Big goals, bold talk from Bernard Lagat By Joe Battaglia, Universal Sports
Bernard Lagat completes the first leg of a potential 3k-5k double, winning the men's 5000 meters for the Americas with a searing 51.6-second final lap. PHILADELPHIA -- Bernard Lagat made his domestic outdoor debut here at the Penn Relays, running the opening 1200m leg of the USA vs. The World distance medley relay in 2:48.30. But Lagat's attention is already set on some pretty lofty goals for the summer. With the Diamond League season set to kick off on Friday, Lagat's bold prediction will be one of the story lines to follow. Here is what he had to say:
How has training gone since indoors and how you feel going into outdoors?
My training since indoors has gone great because I used that training indoors to get the American record in the two-mile and to run so well in the Wanamaker Mile and the 3000m in Albuquerque. Then I wanted to use that training to get the ‘A' standard early, which is why I went to Melbourne in March. I was able to do that and run 13:08. From there, I took one week off for holiday with my family and then went back to Flagstaff, Arizona where I have been doing Altitude training since April 10. We're doing mostly the base again. We're working on the hill sessions. I've only done one track session. Other than that it's just been hills, tempo runs and long runs.
How did getting the ‘A' standard early impact your season?
Not getting the ‘A' standard wouldn't have changed anything. Getting it early makes me flexible to go do training, or to come to a meet like this. If I didn't have that time, I would be at Stanford (for the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational) right now. Having the standard gives me more time to train because I don't have to chase it anymore. All I have to do is go to Nationals and execute.
Is your next meet going to be Nationals or will you race before that?
I am going to go to the Pre Classic and do the two-mile there and then I will come to New York, my second home, to run the 5-K. Mark Wetmore has invited me (to the adidas Grand Prix) and I am really honored by that. After that will come another 5000m at Nationals.
Will you then go to Europe and hit the Diamond League circuit?
First I will go to Tangiers. I love Morocco and Miika loves the sand and the water. I will run two kilometers there on July 16, which will let me sharpen up again. The second-most important race of the year will come after that, the 5000m in Monaco. I want to run 12:49. I am saying it now.
What is the personal significance of running 12:49 in Monaco?
The track is fast. There is no wind. They always assemble a real good group there. In my head, I have just put all eggs into that one basket. Monaco. 5000 meters. If I don't get it there, I don't know when I will get it. It's good to aim high because to me 12:49 is the highest I can put it now.
Is it somewhat tricky to put that type of a goal out there before Daegu because if you fall short, it could be somewhat deflating?
If I put all those eggs in one basket and don't get 12:49, guess what I'm going to get? I'm going to get a PB. My personal best is 12:54.12. I am putting that out there because I know the Kenyans will be running, the Ethiopians will be running, the Moroccans will be running and they will be fast. When I run that race in Monaco, I want to be at the very top.
What do you think about the overall state of the 5000m in the world right now?
I hope Kenenisa Bekele will feel better soon and come back. He's going to be at the World Championships. He's the defending champion in the 10-K and the 5-K so I assume he's going to be there. But then we have Ethiopian and Kenyan guys running fast. I know from indoors there was a guy (Isaiah Koech) who ran 12:53. There was an Ethiopian guy (Yenew Alamirew) who ran 7:27 in the 3000m. Those are the guys I'm going to running against. That is why I am training hard now because in Daegu I will be running against guys who are maybe better than me. I want to put it that way, that they are better than me, so I have to train to beat the best.
Along those lines, how important is it for you to have a performance like you're shooting for in Monaco to maybe make a statement before the World Championships?
That's a big part of it. You go into Monaco, you run 12:49, and you don't have to make any other statements. People are going to be thinking. That is the reason I want to do it in Monaco and will not follow up with another 5000m. If I run 12:49 or 12:50, I don't need it. Not 12:51. That's not good enough
We were thinking of running 12:51 this year but hey Bernard let's do this...