Bernard Lagat is in the mix.
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NEW YORK — With two-time Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat leading the charge, the men’s 5,000 meters at the 105th Millrose Games at the Armory here on Feb. 11, could generate as many as four significant indoor records.
First, Lagat, 37, will be gunning for the USA indoor record of 13:11.44 set by Galen Rupp last February in Birmingham, England. That mark is only 6/100ths of a second faster than Lagat’s own indoor personal best set in Boston in 2010. Lagat, who holds every other USA indoor middle distance or distance record –1500m, mile, 3000m and two miles– will also be trying to topple the Millrose Games record of 13:20.4 set by Suleiman Nyambui of Tanzania in 1981. That mark was a world record at the time.
But behind Lagat, four of the best NCAA distance athletes will be trying to break another of Rupp’s records: the collegiate record of 13:18.12 set in Fayetteville in 2009. That quartet includes Lawi Lalang, the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Champion from the University of Arizona; Leonard Korir, the 2011 NCAA Indoor 5000m champion from Iona; Elliott Heath, the 2011 NCAA Indoor 3000m champion from Stanford; and 2011 NCAA Cross Country runner-up Chris Derrick of Stanford.
“Kip and Lawi are all training really well, doing some of the best workouts I have seen them do,” said James Li from the University of Arizona, who coaches both Lagat and Lalang, through a statement. “They are both very excited about coming to New York to run in the 5000m at Millrose.”
The fourth record could come from St. Benedict Prep’s Edward Cheserek who could break the high school record of 14:06.78 set by Lukas Verzbicas on the same Armory track last March. Cheserek, the 2011 Foot Locker High School Cross Country champion, ran 14:02.33 outdoors last year.
“The chance of seeing four records going down in one race makes the 5000m one of the most exciting ever,” commented meet director Ray Flynn through a release. ”This is what it’s all about.”
Also entered in the race are Kenyan Stephen Sambu, Mexican Juan Luis Barrios, and Britain’s Andy Baddeley and Mark Draper. Both Barrios and Baddeley are Olympians.
Millrose Games Men’s 5000m Field with Personal Best Times
Bernard Lagat, USA, 12:53.69 (13:11.50 indoors)
Lawi Lalang, KEN, 13:30.64
Leonard Korir, KEN, 13:35.71 (13:26.01)
Ellliott Heath, USA, 13:26.14 (13:34.54)
Chris Derrick, USA, 13:29.74 (13:36.87)
Edward Cheserek, KEN, 14:02.33
Stephen Sambu, KEN, 13:34.19 (13:28.48)
Juan Luis Barrios, MEX, 13:09.81
Andy Baddeley, GBR, 13:20.85
Mark Draper, GBR, 13:34.63