Lagat Breaks U.S. Record at 5,000

In Monaco, 36-year-old runs 12:53.60

Jul 22, 2011
Outside Magazine

Bernard Lagat set a new American record at 5,000 meters on Friday afternoon, running 12:52.60 to finish second behind Great Britian's Mo Farah at a Diamond League meet in Monaco. The race provided a widely anticipated match-up among America's four best 5,000-meter runners but mostly failed to meet expectations: two of the four dropped out, and a third finished well of the pace. It was Lagat, a native Kenyan who became an American citizen in 2004, who delivered, slicing half a second off his own U.S. best and just losing in a sprint finish to Farah, whose 12:53.11 finish is a British record and personal best. Lagat, who is 36, recorded another world class performance in one of the greatest and longest-running careers in track and field, a sport in which most athletes peak by age 30. The meet, too, was unusually good, and provided the summer's best distance racing so far, with world leads in the men's 5,000 meters, 800 meters, 1,500 meters, and 3,000-meter steeplechase, where Kenya's Brimin Kipruto missed the world record by one one-hundreth of a second. It also featued an unusal sideshow for track and field, as two featherwight distance runners from France brawled and headbutted each other after bumping in the men's 1,500 meters.

Full meet results are available at

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