Bernard Lagat sets marathon debut

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Bernard Lagat, a five-time Olympian who in Rio became the oldest U.S. Olympic runner in history, will make his marathon debut in New York on Nov. 4.

“A few years ago, I was able to watch the TCS New York City Marathon from one of the lead vehicles, and I knew that when I ran a marathon someday, I wanted it to be in New York,” the 43-year-old Lagat said, according to a press release.

Lagat retired from track racing after placing fifth in the Rio Olympic 5000m, where he was briefly a bronze medalist before two disqualifications were overturned. Lagat previously earned Olympic 1500m silver and bronze competing for Kenya in 2000 and 2004.

If Lagat continues racing marathons through 2020, he could try to tie Angolan João N’Tyamba‘s record for Olympic participations by a male runner at six and become the fourth-oldest Olympic male runner.

“My mind isn’t going that far yet,” Lagat said, according to SI.com. “I’m just going to take this one at a time. My training partners have asked me, ‘If you are successful in New York, will you run the marathon for 2020?’ and I say, ‘I don’t know.’

“I want to get ready for New York City first, and whatever happens there will determine 2020.”

Lagat finished 31st in the world half marathon championships on March 24.

Lagat joins a New York field that includes defending champion Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya, two-time Boston Marathon winner Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and four-time U.S. Olympian Abdi Abdirahman.

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