For the next two months, Nike is sponsoring a daily homage to the World Indoors. From Monday to Friday, we feature athletes from US, UK, Europe, Africa and Asia. On Saturdays and Sundays, we feature a great moment from World Indoor Championship history, again thanks to sponsor, Nike. We hope that you like this series.
Today, we feature, for Week three, Day 6, we feature Bernard Lagat and his win in Istanbul over the 3000 meters in March 2012!
For more information on the World Indoors Birmingham in March 2018, please go to www.wicbirmingham2018.com .
Bernard Lagat begins to fly, Instanbul, March 2012, photo by PhotoRun.net
The 3000 meters is the longest event at the World Championships. On February 12, 2012, Edwin Soi, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist at the 5000 meters, ran a splendid 7:29.94. Soi was a tough racer, and was a player in any championship race her toed the line.
The heats of the 3000 meters in Istanbul went as would be expected. Edwin Soi won the first heat, in 7:49.49, with Craig Mottram ( AUS, 7:49.69), Moses Kipsario (KEN, 7:49.71), Yenew Alimirew (ETH), Lopez Lomong (USA) , Yoann Kowal (FRA), Arnie Gabius (GER), Elroy Gelant (South Africa).
The first heat was the fast one.
Augustine Choge, another player, (PBs of 1:44.86, 3:29.47 and 12:53.66) won the second head in 7:57.49, followed by Mo Farah (GBR, 7:57.59), Bernard Lagat (USA, 7:57.68) and Dejan Gebremeskel, (ETH), the shoeless winner from NB 2011 Indoor where he lost a shoe and still won in a tight battle over Mo farah. Gebremeskel came into Istanbul with a bronze medal from Daegu 5000 meters, where he lost to Mo Farah in a remarkably tactical championship 5000 meters.
But, this was Istanbul, and Bernard Lagat wanted this race very bad.
This race was a classic. Bernard Lagat is the zen warrior of final sprints. The guy has this nearly surgeon’s precision in reading the race, deciding where to move and holding that move off until the very last moment, which gives him amazing control of fluid situations.
Edwin Soi and Augustine Choge wanted to control the race, and control they did. Augustine Choge ran 2:38.45 for the first kilometer with Soi, Farah, Lagat, et al., all there. The next kilometer, lead by Edwin Soi, was hit in 5:16.92, nearly the same pace for the second kilometer. Edwin Soi’s leadership, though, was tertiary, as Augustine Choge ran the 7:55 pace for most of the first two kilometers.
Then, as we say, it got, well, fast and furious. Craig Mottram, the 2005 Helsinki 5000 meter bronze medalist, charged to the lead, but, alas did not have another gear. The pace for the the next two laps were 29 seconds each, taking the pace to screaming, and perfect clear spaces for Bernard Lagat.
Mo Farah, silver medalist from 2011 Daegu over 10,000 meters, and gold at 5,000 meters, was pushing the pace. Edwin Soi and Augustine Choge were doing all that they could to control the race and keep Lagat out of the positioning he needed, but they were dealing with Bernard Lagat, defending 3000m champion, mutiple Olympic and World Championship medalist, a man who can run, I believe 25.5 for 200 meters in his sleep.
Lagat held off the big push until 200 meters to go, and ran just over 26 seconds for the final furlong, as Augustine Choge and Edwin Soi battled Mo Farah, who look positioned for the silver medal.
Lagat ran just over 26 seconds to take the win in 7:41.44. In a nightmere battle for Mo Farah, who tried more moves in that last lap than this writer has seen in many a year, he could not get past Soi and Choge. Augustine Choge ran 7:41.77, Edwin Soi took the bronze in 7:41.78 and Mo Farah in a gutty, but heart breaking 7:41.79.
Seven men had faster PBs that Bernard Lagat over 3000 meters at the time. Again another lesson that many can run fast, but few every comprehend the power of racing well.
Bernard Lagat was one of the finest racers in our sport. In 2012, in Istanbul World Championships over 3000 meters, Lagat was the king.