44-Year-Old Bernard Lagat Explains How He Broke The US Masters Record In Men’s Marathon And Went From Marathon Afterthought To Olympic Team Contender

By LetsRun.com
July 9, 2019

On Sunday, 44-year-old American Bernard Lagat lowered his marathon PR from 2:17:20 to 2:12:10 and broke Meb Keflezighi‘s US masters record in the process.

We reached out to Lagat for a quick Q&A to find out what the keys to his success were. Due to the 14-hour time difference, we did it via Twitter DM. You can follow Lagat on Twitter @Lagat1500.

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LRC: How does it feel to be the US masters record holder in the marathon?

Lagat: Absolutely thrilled and humbled at the same time. Still have mad respect for my buddy Meb for inspiring me to challenge myself in the marathon.

LRC: Are you aware that you now have every US masters record from 1500 through the marathon? How special is that?

Very special, indeed! I saw Jonathan’s Twitter post in the morning- listing all the records I’ve attained since turning 40. And, that put a smile on my face.

Bernard Lagat at the 2018 World Half Marathon Press Conference. Photo via @urimiscot

LRC: Was if your plan to got out and run a negative split like that?

The plan was to go out and run smart. That is: to remain disciplined, patient and avoid costly mistakes along the way. I was less aggressive in the 1st half, and that kept me focused on the latter stages of the race and that’s how I managed to run a negative split.

LRC: What do you think the difference was between this highly successful race and NY which didn’t go so well?

In all accounts, NYC was a great breakthrough and a successful debut. For one, I did not drop out even though my body was urging me to do so. But what changed this time around is how I approached my everyday training. Coach Li insisted that all my long runs be done on pavement- especially the 20+ miles long. Had to get used to pounding on the black top- as opposed to training continuously on dirt grounds. Li was spot on on this approach bc I did not ‘hit the wall’ or experienced excessive fatigue the entire 26.2mi.

LRC: Are you disappointed that you didn’t get the Olympic standard?

Not at all. I know I did my best in training. I came down here well prepared and determined to run 2:11:30 or a little under that. It could have been nice to get top 5, but that’s the nature of our sport. You win some- you lose some! I can only look forward to what’s to come and use this experience as a tool to get me to my goals.

LRC: What’s next for you and will you definitely do the Olympic Trials in the marathon?

No plans yet. I’ll be sure to give an update when that happens.


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