Sunday, September 26, 2010

Amine Laalou of Morocco overtakes Bernard Lagat to win 5th Avenue Mile...

NEW YORK--Bernard Lagat (in purple, behind Amine Laalou/photo courtesy NY Road Runners) ended his 2010 season with a second place finish at the Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile on the streets of New York City.

Running in a field of twenty men, the field crossed the quarter mark in 60 seconds, and roughly 2:00 at the halfway mark with former Texas Tech runner Haron Lagat and steeplechase specialist Dan Huling leading.

Former Arkansas standout Alistair Cragg took the lead after the half way mark crossing the 3/4mark under 3 minutes, with a bevy of runners still in contention.

Lagat, the Washington State University graduate made a charge and took the lead in the last 300 meters with New Zealand's Nick Willis close behind, but Morocco's Amine Laalou, who set personal bests this season of 3:29.53 for 1500m in Monaco, and 3:50.22 in the mile at the Nike Prefontaine Classic in Eugene on July 3rd, shot past Lagat on his left side and passed him with less than 20 meters to go to take the win in 3:52.83.

Lagat finished in 3:53.30, with defending champion Andy Baddeley of Great Britain third in 3:53.34.

Seventeen of the 20 starters finished under 4 minutes.

Former UCLA standout Jon Rankin, who has been teaching in the Seattle area since April, finished 20th in 4:12.06.

In an interview with universalsports.com, Lagat said that he changed his strategy from his previous appearances in this race and sat back with the pack instead of going from the front.

Lagat, who has historically done well in races in New York, particularly in Madison Square Garden, but has never won the Fifth Avenue Mile, said that he wants to come back to try and win this race.

In the women's race, former Duke University and current San Francisco resident Shannon Rowbury (4:24.12) defended her 2009 title with a surge in the final meters that relegated fellow Americans Sara Hall to second place (4:24.34) and Erin Donohue to third (4:24.40).

Race video, courtesy of the New York Road Runners, is available here.

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