Bernard Lagat Runs 2:12:10 Marathon At Age 44 To Break US Masters Record

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Lagat Now Holds Every US Masters Record From 1,500 Through The Marathon

By Robert Johnson
July 6, 2019

Most 44-year-olds would be thrilled to run one 5:02 mile.

Not 44-year-old American Bernard Lagat.

On Sunday (Saturday in the US), Lagat ran 2:12:10 in the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia, which averages out to 5:02.5 per mile for 26.2 miles. The result placed him 7th overall and more importantly broke Meb Keflezighi‘s US masters record (40+) of 2:12:20 in the men’s marathon. 2:12:10 represented a massive personal best of more than 5 minutes for Lagat as the two-time Olympic medalist in the 1,500 ran 2:17:20 in his only other marathon last November in New York.

The only negative about the race was Lagat came up 40 seconds short of the Olympic qualifying standard of 2:11:30 (if he’d placed in the top five, he also would have been credited with the standard but 5th was 2:10:29).

The Race

Lagat got the US masters record by running a negative spit. On a day with temperatures in the low 60s, Lagat ran his first 10k in 31:31 (15:47/15:44) — that’s 2:13 flat pace — and then he ran his slowest 5k segment of the race between 10k and 15k — 15:55. At 15k (47:26), Lagat was just in 19th place and on 2:13:29 pace but he dropped the pace and ran his next three 5k segments in 15:38, 15:31, and 15:39, meaning Lagat hit 30k in 1:34:16 (2:12:36 pace). Lagat crushed the next 5k segment in 15:15 before slowing to 15:47 from 35k to 40k (that’s 5:04.8 mile pace).

There would be no late race collapse for Lagat however. Presumably knowing that Keflezighi’s 2:12:20 US masters record was within reach (Lagat was on 2:12:12 pace at 40k), he picked it up ever so slightly over the final 2.195km from 40k to the finish, as he ran it in 5:01.3 mile pace (6:51 total) to get the US masters record. Lagat’s first half was 66:26 and second half was 65:44.

Amazing. According to LetsRun.com’s Jonathan Gault, Lagat now holds every US masters record from 1,500 through the marathon.

After the race, Lagat said on Instagram that he missed his goal, but was happy with result (despite still only being the third fastest of his siblings).

Update on 7/9: We have done a Q&A with Lagat: LRC 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

The Race For The Win

Ahead of Lagat, there was a nice three-way battle for the win. Japan’s Yuta Shitara, Kenya’s Barnabas Kiptum, and New Zealand’s Zane Robertson all hit 40k in together in 2:01:02 — that’s 2:07:41 pace. Shitara, who won more than a million dollars when he set a then-Japanese record of 2:06:11 at the Tokyo Marathon in 2018, ended up getting the win as he was the only man able to average sub-5 pace for the final 2.195 km, which he covered in 6:48 (4:59.1 pace). He won in 2:07:50 as Kiptum was second in a personal best of 2:08:02 (previous PR of 2:09:19) with Robertson third in 2:08:19, a new national record for New Zealand as he ran seven seconds faster than the 2:08:26 that his twin brother Jake Robertson ran at Lake Biwa last year.

All three men ran faster than anyone ever had in a marathon in Australia as before Sunday’s race the all-comers record was 2:08:42. That being said, all three men were slowing down and ran positive splits as they ran the first half in 63:36.

Shitara was able to win despite suffering from some major chafing in the race:

Making Shitara’s win all the more impressive is that Shitara told Brett Larner of Japan Running News after the race that he did the race mostly as a 40km training run for the upcoming Japanese Olympic Trials, which take place in two months.

Kenya’s Rodah Tanui won the women’s race, where four women broke 2:30, in 2:27:56. *Full Results

Talk about the race on our message board/fan forum:

*MB: Official 2019 Gold Coast Discussion Thread?
*MB: Bernard Lagat runs 2:12:10 to break Meb’s US Masters marathon mark. Amazingly now holds EVERY US masters mark 1500 and up!!!
*MB: Has any elite distance runner shed more blood through their singlet via chafing than Yuta Shitara today?
*
MB: Crazy or Studly? Shitara ran Gold Coast as a TRAINING run for Olympic Trials in 2 months. Says he’ll also do 10k in 15 days
*MB: Thirty days until the Gold Coast marathon, here are sixty profiles, two each day. 

Note: The article initially didn’t have the info about it being mostly a training run for Shitara.


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