Bernard Lagat, 2010 World Indoor Champs, Doha, Qatar, photo by PhotoRun.net.
Bernard Lagat is an elegant runner! He is also at the top of his competitive game. There is little excess motion in his running, and he stays out of dumb positions in tactical races. When Bernard is on, he is on, tonight, Mr. Lagat gave a clinic in how to win a championship 3,000 meter run, to the world!
Augustine Kiprono Choge, one of the toughest and fastest runners on the planet, took the field through 1,000 meters in 2:36.19. For him, that was the race, and he ended up a dejected eleventh.
Tariku Bekele, the defending champion, took the pacing chores over the second kilometer, keeping the same 2:36 kilometer pace, with Bernard Lagat and Sergio Sanchez of Spain, right on his back. Galen Rupp of the U.S. was bouncing around a bit, from last to mid-pack, then near end of pack. The pack was close, but it was just, at this point in the race, some excess motion.
Lagat does not run an extra step. He stayed in contention, followed Bekele ( ” Bernard was the best today, the Spanish guy was very strong. I knew them both, I did the best I could.”), until there was one lap in the race, hit in 7:09.
Bernard took off, and the race, for gold was over, as Bernard
Lagat ran a relaxed 28 second last 200 meters, pointing his finger up in victory with twenty meters to go.
Bernard summed up his race in the mixed zone: ” My kids woke up at 7am to watch their Daddy. So, I needed to show them something. I did exactly what my coach told me to do. During the last lap, I felt a lot of energy from the crowd. I missed a lot since 2007, so I am back. My long term goal is Olympic gold from London, most probably at the 5,000 meters. And this season, I want to run some 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters.”
Sergio Sanchez of Spain got by Tariku Bekele on the back stretch, and took the silver in 7:39.55 (Sanchez said, “this is the greatest day in my life!”). Sammy Mutahi of Kenya also went by the defending champion on the turn, taking the bronze in 7:39.90.
Tariku Bekele of Ethiopia, took fourth in 7:40.10. Running a great last lap, Galen Rupp moved from near the back into fifth on the last lap, running 7:42.40 for a new personal best, just ahead of Jesue Espana, who ran 7:42.82!
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