EUGENE Former University of Oregon track star Galen Rupp broke Steve Prefontaine's nearly 40-year-old Olympic Trials record in the men's 5,000 meters, finishing with a time of 13:22:67.
It was a thrilling finish as Bernard Lagat passed Rupp down the home straightaway, only to see Rupp find a sudden burst in the final seconds to propel him to a first place finish.
Rupp and Lagat, who finished second with a time of 13:22:82 will compete in London next month. Joining them is Lake Oswego's Lopez Lomong, who finished third with a time of 13:24:47.
This was quite a night for the former Oregon Duck runner. It's turning into a memorable trials, too, as Rupp also won the 10,000 last week.
I couldn't be more happy with how the meet went for me here, said Rupp, who is planning to run in both events at the London Games. I knew this was going to be the hard one.
Rupp sent the crowd home happy in the last race of the night. He outkicked one of the best, too.
He's 1-for-13 against Lagat now, his coach, Alberto Salazar, said. I was going to joke afterward that if Galen had lost today, we still have another five years to beat Lagat. We figure we can get him when he's around 45.
Rupp will go for gold in two events in London. He won the 10,000 meters in the U.S. Olympic track trails Friday, finishing in a meet-record 27 minutes, 25.33 seconds.
Rupp broke the trials record of 27:36.49 set by Meb Keflezghi in 2004. It was the third-best time for an American in the event this year.
Rupp, an Oregon native, smiled broadly on the final stretch, playfully sticking out his tongue and waving to the crowd at Hayward Field.
Julie Culley (women's 5,000), Portland's Evan Jager (steeplechase), Lance Brooks (discus) and Brad Walker (pole vault) also won.
There was a close finish for the third and final spot in the 5,000 as Kim Conley just edged a fading Julia Lucas. Leading late in the race, Lucas simply ran out of steam in the final 100 meters. I gave it away, Lucas said. It's a cut-throat sport; it's not five games. ... I was running underwater, felt like nothing I could do.
Jenny Simpson's focus was on the track for four minutes -- 4:16.70, to be exact -- before her mind returned to a raging wildfire back home in Colorado.
The 1,500 runner was highly concerned about the fire near Colorado Springs that has forced more than 30,000 residents from their homes.
Her home is safe for now, she said. But she is wondering if she is getting the full picture from a house sitter.
I'm suspicious everyone wants me to focus on my racing here. I'll find out the state of my home when I get home, she said.
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