Men’s 3,000: Bernard Lagat Proves Age Is Just A Number As He Puts On A Clinic For Galen Rupp And Ryan Hill In The Last Lap To Win In Albuquerque

Rupp And Hill Battle For Second With Rupp Taking The Last Spot To Poland

February 22, 2014

Albuquerque, NM – We guess in the end, the final results to the men’s 3,000 at the 2014 US Indoor Track and Field Championships ended up as people would have expected.

Bernard Lagat first, Galen Rupp second, Ryan Hill third, Lopez Lomong fourth.

But to say this race went as expected would be totally inaccurate. Both the pace and the 39-year-old Lagat’s ultimate margin of victory were stunning. Lagat simply destroyed both Hill and Rupp over the final 200 to win by two-plus seconds in 7:46.01 as Rupp fought back from third to second on the final 200 to punch his ticket to Poland as the runner-up in 7:48.19 with Hill third in 7:49.62.

Fast Early Pace

Coming in, people assumed a 3,000 at 5,000 feet altitude was bound to be tactical, right?

US Indoor Champs Men's 3K A 4:10 first mile breaks most of the pack and leaves the top 5 you expected.

Well, the first lap was 30.00. But guys are just getting out fast to get out of traffic, right? Nope, the first 400 was 60.85 and first 1,600 4:10.38. Andy Bumbalough was making this a true race as he served as the unofficial rabbit for 2,000 (5:13.07). Hill then went to the lead and ran a 64 400 (Bumbalough faded badly, finishing 8th in 8:12 before ultimately being DQed). Just before the end of that 400, Galen Rupp went to the lead with just over 600 remaining.

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Rupp dropped the pace down to 31.12 for the next 200, but Lagat was feeling good and threw down a 29.40 penultimate lap to grab the lead. At the bell, Lagat was about to put on a clinic on how to finish off a race.

Hill was .13 behind Lagat and Rupp another quarter-second behind. Lagat was in total control as he slammed home a 27.78 final lap to win convincingly. Neither Rupp or Hill could break 30 (Rupp ran 30.01 and Hill 31.26).

Quick takes, interviews, results and the screen shots from the race appear below. Click on the photos to get a larger version.

Quick Thought #1: Bernard Lagat still has it. At age 39, he is simply incredible. He destroyed two studs who are still in their 20s by more than 2 seconds over the final 200. NBCSN commentator Tim Hutchings was very impressed after watching that one, “I’ll tell you what, that could be world title number four in a few weeks.” With Hagos Gebrihwet and Dejen Gebremeskel in there, it’s not going to be easy (Lagat was only 4th in a 3k in Germany on February 1 with neither of them in the race but that was his opener). But Lagat the reigning indoor champ certainly has a chance.

Quick Thought #2: After this one was over, the bad blood that insiders have long known to exist between Nike coaches Jerry Schumacher and Alberto Salazar reached a new level as the two had to be restrained after Salazar expressed his disapproval for what he thought was Schumacher’s athletes trying to gang up to beat Galen Rupp.

Nike coaches Alberto Salazar and Jerry Schumacher have heated exchanged, have to be separated after men’s 3000 at 2014 USA Indoors
MB: Post-race day 1 USA Indoor drama: Nike coaches Alberto Salazar and Jerry Schumacher have to be physically restrained.

The ironic thing is if Bumbalough was the unofficial rabbit here for 2k – a fast pace in our minds likely helps Rupp, who has been setting American records all Winter. Maybe Schumacher’s guys realized Rupp did lose in an honest race two years ago (Lagat won in 7:47) and thought he doesn’t do well in an honest race at altitude.

On a related note, Bumbalough was DQed after the race for “impeding an athlete.” We’ll try to figure out on Sunday, given the altercation mentioned above, whether the DQ was the results of a Salazar protest similar to the one that came from him in the women’s 3000 with Gabe Grunewald and Jordan Hasay. Update: We received no official response from USATF, but in his post-1500 interview Ryan Hill talked about the 3,000 and said that Bumbalough was DQ’d because of contact with Rupp, but that looking at the video he didn’t think it was justified. And in our article on the women’s DQ controversy, Gabe Grunewald‘s coach Dennis Barker said, “After the men’s 3000, [Alberto Salazar] came storming back there red-race and went after Jerry Schumacher. He had a lot going on – he was popping down protests at 100 dollars a pop – one for Gabriele and then one they did to DQ Andrew Bumbalough.”

Lagat had a lot of guys to get around on the last lap Lagat had a lot of guys to get around on the last lap

Quick Thought #3: It was a good thing Lagat crushed Rupp and Hill at the end here as there were a lot of guys getting lapped an many of them didn’t get out of the way. USATF should tell the guys, “If you are about to get lapped, get off the track or get out in lane 4.”

Look on the right at the carnage that Lagat had to get through at the end of this one. We’ve always criticized USATF for not filling the fields at the Olympic Trials when they needlessly have left lanes open when people could put on their resume they were an Olympic Trials qualifier.

Here they let everyone in and the it messed up the appreciation of Lagat’s dominance. Casual viewers likely didn’t realize how dominant Lagat was as there were tons of lapped runners between him and Rupp/Hill. Let’s hope this lapping debacle doesn’t give them ammo for restricting the field sizes at the Trials in the future.

Quick Thought #4: In post-race interviews (scroll down), Lagat explains the genius behind his tactics, Rupp talks about being out of qualifying position with a lap to go and Bumbalough explains why the hot early pace. (Separate article: LRC Men’s 3K Interviews: The Genius Behind Bernard Lagat’s Tactics, Galen Rupp Talks About Being In 3rd With A Lap To Go And Andrew Bumbalough Explains The Hot Early Pace)

Quick Thought #5: Rupp officially said he won’t be doing the 1,500 tomorrow now that he’s already on the team for Poland. He did another one of Salazar’s patented post-race workouts today and you can read a little more on that here.

*Lap by lap splits can be found here.

Place Athlete Time
1 Bernard Lagat
2 Galen Rupp
3 Ryan Hill
4 Lopez Lomong
5 Ben Blankenship
Nike / Oregon TC Elite
6 Donald Cabral
7 William Nelson
8 Jim Spisak
9 Craig Forys
New York Athletic Club (NYAC)
10 Dan Lowry
Playmakers Elite/New Balance
11 Aric Van Halen
12 Daniel Quigley
Oregon TC Elite
13 Nicholas Hilton
Team Run Flagstaff
14 Tim Ritchie
Boston Athletic Association
15 Zachary Zarda
16 Tommy Schmitz
Speed Factory Athletics
17 Craig Miller
New Balance
DQ Andrew Bumbalough
DNF Adam Vess
Team Run Flagstaff

*Race Photo Gallery

*Race Video here

Interviews *Separate Article Here: LRC Men’s 3K Interviews: The Genius Behind Bernard Lagat’s Tactics, Galen Rupp Talks About Being In 3rd With A Lap To Go And Andrew Bumbalough Explains The Hot Early Pace

Full Photo Gallery Here

Screenshot 2014-02-22 at 17.59.26 Screenshot 2014-02-22 at 17.59.18 Screenshot 2014-02-22 at 17.58.49 Screenshot 2014-02-22 at 17.58.39 Screenshot 2014-02-22 at 17.58.25 Screenshot 2014-02-22 at 17.58.21 Screenshot 2014-02-22 at 17.57.59 Screenshot 2014-02-22 at 17.57.56 Screenshot 2014-02-22 at 17.54.42 Screenshot 2014-02-22 at 17.51.12

Lagat had a lot of guys to get around on the last lap Lagat had a lot of guys to get around on the last lap
Daddy still can kick. Lagat USA 3000m Champion at 39. Daddy still can kick. Lagat USA 3000m Champion at 39.

Pre-Race: LRC A Dream 3,000: The Top 5 American Indoor 3,000 Men Are All Racing 2014 USAs Four of the top five all-time at 3,000m – Galen Rupp, Bernard Lagat, Ryan Hill and Andrew Bumbalough – will square off with Lopez Lomong for the two World Championships spots.

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