01 FEB 2011 General News Melbourne, Australia

Deep fields taking shape for Melbourne 5000m - IAAF World Challenge

A memorable debut - American Chris Solinsky clocks 26:59.60 Area record in Palo Alto (Don Gosney)A memorable debut - American Chris Solinsky clocks 26:59.60 Area record in Palo Alto (Don Gosney) © Copyright

Deep fields taking shape for Melbourne 5000mIAAF World Challenge

1 February 2011 - Melbourne, Australia - In what is building as one of the greatest 5000m fields ever assembled at Melbourne Olympic Park, two of the stars of US middle distance running are all set to take on Australia’s finest track athletes - including national 5000m record-holder Craig Mottram and Commonwealth Games 5000m representatives Collis Birmingham and Ben St Lawrence - at the Melbourne Track Classic on Thursday, 3 March, the kick off the 14-meeting 2011 IAAF World Challenge.??

US 10,000m record-holder Chris Solinsky, 26, and 2008 Olympic finalist Matt Tegenkamp, 29, have confirmed they will line up at next month’s meet, which doubles as the Australian national championship race and World Championships selection event.??

In recent years the men’s 5000m has become the feature race of the Melbourne Track Classic and with the assembled field, 2011 looks set to be no exception.??Both Solinsky (12:55.53) and Tegenkamp (12:58.56) have clocked sub-13 minute performances over 5000m, the benchmark of international competition in the event, and have featured prominently in the US resurgence in distance running.??

In Australia they will face stiff competition from Mottram, whose resume boasts the Australian record of 12:55.76, Birmingham (13:10.97) and St Lawrence (13:25.88), who will all be in pursuit of the world championships A-qualifying standard of 13:20.00.??

Graduates of the distance program at the University of Wisconsin, Solinsky and Tegenkamp now train in Oregon in the USA, the mecca of American distance running.??Solinsky turned on an outstanding year in 2010, becoming the US record-holder over 10,000m and the country’s second fastest man of all time over 5000m.??

At the Beijing Olympics in 2008 Tegenkamp contested the final of the 5000m, then finished eighth in the same event at the IAAF world championships in Berlin the following year.??Solinsky and Tegenkamp, who are looking to qualify for the 2011 IAAF world championships in Daegu in August, will be joined in Australia by training partner Tim Nelson (13:20.33) and highly esteemed coach Jerry Schumacher, who will host a clinic for Australian distance coaches during his stay in Melbourne.??

Solinsky and Tegenkamp join world 800m record-holder David Rudisha (KEN) and former World and world indoor Shot Put champion Reese Hoffa (USA) on the international guest list for the 2011 Australian Athletics Tour. ??

Athletics Australia for the IAAF