EUGENE, Ore. — With water ponding on the track and the finish line in plain sight, 10,000-meter runner Galen Rupp waved to the crowd, smiled and stuck out his tongue.
Catching a bit of rain. Soon, the Portland native will be catching a plane to London.
Running in the pouring rain Friday, Rupp still set an Olympic trials record, finishing in 27 minutes, 25.33 seconds to make his second Olympics.
“I wasn’t worried about it at all,” said Rupp, who often has to wear a mask when he runs to keep his allergies from acting up. “I’m from Oregon. I love running in this weather. It’s good for my allergies. I was excited to see it was really raining.”
His was the most impressive performance on opening day in rainy Eugene, save possibly for the effort decathlete Ashton Eaton put in. Eaton made it through the first five events on pace to break a 20-year-old American record held by Dan O’Brien.
In the women’s 10K, Amy Hastings won in 31:58.36 to get the Olympic spot denied her when she finished fourth by 1:11 at the marathon trials earlier this year.
Rupp will be joined on the men’s 10K team by Matt Tegenkamp (27:33.94) and Dathan Ritzenhein (27:36.09).
While the long-distance runners and decathletes were grinding, the sprinters used Day 1 to warm up — not a bad idea considering the wet chill that gripped Hayward Field all day long.
Sanya Richards-Ross, LaShawn Merritt, Allyson Felix and Carmelita Jeter all made it through their opening heats with minimal problems.
“Other than it messing up my hair, it’s OK,” Richards-Ross said after running her first 400-meter qualifier in 51.69 seconds.
Merritt, the defending Olympic champion at 400 meters, took to the rain-slickened track, sidestepped a runner who slipped and fell in the lane next to him and finished in 45.36 seconds, the best time in the men’s heats.
Jeremy Wariner, the 2004 Olympic champion, also advanced to the semifinals. He finished third in his heat in a time of 45.84.
The 400 runners have semifinals today, with finals scheduled for Sunday.
In the women’s 100, Felix and Jeter each easily won their heats.
Dawn Harper, the defending Olympic champion in the women’s 100 hurdles, won her heat in 12.79 seconds.
In the decathlon, Eaton, Bend, Ore., native, was ahead of a world-record pace for two events.
Eaton’s shot put throw of 46 feet, 73/4 inches slowed him down, but he still ended the day with 4,728 points — 322 ahead of Trey Hardee and 17 ahead of the pace O’Brien’s was on when he set the record of 8,891.