Records Highlight 107th NYRR Millrose Games
By Chris Lotsbom, ArmoryTrack.com
NEW YORK (15-Feb) -- For the third consecutive year, American Olympian Bernard Lagat re-wrote the record books, setting a new American record for 2000 meters at the 107th NYRR Millrose Games. Lagat's four minute, 54.74 second victory was just one of the many thrilling events that captivated a capacity crowd at the New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory.
"I think today was a terrific track and field meet," said Dr. Norbert Sander, Executive Director of the Armory Foundation. "Overall it was a very, very successful event. With records and great races, we couldn't ask for more."
Lagat, a four-time Olympian from Arizona, came to the NYRR Millrose Games with one goal in mind: win the Paavo Nurmi 2000 meters in a time under Steve Scott's national record, 4:58.6.
With two laps remaining, Lagat split one mile in 3:59 knowing he had plenty left in the tank. Using the crowd's roars to his advantage, Lagat powered away from chasers Cam Levins, David Torrence, and Andrew Bumbalough, crossing the finish in 4:54.74.
"It feels so good," said Lagat, who was competing in his tenth consecutive NYRR Millrose Games. "I knew that my shape was there and I was ready to race."
When asked if he'd return in 2015 to try and set his fourth consecutive American record at the meet, Lagat said yes without a moment's hesitation.
"Definitely. While I'm still running as fast as I can right now, all I can do is do my best," he said. "It's amazing. You could see me again. Running [this year] is not the end. I'm still going to be running as fast as I can."
In total, five athletes finished the NYRR Wanamaker Mile in under five minutes.
The loudest roars of the night came when 17-year-old Mary Cain came down the homestretch to win the NYRR Wanamaker Women's Mile. After a pedestrian early pace, Cain accelerated when teammate Treniere Moser pulled up on her outside shoulder with roughly 600 meters remaining.
After the bell sounded signaling one lap to go, Cain accelerated. Knowing she had many friends, family, and fans in the crowd, the Nike Oregon Project star dug deep and turned to another gear, one no one could match. Her final 200 meters was clocked in an unofficial 29.7 seconds.
"The goal today was to compete and race hard. That's what I did and I'm really happy." said Cain, whose final time was 4:27.73. Completing her victory lap with runner-up Moser was something extra special.
"I always love getting the flowers, it's always like the best part. I wanted to share it with Treniere cause she did so awesome. That was definitely very special," said the Bronxville High School senior.
Of note, high schooler Alexa Efraimson (Camas, Wash.) placed sixth overall in 4:32.15, defeating a number of professional and collegiate runners.
With a lap to go in the NYRR Men's Wanamaker Mile, American Will Leer was nearly ten meters behind the leaders. The sizeable gap didn't deter the 28-year-old one bit, only serving as motivation to begin his kick.
In the final 50 meters, Leer caught both Lawi Lalang and Nick Willis, passing on the outside just before breaking the tape in 3:52.47. After celebrating his victory, Leer said the race was the best of his career.
"By a long shot," he said. "I kind of lost track of laps. You couldn't hear a split because it was so loud in here. Everyone was going nuts... To be able to pull out a win here gives me a great amount of confidence."
Lalang finished second in a collegiate record of 3:52.88, while Willis was third in 3:53.02; in total seven men broke four-minutes. In his final professional race, Alan Webb timed 4:06.11 for 11th place.
"I'm just overwhelmed with gratitude," said Webb, emotion building in his eyes. "I couldn't ask for anything better."
Setting both a Millrose Games and Armory Record was hometown hero Lalonde Gordon in the men's 300 meters. Gordon, who earned a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games, trains and resides in Queens and often competes at The Armory. Gordon's time of 32.47 betters his previous facility record by one-one hundredth of a second.
Another local --Neptune, New Jersey's Ajee' Wilson-- was first in the women's 800 meters, running a season best of 2:01.81.
Marvin Bracy earned his second win in the span of a week, claiming the top spot in the men's 60m dash. After two-false starts (resulting in the disqualification of Ryan Bailey and Keston Bledman), Bracy maintained his focus to run a near flawless race in 6.50 seconds, a facility record.
"I'm just happy that I was able to come out here, not get distracted by the two false starts, and execute my race," he said. "I was just more patient in my drive and had to execute my finish."
Michelle-Lee Ahye was the women's 60m dash champion in 7.13, tying The Armory record set in 2002 by Chryste Gaines.
Also extending their winning streak was New Balance's Kim Conley. On January 25, Conley set The Armory facility record for the mile. Then last week, the 2012 Olympian won the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix 2000m in Boston. Today, Conley ran away with the 3000 meter crown; her final time was 8:48.35, another Armory record by nearly ten seconds.
Two more meet records tumbled in the women's 300m and men's 1000m, as Shaunae Miller and Pierre Ambroise Bosse timed 36.10 and 2:17.63, respectively.
Eloyse Lesueur was victorious in the women's long jump (6.86m), while Mike Mason cleared 2.30 meters for the men's high jump title. Olympic and World Championships bronze medalist Derek Drouin pulled a hamstring in warmups and was forced to withdraw.
Mark Hollis was the men's pole vault champion, soaring 5.60 meters. Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton placed fourth in both the 60 meter hurdles and the pole vault.
New York Athletic Club's Rachel Seaman broke the women's race walk meet record by more than 20 seconds, timing 6:17.29. In the men's race walk, Sweden's Andreas Gustafsson defeated World Championships gold medalist Robert Heffernan (Ireland), 5:34.45 to 5:39.75. Gustafsson's time just misses the world and meet record of 5:33.54.
Athena Track Club ran to a masters world record in the Women's 4x400m (4:26.18). Debra Hoffman, Lorraine Jasper, Julie Hayden, and Joan Hunter made up the wining quartet.
Terrence Trammell earned his fourth career win at the NYRR Millrose Games, taking the 60m Hurdles in 7.57 seconds. Janay DeLoach Soukup won the women's race in 7.91 seconds.