May 2, 2010
Results | Flotrack Video | Blog: Perspective on Solinsky's performance
MADISON, Wis. -- As expected, the American record in the men's 10,000 meters fell late Saturday at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif.
What no one saw coming, however, was that Chris Solinsky would be the man to take it down.
Solinsky, a five-time NCAA champion during his days at the University of Wisconsin, shattered the American mark in his 10,000 meters debut with a remarkable race that finished in 26 minutes, 59.60 seconds.
His clocking dropped the U.S. standard by 14 seconds and made Solinsky the first non-African to break the 27-minute barrier in the 10K.
Solinsky led a remarkable showing for former UW athletes, as Simon Bairu took fifth place -- and the Canadian national record -- in 27:23.63 and Tim Nelson clocked a lifetime-best 27:31.56 to claim seventh.
"I can't even put it into words," Solinsky said. "It still hasn't sunk in what I just ran because, honestly, we come in here hearing all about Galen Rupp trying to break the record.
"We just wanted to come in and have a fast race."
His performance upstaged the much-publicized American record attempt by former Oregon star Rupp, who also runs for Oregon Track Club. In the end, Rupp clocked in below the previous American standard -- the 27:13.98 recorded by Meb Keflezighi on the same track in 2001 -- but he finished fourth.
Rupp's time of 27:10.74 ranked behind runner-up Daniel Salel of Kenya (27:07.85) and Liberty University's Sam Chelanga, whose third-place time of 27:08.39 marked a new collegiate record.
Solinsky joins former UW and current Oregon Track Club teammate Matt Tegenkamp as an American record-holder. Tegenkamp set the U.S. two-mile standard at 8:07.07 in 2007.
As impressive as his time was, the way in which he accomplished it was equally stunning to the field. With under 1,000 meters left, Solinsky took the signal from his coach -- former Wisconsin mentor Jerry Schumacher -- and charged past Rupp and into the lead.
"When he gave me the signal to go I felt good enough and I said I'm going to see what I can do," Solinsky said. "As soon as I went I said, OK, let's see if I can get 27 minutes."
He covered the final 800 meters in a spectacular 1:56, including a 56-second split for the last circuit.
"I didn't come here for times, I came here to win the race," he said. "I figured if I won the race, times were going to happen."
Solinsky said after the race that his focus remains on the 5,000 meters, an event in which he represented the U.S. at last summer's IAAF World Championships.
He was fourth in the 5,000 at the 2008 USA Olympic Trials to narrowly miss a spot in the American contingent to Beijing, and he finished runner-up to Tegenkamp in the event at last year's U.S. championships.