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Feb. 12: The Millrose Games

February 13, 2012

Listen to Episode 64

It was Brenn. It was Joe. And 28 minutes and 58 seconds of hilarity. Actually 58 minutes and 28 seconds about the Millrose Games and why many of us have a love/hate relationship with actually racing on a track.

Here’s Joe’s take on the meet:

The 105th edition of the Millrose Games was the first at the Armory. (Results.) It was broadcast live on YouTube. It went well. Not enough was said on the stream about the major differences between the Garden’s 11-lap track (I’m not sure of its exact dimensions in the metric-age, but it was 160 yards, i.e., 11 laps to the mile) and the Armory’s 200 meters. The shorter track made passing very difficult and while it had a certain novelty approach with races sometimes seeming as though they were being run on a gerbil’s wheel, the 200 meters made for more interesting racing.

Plus things seemed much brighter than they did at the Garden. Kudos to the Armory folks and to NYRR, which had a major role in the move, for changing what had been a dying institution into something enjoyable.

The Races

The four marquee middle-distance events did not disappoint. In the women’s 800 (video (incl. a replay of an aborted start)), Morgan Uceny looked pretty comfortable winning off of a slow pace. No one looked more comfortable though than did Matt Centrowitz in the NYRR Wanamaker Mile. (video) 3:53.92 like it was nothing.

Jenny B atoned for her blow up in last week’s 3000 in Boston with an impressive win in the 1500 (below although this link will take you right to the start (I learned how to start YouTube videos midway)), taking the lead relatively early and holding off Shannon Rowbury’s late charge. She looked as though the weight of the world was off her shoulders.

And the men’s 5000 (video from start) was superb, with Bernard Lagat looking, well, Lagat-like in 13:07.15 and another New Jersey high-schooler, Edward Cheserek setting the high-school record with a 13:57.04.

I was shocked about one of the big races, the HS Girls’ Mile. I wrote a while back about Bronxville’s Mary Cain and she was the second fastest qualifier to North Shore’s Samantha Nadel, although she was well beaten by Nadel in the qualifying race. Cain seemed in good form, setting a NYS record just a week ago in the 1000 at the Armory with her seemingly effortless stride. I think Cain prefers to front-run so the question I had whether she would go out hard.

She didn’t, but Nadel was behind her through a slow first quarter. Cain then moved to the front and I thought she was set up perfectly. Just as suddenly, though, she faded, and Nadel shot through for the lead, one that kept increasing and led her to an easy (and repeat) Millrose win in 4:46.09. Cain was a well-beaten fourth in 4:52.19. Cain, who was sixth at Nike Cross Nationals and has recently switched coaches, is likely aiming for outdoor where her focus will be on the 800. I wonder, though, whether the coaching change and attendant issues have had an effect on her.

One other high school girl did well in the 800, as Ajee Wilson of Neptune NJ was fourth in the open 800 in 2:04.13. She could be the first high schooler under 2.

I was saddened that the team with which I am most familiar, the Bronxville girls 4 X 800 (having run with the parents of two members, one of whom has joined us at the Rockies), defending champs, finished well back in sixth.

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