MOSCOW, Russia--Washington State University alum Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) kept himself out of trouble for most of the race, cruising to a third place finish in Tuesday morning's 5000 meter semifinals, in a time of 13:23.59, and an automatic berth in Friday's finals.
Lagat kept himself positioned near the front but to the outside, so that he wouldn't get pinned to the rail when it was time to move.
His positioning kept him out of trouble with less than two laps to go, when Phillip Kipyeko of Uganda got tangled up with the front pack. Both Lagat and USA teammate and fifth place finisher Ryan Hill (13:24.19) managed to avoid the mayhem and stay upright.
Ethiopia's Hagos Gebrhiwet won the semi race in 13:23.22.
"I tried to tell myself to get out of this mess. There was a lot of bumping with each other there, a lot of legs and feet flying around. One guy might be trying to push you from behind, and you're trying to hold up so you don't trip over the guy in front of you."
"I clipped the guy from Uganda, and I told him I was sorry afterwards."
"Over the last 600, I felt good".
The 2007 world champion at both 1500 and 5000 said that training for these world championships have been going good, except for a slight hiccup with his hip that forced him to drop out of the 5000 at the Diamond League in Monaco last month.
He said that the issue with the hip was the first serious bump in the road partly due to increasing the volume in his training when he got to his summer base in Tubigen, Germany, but has been working with a physical therapist to help correct the issue, adding that at his age, trying to train through an injury is not the smartest thing to do.
All three Americans moved on to Friday's final, as Portland's Galen Rupp finished fourth in the other semifinal in 13:23,91, just ahead of his Nike Oregon Project teammate and reigning Olympic champion Mo Farah of Great Britain.
Later this evening, finals will be held in the men's discus, women's pole vault, men's 800, women's steeplechase, and men's 400.
TRACK SHORTS: One athlete we missed in our world championships preview is recent Washington State grad Shawna Fermin, who will be on Trinidad & Tobago's 4 x 400 relay pool.
Fermin earned second-team All-America honors as an NCAA 400m semifinalist for WSU last June. A dual citizen, Fermin will run for Trinidad and Tobago in the women’s 1600m relay prelim heats Friday the 16th at 11:30 a.m. Russian time (12:30 a.m. PT). The relay final is set for the next day at 7:30 p.m. Russian time (8:30 a.m. PT).