If you want to run fast from the start, he can do that.
If you want to run 3000 meters in 9:45 and bank that you can run away from him over the last five laps, he can play that game as well.
And that's exactly what the field in the men's 5000 meters at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Drake Stadium dared him to do, and the result was yet another national title for the ageless Washington State University alum, Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca), who ran a 3:55 last 1600.
With four laps to go, Ben True, who was one of the heroes of Team USA's silver medal winning performance at the world cross country championships in Poland in March, charged to the front, taking command for more than two laps, with Lagat and Olympic 10k silver medalist Galen Rupp close by.
Rupp went to the front with a lap to go, but in an all familiar scene to those who have followed Lagat's career over the years, the 38-year old pounced in the last 150 and overtook Rupp in the final straightaway to win in 14:54.16 to 14:54.91, with North Carolina State standout Ryan Hill taking third in 14:55.16, and the chance to join the two veterans in Moscow if he can attain the IAAF B standard before July 20th.
That time was the slowest winning time in the national championship meet since 1952.
“When I was evaluating the strategy with my coach (James Li), we knew it was going to be slow, that nobody was going to take it in the beginning, but then nobody was willing to take it later. I would not have cared if it averaged even 80 maybe as long as it was moving and I was out of trouble, which was the most important thing."
“I ran 3:54 at the Penn Relays and I’ve had faster training times that I’ve run with my coach, so that time was not surprising.”
University of Washington alum Aretha Thurmond picked a bad time to have a bad meet, as she only threw 190-11 (58.19m) in the final round to finish sixth, and miss her first world championship team since 2007.
The men's steeplechase saw Bellingham resident and 2012 Olympian Donn Cabral finish sixth in 8:35.87.
In the women's 5000, Tacoma's Brie Felnagle finished seventh in 15:46.05, while training partner and UW alum Katie Mackey was eighth in 15:57.78.
University of Washington senior Christine Babcock was eleventh in 16:08.81.
Husky senior Joe Zimmerman was 21st in the men's javelin with a best of 218-2 (66.51m).
At the Canadian national championships in Moncton, New Brunswick, former Husky Kyle Nielsen won the championship in the javelin with a toss of 250-1 (76.23m).