Since joining On Athletic Club and starting his career as a professional runner, Joe Klecker has made his name known. Going into the trials against loaded fields, he had the seventh-ranked qualifying times in both the 5,000m and 10,000m. In just his second-ever 10k, he ran a 27:23 to qualify for the trials.
On the first night of the trials, Klecker ran in one of the only finals of the day in the 10,000m. Klecker stayed in the main pack of runners for most of the race up until about the 6400m mark, when he started to move into the lead group of runners. He stayed in that lead pack up until about 7600m when he took to the top three positions. Going into the bell lap that lead group had quickly evolved to about 6 runners, all with a shot at making the team.
With about 300 meters left things started to spread out, and Klecker, Woody Kincaid, and Grant Fisher all separated themselves from the rest of the pack and never looked back. Klecker stayed in the third that whole way en route to Olympic qualification. He finished with a time of 27:54.90.
Currently, Klecker has the 22nd fastest 10,000m time in the world this year (27:23). 15 of the guys ranked above him are competing at the Tokyo Olympics. The favorites should be Jacob Kiplimo, Selemon Barega, Yomif Kejelcha, and Berihu Aregawi. Those four men are the only runners in the field to run a sub 27 minutes 10,000m race this year.
See also: Hopkins Alumni Fahnbulleh and Klecker Shine at Next Level | Video: Joe Klecker First Sub-Four Mile on Colorado Soil | Meet Your Minnesota Track and Field Olympians
Being an Olympian must run in the family, as Klecker's mom, Janis, was a 1992 Team USA Olympian in the marathon. Janis placed 21st at those Olympics in Barcelona.
Fun fact: Klecker is the first University of Colorado 10,000m Olympian since Dathan Ritzenhein. Ritzenhein is now his coach with the On Athletics Club.