Millrose Men’s Recap: Bernard Lagat Amazes Yet Again, Will Leer Stuns The Wanamaker Mile Field And A Frenchman Breaks The American Record

February 15, 2014

*2014 Millrose Women’s Recap here

The men’s mid-d and distance action was pretty spectacular at the 2014 Millrose Games. In the 2k, Bernard Lagat won yet another Millrose title and set a new American record in the process in a race where three other Americans also broke the old American record, Will Leer ran a lifetime PR of 3:52.89 to stun the field in the Wanamaker mile and get past Lawi Lalang, who set a new collegiate record, and one man ran faster than the American record in the 1,000 but he wasn’t American – France’s 21-year-old Pierre-Ambroise Bosse.

Men’s 2,000: Bernard Lagat Sets American Record In A Sensational Race Where Three Other Americans Also Dipped Under Steve Scott’s Old Record

Bernard Lagat is age 39 and he’s still setting American records.

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He won a scintillating men’s 2,000 tonight in 4:54.73 as he used a 27.1 last 200 and 56.3 last 400 to give himself both victory and an American record in a race where the Canadian record fell to runner-up Cam Levins (4:55.35 – the fastest ever by a Canadian indoors or out was Nate Brannen‘s 4:59.56 from last summer) and the third, fourth and fifth placers, David Torrence (4:56.99), Andrew Bumbalough (4:57.35) and Evan Jager (4:57.56) all broke Steve Scott‘s old American record of 4:58.6 which had stood for 33 years (1981).

Tonight, after the race was rabbitted very evenly for 1,200 in 2:58.5, Lagat took over the pacing duties. The pace slowed a bit to 30.1 but then he ran a 29.5 as the hit 1,600 in 3:58.5. Lagat kept leading and then ran a 29.2 penultimate lap. He was on record pace but the problem was so was a slew of other guys in the field. Had Lagat unintentionally rabbitted them to the American record and set himself up for failure?

No, there was a lot more in the tank for Lagat as his 27.1 was a thing of beauty.

After the race, Lagat said with three laps to go he knew he had both the race and AR as he felt great.

He gave the rabbit Pat McGregor props for taking the first 1,200 very evenly. It doesn’t get much more even than 59.6, 59.5, 59.4.

Lagat said he was confident coming in but knows he’s got a big battle at USAs given the fact that Ryan Hill and Galen Rupp are in supreme shape right now. He even mentioned Will Leer as a guy who could be a factor if he ops for the 3,000 (and that was before Leer won the Wanamaker mile).

We also caught up with two of the three American men who ran faster than Scott. David Torrence, who said he’ll run the 1,500 at USAs next week and Andrew Bumbalough, who has really enjoyed not going to altitude this winter. All three interviews are below.

Note: the outdoor US record belongs to Jim Spivey at 4:52.44.

Paavo Nurmi Men’s 2,000m Run (Elite)

PL Athlete Team Final
1 Lagat, Bernard Nike 4:54.74
2 Levins, Cam Nike Oregon Project 4:55.35
3 Torrence, David Nike 4:56.99
4 Bumbalough, Andrew Nike 4:57.35
5 Jager, Evan Nike 4:57.56
6 Cabral, Donn Nike 5:00.18
7 Huling, Dan Nike 5:02.41
8 Kisorio, Silas Codrington Elite 5:03.77
9 Mahoney, Travis New Jersey-New York TC 5:10.25
McGregor, Pat Slalom Consulting DNF

Benard Lagat

Andrew Bumbalough

David Torrence

Wanamaker Mile: Will Leer Gets The Win in 3:52.47!!

The men’s Wanamaker mile was won by Will Leer in a new lifetime personal best of  3:52.47 as he came out of nowhere on the final turn and blew by Lawi Lalang and Nick Willis to get the win. Lalang was second in a new collegiate record of 3:52.88.

The early splits were 57.8 and 1:56.30 for 1/4 and 1/2. At 3/4 (2:54.83), the pace was still hot and Lawi Lalang was doing the leading with pre-race favorite Nick Willis on his heels. Will Leer was just seventh – the last of the guys in the lead pack. The pace slowed a bit on the penultimate lap as everyone gathered themselves for the finish (29.9). And what a last lap it was.

Our eyes were focused on Lalang and Willis. Willis, with his effortless stride, ran right behind Lalang as they entered the final turn. Lalang went to the outside of lane one to try to keep Willis from going wide but Willis, who told us after the race he was feeling the pace, said he knew he didn’t have enough in the tank to go by Lalang on the outside. He tried to come by on the inside and may have stepped once on the infield.

As Lalang and Willis battled, Leer roared up on the outside and went by them like a locomotive.

Where had he been?

Leer revealed after the race that he got a rush of adrenaline at the bell. He’d been zoning out during the race and actually thought there was still 2 laps remaining. He did the opposite of what Jenny Simpson did in counting the laps. From feeling somewhat tired because he thought he had two laps left, to feeling great becuase there was only one, Leer said he just realized he had a lot of ground to make up and needed to get going.

Boy did he.

Post-race interviews with Leer, Willis and Manzano below.

The 2012 Olympic silver medallist, Leo Manzano, amazed us once again. A week after looking awful late last week and running 4:04, he was right with the aggressive lead pack through 1,200 today but just didn’t have much left on the last lap.

We have a separate piece up about this being Alan Webb’s last race: Alan Webb Retires From Track And Field

NYRR Men’s Wanamaker Mile (Elite)


PL Athlete Team Final
1 Leer, Will Nike 3:52.47
2 Lalang, Lawi University Of Arizona 3:52.88
3 Willis, Nick Adidas 3:53.02
4 Brannen, Nate Saucony 3:54.32
5 O’Hare, Chris Scotland 3:54.66
6 Miller, Craig New Balance 3:55.09
7 Manzano, Leo United States of America 3:56.73
8 Garn, Jesse Binghamton University 4:01.10
9 Erassa, Kirubel Oklahoma State University 4:02.54
10 Gregorek, Johnny Columbia University 4:04.70
11 Webb, Alan Bowerman Athletic Club 4:06.11
12 Batty, Miles Asics 4:10.12
Gagnon, Brian New Jersey-New York TC DNF

Will Leer

Leer said:

“I kind of just lost track of laps. I couldn’t hear a split.  It was just so loud in here, everyone was going nuts. I sort of felt like I was pretty tired and I said, ‘The people in front of me seem like they are falling off the lead pack a little bit. I should probably make a move up here.’ And then I was going by Nate [Brannen], going by Leo [Manzano], coming up on Craig Miller and I hear ding, ding, ding, ding and I thought ‘Oh crap! I really got to go, I’ve got a lot left.’ … To be able to pull out a win here is absolutely enormous and gives me a great amount of confidence going into [USAs].”

Nick Willis

Leo Manzano

Men’s 1,000: A Frenchaman Gets The American Record

The talk yesterday by American Nick Symmonds was that the American record would be broken today. Symmonds was right – the winning time was faster than the American record of 2:17:86 – but the winner was France’s 21-year-old World Championships finalist Pierre-Ambroise Bosse in 2:17.63.

The top American was Erik Sowinski a full second back as Bosse dominated.

Quick Thought #1: The pace wasn’t overly quick at the beginning as the first 400 was 55+ and 800 was just 1:50.1 for Bosse but two Americans likely to contend for the 1,000 record, World Championships silver medallist at 800 Nick Symmonds and Robby Andrews (who ran 2:17:90 last year), were nowhere near the lead. Symmonds ran in fifth for much of the early going and Robby Andrews was running in dead last. There was next to zero chance they’d get the record given how slow they went out.

Quick Thought #2: Seeing Robby Andrews so far back was disconcerting since we picked him to get the American record in this one. When we out loud said, “What is Robby Andrews doing?” a reporter near us turned to us and said, “He’s finished in my book. It seems as if the bigger the race the worse he does these days.”

That’s a bit harsh but this certainly wasn’t a step forward for Andrews. After running with Duane Solomon last week, he ran with no confidence this week.

Quick Thought #3: Post race interview with the big 21-year-old talent Bosse, who revealed despite his good form he isn’t doing World Indoors this year, appears below. Bosse said the French record is Mehdi Baala‘s 2:17.01.

A post-race interview with Symmonds also appears below. He is hoping to make the US team to Worlds.

Mel Sheppard Men’s 1,000m Run (Elite)

PL Athlete Team Final
1 Ambroise Bosse, Pierre Nike 2:17.63
2 Sowinski, Erik Nike 2:18.63
3 Symmonds, Nick Brooks Beasts 2:18.87
4 Rutt, Mike Hoka/NJ-NY TC 2:19.67
5 Andrews, Robby Adidas 2:20.57
6 Mulder, Tyler Oregon Track Club 2:21.20
7 Webb, Sharif Fit Fast 2:25.18
Scherer, Matt Brooks Beasts DNF



*2014 Millrose Women’s Recap here

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