Bernard Lagat, mid race, Rbk BIG Men’s 5,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net.
Bernard Lagat had won his eighth Millrose mile the weekend before, sprinting by Asbel Kiprop, the Olympic champion, over the last lap and one half. Galen Rupp had run a personal best in the mile, taking second, then, coming back to win a 3,000 meter, also on last Friday, at the UW Invitational. Their race tactics, their training came to play an attempt to get the 5,000 m American record.
The race gets rugged, two laps to go, photo by PhotoRun.net.
The race went out at 62.5 for 400 meters, 2:06.5 for 800 meters and 4:14.5 for 1,600 meters. But, after that, the pacesetters gone, the pace was all up to Bernard Lagat. By two miles, the record attempt looked like a lost cause…with five laps to go, Galen Rupp charged to the lead, and dropped the pace to four minute mile pace for 600 meters. The pace was back on, as Bekena Daba and Dejen Gebremeskel sprinted by a fatigued Galen Rupp. Bernard Lagat was in hot pursuit….
One lap to go, Lagat, Gebremeskel, Daba, Rupp, photo by PhotoRun.net.
Dejen Gebresmeskel and Bekena Daba were full out, and Bernard Lagat was right on their backs. Just after the bell, Lagat started to move. Watching Bernard sprint is something to behold. However, trying to counter his sprint proved unsuccessful for Gebremeskel and Daba, who finished second and third in 13:11.84. Finishing hard in fourth was Rupp, in 13:14.51, also breaking his former American Record.
Bernard Lagat sets a new 5,000m AR, photo by PhotoRun.net
Bernard Lagat took only 27.9 seconds to finish the last 200 meters. His final time of 13:11.54, broke the American Records
by seven seconds!
Lagat is arguably the best middle distance racer on the globe. Galen Rupp is ten years from that, but the move he made, changed the race from a 13:25 to an AR. It also showed a side of Galen that we have not seen often. Rupp is developing his own “bag of tricks”.
One Olympic gold medalist once told me that, to be truly prepared for the experience of competing against the best in the world, one must have his or her own, “bag of tricks”. For a distance runner, it is the ability to use tactics that fit the race, it is the decision to hold that last charge to the finish until the last forty meters. It is nerves of steel. It is also a deep desire to find what one is made of, to find one’s limits. One observer mentioned to me, after the race, ” Rupp used his Pre move.”
Bernard Lagat, American record holder, 5,000m indoors, Photo by PhotoRun.net.
Bernard Lagat has his own bag of tricks. Lagat used many of those in the race tonight, leading when he needed, sitting back, but ready to respond. In his first attempt at 5,000 meters indoor, Bernard Lagat showed that he is at the top of his game! On to Albequerque!
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