Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lagat takes third in Zürich 5000 race and dips under 13 minutes for fifth time in career...

ZÜRICH, Switzerland--Under wet conditions, Washington State University alum and American record holder Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished third in the 5000 meter run at Thursday night's Weltklasse meeting, as the season-long Samsung Diamond League series nears its conclusion.

Even with three pace setters assigned to take the runners to 3000 meters at 7:40 and 10:15 for 4000m, (a projected 12:48 pace for the full distance), the main participants were reluctant to follow the rabbits, and were content to sit about ten meters behind during the early portion of the race, even though Lagat stated that he thought that his American record of 12:53.60 could be challenged by either himself or US Olympic teammates Galen Rupp and Lopez Lomong.

As it turned out, the real running began in the last two kilometers after Gideon Gathimba of Kenya took the field through in 7:52 (13:08 pace), as the final pacer, Kenya's Vincent Chepkop led with one kilometer to go in 10:27 (13:06 pace).

As the lead pack of Kenya's Isiah Koech and Olympic bronze medalist Thomas Longosiwa, and Ethiopia's Dejen Gebremeskel crossed the line with one lap to go, Lagat was in fourth place, seemingly in position to unleash his patented sprint finish.

Only problem was that Koech and Longosiwa opened a five meter gap on Lagat and Gebremeskel down the backstretch, and widened it exiting the final turn.

Lagat swung wide and was gaining on Longosiwa, but ran out of real estate.

Koech won the race in 12:58.98, with Longosiwa second at 12:59.24, and Lagat third in a season best 12:59.92, marking the fifth time in his career that he's broken 13 minutes.

Gebremeskel was fourth in 13:00.83, while Rupp was ninth in 13:09.50, and Lomong a distant 17th at 13:35.53.

Koech, by virtue of winning the season-long Samsung Diamond Trophy in the event, earned a bye into next year's world championships in Moscow.

Courtesy of media partner Flotrack, here's an interview with Lagat:

He said that the Weltklasse meet will be his last outdoor track race of the season.

In other events, Rainier Beach HS grad Ginnie Crawford finished fourth in the 100 hurdles, running 12.73, as Olympic silver medalist Dawn Harper took the win in 12.59, with Queen Harrison second at 12.68, and Olympic bronze medalist Kellie Wells third at 12.69.

University of Washington grad Brad Walker did not take a jump in the pole vault competition, won by Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie at a modest 18-8 1/2 (5.70m).

Complete results of the Weltklasse meeting are available here.

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