NEW YORK – Bernard Lagat lagged behind his planned pace for the entire 2 miles of his race at the Millrose Games.
He still set the record he came to break.
The 38-year-old Lagat regained the American indoor mark Saturday with yet another victory at Millrose. He finished in 8 minutes, 9.49 seconds at the Armory to beat Galen Rupp’s time by just .23, then fell to the track in exhaustion.
“I kept digging deeper toward the end,” Lagat said.
He had hoped to go under 8:09, but he accomplished his goal – just barely.
Lagat, a former Washington State star, now owns the American indoor records at 1,500 meters, 1 mile, 3,000 meters, 5,000 meters and 2 miles.
Lagat has won a record eight titles in Millrose’s signature event, the Wanamaker Mile. The past two years, though, he has used the storied indoor meet to set a different kind of standard.
He reclaimed the 5,000 record here a year ago. But on the same day, Rupp broke his mark in the 2 miles, so Lagat took on that distance this year at the 106th Millrose Games.
With four laps to go, Lagat knew he was behind record pace but thought, “I still have enough left.
“I was counting on that last lap,” he said.
The Wanamaker was won by one of Lagat’s teammates on the U.S. Olympic 5,000-meter team at last year’s London Olympics. Lopez Lomong, who made the Beijing Games in the 1,500 in 2008, showed he still has the speed in the mile, holding off defending champ Matthew Centrowitz in 3:51.21.