Haron was raised in Kenya and moved to the United States in 2004. He went to Texas Tech University. He joined the army in 2015 and is an electrician. He's run a 3:52 mile as well as a 61 minute half marathon.
What race did you qualify for the Olympic trials and what was the moment like when you qualified?
I qualified at the Berlin marathon which was my first marathon. I did okay but the training was tough and I feel like I got to the line tired. My legs were heavy from the first step but I soldiered on for 2:13.22.
Describe the experience competing against the best marathon runners in the United States.
Atlanta was very hilly and every runner came prepared for the hills. It was an honor to compete with the best of the best. I think the Atlanta track club did an amazing job with the aid stations and the hospitality. I have never been at a race where every step you're hearing your name, there were no quiet stretches. I think it was better than any major or championship I have watched or attended.
What lessons did you take away from the race?
This was my second marathon and I think I learned so much. Don't focus on someone else's race but on your own. Most of the big groups were focused on Jared Ward since he's known to pace himself well. From mile 18 to 21 there were 15 runners chasing us in the front pack but no one took the initiative to say we need to go now. I remember Jared telling me they were coming. When Riley took off at mile 20 I kind of debated if I should go with him or not. I choose to stay which I regret. I know quite a few other guys went with him and that is when the group broke. At mile 22 I realized that Jared was having a bad day that is the time I made a move but it was too late. I picked up Chelanga and few other guys. With 1 mile to go I just shut it down and enjoyed the race and the growth. Scott Fauble decided to go for top ten. There was no danger behind me. I wish I would have been a little more aggressive. I was in great shape coming into the trials. I will make some adjustments and try to run under 2:09. I also realized that you have to keep your 10K speed while you ramp up the marathon training mileage. I will remember not to overthink things when I get to mile 18 and just go.
How did you finish compared to your expectations?
Of course I wanted to make the team but unfortunately I didn’t. Congratulations to Rupp, Riley and Abdi. Also to my teammates Korir and Maiyo.
What did you think of teammate Augustus Maiyo's performance?
Maiyo had a phenomenal race. That was his best race. He took the bull by the horns. I was glad to see him a have break through and use his experience well.
What does your weight training consist of and which exercise do you feel helps your running the most?
I lift and do an intense core workout twice a week designed by my strength coaches. We lift heavy on Tuesday and light on Friday. I like doing plyometrics on easy days and cross training.
What's the weirdest or funniest thing that ever happened to you while running?
I have Been running for more that 16 years so a lot of funny things have happened. One that I can remember is someone pulling a gun on me and telling me that I should never run by certain country roads in Texas. I was attacked by pitbull's that ripped all of my clothes. I've had a beer can thrown at me. The funny one was recently during a 40K long run that I had to poop beside the road while some women where looking. I didn’t want my teammates to get far and the guy who was driving the car with our liquids was trying to give me some cover using the car.
What's your favorite types of fuel before a race?
I like sword and Maurten. Sword is easy on my stomach. Maurten has more carbs.
What's your biggest pet peeve?
People that talk over other people in a conversation.
What's it like to represent the Army on one of the biggest stages?
It’s great to be part of the Army team. From CEO Wilson, Commander, Colonel Sean Ryan, the medical team and the coaches. I’m proud to be associated with all of them.
Can you explain what happened with being a citizen and soldier but unable to compete for the US?
Everything is good now. I was just stuck on a change of allegiance tangle when the IAAF decided to freeze representing another nation. There was a deal where they came up with new rules. Unfortunately I missed 3 USA teams that I had qualified for but I've put that in the back of my mind. Now it’s about next one.
In your free time when you’re not running, what hobby's do you enjoy?
I like to watch soccer and to read coaching books. I like to study coaches philosophies because I’m thinking of coaching after i finish running.
What's the most important tip you like to give new runners?
I like to tell them to have a plan, believe in the plan and be consistent with the plan. The more you push boundaries, someone in front or with you in this competitive sport will crack.
When it comes to running, what would you say is your biggest strength and weakness?
My biggest strength is not giving up. I have lots of up a downs but still come back each time. I’m also very coachable and always wanting to learn. My greatest weakness is tapering. I always feel I’ll lose if I rest. I have learned to take a breath and rest.
Who is someone you look up to in the sport?
I have always looked up to Benard Lagat. Not cause we have the same last name but because he's consistent and a gentleman. He always gives me advice. After I fell down at mile 6 of the Olympic trials and came back to the group, he psyched me up to forget about the fall and to keep competing. We had like a 5 minute conversation. Also when we finished he told me that he believed I would have PR'd if I didn't fall. I also met Suguru Osako from Japan in Kenya and we became great friends. He a very supportive guy.
Who is one of your favorite athletes to train with?
Suguru Osako. He's very serious with his training and willing to help people around him to get better. I have also trained with Eliud Kipchoge. He actually gave me a program to follow for my first marathon.
Did you ever imagine you'd be where you are today in the sport?
This sport has given me so much. I've received an education, traveled the world, met great people, made friends, helped many come to US colleges, changed my family lifestyle and helped the community back in Kenya.
Click the links below to keep up with Haron Lagat