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Originally published Saturday, February 12, 2011 at 5:58 PM

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Lagat breaks US indoor record at 2 miles

Bernard Lagat set a new U.S. indoor record in the 2-mile run, breaking a 21-year old mark to become the American record-holder at the five distances from 1,500 meters to two miles.

The Associated Press


Bernard Lagat set a new U.S. indoor record in the 2-mile run, breaking a 21-year old mark to become the American record-holder at the five distances from 1,500 meters to two miles.

Lagat finished in 8 minutes, 10.07 seconds during a college meet at the Armory on Saturday night, beating the mark of 8:15.02 that Doug Padilla set on Feb. 16, 1990, in Los Angeles.

The 36-year-old Lagat now holds the U.S. indoor marks in the mile and 2-mile, and at 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000 meters. He is also the U.S. outdoor record holder for the 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000.

"I'm so happy I have all five," Lagat said. "I haven't felt this good since the world championships in Doha last year."

It was the first time the seven-time Olympic and world championship medalist had run 2 miles indoors as a professional. The Kenyan-born Lagat, who now lives in Tucson, Ariz., earned a $10,000 bonus from the New York Road Runners for winning the race and setting a new record.

NCAA indoor 800-meter champion Robby Andrews of Virginia and former Stanford All-American Russell Brown were in the field as pacesetters, and scholastic star Lukas Verzbicas of Orland Hills, Ill., was attempting to break the high school mark in the race.

College runners at the meet lined the track railing as Andrews and Brown led Lagat through the early laps on the 200-meter track. Andrews dropped off after six laps and Brown took over pacemaking duties. He fell away after the ninth lap and Lagat upped the pace over the final six circuits.

The leaders had been turning 31-second laps and Lagat knew that wasn't fast enough to break the record.

"I realized with six laps to go that I have to pick it up if I want to get the record," said Lagat, who ran the last three-quarters of a mile alone at the front.

He lowered his lap time to about 30 seconds and by the last two laps the crowd began urging him on, sensing that he had a shot at the record.

"With two laps to go I began thinking I'm going to get it now," Lagat said.

He powered around the banked track one last time, lapping Verzbicas just before he crossed the line.


Lagat credited Andrews and Brown with setting a good pace.

"The easy consistent pace made it possible for me to have energy at the end," he said.

Verzbicas, a senior at Carl Sandburg High School, finished in 8:43.24, missing the record of 8:40.0 set by Gerry Lindgren in February 1964. Verzbicas, who has committed to Oregon, still managed the third fastest time for an American high schooler indoors. He has committed to Oregon.

Lagat saw his record run of eight Wanamaker Mile titles stopped last month in the Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden. He lost to two-time defending world indoor 1,500-meter champion Deresse Mekonnen of Ethiopia.

He next plans to compete at an outdoors meet in Melbourne, Australia, next month.

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