Lagat To Make 10K Road Race Debut In Manchester Run
Bernard Lagat, five times a world champion on the track, will be aiming for another mark in the world record books when he makes his 10km road race debut in the Morrisons Great Manchester Run on Sunday 10 May.
The 40-year-old American has been rewriting the Over 40s Masters world record book during the 2015 indoor season and has pledged to have a crack at Haile Gebrselassie's tough 10km age group time when he lines up in Europe's biggest 10km road race.
Gebrselassie clocked 28 minutes 00 seconds in the 2013 Great Manchester Run and Lagat said: “That is a really quick time but it is good to shoot at something. What I am going to train hard with my coach in Flagstaff, Arizona and I think I will shoot for that record.
“It is not going to be easy. It is like running two 14 minute 5km races back to back. That is something fast, but I will give it my best shot.”
Lagat, the outdoor world 1500m and 5,000m champion in 2007 and three times winner of the world indoor 3,000m title, has competed in two 5km races on the road and in one half-marathon but 10km will be a new distance for him.
“It is going to be my debut, because I have never run a 10km road race,” said the Kenyan-born runner, the second fastest man in history at 1500m, behind Moroccan world record holder Hicham El Guerrouj, with a time of 3 minutes 26.34 seconds.
“The only time I remember running 10k was in cross country at university level, so the time that I run is going to be a personal best.”
Despite joining the ranks of the Fortysomethings in December, the inspirational Lagat remains one of the world's leading middle and long distance runners.
Only last year he won a 3,000m silver medal at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland and he has his sights on what would be a fifth Olympic appearance in Rio next year – as well as the 5,000m at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in August this year.
And in Birmingham the weekend before last he finished runner-up to Mo Farah, the reigning world 5,000m champion, when the Briton smashed Kenenisa Bekele's world indoor two miles best.
Lagat set a Masters Over 40 world best of 8 minutes 17.05 seconds and also broke his own 3,000m world best en route with a time of 7 minutes 41.3seconds.
Running in Metz, France, last Wednesday he broke the 3,000m record for the third time this season, winning in 7 minutes 37.71 seconds. At the Millrose Games in New York last month he also smashed Eamonn Coghlan's Over 40 Masters mile record with a time of 3 minutes 54.91 seconds.
In all, in the space of 18 days last month, including split times, Lagat set six new world indoor age group marks.
Claiming one on the roads in Manchester is going to be a tough ask but the Peter Pan of the boards is relishing the prospect of joining the 40,000 field in the prestigious IAAF Gold Label event.
“My manager, James Templeton, told me about the history of the race, that runners like Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele had won it,” said Lagat. “It is a tall order to follow people like that but then it's nothing that I cannot get ready for.
“I think I can handle long training now. I have run a half marathon in difficult conditions. If I prepare well I think I could do something good.
“I've never been to Manchester so I'm excited about that. It has a great reputation for sport and I love the Great CityGames that they have on the streets the day before the 10km race.
“I've watched it on line and thought to myself, ‘Could you imagine if we had that right here at home in the United Sates – track and field on the streets?
“That is something that really makes you appreciate the place, because all those fans come to watch my sport, something that I love, something that I do for a living. And they are people who appreciate what we do.
“They are so knowledgeable and they are so loud when they are cheering for the athletes. Manchester is a city that really deserves to hold a special event like that and the Great Manchester Run too.
“I want to come and run my best, especially with it being my debut at 10k. It's the perfect place to go.”
For further information and to enter the Morrisons Great Manchester Run visit www.greatrun.org/Manchester