PROFILE--Distance legend Bernard Lagat to make marathon debut Sunday

U.S running legend Bernard Lagat, now 43, is running his first marathon Sunday in New York City. He says he's hoping to eclipse the American masters record for the distance, the 2:12:20 Meb Keflezighi ran in 2016 at the broiling hot U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles.

The Kenyan-born Lagat has competed in five Olympics, including the last three as a U.S. citizen. On the track, he has personal bests of 3:47:28 in the mile and 12:53:60 in the 5000. On July 4, he won the U.S. 10K road title at the Peachtree Classic in Atlanta.

Friday morning in New York, Lagat made the following key observations about his marathon preparations and goals: 

*** "I ran a couple of half marathons in the 1:02s earlier in the year, so I think I should be able to go through the half fairly comfortably in 65-66, and then finish strong. I like the atmosphere surrounding the marathon, and it's good to have new challenges."

*** "During the training, I sometimes wondered if I was out of my mind. After my first 30K long run, I thought, 'How can anyone go another eight miles?' After my first 20, I was out for a day and a half to recover.  Twenty-two was crazy. But my last 24 finished with a 5:24 final mile, at altitude in Flagstaff, so I believe I am well prepared."

*** "I wasn't a high mileage guy in my 5K training, and I'm not now. I never hit an 80-mile week. But I did lots of hard stuff like 15 milers in the morning followed by 75 minutes of biking or water-jogging in the afternoon. I spent a lot of time on my training, nine weeks in Flagstaff, and I feel very strong now."

*** "My goals are simple. I want to be 'in' the race mentally, I want to find a solid pack to run with, and I'd like to run 2:12 to break Meb's record."
Lagat won the Peachtree 10K on July 4.

*** "I've gotten so much great advice from my friends. Meb told me: 'Don't think old. Think confident and run strong.' Eliud Kipchoge told me: 'Don't worry about the Wall. Block it and all other outside thoughts from your mind. Run tough. Don't let a gap develop between you and your pack. Don't worry about the distance, or you might not fully commit to the race. Your goal must be total commitment."

Here's an Olympic Channel video about Bernard Lagat and his marathon preparation.