NAIROBI, Kenya, January 30- Worlds silver medallist and Commonwealth champion, Silas Kiplagat held off Madison Square Garden legend Bernard Lagat at the inaugural US Open Track and Field meeting in New York over the weekend.
Kiplagat burst through the last curve heading to the homestretch and held off the Kenyan born American on the finishing-straight to deny the home favourite a ninth Mile win at the arena at the meet that attracted nearly 6,000 fans.
It was the first event organised by the US athletics governing body at the venue that traditionally hosted the Millrose Games and the famed Wanamaker Mile that have moved to a new location in Armory.
For the first nine of 11 laps, it looked like many Wanamaker races of yore where Lagat traded the lead with Kiplagat and Daegu finalist, Daniel Komen.
Clipping off quarter mile splits of 1:00 and 1:59, the three of them built a tension in the stands that burst into loud cheering as Lagat took the lead on the backstretch of the penultimate lap – just as he had said he wanted to do in pre-race interviews.
Komen faded, leaving a two-man race as Lagat led Kiplagat toward the bell lap.
But then Kiplagat blew past Lagat heading into the final lap, a move that Lagat said later surprised him. Kiplagat, with Lagat on his heels, held on to win by hardly a meter – 4:00.65 to Lagat’s 4:00.92.
In Eldoret, unheralded Edwin Kipyego blew away a classy field to win the 21st edition of the Discovery Half Marathon on Sunday.
The 24 year-old Kipyego emerged the best in a stellar line-up that included the London Marathon champion Emmanuel Mutai, by clocking 1:02:30 during the race held under clear skies.
Mutai who will defend his title in April trooped home in 1:02:55.
– Sourced from Letsrun.com and IAAF