Lagat To Attempt World Record Time

FAYETTEVILLE -- Track history could be made today.

Not every day does an athlete proclaim he will attempt to break a world record.

Kenya's Bernard Lagat, an Olympic bronze and silver medalist and 2004 World Indoor champion, has done just that.

"A world record is something that is really strong. It is tough to do," Lagat said. "We have the potential to break it."

At tonight's Powered By Tyson Invitational on the banked track inside the Randal Tyson Track Center, Lagat and a team of Kenyans will take charge at one of the most famous records in the sport.

The 3:48.45 mile.

Last week in New York's Madison Square Garden, Lagat broke the Millrose Games record with a solid pace on a short track with sharp turns. He is confident, if the pace tonight is the same, the longer and typically faster track at the Tyson Center will produce a world mark.

"Running 3:52 on a 145-meter track is really tough," Lagat said. "The effort I put I thought was a 100-percent effort. After going through a race like that, the next race is normally much faster. And, thank goodness it is going to be on a track that is 200 meters, so, it is going to be even better. I have the potential to break the world record tomorrow."

He is the No. 1-ranked miler in the world and is making his first appearance at the Tyson Invitational since 2000, a year which springboarded his career.

Lagat won the bronze medal in the 1500 meters at the 2000 Sydney Games. In 2001 and 2003, he won silver at the World Indoor Championships.

Then, his career took a tumble as allegations of doping forced him out of the 2003 World Outdoor Championships in Paris.

"I was 100 percent. I was relaxed and ready to run every minute. Then, I couldn't run, not because of my own fault, but because of someone else's. It has been my disappointment up until now. It was my disappointment of last year. I still have that pain and that pain can not be solved."

He proved himself clean soon after and has used it as motivation ever since.

At the 2004 World Indoor Championships in Zurich, Switzerland, Lagat won gold in the 3000, a event which is twice as long as his specialty.

"For me that was the best moment and proved to the world this is the clean Bernard Lagat. A clean athlete, who has always been clean and will always remain clean. And I am a world champion for the cleanness of the sport," Lagat said. "Right now I am running for myself and my true friends."

Later in 2004 at the Athens Olympics, Lagat set another goal for himself, to win the gold medal in the 1500. In the finals, Lagat finished second to longtime distance great and friend Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco, who currently holds the world mark Lagat hopes to break tonight, in one of the historic moments at the Olympics.

"Whenever you have an obstacle in your way use that to help you to achieve your goals. When I got the gold medal in 2004 and the silver medal at the Olympics, the past is forgotten. I have to continue running fast and running hard," Lagat said.

Lagat's ultimate goal continues to be winning Olympic gold and he says he will try one more time in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Like his predecessor El Guerrouj, who didn't win his gold medal until his third Olympics, it will also be Lagat's third Olympic games. He'll be looking for three medals in three Olympics.

In 2008, Lagat turns 33.

Lagat's rise as the preeminent distance star came from humble beginnings in a small village in west Kenya. As one of 10 children, Lagat lived in a small house with no electricity and walked a mile to school every day with no shoes.

Friday, school is only eight laps around the Tyson Center track.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories