May. 2, 2005
STANFORD, Calif. - Washington graduate Christian Belz set a new Swiss national record at 10,000 meters Sunday at Stanford, breaking a record set by Markus Ryffel nearly 20 years ago.
Competing in the event for the first time in his professional career, Belz clocked a time of 27 minutes, 54.11 seconds to break by 18-hundredths of a second Ryffel's record of 27:54.29 that has stood for two decades. Belz' time, good for second in the loaded Cardinal Invitational field to Japan's Takayuki Matsumiya, was also below the qualifying standard for August's IAAF World Championships in Helsinki, Finland, and is the fastest ever by a Washington graduate in the event.
A 2000 UW alum, Belz already boasts Switzerland's national record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, and has represented his native country in the last two Summer Olympic games.
The 30-year-old Belz has not decided whether he will compete in the 10,000 meters or the 5,000 meters in Helsinki. Belz placed 13th in the 5,000 meters at the World Championships in 2003, and was the 12th-place finisher in preliminary heats of the event at last year's Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
"With some specific preparation, I think more is still possible for me at this distance," Belz told a Swiss athletics website about his record run at 10,000 meters. "The Swiss record at 5,000 meters is still a goal, also. It's the beginning of the season, so this a very good base on which to build."
Belz was joined at Stanford by four other runners with Washington ties, including current Huskies Carl Moe and Jeremy Mineau, former Husky Courtney Inman, and UW assistant coach Kelly Strong. Moe and Mineau both competed unattached in the 5,000 meters, with Moe finishing in 14:17.26, and Mineau in 14:18.31. Inman, a 2003 All-American in the 1,500 meters, placed fifth in the event at Stanford in 4:17.26, while Strong clocked a 15:59.45 in the 5,000 meters for a seventh-place finish.
For complete results from Sunday's Cardinal Invitational, visit www.gostanford.com.