Saturday, February 6, 2010

More magic from Bernard Lagat as he claims American indoor 5000m record...

Washington State University track & field hall of famer Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) claimed the American indoor record in the 5000 meter run in his first attempt at the undercover version of the distance at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games at the Reggie Lewis Center.

After winning his eighth Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games in New York last week, Lagat stated that his goal in Boston was to break the American record, held by Portland's Galen Rupp.

Rupp, who came down with cold-like symptoms earlier in the week, prepared for his confrontation with the two-time Olympic medalist and 2007 double world champion by running a 3:56.22 mile/7:52.48 3000 double at the Dempsey Indoor during last week's UW Invitational.

Despite the enlistment of pace-setters, Lagat's goal looked unlikely as the field was more than two seconds behind record pace early on. By the 3,000m mark, the record seemed so improbable that the in-stadium announcer had stopped announcing lap splits.

But with 1000m to go, Rupp, seized the lead and pushed the pace. Lagat and Ethiopians Dejen Gebremeskel and Bekana Daba covered the move, the pace benefiting from Rupp's efforts.

With 300m to go Lagat narrowly escaped being boxed in and moved to the front. Employing his miler-trained kick, he took the win and set the American Record in 13:11.50. Gebremeskel pushed his way to second in 13:11.78 with Bekana Daba taking third in 13:11.78.

Rupp also wen under his former American record of 13:18.12, as he ran 13:14.21.

According to tweets posted by The Running Network's Larry Eder, Lagat finished the final lap of the race in 27.30 over the 200 meter oval, a very impressive split on a banked board track.

Afterwards, Lagat, who normally doesn't like to set the pace, told reporters, "I realize it is not an easy thing (to lead), but as long as you are comfortable you can do it."

Rupp, the 2009 Bowerman Award winner out of the University of Oregon, and member of the last two world championship teams at 10000 meters, said that he took the lead with a kilo to go because he didn't want the race to come down to Lagat's superior finish.

"He's just a little bit faster than me," Rupp said.

Here's the post-race video interview, courtesy featuring Rupp and Lagat.

Lagat and Rupp said they hoped to run as the American team in the 3,000 meters in the World Indoor Championships in Doha, Qatar, in March if they qualify at the U.S. championships in Albuquerque, N.M., later this month.

Rainier Beach HS graduate Ginnie Powell finished third in the women's 60 meter hurdles, running 8.06 to finish behind winner Damu Cherry and Canada's Perdita Felicien.

Complete results from the Reebok Boston Indoor Games can be accessed here.

The Reebok Boston Indoor Games will be shown on a delayed basis Sunday starting at 11 am pacific time on ESPN2.

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