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Men's 1,500: Lagat Gets A Deserved Gold
World Leader Alan Webb Finishes 8th In Tightly Contested Final
by: LetsRun.com
August 29, 2007

View the Final lap of the men's 1500m Final

America's 99 year wait for a championship gold in the men's 1,500 meters came to an today as naturalized American Bernard Lagat accelerated down the homestretch to capture his first world title in  3:34.77- a much deserved one. Lagat, the 2nd fastest all-time at 1,500 (3:26.34) had finished as the bridesmaid at both the 2001 world champs and 2004 Olympics.

Webb Led Early
The race started as many expected with American and 2007 world leader Alan Webb taking the early lead about 200 meters into the race to make the pace honest as Webb struggled to qualify for the final after running the first 1,200 of his semifinal in last place. Webb looked relaxed running on the inside with Kenya's Shedrack Korir on his shoulder. Webb hit 400 in a near ideal 58.63.

It appeared that Webb had no intentions of being the sacrificial rabbit for the field for as they neared 600, the pace slowed and field strung together. At around 700 meters into the race, Kenya's 18-year old sensation Asbel Kiprop got antsy and moved from last to first as 800 was reached in 1:58.08. In a near ideal situation, Kiprop then served as the rabbit for Webb and ratched down the pace to a more honest level.  Coming into the bell (2:41:51), all of the major contenders were in near perfect position.  Kiprop led and was followed by Webb in 2nd. Korir was in 3rd and Lagat was perfectly positioned in 4th on the outside of Webb as 2005 world 1,500 and 800 champion Rashid Ramzi was in 5th.

The pace started to quicken on the turn as Kiprop hit the 1,200 in 2:55.21. Webb was in perfect position running behind him. Entering the last 200, it was clear that any of the top 8 or 9 could still win as the honest but not suicidal pace had resulted in a near perfect race from a spectator's and athlete's standpoint -  lots of guys still in contention.

Kiprop in the Lead Heading into Homestretch
As the were coming off the final turn, Kiprop still led and he was followed by Webb on the outside and Korir on the inside with Ramzi behind Korir and Lagat outside of Webb.  Coming off the turn, Webb moved out to lane two try to make his dash for glory. However, while Webb's mind told him to go, his body simply did not respond and he immediately faded. It was clear he was going in the wrong direction.  As Webb moved outside, Korir sort of snook in on the inside of him and squeezed between him and Kiprop and the two Kenyans Kiprop and Korir ran side by side the whole way home.

Ramzi was directly behind them, looking for a way to get around them. Unable to squeeze between he was forced to try to jump outside to get around and lost a little momentum in the process. Meanwhile, Lagat, who had been perfectly positioned the whole race in the outside of lane 1 running in third, fourth, of fifth, also encountered a little traffic as he was forced moved to the outside into lane three for a few steps as he began to accelerate past the fading Webb.

Lagat's sprint finish looked just as good as it did in the semifinals when he blew away the field to win his heat. Clearly, the best of the bunch Lagat powered home for his first world title although it would have been a very, very close finish had Ramzi not encountered traffic. Ramzi got around the Kenyans and moved up for the silver position (3:35.00). Ramzi was just ahead of Korir (3:35.04) who got the bronze. Kiprop ended up in 4th (3:35.24) in the tightly contested race as the top eight all finished within a second of each other.

In the end, the two who looked the best in the semifinals and were expected to battle it out for gold finished 1-2.

Lagat Thrilled
Lagat was obviously thrilled to win gold. "This is the most important moment of my life today," said Lagat in the post-race press conference according to David Monti's Race Results Weekly recap of the race. "This was a great win for me."

He told USATF, "I've never been like this- I've always been a silver medalist."

The eighth-placer (3:35.69) was the world leader, Webb, who in typical type-A Webb fashion was disgusted with his performance and called it a "colossal breakdown""