The announcement of Matthew Centrowitz participating in the 110th NYRR Millrose Games on February 11th means that 12 Olympic gold medalists from Rio will be competing at The Armory in track & field’s most recognized indoor meet. Photo by John Nepolitan

Olympic 1,500 meters champion Matthew Centrowitz, already a three-time NYRR Wanamaker Mile champion, will turn his attention to the Paavo Nurmi Two Miles at the 110th NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory’s New Balance Track & Field Center on Feb. 11.

Centrowitz, who became the first American man to take gold in the Olympic 1,500 meters since 1908, will line up against a field that includes Ryan Hill, the World Indoor 3,000 meters silver medalist, Olympians Ben Blankenship, Hassan Mead, Mo Ahmed, Donn Cabral, and also Ben True.

“I’m kind of excited about a couple of things,” Centrowitz said. “One is about racing some of (coach) Jerry Schumacher’s guys (Hill and Ahmed). I’ve heard they’re going out to run a fast time, so it sounds like it will be set up for a fast race. There are not many opportunities to run a 2-mile, especially against those guys.”

Centrowitz ran 3:50.63 to win the NYRR Wanamaker Mile in 2016 and that time held up as the fastest mile in the world for 2016.

He opened his 2017 season with a strong 7:49.89 clocking for 3,000 meters at the University of Washington Indoor Preview on January 14 in Seattle.

By moving up in distance, Centrowitz said he is aiming to become more versatile and would like to keep his options open by the time 2020 comes around.

“As long as I’m having success in the 1,500 meters, which is such a signature event and fan favorite, I’ll stay with it,” Centrowitz said. “I have spoken to (coach) Alberto (Salazar) and it’s no secret that I’ll probably do a 5K this outdoor season. If I do move up down the road it won’t be such a foreign event, but a lot of my training is strength-based anyway.” 

The Paavo Nurmi Two Miles is an NYRR Millrose Games event named for the famous “Flying Finn,” who won nine Olympic gold medals from 1920 to 1928. In 1925, Nurmi came to New York City and broke the world record in the 2,000 meters at The Armory. 

The event is also supported by Finland’s Paavo Nurmi Games, which celebrates its 60th year on June 13.

For Centrowitz, it means twice as many laps and twice as much time in front of an enthusiastic NYRR Millrose Games crowd.

The American record of 8:07.41 by Centrowitz’s Nike Oregon Project teammate, Galen Rupp, could be in play.

“I’ve noticed that I do a lot better when I put myself in a race to try and win rather than go for time,” Centrowitz said. “I’m pleased where I’m at right now. I feel like I can run a fast time. Eight-oh-seven seems like a strong record. It’s only four seconds off Mo (Farah’s) world record. But if some of those guys get around that (pace) and I’m competitive I could be near it. But I’m more concerned about trying to beat those guys.” 

Centrowitz’s entry makes it 12 Olympic gold medalists who will be competing at the NYRR Millrose Games. 

Purchase tickets for the 110th NYRR Millrose Games on February 11 HERE.

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