Defending champions and former Olympians will toe the line.
From: Running USA
CARLSBAD, Calif. — A race renowned for fast runners and world records once again welcomes a stellar field for the elite invitational at the 27th Carlsbad 5000 on Sunday, April 1, 2012. Tirunesh Dibaba, the reigning Olympic champion in the 5000 and 10,000 meters who holds the outdoor world record at the shorter distance, will headline the women’s race as part of her preparation for this summer’s Olympic Games in London.
“This is a very important year for me as I prepare to defend my Olympic five and ten thousand meter titles,” said Dibaba, who has three Carlsbad victories under her belt (2002, 2003 and 2005), ran 14 minutes, 51 seconds at “the world’s fastest 5K” in 2005 to tie the then world record held by Paula Radcliffe. “I’m very excited to be returning to Carlsbad this year as I build up to London 2012, I have great memories from racing there. It was one of my first races outside of Ethiopia back in 2002.”
Headlining the men’s field is Ethiopia’s Dejen Gebremeskel, the defending champion and last year’s 5000 meter bronze medalist at the World Championships; Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, the 2010 Carlsbad champion and 2011 Carlsbad runner-up who was ranked #1 in the world over 5000 meters in 2010 and has silver and bronze medals in the 5000 from the past two Olympic Games; and Ethiopia’s Tariku Bekele, a former world champion over 3000 meters indoors and with a best of 12:54.45 over 5000 meters.
Don’t count out American Anthony Famiglietti on Sunday when he faces some of the world’s top long-distance runners at the Carlsbad 5000. It’s not in his DNA. Famiglietti believes he’s in a good place now and can contend with the world’s best.
“I’m happy to be healthy and confident to be able to go to the starting line with the best in the world,” said Famiglietti, 33, of Davidson, N.C. “I don’t get intimidated. I feel like I can run with the best in the world when I’m on. I’m not backing down.”
Famiglietti’s forte is not the 5K, it’s the 3000 meter steeplechase, an event in which he has twice been an Olympian. However, he has raced and mastered distances ranging from 1500 meters to the half-marathon. His 10,000 meter best of 27 minutes, 37.74 seconds and his mile PR of 3:55.71 were set within four weeks of each other. Two weeks ago, he won the 49er 5K Classic at UNC Charlotte in his first outdoor track race of the season, and the following day, he won an 8K road race in 23:56.
He is a six-time USA champion, including road titles at 5K, 8K and 15K, he was also the steeplechase gold medalist at the 2001 World University Games and the steeplechase bronze medalist at the 2003 World University Games. In 2007, he ran 13:11.93 for 5K, the fastest by an American on U.S. soil.
“This is the strongest field we’ve had in the last four years,” said Matt Turnbull, elite athlete coordinator for the Carlsbad 5000. “It should be a very closely contested race. So many guys are capable of breaking 13 minutes on the track, but when it comes to Carlsbad, it just hasn’t happened. It shows how good the world record is. It’s been there since 2001.”
The world record for 5K on the roads of 13:00 was set by Kenya’s Sammy Kipketer at Carlsbad in 2000. He matched that time a year later.
“Gebremeskel has done some amazing things since winning last year,” said Turnbull. “If he and Kipchoge, who’s in great shape, can help each other, maybe we can get the world record. But it’s all about racing, not necessarily times. I’ll be happy with a 13:01 or 13:02, if we get a close race down to the finish.”
Famiglietti was in shape to break the U.S. record in 2009, but just missed the American mark of 13:24 set by Marc Davis at Carlsbad in 1996. This time, Famiglietti could take down the record if he tries to keep pace with the elite internationals.
“He’s up against the world’s best,” Turnbull added. “He and Alistair Cragg (of Ireland) are front-runners and should hang on as long as they can.”
Famiglietti’s front-of-the-pack tactics earned him the nickname of “Iron Man” earlier in his career “because I went out so fast,” he said. “I’ve learned to adapt over time. Winning is good, but running fast is better.”