Andrew Bumbalough…..Matt Centrowitz…..Chris Derrick….Ryan Hill….Evan Jager….Lopez Lomong….
Ok. Stop drooling you run junkies you. I know the Payton Jordan 5k this weekend is unbelievable. You can watch it live on Flotrack here.
So much hype is going into this race--and for good reason. In fact, I've enjoyed the many previews that have been written about this race and they've inspired me to maybe take a different approach with this one.
Therefore, I started thinking. Why on earth, in a non-World Championship year, would all of the top U.S. distance runners come together at the same meet on the same day to run this 5k?
The answer is simple: this race is their ticket to Europe. I'm not just talking the short-track races in Belgium (okay they're not short, but there is a crazy correlation to people having huge break through runs in these lower-scale meets). We all know that it is brutally hard to get into a Diamond League race and unless you've run something out-of-this-world-good you're not going to be running in the best races of the year.
Without a World Championships, the Diamond League meets are this year's World Championship--just spread out into several different meets and arenas.
WIth all of the studs entered into this race, there's no question that it's going to be fast. There's no point to come to Payton Jordan and be in possibly the deepest 5k field in it's meet history and run SLOW. This 5k is going to be fast.
Personally I feel that Ryan Hill is the next American to break 13:00 minutes for 5k. Will he do it this weekend? Probably not, but will there be times run this weekend that will shock a lot of viewers and fans? Yes.
I think guys like Ryan Hill, Diego Estrada, Chris Derrick, etc. belong in Diamond League fields and if Lawi Lalang can run 13:00, why not some of these guys? (I might be crazy).
In such a giant and loaded field, here is my list of guys that y'all should be looking out for:
Mo Ahmed- Wisconsin (he's due for a big race)
Joe Bosshard- Colorado- (living proof that the concept of "what have you done for me lately" should be judged on a case by case basis, now that he's back in shape, he looks to be back in the fitness he once was when he ran 13:33)
Luc Bruchet- British Columbia (we can't get enough of the next great Canadian).
Andrew Bumbalough- Nike (first big race back since the "DQ")
Donn Cabral- Nike- (this is a wondeful test of his fitness and the whole country wants to see this guy fit and ready to run fast...certainly a fan favorite).
Matthew Centrowitz- Nike (current PR is 13:47...almost laughable for a guy as talented as him).
Andrew Colley- NC State (looking real nice as of late)
Chris Derrick- Nike (ready to see a giant break-through from him this weekend).
Diego Estrada- Asics (hopefully will look better than he did at Mt. SAC...he should).
Tom Farrell- (remember when he ran 13:15 at this same meet two years ago)?
Ryan Hill- Nike (the next best thing in American 5000m running)
Matt Hughes- Nike (fun matchup between stud steeplers Jager and Hughes- PR-13:59 should go down this weekend).
Evan Jager- NIke (so many flocks of high school girls can't wait to see his locks of love flowing in the wind this weekend)
Lopez Lomong- Nike (please count your laps this time)
Hassan Mead- Nike (word on the street is he is in stupid shape right now...we'll see)
Ben Saarel- Colorado (the wonder kid that would be the best freshman in the country if it weren't for Cheserek..his debut 5k will be interesting and would to take not of).
Parker Stinson- Oregon (been prepping big time for this race...should be fun).
Ben True- Saucony (ready to watch him bring back the mojo from last year)
Andy Vernon- Great Britain (World Indoor qualifier...not a guy to sleep on, will be in the mix).