Klecker Finishes 16th In 10,000-Meter Final
TOKYO – Colorado track and field alumni Joe Klecker finished 16th in the 2020 Olympic men's 10,000-meter final Friday morning for Team USA.
Klecker ran 28:14.18 in the hot, muggy conditions that were 86 degrees with 90 percent humidity on the track in the first international race of his career. Klecker held tight to the pack through the first 20 minutes of the race before losing contact. He was able to pick up a couple more runners though as he finished third for Team USA in the race.
The race started with so many athletes that they were starting on a waterfall outside of lane nine. Lined up against the likes of the defending world champions and world record holders, Klecker relaxed in the middle of the pack as the race began. Uganda's Stephen Kissa went out blistering fast and left the pack by 50 meters. Woody Kincaid led the USA men in fourth through the first five minutes.
A group of individuals broke out to chase down the leaders followed by the peloton at fourth place and back. Klecker stayed where he had been for most of the race, sitting in the middle of the pack around 10th. The leaders passed through the 3K mark in 8:22, with Klecker somewhere around 8:30 near the back of the chase pack.
The pack ate up the three runners that broke away, bringing the full field back together with 15 laps to go on a 28-minute pace. With everyone still in the race, the pack crossed the 5K mark with Klecker around 19th just north of the 14-minute mark. From there, he began to lose contact with the pack 19-minutes into it as he had a five-meter gap from the back in 20th.
The race picked up with five laps left as 15 racers broke out including USA's Grant Fisher and Kincaid as Klecker held onto the back 10-meters off the pack. Fisher was the only American still in the pack with two laps to go as he sat in fifth. Mohammed Ahmed of Canada took the lead with 700 meters left as it looked like Fisher had dropped at the bell. Fisher then began to keep stride with the leaders as a Uganda pair and Ethiopian pair sprinted to the finish with Fisher passing Ahmed and finishing fifth overall for USA. Ethiopia's Selemon Barega took the Gold in 27:43.22, followed by a pair of Uganda runners in Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo for the Silver and Bronze. Fisher finished in 27:46.39, as Kincaid finished 15th in 28:11.01 and Klecker finished 16th in 28:14.18.
Though it is Saturday night in Japan, there is another race today in the U.S. for Buff fans. Morgan Pearson competes in the mixed triathlon today at 4:30 p.m. MT to finish out his Olympics. The track squad continues tomorrow as Emma Coburn and Val Constien begin the prelims in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase Saturday at 6:40 p.m. MT.