NEW YORK – Bernard Lagat set a U.S. indoor record in the 2-mile run, breaking a 21-year-old mark to become the American record-holder at the five distances from 1,500 meters to 2 miles.
Lagat (Washington State University) finished in 8 minutes, 10.07 seconds during a college meet at the Armory on Saturday night, beating the mark of 8:15.02 that Doug Padilla set on Feb. 16, 1990, in Los Angeles.
Lagat holds U.S. indoor marks in the mile and 2 mile, and 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000 meters. He is also the U.S. outdoor record holder for 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000.
It was the first time the seven-time Olympic and world championship medalist had run 2 miles indoors as a professional. He earned a $10,000 bonus for winning the race and setting a record.
The Kenyan-born Lagat, 36, lives in Tucson, Ariz.
NCAA indoor 800 champion Robby Andrews of Virginia and former Stanford All-American Russell Brown were in the field as pacesetters, and scholastic star Lukas Verzbicas of Orland Hills, Ill., was attempting to break the high school mark in the race.
College runners at the meet lined the track railing as Andrews and Brown led Lagat through the early laps on the 200-meter track. Andrews dropped off after six laps and Brown took over pacemaking duties. He dropped off after the ninth lap and Lagat increased the pace over the final six circuits around the track.
The crowd began urging on Lagat with two laps left when it became clear he had a shot at setting a record. He crossed the line just after he lapped Verzbicas.
Verzbicas timed 8:43.24, missing the record of 8:40.0 set by Gerry Lindgren (WSU/Rogers High) in February 1964.