New York Road Runners announced today that eight-time American record holder Bernard Lagat, 38, will make his half-marathon debut at the NYC Half on Sunday, March 17 in New York City.
“I’m excited to be running a half-marathon,” said Lagat in a press release. “It’s a big step up in distance, but I think I’ll be well prepared. Of course, there’s a bit of uncertainty, but that makes it exciting; the challenge is what really appeals to me.”
Lagat is no stranger to running in New York. Lagat won the Fifth Avenue Mile in 2011 after multiple unsuccessful attempts at winning the race. He also owns a record eight wins at the Wanamaker Mile, the most storied event at NYC’s Millrose Games. And he recently reclaimed the American indoor two-mile record in a time of 8:09.49 at this year’s Millrose Games on Saturday, Feb. 16, bringing his current American record tally up to eight.
“New York has been a great city for me for more than a decade,” Lagat said. “I’m proud of all those Wanamaker Mile wins, the record, running the Fifth Avenue Mile, and finally winning there in 2011. I’m really looking forward to the half-marathon next month; I’ve been planning for it during all my training this season.”
Stepping up to the half-marathon is a huge change for the track star, who has proven himself to be a fierce competitor in just about every arena and every distance from 1500 to 5,000 meters. He owns 12 Olympic and World Championship medals, won over the course of 12 years.
“We are simply thrilled to host Bernard Lagat, one of the greatest runners our sport has ever seen, in his debut at the half-marathon distance,” said NYRR President and CEO Mary Wittenberg. “Bernard already has a storied history in New York City; he’s inspired us with his dominance at the Wanamaker Mile and his perseverance at the Fifth Avenue Mile, racing year after year until he finally captured the crown. If he can win the NYC Half, he’ll be the first winner of the Fifth Avenue Mile, the Wanamaker Mile and the NYC Half, a trifecta that would be just another indication of Bernard’s talents and range.”
The NYC Half is New York Road Runners’ marquee spring race, which attracts a deep international field along with thousands of other runners. The 13.1-mile course takes runners from Central Park through Times Square, along the Hudson River and into downtown Manhattan with a finish in the heart of the city’s Financial District.
The NYC Half will air live locally on WABC-TV from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. It will also stream live on ESPN3. As a freelancer for New York Road Runners, I will be covering the NYC Half as part of their “On The Run” broadcast team. “On the Run” will air on www.nyrr.org at 8:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 15 and 16, with a post-race recap Sunday evening.
Karla Bruning is host of On The Run, New York Road Runner’s lifestyle web show about running. She has completed six marathons, two triathlons and trains with the New York Harriers. Follow Karla’s “Notes From a Running Nerd” at RunKarlaRun.com, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning.