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Posted: December 19, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this Share

Athletics: Lagat to chase history at the 103rd Millrose Games

INDIANAPOLIS - Two-time Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat will attempt to make history when he competes in the legendary Wanamaker Mile on Friday, January 29, at the 103rd Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The 2007 World Outdoor 1,500m and 5,000m champion, Lagat won his seventh Wanamaker Mile title at last year's Millrose Games, which tied all-time Irish legend and "Chariman of the Boards" Eamonn Coghlan for the most wins ever in that prestigious event. The Wanamaker Mile is the traditional concluding event of the Millrose Games, which is the first stop of USA Track & Field's Visa Championship Series Indoor Circuit that will culminate with the 2010 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships, February 27-28 in Albuquerque, N.M.

The 103rd Millrose Games will be televised live on January 29 on ESPN2 from 8-10 p.m. Eastern Time. The Wanamaker Mile is scheduled to begin at 9:50 p.m.

En route to equaling Coghlan's seven Wanamaker wins at last year's Millrose Games, Lagat knew to expect a move by Olympic bronze medalist Nick Willis. That move came with just over a lap to go on the 145-meter track, when Willis burst past Lagat on the backstretch. Lagat appeared momentarily stunned but quickly responded and got on the New Zealander's shoulder. Just after the bell lap, Lagat began his move and passed Willis on the backstretch, winning in 3:58.44. His historic performance earned Lagat the Team USA Athlete of the Meet award, presented by Visa.

Bernard Lagat's Wanamaker Mile winning times & runners-up
2001: 3:58.26 - Laban Rotich (KEN) 3:58.40
2003: 4:00.36 - Vyacheslav Shabunin(RUS) 4:01.99       
2005: 3:52.87 - Laban Rotich (KEN) 4:00.33
2006: 3:56.85 - Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) 4:01.57
2007: 3:54.26 - Craig Mottram (AUS) 3:54.81
2008: 3:57.51 - Craig Mottram (AUS) 3:57.90
2009: 3:58.44 - Nick Willis (NZL) 3:59.48

During his winning Wanamaker run in 2005, Lagat posted the Millrose meet record for the 1,500 meters with his time of 3:36.1, and his winning mile clocking of 3:52.87 bettered the previous Millrose Games record of 3:53.00 set by Eamonn Coghlan in 1981, and the Madison Square Garden record of 3:52.99 by Noureddine Morceli from 1991.

Other all-time greats that have won the Wanamaker Mile through the years include National Track & Field Hall of Famers Glenn Cunningham (1933, '34, '35, '37, '38, '39), Marty Liquori (1969, '70, '71) and Steve Scott (1982, 1984). International greats that have won the Wanamaker Mile include 1956 Olympic finalist Ron Delany of Ireland (1956, '57, '58, '59), 1968 Olympic 1,500m gold medalist Kip Keino of Kenya (1966), 1980 Olympic Games steeplechase silver medalist Filbert Bayi of Tanzania (1975), all-time Irish great Marcus O'Sullivan (1986, '88, '89, '90, '92) and 1996 Olympic Games 1,500m gold medalist Noureddine Morceli of Algeria (1991, '93).

Lagat, who won the bronze medal in the 1,500m and silver medal in the 5,000m at the 2009 World Athletics Championships in Berlin, Germany, ended the decade with a combined total of seven World Championship and Olympic Games medals. The U.S. record holder in the indoor mile, 1,500m and 3,000 meters, Lagat was the 2002 World Cup 1,500m champion, and owns two U.S. Outdoor 1,500m titles (2006, 2008) and three consecutive U.S. Outdoor 5,000m crowns (2006-2008).

The oldest continuously held event in Madison Square Garden, the Millrose Games have historically featured track and field's greatest athletes in "The World's Most Famous Arena," including Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Yelena Isinbayeva, Gail Devers, Maurice Greene, and countless others.

For ticket information for the 103rd Millrose Games visit: NY.Milesplit.us. Millrose Games tickets are ideal for holiday gift giving!USATF welcomes you to pay with your Visa.

For more information on Bernard Lagat, the 2010 Millrose Games and the 2010 Visa Championship Series, visit: >A HREF="http://www.usatf.org" target="_news">USATF.org or Millrose-Games.com.

About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.

For more information on USATF, visit USATF.org.


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