Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thoughts from Bernard Lagat on the Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games...

The promoters of Friday night's Millrose Games hosted a press conference in New York featuring former Washington State standout and two-time Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat (#1113/photo by Paul Merca).

Lagat is in the 'Big Apple' where he is aiming for a seventh straight Wanamaker Mile title, which would tie Irish legend Eamonn Coghlan for the most wins at the Millrose.

He'll face a field that includes 2008 Olympic medalist Nick Willis of New Zealand; former Auburn High School standout Chris Lukezic; and, Steve Sherer, who ran two weeks ago at the UW Indoor Preview.

Special thanks to USATF communications director Jill Geer for assistance with this piece:

"You know it's always fun coming to New York. I've been here for quite some time now. The people in New York always cheer for me, they always support me. I have to believe they really love the Wanamaker mile. I get a lot of support from so many fans at Madison Square Garden."

"Like Nick (Willis) said, it's going to be hard this time around. Let me go back to 2008, I started well and beat him (the first three meetings), then he got the best of me at the end. Hopefully that will start the same way this week and I will win again. It's going to be tough. I am looking forward to that for sure."

"These races have had so many meanings in my life. This is a special race for me. I've run so many times and I've been able to win a few. Trying to tie the record of Eamonn Coghlan is really something that has been in my mind. I remember crossing the line last year and I thought man, this is the sixth one. The seventh one is going to be another challenge. At the press conference, I said I am the first one to confirm my participation in 2009. I am here because I know that I need to see if I can get to where the respected athlete, Eamonn Coghlan, did. It is a privilege for me to be here again and be able to run and try to push to see if I can get that record. It's not going to be easy but I will try my best."

"From here I'm going to run in Stuttgart, the 3000m, I am hoping to run something close to the American record of 7:32. Then another race in France, Lievin, the 1,500m. On the 21st I run in Birmingham, UK, and I want to close the season by running in Boston in the U.S. indoor nationals (at 1,500m). I thought why not do it (run nationals)? I've been training so well, I hope I can win all my races."

"I am running 45 miles a week right now, that's half what Kara (Goucher, who was also at the press conference) is running. But it's what I feel like I can handle now, and every mile is a quality mile, every time when I run on the road. The shorter the things I do, the better."

The Millrose Games will be shown live on ESPN2, on January 30th, from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m., Eastern time, then shown on a tape delayed basis on NBC the next day from 1:30 - 2:30 p.m., Eastern time.

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