Lagat aims to eclipse Coghlan’s record at Millrose Games
Eight-time champion Bernard Lagat of Tucson, AZ, and New York native and defending champion, Mary Cain, 18, of Portland, OR, will star in the NYRR Wanamaker Mile at the 108th NYRR Millrose Games on Saturday, February 14, it was announced today by Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of New York Road Runners. Lagat will chase his ninth event victory and the masters indoor world record of 3:58.15 against defending champion Will Leer of Marina Del Rey, CA, and 2012 champion Matthew Centrowitz of Portland, OR. Cain, racing in front of her hometown crowd, will face three Oregon Project teammates—Shannon Rowbury, Treniere Moser, and Jordan Hasay, all of Portland, OR—in an attempt to become the first woman since 2009 to win back-to-back NYRR Millrose Games titles at the distance.
“NYRR is a proud partner of the Armory and is once again excited to support this wonderful New York City time-honored track and field tradition,” said Wittenberg. “The NYRR Wanamaker Mile is renowned for its history of great athletes and memorable races. Bernard is one of the most distinguished runners in American history, the master of the NYRR Wanamaker Mile, and a New Yorker at heart. We also welcome home Mary to the iconic track that launched her early career success and now has her poised to become one of America’s great track and field stars. Bernard and Mary lead two incredibly talented NYRR Wanamaker Mile fields that provide inspiration for people of all ages to get moving and dream big.”
Lagat, 40, is the king of the NYRR Wanamaker Mile with a record eight titles in nine attempts, recording six consecutive victories from 2005 to 2010. The 2011 NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile champion’s decorated career is highlighted by podium finishes at 13 global championships, including five IAAF World Championship titles, an Olympic 1500-meter silver medal in 2004, and an Olympic 1500-meter bronze medal in 2000. The four-time Olympian holds six individual American records—three indoor (1500 meters, 2000 meters, 3000 meters) and three outdoor (1500 meters, 3000 meters, and 5000 meters); he set the 2000-meter record at last year’s NYRR Millrose Games.
“I am extremely excited to race another NYRR Wanamaker Mile in front of some very loyal New York fans,” said Lagat. “New York has been great to me. The energy I get from the crowd pumps me up like it’s my first professional race! This year’s race will be challenging, but I’m up for it. My training has been going well, and I’d like another win. While eight is great, nine would suit me just fine!”
Lagat will be targeting the masters indoor world record of 3:58.15, held by Ireland’s Eamonn Coghlan, the previous record-holder for the most NYRR Wanamaker Mile titles, with seven; Lagat took ownership of the record with his eighth win in 2010. In addition to Leer and Centrowitz, Lagat will also face 2008 Olympic 1500-meter silver medalist Nick Willis of New Zealand, who lives in Ann Arbor, MI, 2012 Olympic 1500-meter silver medalist Leo Manzano of Austin, TX, 3000-meter steeplechase American record-holder Evan Jager, of Portland, OR, and the University of Oregon’s five-time NCAA champion Edward Cheserek of Kenya, who lives in Newark, NJ.
“I see Mr. Eamonn Coghlan as one of the all-time greats in track and field, so I don’t think about breaking his records,” said Lagat. “He made the records and broke the boundaries for people like myself to follow. Age is only a number, and he made us all believe it. I’m still listening and learning.”
Growing up just north of New York City in Bronxville, NY, defending NYRR Wanamaker Mile champion Cain is the reigning World Junior champion at 3000 meters; that victory last year made her the first American athlete ever to medal at the World Junior Championships in a race 1500 meters or longer. The 1000-meter world junior record-holder also holds four national junior records: outdoor 1500 meters and indoor 1500 meters, mile, and two miles. In 2013, she became the youngest American to represent the United States at an IAAF World Championships and the youngest athlete ever to qualify for an IAAF World Championships 1500-meter final; she finished 10th in that race. As a student at Bronxville High School, she set multiple high school national records and became the first high school female to break the two-minute barrier in the 800 meters.
“I am extremely excited to be returning for this year’s NYRR Millrose Games,” said Cain. “It’s always fun to run on my home track, and even more exciting to have the chance to defend my title! The Armory always has the best crowd because I know that it’s always filled with my friends and family.”
The women’s and men’s NYRR Wanamaker Mile will start at 7:20 p.m. and 7:53 p.m., respectively. Last year, Will Leer won the men’s race with a time of 3:53.48 and Mary Cain won the women’s race with a time of 4:27.73.
The NYRR Millrose Games, part of the USATF Championship Series, will be presented live on NBCSN from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST, featuring the NYRR Wanamaker Miles, the girls’ NYRR Fastest Kid on the Block, and more. Fans can also catch the excitement on the live webcast all day beginning at 2:00 p.m. EST on USATF.tv. Tickets to attend the NYRR Millrose Games, which will take place in New York City from 1:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Armory (216 Fort Washington Avenue), can be purchased on the event website at www.nyrrmillrosegames.org.
Additional Athlete Backgrounds and Notable Performances
· Leer, 29, is the reigning NYRR Wanamaker Mile champion. He won both the mile and 3000 meters at the 2013 USATF Indoor Track and Field Championships and finished second in the mile at the same event the following year. As a senior at Pomona College, he became the first Division III men’s athlete to win the 1500 meters and 5000 meters in the same NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
· Centrowitz, 24, captured the bronze medal at the 2011 IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships 1500 meters, becoming the youngest American ever to medal in the event; he improved to silver in 2013, and finished fourth in the event at the 2012 London Olympics. The 2012 NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile champion and Wanamaker Mile champion is the seventh-fastest American of all time in the 1500 meters (3:31.09). He won the USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships 1500-meter title in 2011 and 2013.
· Willis, 31, has had a decorated career over 1500 meters, including an Olympic silver medal in 2008, two Commonwealth Games bronze medals (2010 and 2014), and a Commonwealth Games gold medal in 2006; that victory made him the first athlete from New Zealand to win the event at the Commonwealth Games. In 2014, the three-time Olympian and two-time NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile champion (2008, 2013) set the 1500-meter Oceania record with a time of 3:29.91.
· Manzano, 30, is the 2012 Olympic 1500-meter silver medalist and a two-time 1500-meter national champion (2012, 2014). His personal best of 3:30.98 is the fifth-fastest American performance of all-time, and he has placed in the top three in the 1500 meters at the USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships every year since 2006. The nine-time All-American won four Division I NCAA titles: two in the mile indoors (2005, 2007), and two in the 1500 meters outdoors (2005, 2008).
· Jager, 25, bettered his own American steeplechase record in 2014 with a time of 8:04.71 and owns the top five American performances in history. The three-time national steeplechase champion finished sixth at the 2012 Olympic Games, fifth at the 2013 IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships, and second at the IAAF Continental Cup in the event. He also represented the United States at the 2009 IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships (5000 meters).
· Cheserek, 21, has already garnered five Division I NCAA Championship titles as a sophomore at the University of Oregon: the 10,000 meters outdoors in 2014, the 3000 meters and 5000 meters indoors in 2014, and cross country in 2013 and 2014. The six-time All-American was named the USTFCCCA Indoor Track and Field Runner of the Year, the USTFCCCA Cross Country Runner of the Year, and a Bowerman Award Finalist. At the 2013 NYRR Millrose Games, he broke the national high school two-mile record with a time of 8:39.15.
· Rowbury, 30, is the 2009 IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships 1500-meter bronze medalist and a two-time Olympian (2008 and 2012). In 2014, she became one of only six American women in history to break four minutes in the 1500 meters with a time of 3:59.49, and she ran the fourth-fastest American time in the 5000 meters (14:48.68).
· Hasay, 23, a two-time USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships 10,000-meter runner-up, qualified to represent the United States for the first time at the 2013 IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships. This past fall, the 16-time NCAA Division I All-American won the Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women over a world-class field in a personal-best time of 31:38. Similar to Cain, she was a high school standout, competing in the 2008 Olympic Trials at the age of 16.
· Moser, 33, of Portland, OR, is a four-time 1500-meter champion at the USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships (2005, 2006, 2007, 2013) and the winner of the same event at the 2006 USATF Indoor Track and Field Championships. At the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championships, the 2014 NYRR Wanamaker Mile runner-up and 2014 NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile third-place finisher took fifth in the 1500 meters, her highest place in international competition.
Men’s NYRR Wanamaker Mile
Name Personal Best Mile Twitter Handle
Bernard Lagat 3:47.28 @Lagat1500
Nick Willis 3:49.83 @nickwillis
Matthew Centrowitz 3:50.53 @MattCentrowitz
Leo Manzano 3:50.64 @Leomanzano
Will Leer 3:51.82 @william_leer
Pat Casey 3:52.62 @patkc13
Lawi Lalang 3:52.88 @LawiLalang1
Chris O’Hare 3:52.98 @chrisohare1500
Evan Jager 3:53.33 @EvanJager
Kyle Merber 3:54.76 @TheRealMerb
Johnny Gregorek 4:01.65 —
Edward Cheserek 4:02.21 @KingCheserek
*Field subject to change
Women’s NYRR Wanamaker Mile
Name Personal Best Mile Twitter Handle
Shannon Rowbury 4:20.34 @ShannonRowbury
Mary Cain 4:24.11 @runmarycain
Jordan Hasay 4:28.37 @JordanHasay
Treniere Moser 4:28.86 @TreniereMoser
Heather Kampf 4:30.18 @HeatherRaeKampf
Morgan Uceny 4:30.57 @MUceny
Nicole Tully 4:30.65 @NicoleSchappert
Stephanie Charnigo 4:31.78 @stephCharnigo
Shelby Houlihan 4:33.52 @shelbo800
Emily Lipari 4:37.43 —
*Field subject to change
About the NYRR Millrose Games
With a storied history that spans more than a century, the NYRR Millrose Games is one of track and field’s most prestigious and enduring annual events. A New York City sports staple, the meet moved to New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory in Washington Heights in 2012 after having called Madison Square Garden home from 1914 to 2011. The Games—established by employees of Wanamaker’s Department Store—feature track and field’s most prolific male and female stars as well as collegiate, high school, club and youth competitors. More than 200 athletes share the distinction of being both Millrose and Olympic champions. In November of 2013, the New York Road Runners became the title sponsor of the NYRR Millrose Games, which is hosted by the Armory Foundation.