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Woody Kincaid called the atmosphere Tuesday at Nike’s Michael Johnson Track “surreal,” and it was that.
With an estimated 2,500 spectators ringing the track on a cool, damp evening, the track partly in shadow, giant trees in the infield preventing an unobstructed view of the action, Kincaid, Lopez Lomong and Matthew Centrowitz got what they came for.
The three Bowerman Track Club runners crushed the 2020 Olympic standard in the 5,000 meters of 13 minutes, 13.50 seconds in what was billed as the “Portland 5,000.”
Canadian Olympian Mohammed Ahmed kept the pace well under the standard. Kincaid, Lomong and Centrowitz stayed with him.
Kincaid bolted past Lomong in the final 120 to finish first in 12:58.10, obliterating his personal record of 13:12.22. He was followed to the finish line by Lomong in 13:00.13 and Centrowitz in 13:00.39.
Kincaid, who starred collegiately at the University of Portland, was having trouble processing it afterward.
Asked if he felt in 12:58 shape when he arrived at the track. Kincaid looked incredulous and said: “I don’t know if I feel that I’m in 12:58 shape now.”
Of the three, Kincaid’s performance most stood out. Lomong is a two-time Olympian who swept the 5,000 and 10,000 at this summer’s USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships. Centrowitz is the reigning Olympic champ in the 1,500.
Both Centrowitz and Lomong will be part of the U.S. Team for the World Outdoor Championships in Doha, Qatar, which begin Sept. 27. Kincaid finished third in 5,000 at the USATF Outdoor Championships, which would have qualified him for the U.S. team had he met this year’s world championships qualifying standard in the qualifying period. He had not.
It won’t be a problem next year, now that Kincaid has taken care of his Olympic qualifier.
“If you watched the last mile of that race, I lost all form,” Kincaid said. “I lost everything. It was just one step after another. There was nothing left in the tank after that.”
He said the spectators, standing around the track in lane five, in some places three and four deep, pushed him.
“Honestly, if that crowd wasn’t here, I run 13:20,” Kincaid said.(09/11/2019) ⚡AMP