One For The Ages
Not one, not two, but three U.S. national records could fall during the men’s 5,000-meter run in the 105th Millrose Games, February 11 at the Armory’s New Balance Track & Field Center.
Millrose Games' meet director Ray Flynn announced today the completion of a super 5k field that includes eight-time Wanamaker Mile winner and record holder Bernard Lagat, who is attempting to break Galen Rupp's American record of 13:11.44. The two other records at stake in the race will be the collegiate and high school marks.
A fourth record — the Millrose mark of 13:20.4 — could be eclipsed. Suleiman Nyambui of Tanzania established that record in 1981 as he edged Alberto Salazar (13:22.6) to set a World record. Salazar's second-place time was an American record.
"The chance of seeing four records going down in one race makes the 5,000m one of the most exciting ever," Flynn said. "This is what it’s all about."
Joining Lagat in the 5,000m event will be five of the country’s premier collegiate runners, each with an excellent chance to surpass Rupp's college mark of 13:18.12. Those runners are Lawi Lalang, the NCAA Cross Country Champion from the University of Arizona; Leonard Korir, the NCAA Indoor 5,000m champion from Iona; Elliott Heath, the NCAA Indoor 3,000m NCAA champion from Stanford; NCAA Cross Country runner-up Chris Derrick of Stanford; and first-team All-American Steven Sambu of Arizona.
Juan Luis Barrios of Mexico — a training partner with Lagat — is also featured in the event. He is the recent Pan Am Games 5,000m Gold medal winner.
Two of Britain’s most celebrated track & field athletes, Andy Baddeley and Mark Draper, are in the field along with Sam Chelanga, a former NCAA champion at Liberty University in the 5,000m, 10,000m (NCAA record in 2010 with a 27:08.39) and cross country.
Baddeley and Draper are members of the British record-holding relay team in the 4x1500m (14:54.57) and Baddeley, a 2008 Olympian, turned back Lagat to win the 2009 NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile. He also won the New Balance Games elite mile over the weekend with a world-leading 3:57.22.
Last, but certainly not least, is the addition of Edward Cheserek, who ran the second-fastest indoor mile (4:02.21) in U.S. high school history over the weekend. In December the junior from St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, N.J., captured the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championship in San Diego. He will take aim at the 5,000m indoor mark set by Lukas Verzbicas at 14:06.78.
"Kip (Lagat) and Lawi are all training really well, doing some of the best workouts I have seen them do," said James Li from the University of Arizona, coach of both Lagat and Lalang. "They are both very excited about coming to New York to run in the 5000m at Millrose."
Besides being owner of the American Indoor two-mile record, Lagat is the country’s record holder in the 1,500m, mile, and 3,000m as well as the Outdoor 1,500m, 3,000m and 5,000m. Lagat held the Indoor 5,000m record until last February when Rupp clipped his record by a mere 6/100th of a second in Birmingham, England.
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