The Top-10 Moments For U.S. Distance Running In 2010

There were many great moments for U.S. distance running in 2010, but none greater than Chris Solinsky's American Record of 26:59 in the 10,000 meters. Photo:

More records, world titles, medals and depth mark another noteworthy year.

Written by: Ryan Lamppa, RunningUSA

As the following will show, it was another impressive year for U.S. distance running. Every year since 2005, it has been harder and harder to select the 10 best moments in U.S. distance running and 2010 was no exception. In fact, despite a non-Olympic / Outdoor World Championship year (or because of it?), U.S. distance runners had another historic, record-setting year, and based on the discipline depth below, perhaps the best one over the past decade of their resurgence.

Since 2001, the triumvirate of better training environments, coaching and funding has produced more top U.S. distance runners, and as a result, when fellow Americans are doing well, breaking records and winning medals and major races, similar competitive runners logically think: “Why not me?” and work towards that higher standard. In short, success has led to more success for U.S. runners, and this success continued its upward trend in 2010.

In selecting the “best moments”, the criteria goes beyond just running fast or setting records, but also the context of the moment is considered.

Palmiero-Winters Wins Run to the Future 24-Hour

Below-the-knee amputee Amy Palmiero-Winters, 37, finished first, ahead of all the men and women, at the Run to the Future 24-Hour race in Glendale, Ariz. on December 31 and January 1. The Hicksville, N.Y. resident covered 130.4 miles to win by 14 miles as well as earning a spot on the World 24-Hour team. The 2009 Sullivan Award winner, who has a custom-made prosthetic lower limb, was a high school track and swimming star whose left leg was crushed in a 1994 motorcycle accident. After amputation and a decade of rehabilitation, she became a triathlete, marathoner and ultramarathoner.

Team USA Women Earn World XC Bronze Medal

At the World Cross Country Championships hosted by Poland in late March, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan, who finished 12th in 25:20 over the 8K course, led Team USA to the bronze medal (76 points), the first U.S. medal since 2005 at these global turf championships, and it is was the only medal won by a non-African country. Scoring teammates were Molly Huddle (19th), 25:59; Magdalena Lewy Boulet (20th), 26:01 and Amy Hastings (25th), 26:20.

Hall, Keflezighi, Lehmkuhle – 4th, 5th, 9th at Boston

At the 114th Boston Marathon in April, three Americans Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi and Jason Lehmkuhle finished fourth, fifth, and ninth in 2:08:41, 2:09:26 and 2:12:24 respectively. Hall’s time was the fastest by an American at Boston, and it was the first time since 1983 – the last time a U.S. male has won the storied race – that two Americans broke 2:10 at Boston. Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot of Kenya crushed the course record with his jaw dropping 2:05:52.

Lagat Wins 3,000m World Indoor Title

At the World Indoor Championships in Doha, Qatar last March, two-time Olympic 1500m medalist Bernard Lagat won his second 3000m world indoor title (also 2004) in 7:37.97 with a controlled race and strong finishing sprint. Galen Rupp finished fifth in a PR 7:42.40.

Flanagan Successful Debut at ING New York City Marathon

Two-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan, 29, made her highly-anticipated marathon debut a successful one, placing second in 2:28:40, just 20 seconds behind winner Edna Kiplagat at New York City on November 7. Flanagan, 10,000m bronze medalist at Beijing 2008, ran a smart, in contention race. Flanagan’s runner-up position was the highest place by a U.S. woman at New York since 1990 when Kim Jones also was runner-up.

Jurek Silver Medal, U.S. Record at 24-Hour World Championships – Team Bronze

After a few fallow years, ultra superstar Scott Jurek regained his old form with a silver medal and U.S. record performance at the 24-Hour World Championships in Brive, France last May. Jurek, 36, covered 165.70 miles to break the 11-year-old U.S. road record of Mark Godale (162.46 miles) and the 7-time Western States 100 Mile champion also went beyond the 20-year-old U.S. track mark of Rae Clark as well (165.24 miles). The Minnesota native led the men’s Team USA to a bronze medal too.

Huddle Nips U.S. 5,000m Record in Brussels

In Brussels, Belgium at the Belgacom Memorial Van Damme on August 27, Molly Huddle ran 14:44.76 to break Shalane Flanagan’s three-year-old U.S. 5,000 meter record by .04 seconds. Overall, under ideal running conditions and a packed stadium, Huddle, 25, placed tenth in a deep women’s field. It was also her third sub-15 minute 5,000 of the year.

U.S. 5,000m Record by Lagat in Oslo

At the Bislett Games on June 4, Bernard Lagat, 35, ran 12:54.12 to break Dathan Ritzenhein’s 5000 meter record (12:56.27) from 2009. In race that had 10 men under 13 minutes, Lagat finished third, while Chris Solinsky also dipped below 13 minutes with his PR 12:56.66, good for 6th.

Lagat Becomes First U.S. Sub-7:30 3,000m Man

Bernard Lagat added to his 2010 U.S. record haul by setting the U.S. 3000 meter record at Rieti, Italy on August 29. The two-time Olympic 1500m medalist ran 7:29.00 to become the first American to break the 7:30 barrier for the distance; he finished second overall behind Ethiopia’s Tariku Bekele, who ran a world leading 7:28.70.

Solinsky Smashes U.S. 10,000m Record – 26:59.60!

Remember the date – Saturday, May 1, 2010 – when Chris Solinsky smashed the 9-year-old U.S. 10,000 meter record with the first sub-27 minute 10,000 clocking by an American with his historic 26:59.60 at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational on the Stanford campus. Solinsky (left, PhotoRun), 25, a Wisconsin grad, pulled away from the deep field with a commanding 1:56 final 800 meters to win unchallenged in his debut at the distance.

2008 Olympian Galen Rupp, who led most of the race, finished 4th in 27:10.74 also under the old U.S. mark of 27:13.98 set at the same meet by Meb Keflezighi in 2001. For some, Keflezighi’s record was the start of the U.S. distance running resurgence.

In perhaps the greatest 10,000 on U.S. soil, two national records (also Canada) and a collegiate record were set and eleven men broke 28 minutes with the first eight finishers all setting PRs. For the year, Solinsky’s time also held up as the second fastest 10,000m time.

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