuring the seven fastest men in the world this year and five of the top seven finishers from the London Games, the men’s 5000 meters at Thursday’s Weltklasse in Zurich is shaping up to be one of the best distance races of the Diamond League season.
Even with double Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah staying back in London to be with his wife and new twin girls, born on Friday, the field is still remarkable for its depth and speed, highlighted by Olympic silver medalist Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia, whose time of 12:46.81 in winning the Paris Diamond League meeting in June is the fastest in the world for 2012. Astonishingly, the 10 fastest times of the year were all posted in that race. The top seven—Gebremeskel; Hagos Gebrhiwet of Ethiopia, whose runner-up 12:47.53 broke the world junior record;, Isiah Kiplangat Koech of Kenya; Yenew Alimirew of Ethiopia; Olympic bronze medalist Thomas Longosiwa of Kenya; John Kipkoech of Kenya; and Tariku Bekele of Ethiopia—are on the start list for Zurich. So is American Bernard Lagat, who finished fourth in London.
And so is American Galen Rupp, who may seize the opportunity to go after the 5000-meter American record of 12:53.60 set by Lagat last year in Monaco. Rupp, the newly minted Olympic 10,000-meter silver medalist, already holds the U.S. record at 10,000 meters, 26:48.00. His personal best for 5000 meters is 12:58.90, set at the Prefontaine Classic in June.
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg