Endurance: Edward Cheserek

Records fall at 106th Millrose Games

February, 18, 2013
2/18/13
9:39
AM ET
Bernard LagatAP Photo/Frank Franklin IIBernard Lagat regained the U.S. record in the 2-mile by running 8:09.49 on Saturday at The Armory.
(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

NEW YORK -- In a span of nearly 85 minutes at the Millrose Games on Saturday night at The Armory, a total of seven records were broken in the distance disciplines, making for one of the most memorable renditions of the meet in its 106-year history. Five of seven evening races measuring 600 meters and up saw either an American, junior, collegiate or meet record go, causing the capacity crowd to stand for a majority of the evening session.

Watch ESPN3's replay of the meet Video

"The fans were amazing. Tonight was a special night," said four-time Olympian Bernard Lagat, champion of the men's two-mile. Aiming to break the U.S. mark of 8:09.72, Lagat would need every last second to surpass Galen Rupp as America's fastest 2-miler, a title he held previously.

Through the mile in roughly 4:06, Lagat knew he needed to negative split the rest of the way if he wanted to hold every American record from the 1,500 to the 5,000. Ever so slightly pushing on the accelerator, Lagat found himself alone in front with the Oregon Track Club Elite's Evan Jager and Andrew Bumbalough, as well as Canadian Cam Levins, in tow.

"When it showed me with four laps to go, I still thought I had enough left," said Lagat. "But I was behind [record pace] for a long time."

Only with a quarter mile remaining did Lagat create a buffer ahead of the trio. With the bell signaling one lap left, Lagat used the kick that earned him two Olympic medals to unleash a 28.82 circuit, just getting him under Rupp's mark. The 38-year-old had timed 8:09.49, a mere .23 ahead of Rupp's best.

"A record is a record," said Lagat, accompanied by his smiling son Miika. "I've always said the record is a measure. And the fast times are a measure of how excellent you've been."

The records in the 2-mile discipline didn't end with Lagat, though. Just as the champion was drifting into lane two and breaking the tape, a bound and determined Edward Cheserek was taking off on his last lap. The Kenyan from St. Benedict's Prep in nearby Newark, N.J., was gunning for Gerry Lindgren's 49-year-old prep mark of 8:40.0.

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