Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pro news: Lagat to end 2009 season at Fifth Avenue Mile; Patterson set to toss spear in Daegu...

As he has done the last few years, Washington State University graduate Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) will close out his 2009 season at the Continental Airlines 5th Avenue Mile Saturday in New York.

The race’s 29th running will include a deep professional field of 15 Olympians, including Americans Christin Wurth-Thomas, Matt Tegenkamp, and Lopez Lomong.

Lagat, 34, a current resident of Tucson, AZ, who was inducted into the Washington State University Athletic Hall of Fame last week, has a distinguished career that includes two Olympic medals, seven World Championship medals, and seven wins in New York’s renowned Wanamaker Mile.

Lagat will aim to become only the second man in history to win both the Fifth Avenue and Wanamaker miles in the same year; Isaac Viciosa of Spain captured both titles in 1997. A five-time USA champion in the 1500- and 5000-meter distances, Lagat has a personal best time of 3:47.28 for the mile.

Tegenkamp, 27, of Portland, OR, became the third-fastest American in history at 5000 meters when he ran 12:58.56 earlier this month at the Golden League meet in Brussels. A two-time USA indoor 3000-meter champion, Tegenkamp won the 5000 meters at the 2009 USA Outdoor Championships.

Lomong, 24, of Colorado Springs, CO, was the U.S. flag bearer during the opening ceremonies at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. He became a U.S. citizen in 2007 through the Lost Boys of Sudan program, which rescued nearly 3,800 children from Kenya. Lomong won his first career USA Outdoor title earlier this year in the men’s 1500 meters. His personal best time in the mile is 3:53.97.

The Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile begins near East 80th Street and finishes at East 60th Street. The wheelchair and handcycle race will kick off the event at 9:00 a.m. After that, entrants will run in heats according to age and gender. The professional women’s race is scheduled to start at 12:45 p.m., eastern time, followed by the professional men’s race at 1:05 p.m. A total prize purse of $30,000 for the men’s and women’s professional races will be offered with the top men’s and women’s professional finishers each receiving $5,000.

More information on the Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile can be found here.

Meanwhile on the other side of the world, Vancouver's Kara Patterson will compete in the Colorful Daegu Pre-Championships Meeting in Daegu, South Korea, site of the 2011 IAAF World Track & Field Championships.

Patterson, a 2008 Olympian, and two-time USA national champion, is expected to face a field that includes Maria Abakumova, the bronze medalist in the javelin at last month's world championships in Berlin.

The start list for the Daegu meeting can be accessed here.

NOTE: The media relations department of the New York Road Runners contributed to this report.

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