Competitor Running blogger takes down Bob Kennedy’s 13-year-old standard with a 12:56.27 clocking.
We’re not going to even pretend to be objective about this one. Dathan Ritzenhein is part of the family and an all-around great guy. He is richly deserving of this record, having persevered through many struggles and low moments in his running career. While some in the running media have pronounced Ritz’s record “shocking” and “improbable,” we’re not surprised in the least. Ritz has shown all along that he has record-breaking talent, but has seldom received the respect that he deserves. That’s all done now.
The facts are these: Ritzenhein placed third in the 5000m in a Golden League meet in Zurich, Switzerland, Friday night. The race was won by the world record holder, Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, fresh off winning both the 5000m and the 10,000m at the World Championship is Berlin. Ritz beat nine of the 10 Kenyan runners in the race and finished just four seconds away from the win.
He ran a tactically brilliant race, allowing himself to fall as far back as second-to-last as the leaders started at a torrid pace (4:04 through 1600 meters). But that pace took its toll on everyone, Bekele included, and Ritz was able to pick off almost all of the paino-laden runners ahead of him over the final 800 meters. It was a performance that will survive forever in the lore of American running.