NEW YORK (Reuters) - Millrose Games marvel Bernard Lagat hopes to demonstrate there is potent life after 40 on the track as he joins a stellar field for the fabled Wanamaker Mile at the New York Armory on Saturday.
Fresh off setting an over-40 masters indoor 3,000 meters record last week in Boston, Lagat looks to add a ninth Wanamaker title to his record total and improve the masters mark of 3:58.15 set in 1994 by Ireland’s Eamonn Coghlin.
Kenyan-born American Lagat, who ran a fast 7:48.33 in Boston for a close second to 25-year-old Ethiopian Dejen Gebremeskel, the 2012 Olympic 5,000 silver medalist, said life on the track is different for him at age 40, in a good way.
“It changes because you have no pressure on you. You just go in there, and have fun and enjoy,” he said on Thursday. “When you are out there training with the young guys ... it brings the best out in you.”
The women’s mile could also produce fireworks set up by a sizzling run two weeks ago by Shannon Rowbury in North Carolina.
Rowbury became the fifth-fastest indoor miler with a 4:22.66 on a flat track. Using a standard conversion chart, the time equates to 4:20.09 on a banked track, like the Armory’s -- a time that would be a U.S. record and third-fastest all-time.
Challenging Rowbury will be last year’s winner Mary Cain, Treniere Moser and Jordan Hasay.
Other featured athletes include Olympic and world champions Sanya Richards-Ross (400m) and decathlete Ashton Eaton (60 hurdles and long jump), and world champion hurdler David Oliver (60 hurdles).
Lagat, who won 1,500m and 5,000m gold at the 2007 world championships, and twice world indoor champion in 3,000m, is not yet limiting his ambition to rewriting the masters record book.
”Beijing 2015 world championships is my priority,“ Lagat told Reuters. ”When I start training in Flagstaff (Arizona) in April, then it will be to get ready for the outdoor season. The 5,000 meters is my focus.
”If all goes well in 2015, then that would set me up for the world indoor championships in Portland, Oregon, in March. I go step by step.
“And then the big one, the Olympics. For any athlete that is the goal, and it is still my goal. It would be great. I would be 41. It will be my fifth Olympics and that would be exciting.”
Editing by Frank Pingue