American Trio Heading Down Under

Bernard Lagat will race 5,000 meters at the Melbourne Track Classic next month in Australia.

Lagat to join Solinsky and Tegenkamp in Australia next month.

Written by: David Monti
(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

Three of the USA’s best distance runners –Chris Solinsky, Matt Tegenkamp and Bernard Lagat– plan to open their outdoor seasons Down Under, competing in the 5000m at the Melbourne Track Classic on Thursday, March 3, in Melbourne Olympic Park.

“I’m really excited about coming to Melbourne to run the 5000m on March 3,” Lagat said yesterday, the same day he announced that he would try to break the USA indoor two-mile record in New York on Feb. 12.  ”I hear it’s the same stadium that I ran the 1500m in the Grand Prix Final in 2001 and I know I was second that day to Hicham El Guerrouj; let me try to go one better 10 years down the track.”

On the USA all-time list for 5000m, Lagat is ranked #1 (12:54.12), Solinsky is #2 (12:55.53), and Tegenkamp is #5 (12:58.56).  Lagat trains in Tucson, Ariz., under coach James Li, while Solinsky and Tegenkamp train in Portland, Ore., under coach Jerry Schumacher.  All three athletes wear Nike colors.

“I feel good in my training and preparations and I have a lot of ambition to run well over 5000m for the next few years,” said Lagat who became the USA 5000m record holder only last summer.

Also scheduled to compete in the 5000m in Melbourne are home country favorites Craig Mottram, Collis Birmingham and Ben St. Lawrence.

The meeting in Melbourne is the third stop on the 2011 Australian Athletics Tour.  Round 1 is the Brisbane Athletics Classic on Friday, February 11, and Round to is the Briggs Athletics Classic in Hobart on Sunday, February 20.

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