Another stud male distance runner is joining the U.S. Army and becoming an American citizen: Lawi Lalang. The 26-year-old just finished Army schooling and is on track to gain his citizenship this fall as part of the Army's World Class Athlete Program.
Lalang was a star in college at Arizona, running 13:00 for 5K the summer between his junior and senior year and beating Edward Cheserek for a 5K title his senior year.
However, Lalang will not be able to represent the U.S. internationally. In February, the IAAF froze all nationality changes in the sport. The ban is indefinite, though could be lifted at some point.
Lalang has not run particularly well the last few years--his 5K PB is still that 13:00 from 2013. In 2015 and 2016, he only ran 13:16 and 13:33, though he did finish fifth in the two mile at Millrose in February, running 8:18. But athletes who have gone through rough patches have tended to run significantly better after some time in Scott Simmons's group. Simmons-coached athletes, whether with the American Distance Project or the World Class Athlete Program, were a dominant force at this past weekend's USATF Outdoor Championships. Paul Chelimo, Shadrack Kipchirchir, Leonard Korir, Stanley Kebenei, and Hillary Bor all made teams on the track, and marathoners Augustus Maiyo and Elkanah Kibet will be joining them in London. Lalang was better than all of those athletes were in college, and it's easy to see him getting back to their level.
Fourteen of Simmons's 18 athletes are with the Army. Here's the full roster with their affiliations; Susan Tanui is the only woman in the group.
|ATHLETE||AGE||COLLEGE||AFFILIATION||USATF FINISH||TEAM USA|
|Paul Chelimo||26||Shorter/UNC-Greensboro||U.S. Army||1st (5K)||SELECTED|
|Shadrack Kipchirchir||28||W. Kentucky/Oklahoma St.||U.S. Army||2nd (10K)||SELECTED|
|Leonard Korir||30||Iona||U.S. Army||3rd (10K)||SELECTED|
|Stanley Kebenei||27||Iowa Central/Arkansas||Nike||2nd (3K SC)||SELECTED|
|Hillary Bor||27||Iowa St.||U.S. Army||3rd (3K SC)||SELECTED|
|Augustus Maiyo||34||Alabama||U.S. Army||Ranked 7th (Marathon)||SELECTED|
|Elkanah Kibet||31||Rend Lake/Auburn||U.S. Army||Ranked 8th (Marathon)||SELECTED|
|Biya Simbassa||23||Iowa Central/Oklahoma||--||4th (10K)||--|
|Haron Lagat||33||Texas Tech||U.S. Army||5th (3K SC)||--|
|Sam Chelanga||32||Liberty||Nike||7th (10K)||--|
|Emmanuel Bor||29||Alabama||U.S. Army||10th (5K)||--|
|Michael Jordan||26||Southern Indiana||--||12th (3K SC)||--|
Six additional U.S. Army athletes who did not compete at this year's USATF Championships:
|Julius Bor||31||Cloud County/Alabama||Recently returned from Afghanistan|
|Lawi Lalang||26||Arizona||Finishes Army training by fall 2017|
|Nicholas Kipruto||35||Dine College/New Mexico||2015 Army Ten-Miler runner-up|
|Sam Kosgei||33||Lamar||2014 & 2016 Marine Corps Marathon champ|
|Susan Tanui||30||Dallas Baptist/Alaska Anchorage||Recently added to team|