In just a few short days, it’s hard for me to believe Alan will be boarding a plane to compete at what could be his last elite level race in the mile. New York Road Runner was gracious to invite Alan to celebrate the end to his track career in a grand fashion by bringing him back to the Armory. The men’s Wanamaker Mile is the highlight event, featuring a star studded field as always.
The Milrose Games have been going on since 1908, and continue to be one of the highlight events of competition during the indoor season. Their website boasts – more than 200 athletes share the distinction of being both Milrose and Olympic Champions. The mile itself has been a feature event since 1926. This website gives a depth in the history of its champions. Bernard Lagat has this thing wrapped up as Wanamaker All Time Champ with 8 wins since 2001. Alan competed in 2005 (3rd – 4:00.91), 2007 (4th – 4:04.86).
Until 2 years ago, the meet was held at Madison Square Gardens which had a much smaller track at 11 laps per mile (160 yards). The venue itself was enormous to make the track and field crowd seem sparse. As of 2012, the event was switched to the Armory to give athletes a better shot at faster times with a 200m track and a tighter crowd atmosphere to boost the runners mojo. This will be Alan’s first Milrose at the Armory.
At the New Balance Games in 2001, in the Armory, Alan ran his first sub 4:00 mile to break the boy’s high school record in 3:59.86. He become the ONLY high schooler to run under 4 indoors. A guy who was there in the crowd and happened to get the race on tape recently sent me a link to the video he shot. Since he had no clue who Alan was or the significance of the barrier he was about to break, he didn’t really focus the camera on the latter half of his race. Despite that, you can feel the energy and excitement of Ian Brooks announcing as the crowd was going crazy while Alan made history. Even the winner was distracted looking back to see if he did it.
You can see that video here-
Next Saturday Alan’s race is scheduled to go at 4:48 pm eastern.
In the men’s mile field (what we know so far):
Matt Centrowitz (2 time World Championships silver medalist at 1500; in Alan’s opinion best miler the US has ever had for championships)
Nick Willis (3 time Olympian and Silver Medalist in Bejing). Representing New Zealand, he’s been rock solid since his days at Michigan under legendary coach Ron Warhurst. He’s already run 3:55.98 outdoors in his home country earlier this year and days ago solidified the win against a tough field at the New Balance Games in 3:57.41.
Lawi Lalang (4 + x NCAA champion in cross country and track); he ran the UW track record of 7:44.2 in the 3K solo from the gun last week. No Olympic credentials behind his name because he’s Kenyan, but he’s good. His brother, Boaz Lalang went against Alan to win Drake 2011 after Alan beat him in the road mile earlier that week).
Chris O’Hare (2012 NCAA Indoor Mile champion) – Also was in that Drake mile a few years ago (He beat Alan by .003 seconds!) in a great finish. More recently he broke the collegiate mile record last year here in 3:52.98!
Will Leer (one of the best 1500 US guy not to make an Olympic/ World team but has come very close). Will is a former D3 guy who has stepped up and made lots of noise at the professional level with 3:55.66 PR in the mile. Also a decent fisher man who is highly competitive at Bananagrams. It would be a toss up of who could claim the championship title in a field of Will, Nick Willis or myself. (Sorry Alan, you wouldn’t even make it out of the Bananagram prelims).
Back to the topic of the race:
The Wanamaker Mile men’s record is 3:51.21, set by Lopez Lomong of the USA last year. It’s going to be fast. These guys aren’t just going for sub 4, although that is what Alan is really hoping for to close off his career. Last week he was feeling the strain of being sick and forced it early in the mile (finishing with a 4:03.52; winner 3:57.71) while his debut this season was a better (on 1/18) in 4:02.81 with a strong close.
I made Alan do his homework this past week as we watched some recent race videos and older ones. (Note this was a FIRST. I had never had success with offering to do this with him in the past! I hope this is a good thing).
He knows he might just have to bring every ounce of energy just to hang off the back with these guys. Either way, I reminded him of the pain of a 5000 (from this summer) and he agrees that the mile is much easier to swallow. If you’re running a good 5K you are usually feeling terrible for at least 2K of the race. The mile hurts pretty bad but you only have to suck it up with a few laps to go. He’s ready for this, excited for the challenge and realistic about his abilities.
If you are interested in catching the action here are your options:
Watch in person – Tickets are still for sale! Joanie and I are excited to attend our first track race ever in NYC.
On TV – NBCSN will be showing 18 events (including the Wanamaker Mile LIVE) from 3-5pm ET.
On the web – USATF.TV is also showing a 2 hour free live web broadcast from 5-7pm.
Check updates for commentary, news, interviews and recaps on these links –
LetsRun.Com (Milrose page)
Also check out these articles from this past weekend’s Oregonian paper –
Webb Moves Forward, At Peace with Decision to Leave Track This summer when Alan began the transition to triathlon, he finally started shedding the weight of expectations – those of others, and more significantly, his own….
Is it REALLY Over? Coach Marcus gives his thoughts on the subject of Alan’s retirement.