Lagat’s 3:56 mile at Millrose not quite a world age-group record

In a comment, Chuck Shields asked if Bernard Lagat’s 3:56.34 mile victory in Friday’s Millrose Games was an M35 world indoor record. Bernard turned 35 in mid-December, so it’s a great question. But the answer is no. In checking the IAAF Top Lists for recent years, I found an indoor mile mark of 3:53.18 for Kenya’s Laban Rotich, when he was 36. That’s high on the all-time list, so I’m betting it’s the record. At the moment, WMA’s indoor records don’t even list an M35 mile record. (The page lists M35 records for every other event. So go figure.)

Bernard becomes the new Chairman of the Boards (a misnomer, since wooden boards aren't used anymore at Madison Square Garden).

Bernard’s mile certainly betters the listed USATF age-group record of 4:25.27 by Chad Newton in 2008, but I’ve questioned that mark. (In fact, Charlie Kern won at Landover nationals last year in 4:18.89. So why isn’t that the listed record?) Steve Scott ran 3:59.8 indoors at age 36, so that should have been the American record.

I’d give Bernard credit for the M35 American record. But if he didn’t make out the paperwork, it won’t count.

Just FYI: the best M35 outdoor mile on record, according to statgod Peter Matthews of Britain, is 3:52.04 by Ireland’s Marcus O’Sullivan in 1997.

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January 31, 2010

One Response

  1. peter taylor - February 1, 2010

    Yes, Ken, you are two steps ahead of me. Without reading the rest of your post, I went to to get the official American M35 indoor mark — it is indeed 4:25.27 by Chad Newton. The fact that Charlie Kern of Illinois ran 4:18.89 last year at Landover nationals apparently did not (and does not) matter.

    On a related note, I’m already looking forward to next year’s Hartshorne Mile, and as I noted in an earlier post we were confronted with a bit of a problem this year at that event. Both of the records for men in which we had a runner with world record potential (M45 and M60) were not correct — John Hinton’s mark from Hartshorne in 2008 and Kevin Solomon’s mark from our indoor nationals in the same year were not shown at as world marks even though they were better than the listed standard (and Hinton’s is the listed American mark). Moreover, both marks had been widely publicized (Hinton’s especially so), were FAT, held at major venues in national-level competitions, etc., etc., making it hard to say that they had not actually been achieved.

    Now that Monica Joyce (1984 Olympian for Ireland) has broken Maureen de St. Croix’s world mark in W50 (see another story on this blog) it will really get complicated at Hartshorne, as I truly doubt that Monica’s record will be accepted. I guess the best and safest thing to say is “broke the listed record” when someone crosses the line.

    As an occasional announcer, it does bother me that I have to keep a dual set of books — one for actual and one for listed. For example, if someone runs 4:22.50 at Boston this year in M35 I guess I should say “broke the listed mark, did not break the mark by Charlie Kern that was set last year at nationals, and is also inferior to Bernard Lagat’s sub-4 this year at Millrose.” Oh, well.

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