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

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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.

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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Posted in: Masters