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Former Olympian to participate in Robert’s Run, Aug. 5-6

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Former Olympian and professional runner Bernard Lagat will participate in Robert’s Run in Hamilton, Aug. 5 and 6.

Lagat will be the key speaker at the Robert’s Run runner’s clinic presentation at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 5, and will run during the 5K and will welcome runners across the finish line for the 10K and 1-mile run on Saturday.

The Play Like Robert Foundation in Hamilton organizes the annual Robert’s Run event, honoring the life of 9-year-old Robert A. Leonardi, whose life was taken by a hit and run driver in 2019.

Race Director Doug Martin said having Lagat attend the Robert’s Run event is an honor.

“We wanted to do a race ambassador and we were able to get Bernard Lagat which is kind of remarkable,” Martin said. “He is the Michael Jordan of track and field and for him to be here as our first ambassador is kind of crazy.”

Lagat’s records are impressive.

According to the Robert’s Run press release, “He is the American record holder in the 1500 meter and indoor mile. He owns the American record for the 1500-meter, 3000-meter and 5000-meter outdoor events. Lagat is the third-fastest 1500-meter runner of all time. He is a five-time Olympian, having competed in the 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 games. He earned a bronze medal in the 1500-meter run in 2000 in Sydney, Australia. He earned a silver medal in the 1500-meter run in Athens, Greece, in 2004. He has earned multiple medals including eight gold medals during his professional career in multiple world championship events.” 

Martin said Lagat coaches at the University of Arizona and will give a coaching clinic to anyone who signs up for the race. On Friday, Lagat will tell his story, discuss racing and training strategies and motivation, and will have a question-and-answer time.

“Hearing from him will be a real treat,” Martin said.

After the race on Saturday, participants will be able to meet Lagat and pose for a photo with the running legend. 

“It will be a really cool event,” Martin said. “People can go online and sign up for the race. They can choose their distance and this year we are offering a 10K as well. If runners sign up before July 30, they are guaranteed a T-shirt. We are trying to get people to sign up early so we know what sizes to make.”

Robert’s Run is in its fourth year and virtual and in-person options are available. The in-person event is being held at Hamilton High School on Aug. 6. The 10K (6.2 miles) will start at 7 a.m. followed by the 5K (3.1 miles) at 8:30 a.m. The 1-mile run will begin at 9:30 a.m. A post-race festival including ice cream, music, games, a dunk tank and face painting will be available. For more details about the race weekend or to register for Robert’s Run, visit and sign up early at www.runsignup.com/robertsrunmt.

“The cool thing about our races is that after the race we give ice cream to all the participants and anyone who comes to the festival,” Martin said. “Robert loved ice cream sandwiches, so we have chocolate and vanilla ice cream sandwiches. After some races, they give out bagels and bananas and we’ll have a few of those but our claim to fame is an ice cream sandwich.”

Martin said having Lagat at the Robert’s Run is a thrilling opportunity.

“We have never had a runner like Bernard come to an event like this in Western Montana much less the Bitterroot,” Martin said. “Not only is Bernard Lagat a very accomplished runner, but he is also a family man who loves to spend time with his son and daughter. Robert’s Run is about stepping away from the computer, putting the cell phone down, being active and making memories with your family.”

All proceeds from Robert's Run go to the Play Like Robert Foundation, a non-profit (501 (c)(3) organization) that engages in charitable and educational activities, with a mission to connect people through learning, play, and the courage to try. For more details about the Play Like Robert Foundation, visit https://www.playlikerobert.org 

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