Beginning with Steve Scott’s three victories in 1986, the American presence at the Carlsbad 5000 has always been strong. But except for Steve the only other American male champ at the World’s Fastest 5K has been Doug Padilla in 1990 (13:29). This year the possibility of a third American win will be tempered by a cadre of East African whippets beginning with two-time defending champion and Olympic 5000m silver medalist Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia. But, matchmaker Matt Turnbull has lured a trio of top U.S. milers, including Bay Area Track Club standout David Torrence, to carry the U.S. colors and hopes this Sunday April 7th.
While London Olympic 1500 meter silver medalist Leo Manzano is, understandably, the U.S. headliner, and late entrant Will Leer arrives as the reigning US indoor mile and 3000m champion, David Torrence has been training down in Mexico and will hit San Diego’s Lindbergh Field today on his way up to Carlsbad. I e-mailed David a series of questions. Here’s that exchange:
TR — With such a stacked field, I wonder how you are planning to race? We’ve seen wild sub-4:00 first miles from Sammy Kipketer in his two record years (2000- `01). Not quite as crazy in recent times, but still very quick opening miles, then a hair-pin turn at 2K and another at 4K. I spoke with Marc Davis, American record for a road 5k at 13:24 from C’bad 1996. The competing plans are 1) go out with the lead pack, and maybe pay for it late, or 2) run your own pace, but lose the pack energy.
DT — I’m not sure how I’m going to race this weekend. I’ve heard the same things that Marc has said, and that having less pack support is even more of a danger if there are windy conditions. However, if I take it out and go with the leaders at sub-4min pace for the first mile that is essentially taking away my strength as a miler and my ability to close. So, I’m going to have to talk more with some old teammates that have run this race (like Bolota Asmerom) and my one of my coaches as well (Tom Kloos) who have run this race before. I will take what they say with a grain of salt though, since I heard a lot of stories on how to run the 5k when I first opened up with one on the track last year. People telling me how terrible the second mile is, etc. I found that by just getting out there and “racing” I was able to compete well (even though I started conservatively) and became a part of one of the best races of the year (with Lopez Lomong). Ed. note: Torrence ran 7th in that race in 13:16.53 after he and Lomong kicked a lap too early.
TR — Is Marc’s time on your radar?
DT — Marc’s time has been on my radar ever since I first ran a road 5k in 2008 (13:55, San Jose, Ca.). I remember seeing the time and thinking “That’s it?” I am shocked at how long it has stayed unbroken. However, I think this speaks more to the difficulties of running on the road, and how great of an athlete Marc Davis is, rather than the record being “soft”. I know it is a fast time, especially at this point in the year. But I would be dishonest if I said I don’t think the record is within my reach under the right conditions.
TR — How has the training gone in Mexico?
DT — Training has gone amazingly well in Mexico. Probably my best training stint down here ever. The weather was great, I had a huge group of athletes to train and run with, and my fitness level is surprisingly high for this point in the year. Especially, considering I had run into some setbacks earlier in the year with a knee injury.
TR — How does running Carlsbad work into your schedule?
DT — Running Carlsbad is a perfect opener for me. Since I’ve been making up for some lost ground (due to the injury), and still working on my base fitness, this becomes a perfect endurance checkpoint to see where I’m at in my aerobic development. And on top of that, being a part of a world class field lets me see where I stack up against people I’m going to compete against very soon on the track. I am very excited to be a part of this race.
TR — What are your longer term goals for 2013?
DT— I really have just one major long term goal: Make the World Championship team for Moscow. As for what event it will be in…remains to be seen.
Hope I answered your questions well Toni, let me know if you want any more clarifications or anything!
Thanks to David for his generous responses. We’ll have a full report Sunday morning from the 28th Carlsbad 5000.