Galen Rupp allowed Bernard Lagat to pull ahead of him in the final 100 meters of Thursday's 5,000-meter race at the U.S. Olympic trials, but then took the lead back to win the race in a time of 13 minutes, 22.67 seconds.
This marks the first time in the 26-year-old's career that he has beaten the 37-year-old Lagat after losing 13 straight races.
The finish was nothing short of spectacular on Thursday night in Eugene, Oregon, as Rupp beat Lagat by a mere 0.15 seconds.
Rupp was leading when the two entered the final 150 meters, but Lagat pulled out all the stops, sprinting out ahead of Rupp during the last 100 meters. He might have started his kick just a little too soon, however, as Rupp passed him in the final seconds of the race to win the event.
The Oregon Duck finally beat Lagat in front of a home crowd.
While Rupp currently holds the American record for the 10K with a time of 26:48.00, he does not compete against Lagat in the event because Lagat is a middle- to long-distance runner.
Both men will compete for the U.S. team at the Olympics, along with Lopez Lomong, who also qualified.
This moment marks Rupp's surpassing of Lagat.
This moment wasn't completely unexpected. Rupp has been constantly improving, and Lagat is in the twilight of his career. Rupp ran the third-fastest time in the 5K this year at 12:58.90 on June 2. Lagat has not even finished in the top 20, which was a sign that Rupp should win today.
However, a slower rabbit today greatly helped Lagat, who is used to shorter distances. The two were bunched together with less than two laps to go, bringing the entire race down to the kick at the end. Lagat had enough left in the tank to have a good kick, and he finished very close to Rupp in the end because of it.
Now that the two are headed off to London, you can bet that Rupp will make it two in a row.
Rupp is clearly the better distance runner, thanks to his ability to run the 10K as well, making the 5K seem like a sprint.
Now that the two will be set up with a faster rabbit, Lagat will be trailing behind early, while Rupp will be with the front of the pack.
It looks like the time when Lagat could beat the younger Rupp in every race has passed, and the torch has been passed—so to speak.
Be sure to keep an eye on Rupp in the 5K in London, as he looks to prove that Lagat's stretch of dominance over him has ended.