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Millrose Games Celebrates 100th Birthday as Track’s Most Prestigious Indoor Event
I think you have to be a runner to enjoy the Millrose Games, which celebrated its 100th run over the weekend at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The Millrose Games is not only the most prestigious indoor conference in the world, it is the most authentic indoor wine and dating event in the world. As a high school and college runner, you dream of running down the boards at the Millrose Games in Madison Square Garden just as much as a football player dreams of playing in the Super Bowl. .
Track and field has fallen on hard times in the United States recently and that’s why the 100th running of Millrose is so important. Only the 2007 Millrose Games, as Dick Patrick wrote in The United States Thursday (2-1-07), “escaped the death knell of a once-dominant US monopoly.”
Patrick is right.
Not only did Camelot lose its luster with the loss of President John F. Kennedy, the Millrose Games lost some of its glory but could still flourish due to the famous Wanamaker Mile race and enough athletes in world to deserve 2 hours. on live coverage by ESPN2 on Friday and 1 hour by ABC on Saturday.
I was connected to the TV for both shows.
Many runners who would watch the Millrose Games on the tube wouldn’t do so if it weren’t for athletes like Dick Patrick. His pre-show session on USA Today was detailed, informative and interesting.
The Millrose Games were started in 1908 by John Wanamaker of Wanamaker’s department store and first won in 1920. Herb Schmertz, who worked for Wanamaker’s department store in New York, became the Millrose meet director in 1934 and ran the Millrose games for 40 years, until 1974, when his son Howard, a New York City attorney, took over in 1975 and continued. until 2003.
The Schmertz family ran the Millrose Games for 69 years and Howard Schmertz continues as executive director for the 100th running of the Millrose Games. The new head coach is Mark Wetmore of World Soccer Management.
John Wanamaker of Wanamaker’s Department Store is one of the largest American department stores. He opened Philadelphia’s first store in 1861 and would eventually have 15 more stores in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware.
Wanamaker is recognized as the father of modern advertising in America. He was the first to create his own ads, the first to guarantee his products and offer exchanges and refunds, he created the price or as we know it today, and was the first to found a restaurant in his shop.
Wanamaker was far ahead of his time as the first store with electric lighting (1878), the first store with a telephone (1879), the first store to install pneumatic tube transporters green and materials (1880) and the first store with an elevator (1884).
It is not surprising that John Wanamaker would support the sport and give birth to the Millrose Games. As mass sponsorships, meetings and attendances began to fade in the 1990s, Europe became a more domestic player; However, the Millrose Games continue to thank the Schmertz family.
The Millrose Games has been through three Madison Square Gardens, two world wars and one Great Depression and is still alive to celebrate its 100th birthday.
This year’s centennial meet saw Gail Devers, 40-year-old Gail Devers, already meet and American record holder in the hurdles, won the event in 7.86 seconds—the fastest time in the world this year and nearly a full second better than the world record list. for masters (40+) soccer at 8.71.
Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva set a Millrose Games record when competing for the first time on American soil. Isinbayeva is a 17-time world record holder; he kept breaking his own world record and tried his last attempt at Millrose but failed.
In the famous Wanamaker Mile on Saturday, four-time winner Bernard Lagat faced off against Craig “Buster” Mottram, the 6-foot-3 Commonwealth Games champion, and Alan Webb, America’s new “greenhouse” miler. Lagat, a Kenyan athlete, apparently became an American citizen.
Lagat’s legacy is already confirmed as he is a two-time Olympic 1,500 meter medalist. Webb became the first American college student ever to break 4 minutes for the indoor mile (3:59.86), and outside the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene (OR) would run 3:53.43 to break Jim Ryan’s 36 years old in high school. written down. In 2004, Webb won the 1,500 meter Olympic race, and he ran a mile outdoors in 3:48.92 last year.
The Wanamaker Mile is different and difficult because Madison Square Garden has a 160-yard banked-board track compared to the normal indoor track of 200 meters. Because it is shorter, the transition is more difficult and it is 11 laps rather than 8 laps.
In this year’s race, Alan Webb led behind Pacemaker Moise Joseph’s 1:54.99 half mile, and then Bernard Lagat, the defending champion, led until Australian Buster Mottram sprinted in front with 4 laps to go. .
Mottram knew that Lagat considered it important to lead with two laps to victory, and so Mottram poured it and still led to the last lap. Lagat then went to another gear and won with a better finish in 3:54.26. Mottram was second in an Australian record 3:54.81, and Webb was a disappointing fourth.
I really think about Alan Webb. He was eager to get better against Lagat. During an interview with Lagat before the match, the announcer reminded Webb that Lagat had gotten the better of him several times and asked how Webb would beat him this time. My heart sank.
I have run many races and understand how the publisher would have sealed Webb’s fate there. I don’t think Webb was prepared to answer this question before the race, and couldn’t have mentally adjusted before he raced.
Webb’s response to the reporter was that he “needs to be tougher” when a better answer would be “he needs to be smarter,” especially since Webb has run more races and knows that his legs are fast like Lagat on the finish line.
If not, there is no way he can win without pushing harder first in hopes of wearing Lagat out. Lagat is Kenyan, not a turtle. He can fly and run. Webb’s previous best in the mile was a 3:55.18 win last week in Boston.
Remember, Lagat won in 3:54.81, only 37 hundredths of a second faster. My guess is Webb is ready physically, but he has some work to do emotionally and mentally to beat Lagat, whose strength, winning experience and confidence are better seen.
They run the Wanamaker Mile for the same reason they run the Super Bowl. You can talk all you want about who will win or why, but the winning team will have to prove the words on game day.
Dick Patrick concludes his story before meeting with the best sidebar:
Howard Schmertz was 7 years old when he saw his first Millrose Games in 1933, with his father, meeting director Herb Schmertz.
Howard Schmertz, who succeeded his father as captain in 1975, has since missed only two Millrose meets while fighting in World War II. (Here’s Howard) Schmertz’s top Millrose moments:
10) Bernard Lagat won the 2005 Wanamaker Mile in Madison Square Garden in a record 3:52.87.
9) Suleiman Nyambui won the 1981 5,000 (meter race) after a race with Alberto Salazar, from the New York Marathon victory. Nyambui set the world record 13:20.4.
8) Ireland’s Eamonn Coghlan won a record seventh Wanamaker Mile in 1987, against Marcus O’Sullivan (another great Irish finisher).
7) In the 1984 long jump, second place Carl Lewis first and set the world record at 28 feet, 10¼ inches.
6) Marine Corporal John Uelses, using newly designed fiberglass poles, became the first to clear a 16 foot pole vault.
5) In 1974 Tony Waldrop recorded the first sub-4-minute mile in Millrose history.
4) Mary Decker won the 1,500 (meter race) by 80 yards in 1980 and set a world record of 4:00.8.
3) In 1955 Denmark’s Gunnar Nielsen reclaimed his mile world record from Wes Santee in 4:03.6. Meanwhile, Fred Dwyer, forced off the road on the last lap, and Santee practically raced in the home straight in Nielsen’s wake.
2) In 1942, Cornelius Warmerdam, borrowing a bamboo pole, was the first to clear 15 feet in the vault. He broke the Millrose mark of 14-3, held by Sueo Ohe, killed a few weeks before in Japan’s invasion of the Philippines.
1) In 1959 John Thomas, 17, became the first to clear 7 feet indoors in the high jump, beating Charlie Dumas, the first to clear 7 feet outdoors.
Hats off to Dick Patrick for bringing back some great memories. And hats off to Millrose Games, still the best indoor games in the world.
Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley
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