Bernard Lagat has failed to qualify for a World Championships for the first time since he began representing the U.S. after his switch from Kenya a decade ago.
“It is really, really strange. We had my kids there,” Lagat told media after finishing 10th in the 5000m at the U.S. Championships in Eugene, Ore., on Sunday, before pausing as his voice started cracking. “They came to see me. … I wanted to win it for them. I saw them there, gave me a hug. I was going to do it for them.”
Lagat, 40 and a four-time Olympian, is the only American to win a World Championships 5000m medal, taking gold in 2007 and silver in 2009 and 2011.
Ryan Hill won the U.S. 5000m title in 13:50.69 (race video here), followed by Ben True and Galen Rupp, a duo who also made the U.S. team in the 10,000m on Thursday night. Rupp, the Olympic 10,000m silver medalist, held off Garrett Heath by .07 to earn the final automatic World Championships berth in the 5000m. True still must run the IAAF standard of 13:23 by Aug. 9 to race the Worlds 5000m.
Earlier in the women’s 5000m, Nicole Tully won by .01 to lead three first-time World Championships qualifiers.
Tully emerged from a pack of four in the final straightaway and edged Marielle Hall by .01 in 15:06.44 (race video here). Abbey D’Agostino was third in 15:06.59 to round out the World Championships teams.
Emily Infeld and Shalane Flanagan, who made the Worlds team in the 10,000m on Thursday, were fourth and fifth behind Tully, Hall and D’Agostino.
The women’s race was missing the top two from the 2014 U.S. Championships. Molly Huddle withdrew after she won the 10,000m on Thursday night. Shannon Rowbury opted not to race to focus on the 1500m later Sunday.
A U.S. woman has never won an Olympic or World Championships 5000m medal.