110th NYRR Millrose Games to Highlight New York Road Runners’ Partnership with The Armory Foundation, Showcasing Top Young Runners Alongside Olympians

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110th NYRR Millrose Games to Highlight New York Road Runners’ Partnership with The Armory Foundation, Showcasing Top Young Runners Alongside Olympians

NYRR Young Runners 800-Meter Finals to include top New York City youth; NYRR Wanamaker Mile to feature nine Olympians, with Shannon Rowbury going for a three-peat in the women’s race

NYRR Millrose Games to be broadcast live nationally on NBC from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (ET) and streamed live on USATF.tv from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (ET)

The 110th NYRR Millrose Games on Saturday, February 11, at the New Balance Track and Field Center at The Armory, will highlight the year-round partnership between The Armory Foundation, which oversees the premier indoor track and field center in America, and New York Road Runners, the world’s largest community running organization.

NYRR has been the title sponsor of the NYRR Millrose Games since 2014, and for the second consecutive year the next generation of stars will share the same track as Olympians at the event. The NYRR Young Runners 800-Meter Finals will feature the top NYRR Young Runners from New York City’s five boroughs just before the world’s top sprinters and Olympians compete in the iconic NYRR Wanamaker Mile.

“The NYRR Millrose Games serves as the perfect event to showcase New York Road Runners’ impactful partnership with The Armory Foundation,” said Michael Capiraso, president and CEO of New York Road Runners. “The event will feature a talented group of runners of all ages, from our young runners here in New York City to Olympians from around the world, making for a memorable day for all participants.”

The NYRR Millrose Games will be broadcast live nationally on NBC this year from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (ET) as part of the USATF Championship Series. Fans can also catch the excitement on the live webcast from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST on USATF.tv. For those unable to attend the NYRR Millrose Games in-person, a viewing party will be held from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. (ET) at the NYRR RUNCENTER.

“The 110th edition of the NYRR Millrose Games is shaping up to be an outstanding day of track and field, which sports fans across the country can watch on network television thanks to the USATF and NBC,” said Peter Ciaccia, president of events of New York Road Runners and the race director of the TCS New York City Marathon. “The fastest athletes on the track will be taking center stage, with the prestigious NYRR Wanamaker Mile featuring Olympic and U.S. medalists along with some of the best high school talent in America.”

The NYRR Young Runners 800-Meter Finals will include 15 boys and 15 girls who qualified for the event at January’s NYRR Millrose Games Trials at The Armory. The boys will take to the start line at 2:24 p.m., and the girls will line up at 4:14 p.m.

The youth participants are all part of NYRR Young Runners, a free distance-running program in which kids learn to run distances up to four miles while training together as a team. The program is offered to all New York City public schools and is also available for free to youth clubs and before and after-school programs in underserved communities.

There are 215,000 youth served nationally through NYRR’s free youth running programs and events, including 115,000 in New York City’s five boroughs.

NYRR has partnered with The Armory Foundation since 2007 and sponsors year-round events at the venue in support of the 125,000 kids it serves annually. NYRR is involved in many events and programs The Armory offers throughout the year, including the NYRR Millrose Games, the NYRR Thursday Night at the Races, its season-long high school training program, and several youth events.

At the NYRR Millrose Games, NYRR is also supporting the NYRR 4x200 and the

NYRR Fastest Kid on the Block events, with both races featuring inspiring youth runners who participate in NYRR’s free youth running programs across New York City’s five boroughs and beyond.

The NYRR Millrose Games will culminate with the NYRR Wanamaker Mile, the meet’s signature event which has taken place every year on the men’s side since 1926 and on the women’s side since 1976. This year’s field will include nine Olympians, including two-time defending champion Shannon Rowbury and Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy. Rowbury is the American-record holder in both the 1500 meters and 5000 meters, while Murphy set a personal best over 800 meters in Rio last year, running 1:42.93 to become the third-fastest American in history.

The women’s and men’s NYRR Wanamaker Mile races will start at 5:27 p.m. and 5:50 p.m. (ET), respectively.

Tickets to the NYRR Millrose Games are available for purchase here.

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Sydney McLaughlin Running at Top of Her Game Heading Toward 300m at NYRR Millrose Games

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Sydney McLaughlin Running at Top of Her Game Heading Toward 300m at NYRR Millrose Games

High school Olympian Sydney McLaughlin of Union Catholic (Scotch Plains, N.J.) will have a prime chance to go after a national record in the 300 meters at the 110th NYRR Millrose Games on February 11 at The Armory’s New Balance Track and Field Center.

McLaughlin's stature as one of the greatest high school athletes of all time was further cemented on Saturday in Boston when she contributed to a world record in the women's distance medley relay at the New Balance Grand Prix in Boston. Competing with three fellow, and older, U.S. Olympians, McLaughlin took the baton for the second leg of the relay.

“I'm so happy we came (here) and did what we wanted to do," McLaughlin said of the record-breaking relay, which included Emma Coburn, Brenda Martinez and Jenny Simpson.

McLaughlin's 2016 season was nothing short of magical as she broke a 32-year-old national high school record in the 400-meter hurdles at New Balance Nationals Outdoor in Greensboro, N.C. From there, she overcame the nerves and pressure of the Olympic Trials to run even faster and earn a spot on Team USA.

“This past year of my life has been a dream come true for me," McLaughlin said. “To make the Olympics at 16 is something I never really pictured myself doing. I'm very proud of everything I accomplished and what my coaches and family pushed me to do, and it's something I can always look back on and remember.”

McLaughin advanced to the semifinal round of the 400-meter hurdles in Rio de Janeiro.

“Being able to wear Team USA across my chest was definitely an honor," she said.

Last November, McLaughlin committed to the University of Kentucky.

At the NYRR Millrose Games, McLaughlin will line up against a field that includes Olympic 400 meters champion Shaunae Miller and U.S. Olympic 4x400 relay gold medalist Natasha Hastings

The national high school record for 300 meters is 36.96 seconds by Francena McCorory in 2006. McLaughlin ran a personal best 37.11 seconds at The Armory on Jan. 14, good for No. 2 all-time. 

Media requesting credentials need to click on 2017 NYRR media credential request form and fill out respective forms. Deadline is Monday, February 6.

Purchase your tickets at tickets.nyrrmillrosegames.org/ticket 

 

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Legendary Coach Frank Gagliano Continues To Be Inspiration to Track & Field Athletes

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Legendary Coach Frank Gagliano Continues To Be Inspiration to Track & Field Athletes

If 55 years of coaching track and field have taught Frank Gagliano anything, it's to keep going.

The legendary coach, now in his seventh year at the helm of HOKA New Jersey New York Track Club  (NJNYTC) has three athletes competing in the in the NYRR Men's Wanamaker Mile at the 110th NYRR Millrose Games on Feb. 11 at The Armory’s New Balance Track and Field Center.

Kyle Merber, Johnny Gregorek and Colby Alexander were announced as participants in the signature event of the NYRR Millrose Games on Tuesday.

But for the coach known as "Gags," this new year came with a few important changes and a resolve to keep doing what he loves.

“As long as my mind is in the sport for workouts, so I don't deprive the men and women that I'm coaching, I'll keep (coaching)," Gagliano said. “I try to keep as healthy as I can and we move on."

Gagliano will turn 80 in March. He got his start at Roselle Catholic High School in New Jersey and had a long distinguished college coaching career at Rutgers and Georgetown before becoming a professional coach for post-collegians.

Last year, 16 members of the HOKA NJNYTC qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials and steeplechaser Donn Cabral made the team and competed in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

In November, the club got a shot in the arm when HOKA ONE  ONE became the exclusive sponsor of the NJNYTC. Suddenly, the endless burden of fund-raising to keep the club running was eased. And the home base has moved, from Dunellen, N.J. to Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

Gagliano lives nearby in Rye, New York. And his two assistants, Tom Nohilly and John Trautmann are also close by.

"(The move) has been really great because we all live within five miles of each other in Westchester County," Gagliano said. “We can come in (to The Armory) on the morning train. It's been a pleasure."

The club lost some athletes and added some new ones for the next four-year cycle. 

Gagliano's energy and expertise still drives the group.

“I've got to want it and they've got to want it to achieve their goals," Gagliano said. "All of them are college graduates and they've all given (me) four years."

Purchase tickets for the 110th NYRR Millrose Games before they sell out at tickets.nyrrmillrosegames.org/tickets

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Defending Champion Shannon Rowbury and Olympic Medalist Clayton Murphy to Highlight NYRR Wanamaker Mile Fields at 110th NYRR Millrose Games

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Defending Champion Shannon Rowbury and Olympic Medalist Clayton Murphy to Highlight NYRR Wanamaker Mile Fields at 110th NYRR Millrose Games

(Left) New York Road Runners President and CEO Michael Capiraso, 2016 NYRR Wanamaker Mile women’s champion Shannon Rowbury and New York Road Runners President of Events and Race Director of TCS New York City Marathon Peter Ciaccia. Photo courtesy of Ross Dettman.

 

Three-time Olympian Shannon Rowbury will go for her third straight title in the NYRR Wanamaker Mile, while Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy will make his debut in the event at the 110th NYRR Millrose Games on Saturday, February 11 at The Armory’s New Balance Track and Field Center. The signature event at the NYRR Millrose Games has taken place every year on the men’s side since 1926 and on the women’s side since 1976. This year’s field will include five men and four women who have competed in the Olympic Games and will be broadcast live nationally by NBC Sports Group.

 

“The NYRR Wanamaker Mile is one of the most prestigious and historic track and field events in the world,” said Peter Ciaccia, NYRR president of events and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon. “This year’s fields are once again first class, with Shannon going for a three-peat and Clayton, one of Team USA’s newest Olympic medalists, making his much -anticipated debut in the event. Through our great partnership with The Armory, we’re honored to be able to recruit these amazing athletes to run at the New Balance Track and Field Center.”

 

Rowbury, 32, of Portland, OR, is the American record-holder in both the 1500 meters and 5000 meters, having taken the mark in the latter at last September’s Diamond League Final in Brussels, clocking a 14:39.92 to shatter Molly Huddle’s previous record. The two-time world bronze medalist ran away with the NYRR Wanamaker Mile title in 2015, winning by three seconds in 4:24.31, the No. 4 indoor time in the world that year. She defended her title last year, easily prevailing to take the tape in 4:24.39. Rowbury is a two-time 5th Avenue Mile champion who finished in fourth place in the 1500-meter final at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

 

“I’m so excited to be back at the NYRR Millrose Games, and to have another shot at the indoor mile American record,” Rowbury said. “Racing in NYC at an NYRR event is one of the highlights of my season. The atmosphere at The Armory and the quality of the competition never fails to impress, and I hope that I can do the same.”

 

Added NYRR Millrose Games Meet Director Ray Flynn: "We witnessed the fastest men's mile in the world set last year. The NYRR Wanamaker Mile continues to be one of the great indoor races and this year's fields live up to ‎the great competition we've come to expect."

 

Murphy, 21, of New Paris, OH, was the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials champion over 800 meters and won bronze in the distance at the Rio 2016 Olympics. He set a personal best in Rio, running 1:42.93 to become the third-fastest American in history. Murphy, who won two NCAA titles in 2016 and a Pan American title in 2015, finished fourth the last time he was in New York City at September’s New Balance 5th Avenue Mile.

 

“To me the most prestigious indoor meet in the world is the NYRR Millrose Games, and the Wanamaker Mile is without a doubt, the feature event,” Murphy said. “I am looking forward to experiencing this historic event from the inside for a change. I have been enjoying myself since turning pro last summer and most of my success has come in the 800 meters, but I really feel my potential in the mile is untapped. I can't wait to show the fans in New York what I can do.”

 

Added NYRR Millrose Games Meet Director Ray Flynn: "We witnessed the fastest men's mile in the world set last year. The NYRR Wanamaker Mile continues to be one of the great indoor races and this year's fields live up to ‎the great competition we've come to expect."

 

Additional Top Athlete Backgrounds and Notable Performances

  • Robby Andrews, 25, of Manalapan, NJ, qualified for his first Olympic team last summer after finishing second over 1500 meters at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. A 2011 NCAA champion at 800 meters, Andrews finished fourth in last year’s NYRR Wanamaker Mile.
  • Eric Jenkins, 25, of Portsmouth, NH, won the 2016 New Balance 5th Avenue Mile, outkicking Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz at the finish. He narrowly missed an Olympic berth with a fourth-place finish over 5000 meters at last year’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials. 
  • Leo Manzano, 32, of Austin, TX, became the first American to medal in the 1500 meters at the Olympics in 44 years in 2012. He placed fourth in the event at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, ending his 10-year streak of finishing in the top three in the event at the national championships.
  • Kate Grace, 28, of Sacramento, CA, won the 800 meters at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in a personal-best 1:59.10 and then ran a new personal best of 1:58.79 in the Rio Olympic semifinals before placing eighth in the finals. She also finished second at the 2016 New Balance Games Mile.
  • Brenda Martinez, 29, of Big Bear Lake, CA, made her Olympic Games debut last summer, competing in the 1500 meters in Rio. She finished fifth in the distance at last year’s IAAF World Indoor Championships and owns a bronze medal in the 800 meters from the 2013 IAAF World Championships.
  • Nicole Sifuentes, 30, of Canada, made her second Olympic team last summer, getting to the semifinals of the 1500 meters. The 12-time NCAA All-American at the University of Michigan was a bronze medalist in her signature event at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships.

 

Top Professional Men

Name

Mile Personal Best

Twitter Handle

Leo Manzano, USA

3:50.64

@leomanzano

Robby Andrews, USA

3:53.16

@RA_Andrews

Izaic Yorks, USA

3:53.89

@IzaicY

Charles Philibert-Thiboutot, CAN

3:54.52

@Chuck_PT

Kyle Merber, USA

3:54.57

@TheRealMerb

Colby Alexander, USA

3:54.94

@okaycolby

Johnny Gregorek, USA

3:55.27

@JohnnyGregorek

Eric Jenkins, USA

3:57.09

@_EricJenkins

Clayton Murphy, USA

3:57.11

@Clayton_Murph

Drew Hunter, USA

3:57.15

@drewhunter00

Henry Wynne, USA

3:58.74

@Hwynning

 

 

Top Professional Women

 

Name

Mile Personal Best

Twitter Handle

Shannon Rowbury, USA

4:20.34

@ShannonRowbury

Katie Mackey, USA

4:25.48

@KatiefMackey

Amanda Eccleston, USA

4:25.64

@AmandaEcc

Brenda Martinez, USA

4:26.76

@bmartrun

Lea O’Connor, USA

4:27.18

@LeahKayO

Heather Kampf, USA

4:27.23

@HeatherRaeKampf

Alexa Efraimson, USA

4:27.39

@AlexaEfraimson

Nicole Sifuentes, CAN

4:27.93

@ndsifuentes

Kate Grace, USA

4:28.30

@fastk8

Elinor Purrier, USA

4:29.71

@ellepurrier

Dominique Scott-Efurd, RSA

4:31.57

@domscottrunSA

Kaela Edwards, USA

4:32.14

@kaelaAedwards

Kate Murphy, USA

4:39.47

@trackmurph

 

 

Purchase tickets to the 110th NYRR Millrose Games on February 11 before they sell out at tickets.nyrrmillrosegames.org/tickets

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Olympic Gold Medalist Matthew Centrowitz to Run In Paavo Nurmi Two-Miles at NYRR Millrose Games

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Olympic Gold Medalist Matthew Centrowitz to Run In Paavo Nurmi Two-Miles at NYRR Millrose Games

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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Olympic Gold Medalist Dalilah Muhammad Returning Home to Run in NYRR Millrose Games

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Olympic Gold Medalist Dalilah Muhammad Returning Home to Run in NYRR Millrose Games

Olympic gold medalist and former Benjamin Cardozo High School standout Dalilah Muhammad is looking forward to returning to The Armory where she remembers running as a seven-year-old. Photo by Victah Sailer

Olympic gold medalist and Queens native Dalilah Muhammad will make a triumphant return to The Armory’s New Balance Track and Field Center for the 110th NYRR Millrose Games set for February 11th.  

Muhammad, who graduated from Benjamin Cardozo High School, hasn't competed at The Armory since running for the University of Southern California in 2011. 

“I'm really excited," Muhammad said. "I've been racing at The Armory since I was seven years old. I remember my very first race at The Armory was the 1,500 meters."

Muhammad long ago gave up distance running and in 2016 became the first U.S. woman to win the Olympic gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles. At the Olympic Trials she ran a lifetime best 52.88 seconds to win the national title and move to No. 5 all-time in U.S. history.  

Chasing the record of 52.47 by Lashinda Demus from 2011 and defending her global title at the IAAF World Championships are goals for 2017, Muhammad said.

“Getting a little bit close to (the record) makes it seem like an attainable goal," she said.

At Millrose, Muhammad is entered in the 500 meters, which is an event she has seldom run. But the chance to use the race as a test of fitness as she heads into the outdoor season is valuable. 

“Every race I do is preparing me for the 400-meter hurdles," she added.

The opportunity to compete in front of family and friends is an added bonus.

Two of her best Armory memories involve running the 400 meters as a high school junior in 2007. She beat a field of college and pro athletes at the New Balance Games when she ran 54.28 seconds. She later won the National Scholastic title that year.

"It will be nice to go back and see the fans in New York," Muhammad said. "It's a chance for my family to see me run, feel the love, and get ready for the outdoor season."

Reserve your seat to the world's longest-running and most prestigious indoor track and field competition by purchasing tickets HERE.

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11 Gold Medalists from Rio Ready to Shine In 110th NYRR Millrose Games

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11 Gold Medalists from Rio Ready to Shine In 110th NYRR Millrose Games

100-meter hurdle sensation Brianna Rollins is one of 11 gold medalists from last year’s Summer Olympics in Rio who will compete in the 110th NYRR Millrose Games on February 11 at The Armory’s New Balance Track & Field Center.  Photo by Victah Sailer

Eleven Olympic gold medalists from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games are among the confirmed entries for the 110th  NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory’s New Balance Track & Field Center on Feb. 11.

“USATF had a history-making performance in Rio," USATF CEO Max Siegel said. "It is only fitting that so many medalists from our 2016 team compete at the most historic indoor meet in the world.”

One of the best fields in the history of the NYRR Millrose Games promises to once again to be a hot ticket and a rare New York City opportunity to see so many stars from Rio as they begin building up to the 2017 IAAF World Championships. 

Three reigning Olympic hurdles champions -- Americans Brianna Rollins (100 meters) and Dalilah Muhammad (400 meters) and Jamaican Omar McLeod (110 meters) -- lead the parade of champions. Shaunae Miller from the Bahamas, who dove across the finish line to win gold in the women's 400 meters final, is also entered.

Long jump champions Jeff Henderson and Tianna Bartoletta, both of the U.S., men's high jump champion Derek Drouin of Canada, and women's pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi of Greece all come to Millrose riding a wave of Olympic glory. Sprinters Courtney Okolo, Phyllis Francis and Natasha Hastings were teammates on the U.S. women's gold-medal winning 4x400 relay.

“Eleven gold medalists, with a surprise possible 12th committing, must make this year’s NYRR Millrose Games a world record in itself,” Armory Foundation President Dr. Norbert Sander said. “The Olympic Games is the feature story of this, the 110th edition of the world’s most historic indoor track & field meet.”

Tickets for the 110th NYRR Millrose Games on February 11, 2017 are available HERE.

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Blast from the past: 110th NYRR Millrose Games Celebrates Return of Metropolitan Relays

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Blast from the past: 110th NYRR Millrose Games Celebrates Return of Metropolitan Relays

New York University will be one of six area schools to participate in the 110th NYRR Millrose Games’ Metropolitan Relays at The Armory New Balance Track & Field Center.  Photo by John Nepolitan

One of the best opportunities of the year to see the major players of New York-area college track and field go head-to-head is being assembled for the Metropolitan men’s and women’s 4x400 relays at the  110th NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory’s New Balance Track & Field Center on Saturday, February 11th.. 

Teams from Columbia University, New York University, Fordham University, St. John’s University, Manhattan College and Stony Brook University on Long Island all have lanes in this one-of-a-kind event that pits six different area schools from six separate college conferences. All but Stony Brook will compete in the women’s relay.

“There is always a great deal of pride on the line when competing against teams from our local area,” said St. John’s women’s coach Jim Hurt. “To do it in the frame work of the NYRR Millrose Games just heightens the excitement. I know our team will be buzzed to run the best at Millrose.

“We have a very talented team and the opportunity to run in the most prestigious meet in the country will give them great exposure.”

Many of the athletes from these teams regularly train and compete at The Armory but the 4x400 relay gives them a chance to go head to head. Third-year coach Dan Ireland leads Columbia of the Ivy League and located just a few miles south of The Armory along Broadway. First-year coach Erison Hurtault helms the Violets of NYU, of the NCAA Division III University Athletic Association. NYU, located near Greenwich Village, won the UAA 4x400 relay title outdoors last spring. 

Distinguished coach Tom Dewey, in his 36th year, leads Fordham of the Bronx. Another veteran coach, Jim Hurt, leads the St. John’s Red Storm from Queens and is in his 28th season. His women are the reigning Big East Conference champions in the 4x400 relay. The Jaspers of Manhattan, located in the Bronx, are led by venerable coach Dan Mecca, entering his 24th season as head coach. Andy Ronan is preparing for his 18th season as head coach for the Stony Brook Seawolves.

“This is important for the NYC and Metropolitan area schools. It revives a long standing rivalry and tradition,” Mecca said. “This will rejuvenate local interest and fervor from our alums and, of course, from our competitors in the area. It’s also a great showcase and recruiting opportunity for all the local high schools and coaches.”

Added Dewey: “We are committed to competing this year because it hopefully will bring some attention to the area colleges. Long ago that was the real drawing card for the alums of all the local schools.

“It is good to see the event back.”

The return of the Metropolitan 4x400 relay marks a significant return to the historical roots of Millrose. The Fordham Rams were the first college team to participate in a mile relay, competing against club teams back in 1916. Three years later, the first college-only mile relay saw Penn defeat Dartmouth and MIT. 

The popularity of the college races mushroomed and eventually the Millrose Games accommodated as many as 10 men’s college mile relay races. In the 1970s, women’s mile races were added to the program.

“It is very exciting for both the colleges involved and the NYRR Millrose Games,” Ireland said. “When Millrose was at Madison Square Garden there was always a local event that gave the schools in NYC something to get excited about. It’s great this opportunity has returned.”

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

 

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New York City’s Golden Trio of Hastings, Francis and Muhammad Joins 110th NYRR Millrose Games

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New York City’s Golden Trio of Hastings, Francis and Muhammad Joins 110th NYRR Millrose Games

Three New York City women who grew up to become Olympic champions at the 2016 Rio Games will make homecoming appearances on Feb. 11, 2017 at the 110th NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory’s New Balance Track & Field Center.

Dalilah Muhammad of Queens, who prepped at Benjamin Cardozo High School, became the first U.S. woman to capture Olympic gold in the 400-meter hurdles.

Phyllis Francis, who grew up in Queens and attended Catherine McAuley High School in Brooklyn, won a gold medal with the U.S. 4x400 relay team.

And Natasha Hastings of Brooklyn, who attended A. Philip Randolph Campus in Manhattan, was part of the same gold medal-winning team as Francis. Hastings was a member of the gold-medal winning 4x400 relay in 2008 also.

All three made many appearances at The Armory as teenagers and will return in February as heroes.

“Celebrating three Olympic gold medal winners from the New York area at this year's 110th NYRRMillrose Games is gratifying to The Armory team who have watched them develop as young runners on this very track," said Ray Flynn, NYRR Millrose Games Meet Director. 

Muhammad and Francis are scheduled to race in an exceptional lineup over 500 meters. Hastings is due to run the 300 meters, along with Bahamian gold medalist Shaunae Miller, who famously dove over the finish line to win the Olympic 400 meters in Rio.

Purchase tickets for the 110th NYRR Millrose Games on February 11, 2017 HERE.

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Olympics’ Top Two Pole Vaulters Stefanidi, Morris Eye New Heights at 110th NYRR Millrose Games

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Olympics’ Top Two Pole Vaulters Stefanidi, Morris Eye New Heights at 110th NYRR Millrose Games

Olympic silver medalist Sandi Morris (left) and Olympic gold medalist Ekaterini Stefanidi will continue the next chapter of their world-class competition at The Armory. Photos by Victah Sailor

The razor-close Olympic competition between Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece and Sandi Morris in the women's pole vault will be renewed during the 110th  NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory’s New Balance Track & Field Center on February 11, 2017. 

Last summer in Rio de Janiero, Stefanidi took the gold medal and Morris earned silver for USA after both women cleared 4.85 meters (15 feet, 11 inches). On count back, Stefanidi won a tiebreaker because she cleared 4.70m on her first attempt, while Morris needed two attempts. 

After the Olympic Games, Morris, a former standout at the University of Arkansas, became the first American outdoors to clear five meters (16-4.75) and the second woman in history besides Russian Yelena Isinbaeva. 

Stefanidi, 26, was a world youth champion back in 2005 and has been a presence on the European and global stages ever since. 

Stefanidi will return to The Armory as the defending NYRR Millrose Games champion while Morris finished third last February.

The women's pole vault at the NYRR Millrose Games will be named for John Catsimatidis, Manhattan businessman with interests in energy, real estate and supermarkets.

Also on the pole vault docket is a high school boys’ competition that is set to include Armand Duplantis of Lafayette, La., the national record holder. 

Purchase tickets at tickets.nyrrmillrosegames.org/tickets

 

 

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Fantastic!

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Fantastic!

 "Fant-tastic!

"This meet was fan-tastic."

The 109th edition of the NYRR Millrose Games was little more than 15 minutes over and sprint great Ato Boldon, his NBC broadcasting chores complete, had time to cool down, calm down and look back on Saturday's Armory Track and Field spectacular with a degree of rationality.

And every time he did, he came back to that same word.

Yes, "fan-tastic" it was, with an emphasis on that first syllable.

A fan's delight it truly was -- and you did not; repeat, did not have to be a lifetime devotee of the sport -- a track "junkie," in the sport's parlance -- to leap to that conclusion.

And so, too, said meet director Ray Flynn and Armory Foundation president Dr. Norbert Sander -- whose views might rightfully be considered unbiased -- but were true nevertheless.

"I've been to a lot of Millrose Games (first as a champion miler, then as a leading sports agent, and now as director of the whole show)," said Flynn, "but this is definitely the best."

"It had everything, close races, fast races, great performances up and down the list of events.

"And with everything happening, the crowd (a sellout that had them nearly hanging from the rafters) really got into it. I just don't know how it could have been any better."

A master stroke was saving the best for last -- and so the Men's Wanamaker Mile proved exactly that, a thriller of all thrillers,  boiling down to a single question coming around the final turn --just who had the most guts, just who wanted the glory, just who was determined to write his own chapter in the lore of this storied event?

"That was truly an incredible race (won by now three-time champion Matthew Centrowitz in a meet-record 3:50.65 over Nick Willis'  3:51.06; with Brit/Oklahoman Chris O'Hare a right-up-there third in 3:52.91, New Jersey favorite son Robby Andrews in the form of his life, fourth in 3:53.16, and four more under four," beamed Dr. Sander.

Of course, of course, Dr.Sander, the former NYC Marathon champion is the real hero of this story as the man who transformed the near-derelict Armory building into a world-class venue and who continues to see the whole Armory scene get better and better and better.

"Every race, beginning to end, was close and exciting, the kids, the high school runners, the collegians, the open runners, the pros, they all got into it; one race always seemed to get better than the one before," continued "The Doc" -- who did not violate the Hippocratic Oath in keeping The Armory from the wrecking ball that next-door neighbor New York Presbyterian Hospital at one time wanted to bring in, to further its own expansion plans.

"Right now, I just don't know how we can do any better the next time.

"But we're certainly going to try."

The race before the Men's Wanamaker Mile - the Invictus 60 meter dash for Wounded Warriors -- stirred every kind of emotion. But the winner, U.S. Army sergeant Robert Brown, who won in 7.81 seconds, wasn't looking to win the sympathy vote. He merely wanted to be accepted as a Millrose champion, too -- and the Armory crowd did exactly that.

Another brilliant move was promoting a strong secondary section of the Men's Mile -- designed for those deemed not quite ready for the prime time experience of the Wanamaker Mile itself.

And this one -- led by former Columbia/Oregon star Johnny Gregorek in 3:56.75 -- produced no less than its billing with eight finishers under 4 minutes.

Sizzling as they all were, it was the fourth of them who made some of the day's biggest news.

Not only did Loudoun Valley, Va. high schooler Drew Hunter best his own National indoor mark of 3:58.25 (set here two weeks ago) but he had quite a few thinking he had the right stuff to better fellow Virginian Allen Webb's 2001 national outdoor record of 3:53.43 sometime this spring, too.

He'll be back at the Armory in three weeks for the National Scholastics -- but only to run the 4xmile and distance medley relays.

"Back in the day," as some say, late-great Millrose Games director/ National Track and Field Hall of Fame member Fred Schmertz, who was followed by son Howard as the main man of the show -- often said "the Olympic Games is our own trials for the Millrose Games."

Well, guess what?

The statement might be virtually true as ever. Come August, check out the list of Rio de Janeiro Olympic winners. It is likely to bear a striking resemblance to this roll call of 2016 NYRR Millrose Games winners:

Men's 60-meter dash, Canadian hopeful and potential Usain Bolt threat, Andre De Grasse in 6.61; 60 hurdles, Omar McLeod in 7.46; 400, Grenada's Bralon Taplin, edging Queensite/Olympic medalist Lalonde Gordon, in a meet-record 45.35; 800 -- Duane Solomon fighting off Penn Stater Brannon Kidder in a meet-record 1:47.25; and 3000, Ryan Hill holding off a talent-packed field to delivered another meet record win, 7:38.82, as steeple star Evan Jager ran fourth in 7:40.10 and Edward Cheserek, Oregon's king of all NCAA kings, went sixth in 7:40.51.

Moving right along, the women's 60 dash went to 9-time World/Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix, in her first Millrose start since 2002, in 7.15; the 60 hurdles, to Janay DeLoach in 7.85; the 400 to Armory favorite Natasha Hastings in 51.66; and the 800 to three-time National champion Ajee' Wilson continuing down the comeback trail after her injury-curtailed 2015 season, rallying to beat Brenda Martinez, in a world-lading 2:00.09, to 2:00.14.

The women's mile saw Duke alumna Shannon Rowbury continuing her avowed march on Rio, in a 4:24.39 verdict over rapidly Fordham grad Kerri Gallagher's 4:26.18.

The women's 5,000 meters (a new Millrose event) went to Ethiopia's Betsy Saina, leading a parade of USA chasers in 14:57.18.

Moving over to field events, Erik Kynard topped the male high jumpers at 7-6 1/2; Marquis Dendy spanned 26-8 1/4 to lead the long jumpers; and Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and USA's Demi Payne raised the women's meet pole vault  record to 16-0 3/4, joining the elite 16-foot club with the win going to Stefanidi on the fewer-misses rule.

World decathlon champion Ashton Eaton snared a second in the 60 hurdles and a sixth in the long jump; wife Brianne Tesien-Eaton went fifth in the hurdles.

The racewalkers -- in their Susan Rudin National Championship one-mile events -- got into the spirit of the occasion as much as the runners.

Long Islander and Olympic hopeful MariaMichta-Coffey -- with a top-10 Rio 20K finish a good possibility -- fought off Miranda Melville to win the women's event, 6:30.16 to 6:35.25. Jonathan Hallman of Shore AC made the long ride from Liberty, S.C. more than worthwhile with a charge around the final turn to beat out John Cody Risch, 6:13.66 to 6:17.17.  For both Michta-Coffey and Hallman, it was a third Millrose win in four years.

The girls high school mile was a dazzler, front-running Virginian Kate Murphy blazing to a 4:41.84 record win. California "wild card" entry Isaac Cortes stunned his Eastern rivals to win the boys race in 4:09.87.

Think that Virginia brothers Noah and Josephus Lyles of T.C. Williams High (whose parents are ex-Seton Hall stars) are impressive now? They (with Tre'Kel Lockett and Kia Cole) powered TCW to a 1:27.29 meet 4x200 win. Consider how much better they will be by this summer's World Junior Championships, and maybe-just-maybe the USA Olympic Trials.

Quite obviously, there was glory for it in all Millrose participants.  Quite obviously, the 110th NYRR Millrose participants in 2017 will have a very tough act to follow.

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109th NYRR Millrose Games Highlights

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109th NYRR Millrose Games Highlights

Allyson Felix is embarking on an ambitious mission in 2016 as she prepares for a 200-400 double, plus relays, at the Rio de Janiero Games.

That journey included a victory in the 60-meter dash on Saturday at the 109th NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory, which followed one of the loudest cheers of the night for her introduction.

Felix’s race was over in a flash – 7.15 seconds – but was one of the memorable moments from a meet that featured repeat winners in the Wanamaker Miles and a handful of other close, exciting finishes.

“It was awesome. I felt really welcomed,” said Felix, who attracted a horde of young autograph seekers. “I don’t get to run much indoor, so it was special to come back here to a place I have high school memories and really feel the love.”

Matthew Centrowitz won his third Wanamaker men’s mile – the signature event of the meet – much the same way he won his second. Centrowitz slid ahead Nick Willis with 200 meters to go and then outkicked him to break the meet and track records with 3:50.63. Willis of New Zealand, who has finished in the top three five times but never won, ran the second-fastest time in meet history with 3:51.06.

“He was strong the last 150 (meters),” Willis said. “I gave it my best and wasn’t able to get as close as last year.”

The two of them spent a couple of days talking about the 2015 race, which Centrowitz won by .11 seconds. Saturday’s race was not a carbon copy, but the finish between the two of them was similar. Chris O’Hare was third (3:52.91) and Robby Andrews lopped 18 seconds off his long-stale indoor mile PR with 3:53.16.

The other miler everyone was talking about was high school phenom Drew Hunter, who lowered his own indoor national record to 3:57.89 in the B race and placed a very strong fourth. Incredibly, Hunter has been struggling to shake a cough and has not been feeling 100 percent healthy for a couple of weeks.

In the women’s Wanamaker, Shannon Rowbury successfully defended her title and ran 4:24.39 – almost identical to her finish time in 2015 (4:24.32). Rowbury was seeking to run under 4:20 but the pace was a bit slower than the 2:08 that was talked about beforehand. Rowbury split 2:12.02 and was alone for the second half of the race. There were eight women under 4:29, including runner-up Kerri Gallahger, who ran a very strong time of 4:26.18.

Ryan Hill won the loaded men’s 3,000 meters in 7:38.82. Hill and the next eight guys in the race broke the meet record. A large pack was still together with 400 meters to go and it ended up being a kicker’s dual between Hill and Hassan Mead for the win.

Oregon’s Edward Cheserek led the train of runners through a middle chunk of the race. He lost a little bit of ground late but his time of 7:40.51 earned him sixth place and was the second-fastest collegiate time ever. It also eclipsed Galen Rupp’sOregon school record.

In the women’s 800, Ajee Wilson won her third Millrose title by withstanding the on-rushing close of Brenda Martinez. Wilson edged Martinez at the line, 2:00.09 to 2:00.14. It was the fastest winning time at Millrose since 2002.

The boys high school mile was even closer. Californian Isaac Cortes sprung a finishing kick that caught a trio of New Yorkers off guard and the Great Oak senior rallied to take the win in 4:09.87 -- .01 seconds ahead of Noah Affolder of Carthage NY.Aidan Tooker of Saratoga Springs NY was third in 4:10.20 and Conor Lundy of Fordham Prep NY was fourth in 4:10.68.

Kate Murphy of Lake Braddock ran away from the field to win the girls high school mile in a meet record time of 4:41.84. Murphy was aiming to run under 4:40 but wound up slashing more than three seconds off the meet record. Murphy moved to No. 9 on the all-time list.

In keeping with the theme of big wins by Virginians, the T.C. Williams boys 4x200 relay cruised to 1:27.29 – matching the US#1 that the team ran on Jan. 30 at the Virginia Tech Invitational.

Bralon Taplin from Grenada smashed the track record in the men’s 400 meters by running 45.35 seconds. Lalonde Gordon, a New York resident who represents Trinidad & Tobago, was second in 45.51.

The women’s 400 meters was also fast. Natasha Hastings returned to the track she grew up on and beat defending champion Phyllis Francis in 51.66.

The women’s 5,000 meters saw another of the close finishes. Betsy Saina edged out Molly Huddle for the victory, 14:57.18 to 14:57.31.

Canada’s bright young sprint star Andre DeGrasse won his professional debut by taking the 60 meters in 6.61 seconds. China’s Su Bingtian was second in 6.62.

Katerina Stefanidi broke the Greek national record in the pole vault with her clearance at 16 feet, 0.75 inches and also defended her title. American Demi Payne also made that height but finished second because she had more misses at lower heights.

Erik Kynard, the Olympic silver medalist from London, won the high jump with 7 feet, 6.50 inches.

Marquis Dendy jumped 26-8.25 and prevailed in a new format for the long jump in which jumpers were eliminated round by round.  

Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton placed second to Omar McLeod (7.46) in the 60 hurdles but only had one fair jump and was last in the long jump.

No race was closer than the high school boys 55-meter dash. Tajh Gilchrist of Bowie MD won the race by a margin of .002 seconds over Ade Jones-Roundree of Imhotep PA. Both ran 6.40. Daija Lampkin from Middletown DE won the girls race in a meet record-tying 6.91.

In the CHSAA boys 4x800, Archbishop Molloy got past its rivals and won in 7:55.57. St. Joseph’s By the Sea and defending champion St. Anthony’s were both within a second.

In the Eastern boys 4x800, State College PA posted the fastest time with 7:51.59, good for US#3.

Paul Robeson’s girls won the Eastern girls 4x200 in 1:39.09 and then quickly came back about 35 minutes later and won the PSAL girls 4x400 in 3:50.53 with three members of the same lineup. 

On Thursday, Gwendolyn Berry broke the meet record in the weight throw with her toss of 79-8.25.  

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Centrowitz Turns Back Willis Again to Win Second Consecutive NYRR Wanamaker Mile at the 109th NYRR Millrose Games

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Centrowitz Turns Back Willis Again to Win Second Consecutive NYRR Wanamaker Mile at the 109th NYRR Millrose Games

Matthew Centrowitz won the NYRR Wanamaker Mile for the second consecutive year at the NYRR Millrose Game again holding off New Zealand’s Nick Willis at the New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armory on Saturday night.

Both the Oregonian Centrowitz and Willis broke from the pack with two laps remaining. Centrowitz finished with a 3:50.63 mark, both a new NYRR Millrose Games and Armory record. Willis couldn’t wrestle the lead from Centrowitz down the stretch, finishing runner-up (3:51.06) for the second consecutive year.

Moments afterward Centrowitz and Willis were arm and arm, delighting a sellout crowd of 5,000 fans.

Centrowitz says it never gets old winning the NYRR Wanamaker Mile, his third triumph in the last five years.

“It never does,’’ Centrowitz said afterward. “I lost my second Millrose here and I remember that loss to this day – it stung. I can’t say I’ll ever get tired of winning here.”

Defending Women’s NYRR Wanamaker Mile champion Shannon Rowbury also successfully defended her title, turning in a 4:24.39 time, ahead of Kerri Gallagher (4:26.18). She nearly missed breaking her Armory record of 4:24.32 last year.

Crowd favorite and four-time Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix didn’t disappoint her fans as she won the 60 Meters with a 7.15 winning mark. It was her first time competing in the NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory.

Andre De Grasse, a 2015 NCAA champion at the University of Southern California, made his professional debut a night to remember. He won a closely contested 60 Meter Dash with a 6.61 time, turning back Su Bingtian (6.62). Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, self-proclaimed “fastest player in the National Football League,” finished sixth with a 6.68 time.

In another meet highlight, it took exactly two weeks for high school phenom Drew Hunter to erase his national boys high school record. Hunter of Purcellville, Va., reset his previous mark of 3.58.25 with a 3:57.81 in the Armory Invitational Men’s Mile.

Staff Sgt. Robert Brown of the U.S Army won the first-ever NYRR Millrose Games Invictus Dash for wounded active duty and veteran service members. Brown won the six-person field with a 7.81 time in the 60 Meters dash.

For more results on the NYRR Millrose Games please go to either www.NYRRMillroseGames.org or ArmoryTrack.com.  

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2016 Invictus Games Announces Competitors for “Invictus Dash” at the 109th NYRR Millrose Games

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2016 Invictus Games Announces Competitors for “Invictus Dash” at the 109th NYRR Millrose Games

The 2016 Invictus Games has announced the six competitors who will take part in this Saturday’s “Invictus Dash” at the 109th NYRR Millrose Games. The race will feature American service members, active duty and retired, five of whom are training to represent the 2016 Invictus US Team at the 2016 Invictus Games, held May 8-12 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Kissimmee, Fla.

Created through a partnership between the 2016 Invictus Games, the Department of Defense and the NYRR Millrose Games, the new featured race will bring Invictus competitors alongside many of the nation’s top track and field athletes at one of the most prestigious indoor track and field meets in the United States. 

The 2016 Invictus Games, presented by Jaguar Land Rover, is the only international adaptive sporting event for ill, injured and wounded active duty and retired service men and women.  The Games will bring over 500 hundred competitors from 15 nations to compete in 10 sports, including track and field.

“We are honored to participate in the famed Millrose Games,” said Retired U.S. Army Captain Will Reynolds, Invictus Dash competitor. “We hope our sprint will shine a light on the power of adaptive sports in supporting our recovery and inspire others to see what is possible after injury.”

Retired U.S. Army Captain Will Reynolds lost his leg after an improvised explosive devise detonated in Iraq. He underwent 26 surgeries as doctors tried to save his left leg but they ended up amputating the leg at the knee. Reynolds served until 2008 in Fort Benning, GA; South Korea; Iraq; and the Washington, D.C. area. Following his two years of rehabilitation, he earned a Masters of Business Administration and a Masters degree in Public Health from the University of Rochester, New York. He now works as a manager with Deloitte and lives with his wife Cassandra and children Malachi, Gabrielle, Genevieve, and Evangeline in Bethesda, MD.

Captain Reynolds will be joined in “The Invictus Dash” by:

Retired USMC Lance Corporal Joshua Wege was injured during his tour to Afghanistan in 2009 with the Marine Corps. While in rehabilitation, Wege learned about adaptive sports at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He currently competes with the Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team. He is also working towards a degree from Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers, FL., with the goal of becoming a certified prosthetist.

Retired U.S. Army Sergeant Ana Manciaz, lost her right left after a motorcycle accident. Growing up in Los Lunas, NM she always remained athletic, but following her injury sports has taken a whole new meaning – both physically and mentally. Manciaz recently completed in her first triathlon season. She hopes to compete in the triathlon at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.

Staff Sergeant Gideon Connelly joined the Air National Guard in 2008 as an Aircraft Mechanic. In 2011, he was involved in a near-fatal motorcycle accident where he lost his left leg below the knee. He rehabilitated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Connelly returned to full duty and now serves as a Chaplain’s Assistant at the 175th Wing stationed at Martin State Airport, MD. Connelly takes part in many adaptive sports events, but his main love is sprinting. He won silver and bronze medals while competing in the 2014 Warrior Games and is currently training to be a part of the Paralympic track and field team for the 2016 Paralympic Games.

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Brown, a native of Moncks Corner, SC, was injured in 2006 while conducting operations in Iraq, which led to the eventual amputation of his right leg. Brown got involved with Paralympic track and field through the US Paralympic Military Sports Program and was later introduced to kayaking while rehabilitating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Army Sergeant Ryan McIntosh lost his right leg below the knee after stepping on a pressure-plate landmine while performing a routine mission in Afghanistan in 2010. An avid high school athlete, Sgt. McIntosh competed in track and football. Today, McIntosh competes in track and field, sitting volleyball and wheelchair rugby. He has competed in the 2012 and 2013 Warrior Games as well as the 2014 Invictus Games. McIntosh is assigned to Army World Class Athlete Program and resides in San Antonio, TX.

Captain Reynolds, Lance Corporal Wege, Sergeant Manciaz and Staff Sergeant Brown are training for the 2016 Invictus Games.  Staff Sergeant Connelly is currently training for the 2016 Paralympic Games.

The 109th edition of the NYRR Millrose Games will take place on February 20, 2016 at the New Balance Track & Field Center from 12-6 p.m. Fans can watch the 2016 Invictus Games US Team hopefuls by checking the NYRR Millrose Games viewing information HERE.

 

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At NYRR Millrose Games, Nick Willis Seeks Title And Change

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At NYRR Millrose Games, Nick Willis Seeks Title And Change

If Nick Willis's career ended tomorrow, the Kiwi would be satisfied. On his resume is an Olympic silver medal from 2008, three NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile titles, and personal bests of 3:49.83 and 3:29.66 for the mile and 1500m, respectively. 

Yet before Willis contemplates hanging up his adidas spikes, the 32-year-old wants two very important things: 1) an NYRR Wannamaker Mile crown, and 2) the assurance of clean sport. 

On Saturday Willis will race at the historic NYRR Millrose Games for the fifth time, vying for the coveted 'King of the Boards' crown and the honor that comes along with it. Last year he finished runner-up by .11 of a second, while in 2014 he finished third (he was also second in 2009 and third in 2008).

"I would absolutely love to win this. It's the primary reason I come back," said Willis, speaking at a Midtown Manhattan hotel. "I think this is actually my 18th or 19th time to the City, in which I've raced 16 or 17 of those trips. This has probably been the most prominent destination that I've competed at in my career... I feel it's like home." 

Fresh off a 3:53.27 win in the mile at last week's New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, Willis feels confident going into this meeting. Familiar with The Armory and its fast oval, Willis is primed to do whatever it takes to secure the Wannamaker Mile trophy, which resembles a shrunken Stanley Cup. Rival Matt Centrowitz has requested a pace that sets the stage for a sub-3:50 performance. Willis doesn't even bat an eye at the thought of that blistering clip. 

Having raced on the professional circuit for a decade, Willis wants to use his experience both on and off the track this weekend. Physically, the former University of Michigan star feels prepared for any kind of race on Saturday, when he takes on some of the world's best milers like Centrowitz, Britain's Chris O'Hare, and former NCAA champion Robby Andrews.

Emotionally, he is motivated to seek change. 

A father of a young son, Willis wants to set an example and stand up for clean sport, sick of the mess that track and field has found itself in globally. IAAF President Sebastian Coe announced this week that Kenya could potentially be banned from the 2016 Olympics for being non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency code, the newest development in what has been a tumultuous twelve months for athletics.

"The whole banning a whole federation is a very challenging subject because obviously there are going to be a lot of innocent people who are sort of bystanders in that will be affected as well," said Willis. 

As an established veteran, Willis feels he is at a level where his voice can be heard. Unlike many up-and-coming athletes, he does not fear being "black listed" in the sport by event organizers, sponsors, or shoe companies. Perennially a top-five miler in the world, Willis also sports personal bests that speak for themselves. 

While the IAAF circles the bandwagon searching for ways the sport can improve its sometimes porous drug testing system, Willis has come up with a scenario that could improve out-of-competition testing. Long a dark cloud over the anti-doping movement, testing in remote countries has been a challenge and burden. While Lord Coe has proposed banning entire countries and national governing bodies from future competition (such is the case with Kenya and Russia), Willis argues an alternative solution would impact all athletes training in problematic locales.

"One unique outlook I've sort of thought may be a possible solution is rather than [banning] federations, why not create a situation where the top-ten or top-15 athletes in the world, they have to train at least ten months of the year in a country where the country is under the compliant WADA code," Willis began, speaking with passion. "If they are from a country that doesn't have those places -- a lot of my competitors are from Kenya, Ethiopia, or Djibouti, a lot of places that don't have the funds to do that [have compliant testing facilities]. If you are a top-ten or top 15 athlete in the world, you have the sponsors, you have the means to go and train in Flagstaff as opposed to altitude there. It's not ideal and it's not necessarily fair, but it's also not fair that a lot of these athletes are getting away with training in places where the testers cannot access them." 

With a growing number of media members surrounding him, Willis took the time to further elaborate on his proposal. He described a recent scenario involving friend Reid Coolsaet, an elite marathoner from Canada who has frequently trained in Kenya. According to Coolsaet (via a post on Twitter and reports in the Toronto Sun), many Kenyans (including Olympic medalists) had been notified more than a day in advance that they were going to be tested the following day. A day's notice gives athletes time to prepare (or potentially evade) testers. 

"What good is quality testing if you can't actually test people [by surprise]? Or you can't access them properly?" Willis told Race Results Weekly. Willis sees two benefits to his proposal: one, a better chance of testing being effective and keeping athletes accountable; and two, putting accountability on the nations who are losing elite athletes because their testing facilities (or lack there-of) are not up to code. "That's just the unfortunate state of the sport. We've come to a point now, look, when people say no one deserves to be clean anymore. Even my name gets thrown out there. Why should you believe the next guy? You shouldn't believe that I am clean -- we've gotten to the point now where our sport has lost all credibility [where] no athletes deserve to be called clean. And I don't care if people think that about me if it means we start actually addressing the issues to clean it up."

When asked by RRW if he'd ever consider running for a position within the IAAF or WADA to initiate change, Willis said that when his career is over he'll be first and foremost dedicated to his family. But he hopes by the time he's done running that the sport is in a better place than it is now.

The NYRR Millrose Games does have drug testing, and top athletes are subjected to both in- and out-of-competition testing. When Willis toes the line on Saturday, he'll do so fighting for two wins: A win in the most historic indoor mile in the world, and a win for clean sport.

"I've been wanting to do this for a long time, since I was racing [Bernard] Lagat and [Craig] Mottram [in the late 2000's, back at Madison Square Garden]," he said. "It wouldn't be a worthwhile achievement if I wasn't beating great athletes in doing so."

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109th NYRR Millrose Games Teams Up with 2016 Invictus Games, Department of Defense, To Host “Invictus Dash”

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109th NYRR Millrose Games Teams Up with 2016 Invictus Games, Department of Defense, To Host “Invictus Dash”

Today, the NYRR Millrose Games, one of the most prestigious indoor track and field meets in the United States, announced a new competition at this year’s meet featuring competitors training for the 2016 Invictus Games, the only international adaptive sporting event for wounded, ill, and injured active duty and veteran service members. 

The 109th edition of the NYRR Millrose Games will be showcasing the country’s top track and field athletes on February 20, 2016 at the New Balance Track & Field Center from 12-6 p.m.

In partnership with the 2016 Invictus Games and the Department of Defense, the new feature sprint – “The Invictus Dash” – will feature American service members, active duty and retired, who are training to compete for the 2016 US Team in the upcoming Invictus Games and also for the Warrior Games.

The 2016 Invictus Games presented by Jaguar Land Rover will be held May 8-12, at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.  Over 500 hundred competitors from 15 nations are expected to compete in 10 sports including track and field.

“We are delighted to welcome and highlight these American heroes and honored for them to be a part of the historic NYRR Millrose Games,” said NYRR Millrose Games Meet Director Ray Flynn. “As they race down the track, they are sure to inspire their fellow athletes and all of us in attendance.”

Many of the country's top track & field athletes will be showcased at the historic Armory in New York City during the Millrose Games, including decathlon world record holder and Olympic champion Ashton Eaton; Summer and Winter Olympian Lolo Jones; four-time Olympic champion and a nine-time world champion sprinter Allyson Felix; 1500 meter fourth place finisher at the 2012 London Olympics and defending men's NYRR Wanamaker Mile champion Matthew Centrowitz; and 1500 meter American record holder and defending women's NYRR Wanamaker Mile champion Shannon Rowbury.

“The 2016 Invictus Games are a valuable opportunity to witness the incredible healing power of adaptive sports and to cheer on competitors and their families who have made countless sacrifices in defense of our nation,” said Ken Fisher Co-CEO of the 2016 Invictus Games. “We are delighted to partner with the NYRR Millrose Games and greatly appreciate their support of the 2016 Invictus Games and our amazing competitors.”

Fans can purchase tickets for the 109th NYRR Millrose Games here.

“The NYRR Millrose Games is honored to host the Invictus competitors in our 109th edition as they take part in the Invictus Dash. We look forward to welcoming these heroes to The Armory and having them compete in the NYRR Millrose Games,” said Dr. Norbert Sander, President of Armory Foundation.

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Top 10 Reasons Why 109th NYRR Millrose Games Will Provide a Memorable Night at The Armory

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Top 10 Reasons Why 109th NYRR Millrose Games Will Provide a Memorable Night at The Armory

Meet Director Ray Flynn anticipates more than the usual remarkable feats at the New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory during the 109th  NYRR Millrose Games on February 20th.

Flynn, the owner of the Irish record in the mile (3:49.77) and 89 sub-4 minute mile marks, is in his fifth year overseeing the NYRR Millrose Games and believes this field is his best ever. Flynn provides 10 appealing storylines that will make this year’s meet truly special:

1. Can the world's greatest athlete Ashton Eaton win both the hurdles and the long jump? Eaton is the Olympic champion and world record holder in the decathlon.

2. Can anyone beat 4-time Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix in the 60m? 

3. Can Marquise Goodwin, the self-proclaimed fastest man in the National Football League, beat the NCAA champion and World Championships bronze medalist Andre De Grasse?

4. Watch Olympic medalists and rivals Derek Drouin and Eric Kynard try to jump over 7 feet- 6 inches in the high jump 2.30 meters.

5. Ajeé Wilson and Brenda Martinez go head to head in the women's 800 meters. Will they surpass the American indoor record?

6. The rematch of Molly Huddle and Emily Infeld in the women's 5000 meters. Infeld won the bronze medal over Huddle during their epic World Championship race in Beijing this past summer.

7. Can high school star Drew Hunter, improve on his incredible national high school record in the Mile of 3.58.25?

8. Watch Lolo Jones in her come back 60 hurdles race after making the Olympic bobsled team against the world's greatest hurdlers.

9. Can defending champion Shannon Rowbury run under 4.20 in the women's NYRR Wanamaker Mile?

10. Will we witness the first ever sub 3.50 mile in the historic NYRR Wanamaker Mile from Nick Willis or Matthew Centrowitz or both! Their rivalry continues!

TO PURCHASE TICKETS for the 109th NYRR Millrose Games please go tohttps://tickets.nyrrmillrosegames.org/Tickets.

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NYRR Wanamaker Mile at the 109th NYRR Millrose Games to Feature Rematch Between Matthew Centrowitz and Nick Willis as They Lead World-class Men’s Field

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NYRR Wanamaker Mile at the 109th NYRR Millrose Games to Feature Rematch Between Matthew Centrowitz and Nick Willis as They Lead World-class Men’s Field

The NYRR Wanamaker Mile at the 109th NYRR Millrose Games will feature a riveting rematch between defending champion Matthew Centrowitz, of Portland OR, and 2015 runner-up and the fastest miler in the field, Nick Willis, of New Zealand, on Saturday, February 20, at the New Balance Track and Field Center at The Armory. Centrowitz and Willis ran the two fastest indoor miles in the world last year in the NYRR Wanamaker Mile, Centrowitz breaking the tape just a step ahead of Willis. Shannon Rowbury, of Portland, OR, will attempt to defend her title as key American and international rivals chase the now 1500-meter American record holder for the crown.

“NYRR is honored to be a year-round partner of The Armory and third-year title sponsor of the NYRR Millrose Games, and we’re always especially proud to support the famed NYRR Wanamaker Mile,” said Peter Ciaccia, NYRR president of events and the race director for the TCS New York City Marathon. “We are anticipating an incredible rematch of our defending champion and runner-up with Matthew and Nick, and look forward to watching Shannon once again compete against a talented and diverse women’s field.”

“The NYRR Wanamaker Mile continues to attract the world’s greatest milers, and each year’s lineup tells a special story,” said Ray Flynn, NYRR Millrose Games Meet Director. “This year, we’ll get to welcome back both of our defending champions and witness a rematch of one of the closest NYRR Wanamaker Mile finishes in race history in the men’s race. I would like to thank NYRR for their continued support in assembling accomplished and dynamic NYRR Wanamaker Mile fields.”  

Centrowitz, 26, is the defending NYRR Wanamaker Mile champion, and also won the race in 2012. In that same year, he won the 5th Avenue Mile and finished fourth in the 1500 meters at the London Olympics. Centrowitz captured the bronze medal at the 2011 IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships 1500 meters, and improved to silver in 2013. He is the third-fastest American of all time in the 1500 meters (3:30.40), and has won three outdoor USA 1500-meter titles (2011, 2013, and 2015). Centrowitz bested Willis 3:51.35 to 3:51.46 in last year’s NYRR Wanamaker Mile.

“I'm looking forward to coming back to New York to defend my NYRR Millrose Games Wanamaker Mile title on February 20,” said Centrowitz. “It will be my fourth time to run this race and I’m hoping to add to my two victories in 2012 and 2015. The list of NYRR Wanamaker Mile winners is legendary and I would love to take a few more titles and try to set an NYRR Wanamaker Mile record.

Willis, 32, is the runner-up of the NYRR Wanamaker Mile, and looking to avenge last year’s loss to Centrowitz the same way he did at the 2015 NYRR 5th Avenue Mile where he captured the crown and beat Centrowitz handily. Willis is also the 2008 and 2013 champion of the NYRR 5th Avenue Mile, making him the third male athlete in event history with at least three wins. He set the national record in the 1500 meters (3:29.66) in the summer of 2015 and won a silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in that event. In 2006, he became the first New Zealand athlete to win the Commonwealth Games 1500 meters.

“I'm both excited and desperate to come back to the NYRR Millrose Games to finally win the NYRR Wanamaker Mile,” said Willis. “In my four attempts I have finished second or third place, with none being closer than last year's lean at the line with deserved winner Matthew Centrowitz.  Centro is back again this year, so I look forward to resuming our rivalry.”

Centrowitz and Willis will lead a field of top milers, including Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano of Austin, Texas, 2015 USA Road Mile champion Garrett Heath of Seattle, WA, 2015 Pan Am Games 1500-meter bronze medalist Charles Philibert-Thiboutot of Canada, two-time European Championships 1500-meter bronze medalist Chris O'Hare of Great Britain, and 2015 USA Championships 1500-meter runner-up Robby Andrews who lives in Manalapan, NJ. Adding both international and NCAA flavor is Villanova's Jordy Williamsz of Australia, who, if he runs 3:53.50 will gain provisional selection for Australian Olympic Team. 

Defending champion Rowbury, 31, is back to defend her title; now, as the American record holder for 1500 meters. Rowbury ran away with the victory in 2015, winning by three seconds in 4:24.31, the No. 4 indoor time in the world last year. She broke the 32-year-old American 1500-meter record in the summer of 2015 with a 3:56.29 performance in Monaco. In September 2015, Rowbury was the runner-up at the NYRR 5th Avenue Mile, and has won the event in 2010 and 2009. She earned a bronze medal at the 2009 IAAF World Track and Field Championships in the 1500 meters, and is a two-time Olympian. Rowbury has won six national titles: 1500m Outdoors (2008, 2009), Road Mile (2009), Indoor Mile (2015), and Indoor 3000m/2-Mile (2008, 2015).

“It's an honor to have a chance to defend my title at the legendary NYRR Millrose Games,” said Rowbury. “I love competing in NYC at The Armory because the energy is infectious and the NYRR know how to put on an exemplary event.”

Rowbury’s key rivals include four-time national 1500-meter champion Treniere Moser of Portland, OR, 2015 USA 5000-meter champion Nicole Tulley who lives in Piscataway, NJ, three-time international medalist Ciara Mageean of Ireland, three-time USA Road Mile champion Heather Kampf of Minneapolis, MN, and USA junior 1500-meter record holder Alexa Efraimson of Camas, WA. Adding an NCAA component to the field is Dominque Scott of the University of Arkansas, last year's NCAA indoor 3000-meter champion.

TO PURCHASE TICKETS for the 109th NYRR Millrose Games please go to https://tickets.nyrrmillrosegames.org/Tickets.

Additional Athlete Backgrounds and Notable Performances

Manzano, 31, 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 makes him the sixth-fastest American 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.

Heath, 30, is the 2015 USA Road Mile champion.

Philibert-Thiboutot, 25, is the 2015 Pan American Games 1500-meter bronze medalist.

O'Hare, 25, is the 2015 European Athletics Indoor and 2014 European Athletics Outdoor 1500-meter bronze medalist.

Andrews, 24, finished second at the 2015 USATF Outdoor Championships in the 1500 meters, and in 2011, was the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field champion in the 800 meters.

Williamsz, 23, is the 2015 Big East 1500-meter champion, and placed fifth in the 1500 meters at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Moser, 34, 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, she took fifth in the 1500 meters, her highest place in international competition. Moser was also the runner-up at the 2014 NYRR Wanamaker Mile and finished third at the 2014 NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile.

Tulley, 29, is the 2015 USATF Outdoor Championships 5000-meter champion.

Mageean, 23, placed second in the 1500 meters at the 2011 European Junior Championships and IAAF World Junior Championships, and second at the 2009 IAAF World Youth Championships in the 800 meters.

Kampf, 29, captured her third USA Road Mile Championship title in May. The “Queen of the Road Mile” has recorded three victories at both the Ryan Shay Mile and the GNC Live Well Liberty Mile. She owns a road-mile personal best of 4:21.39, was a nine-time All American at the University of Minnesota, and won the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field 800-meter title.

Efraimson, 18, is the USA Junior 1500-meter record holder and placed third at the 2013 IAAF World Youth Championships in the 1500 meters.

Scott, 23, is 2015 NCAA Indoor 3000-meter champion.

 

Professional Men

Nick Willis, NZL, 3:49.83

Matthew Centrowitz, USA, 3:50.53

Leo Manzano, USA, 3:50.64

Jordan McNamara, USA, 3:52.42

Pat Casey*, USA, 3:52.62

Chris O'Hare, GBR, 3:52.98 (indoor)

Garrett Heath, USA, 3:53.15

Cory Leslie, USA, 3:53.44

Charles 'Philibert-Thiboutot, CAN, 3:54.52

Riley Masters, USA, 3:56.15 (indoor)

Jordy Williamsz, AUS, 3:56.84

Robby Andrews, USA, 3:57.15

Daniel Winn, USA, 3:57.62 Indoor)

*Field subject to change

 

Professional Women

 Shannon Rowbury, USA, 4:20.34

Morgan Uceny, USA, 4:29.39 (indoor)

Alexa Efraimson, USA, 4:32.15 (indoor)

Kerri Gallagher, USA, 4:30.5h

Katie Mackey, USA, 4:27.78

Heather Kampf, USA, 4:30.07 (indoor)

Nicole Tully, USA, 4:30.65

Ciara Mageean, IRL, 4:30.64

Treniere Moser, USA, 4:27.49 (indoor)

Heather Wilson, USA, 4:29.39

Dominique Scott, RSA, 4:32.48 (indoor)

Stephanie Charnigo, USA, 4:28.02 (indoor)

Leah O'Connor, USA, 4:27.18 (indoor)

*Field subject to change

 

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Evan Jager’s Path to Olympic Glory in Rio Starts at 109th NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory

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Evan Jager’s Path to Olympic Glory in Rio Starts at 109th NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory

Evan Jager has already proved that he belongs on a short list of the best steeplechase runners in the world, but he wants to take the next step in 2016 and win an Olympic medal. 

Jager will use the NYRR Millrose Games on February 20th at the New Balance Track and Field Center at The Armory to help get his 2016 season rolling. He is entered in a loaded 3,000 meters field that will see him take on 10-time NCAA champion and former St. Benedict's Prep star Edward Cheserek of Oregon, Nike Oregon Project teammates Cam Levins and Eric Jenkins, and Jager's Nike Bowerman Track Club teammates Ryan Hill and Lopez Lomong.

In 2015, Jager broke the American record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with 8:00.45 and later finished sixth at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing. Those results amounted to near-misses. He missed the sub-8 minute barrier and missed the medals. 

In 2016, Jager brings renewed hope to his goal.

"I definitely feel like I’m close," Jager said, "I'm right there. I just need to run a perfect race in order to do it. It's achievable."

Jager's short-term goal includes qualifying to compete at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland, Ore., where he has lived for the past seven and a half years.

The NYRR Millrose Games is part of that build up.

"With this year being an Olympic year, the NYRR Millrose Games is the perfect venue to start off my racing," Jager said. "I'm excited to go back to The Armory to run the 3K. I'm hoping to get the U.S. and World indoor standard, enjoy the race atmosphere, and compete for the win."

Levins will return after dominating the 2-mile and mile races at the Armory Track Invitational in 2015. He broke the Canadian 2-mile record at The Armory in 2013. Lomong broke the American record in the indoor 5,000 meters at The Armory in 2013, when he ran 13:07.00. Hill won the U.S. outdoor title in the 5,000 meters.

TIME ADJUSTMENT: The time of the NYRR Millrose Games on February 20th will be from noon to 6 p.m.

TO PURCHASE TICKETS for the 109th NYRR Millrose Games please go to https://tickets.nyrrmillrosegames.org/Tickets.

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Allyson Felix in 109th NYRR Millrose Games

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Allyson Felix in 109th NYRR Millrose Games

Allyson Felix is returning to the NYRR Millrose Games for the first time since she was a teenager and racing in an exceptional 60-meter dash field that will help to launch her 2016 season. 

It has been 11 years since Felix competed at the NYRR Millrose Games and during that span she has become one of the most popular and successful track athletes in the world.

Felix is a four-time Olympic champion and a nine-time world champion in sprints ranging from 100 to 400 meters, plus relays. She last competed at the NYRR Millrose Games in 2004 and 2005, at age 18 and 19, and was fourth in the 60 meters both years. This year's 109th event will be held Feb. 20th at the New Balance Track and Field Center at The Armory.

“The NYRR Millrose Games tradition is something so special and exciting about our sport and I look forward to the opportunity to compete in New York City, especially in such an important Olympic year," Felix said. "The women's 60 meters is going to have a loaded field and I cannot wait to compete against some of the best women in the world."

Tori Bowie, the 2015 World Championships bronze medalist in the 100 meters, and Tianna Bartoletta, the reigning world champion in the long jump, add even more star power to the 60-meter dash.

First-year pro Jenna Prandini, who won the Bowerman Award in December as the nation's top collegiate female athlete, is also entered. Prandini won the NCAA 100 meters for Oregon in 2015 and also the U.S. title in the 200 meters. In addition, former Alabama standout Remona Burchell, the 2014 and 2015 NCAA Indoor champion in the 60-meter dash, is also in the field.

The IAAF last week made an adjustment to the Olympic Games time schedule to allow a bit more time between the first round of the 200 meters and the final of the 400 meters. Felix has stated her intention to compete in the 200-400 double at Rio de Janeiro and the schedule change makes her attempt to medal in both events more feasible.

In 2002, when Felix was 16, she competed at The Armory in the National Scholastic Indoor Championships during her junior year at Los Angeles Baptist. She won the 60-meter dash title and also had a memorable showdown with Sanya Richards in the 200 meters final. Richards broke the national high school record and Felix was second.

TO PURCHASE TICKETS for the 109th NYRR Millrose Games please go to https://tickets.nyrrmillrosegames.org/Tickets.

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