Bernard Lagat, a two-time Olympic 1500m medalist and six-time World Championships medalist, sounds like he’ll be done with top-level track and field competition after the Rio Olympics, whether or not he makes a fifth Olympic team.
“After the summer of 2016, I don’t plan to retire, but my track career will be over completely,” Lagat, 41, said, according to the IAAF. “I have to be honest to myself; I’ll be nearly 42 by then so I’ll be very happy to run.”
Lagat, the American record holder in the 1500m and 5000m, could become the oldest U.S. Olympic runner this year, according to sports-reference.com, but it will be a tough task to finish top three at the U.S. trials in July.
His last Olympic medal came in 2004 and his last Worlds medal in 2011. And he placed 10th in the 5000m at the 2015 U.S. Championships, missing his first Olympic or Worlds team since he started representing the U.S. (after Kenya) in 2005.
Lagat said he was hampered in training by a virus ahead of the 2015 U.S. Championships, according to the IAAF.
“I would have retired at the end of the 2015 season, but something inside was telling me, ‘Why retire one year before the Olympics?'” Lagat said, according to the IAAF. “‘You can still do this.'”
Lagat is the same age as Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj, the 1500m and mile world record holder who retired after the Athens 2004 Olympics. El Guerrouj, who relegated the then-Kenyan Lagat to 2004 Olympic 1500m silver, joined the IAAF Hall of Fame in 2014.
What’s ahead of Lagat in retirement? Road racing.
“I’ve always said I want to know what 26 miles feels like,” Lagat said, according to the IAAF. “But it’s not going to be competitive, I won’t be doing it for the money, it’s just to say that I ran a marathon.”