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Kastor, Lagat Headline 2015 Carlsbad 5000

Deena Kastor returns for the first time since setting the American 5K road record in 2002.

Olympic medalists, multi-national record holders and American racing legends Deena Kastor and Bernard Lagat will headline the 30th anniversary of the Carlsbad 5000 the weekend of March 27-29.

Recognized as the ‘World’s Fastest 5k’ with a storied history of 16 world records, 8 U.S. records, and numerous national and age-group marks have been set on the event’s scenic oceanfront course. Kastor set the women’s American 5K road record of 14:54 at Carlsbad in 2002 and is returning for the first time since that performance, this time as a 42-year-old chasing a masters world best.

“I can’t wait to return to Southern California this year for the Carlsbad 5000. It was my first professional race many years ago and the place where I broke the world and American records at this distance,” Kastor said.

A 25‐time U.S. champion, Kastor also holds American records for 8K, 12K, 10 miles, half-marathon, 20K and marathon. Among her career accolades, she was the 2004 Olympic bronze medalist in the marathon, the U.S. 10K and 15K champion four times each, won the 2005 Chicago Marathon and is a two-time world cross country silver medalist.

“I always have high aspirations going into a race and this year I am looking to run fast! I’ve lowered my mileage considerably and have been working on my speed so I may be prepared to run about 15:30,” she added. “My daughter Piper is racing Junior Carlsbad the same weekend, so it will be a fun weekend for my entire family.”

In its 30 years of existence, the Carlsbad 5000 is home to 46 of the top 50 men’s 5,000-meter marks on the roads. Of the 30 fastest 5K times ever run on the road by women, 17 were delivered at Carlsbad.

Lagat made his Carlsbad debut last year, placing second to 4-time defending champion Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia. He returns to Carlsbad as a 40-year-old and has set masters world records at one mile, 3000m and two miles on the track this year.

“I’m delighted to be returning to Carlsbad 5000 this year. I’m sure the challenge will be a stiff as ever and I’m ready to go,” said Lagat. “I enjoyed the race last year and was determined to come back and set the record straight in 2015! I’m enjoying my season so far indoors and am looking forward to transitioning onto the roads.”

His return to Carlsbad will be marked on a new course. For the first time in the event’s history, the elite races will start and end at the long-time finish line on Carlsbad Village Drive. But instead of one loop down Carlsbad Boulevard, the runners will make two loops along the shortened straightaway, before heading back home.

RELATED: Carlsbad 5000 Alters Its Elite Course

The Carlsbad 5000 is slated for March 29th, though the race is really a weekend-long event. The Junior Carlsbad race takes place on March 28th.