Bernard Lagat, who last summer became the first man in history to capture gold medals at both 1500 and 5000 meters in the World Championships, will return to defend his Wanamaker Mile title at the 101st Millrose Games, organizers announced Wednesday.
He will be challenged by Australia’s Craig Mottram, the 2005 World Championships bronze medalist at 5,000 meters who last year battled Lagat in a Wanamaker duel that came down to the final lap. It is a rematch that took shape just moments after that race, when Lagat told the media: “I love New York and I love running in this competition. So why not come again and try for a sixth one? Hopefully, my friend Mottram will be there.”
Lagat and Mottram will be among the headliners on the Madison Square Garden track as “A New Century Begins” on Feb. 1 for the Millrose Games, which last year celebrated its 100th anniversary.
With his fifth victory last year (2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007), the Kenya-born American moved into a tie for third-most Wanamaker titles. A 2008 victory would put him just one win away from tying the legendary Eamonn Coghlan’s record of seven. In 2005, Lagat broke Coghlan’s 24-year-old meet record.
The 101st Millrose Games, the third stop in USA Track & Field’s Visa Championship Series, is set for Friday night, Feb. 1, at Madison Square Garden. Tickets are now available at Ticketmaster (call 212-307-7171, visit www.Ticketmaster.com or at Ticketmaster outlets); or at the Madison Square Garden box office. USATF welcomes you to pay with your Visa. Watch soon for the launch of the event website, www.Millrose-Games.com.