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(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Someday, Justin Gatlin wants to run 422 100-meter races in a day. Well, not really, but that's the rough equivalent of a marathon, and he is thinking about trying one of those.
The American sprinter has always fancied himself as a distance runner even if he's never run for longer than 15 minutes at a time. He frequently talks to fellow runner Bernard Lagat, the two-time Olympic medalist at 1,500 meters, about what it's like to run the longer races.
"I'm like, 'Bernard, after the gun goes off and you are on that second lap, what are you thinking about?'" Gatlin recounted. "He's like, 'I can think about kids or changing a tire on my car.' It amazes me how they're able to balance between the mental and the physical."
For now, the 34-year-old Gatlin will stick to his day job of trying to make the team at Olympic Trials in sprints. Then, if things go right, he'll be the top challenger to Usain Bolt at the Rio Games. But down the road, Gatlin would like to run a 5K to build his way up to a marathon.
"Just testing myself as an athlete, see what I can and can't do," Gatlin said. "I think distance running is the hardest event."