How Long Is A Track Around A Football Field Millrose Games Celebrates 100th Birthday as Track’s Most Prestigious Indoor Event

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Millrose Games Celebrates 100th Birthday as Track’s Most Prestigious Indoor Event

I guess you have to be a runner to appreciate the Millrose Games, which celebrated its 100th run over the weekend at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The Millrose Games is certainly not the most prestigious indoor meet in the world, in fact it is the most prestigious indoor sports invitational meet in the world. As a running back in high school and college, you dream of running the boards at Millrose games at Madison Square Garden the same way 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 Millrose’s 100th run is so important. Only the 2007 Millrose Games, as Dick Patrick wrote in USA Today Thursday (2-1-07), “survived the collapse of an indoor circuit once monopolized by the US.”

Patrick is right.

Camelot not only deals with the tragic loss of President John F. Kennedy has lost its heyday, the Millrose Games have lost some of their bloom, but thanks to the famous Wanamaker Mile race and enough world-class athletes to deserve 2 hours of bloom. live coverage by ESPN2 on Friday and 1 hour by ABC Saturday.

I was glued to the TV for both shows.

Many runners who watch the Millrose Games on the tube wouldn’t have done so if it weren’t for sportswriters like Dick Patrick. His pre-meeting coverage of the event in USA Today was interesting, informative and rich.

Millrose Games was started in 1908 by John Wanamaker of the Wanamaker Universal chain and first gained popularity in the 1920s. Herb Schmertz, who worked at Wanamaker’s Department Store in New York, became director of the Millrose meet in 1934 and ran the Millrose games for 40 years until 1974, when his son Howard, a New York lawyer, took over in 1975 and continued. gave until 2003.

The Schmertz family has run the Millrose Games for 69 years, with Howard Schmertz continuing as director emeritus of the 100th Millrose Games meet. The new meet director is Mark Wetmore of Global Athletics Management.

John Wanamaker of Wanamaker Department Stores was a giant in American retail. He opened his first store in Philadelphia in 1861 and would eventually have 15 more stores in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware.

Wanamaker is considered the father of modern advertising in America. He was the first to copyright his ads, the first to guarantee his goods and offer exchanges and refunds, create the price tag as we know it today, and the first to put a restaurant inside his department store.

Wanamaker was way ahead of its time as the first department store with electric lighting (1878), the first telephone store (1879), the first store to install pneumatic tubes for cash and documents (1880), and the first store with an elevator (1880). 1884).

No wonder John Wanamaker sponsored a major sporting event and gave birth to the Millrose Games. As major sponsorship, meetings and attendance faded in the 1990s, Europe became a more important player indoors; However, the Millrose Games continued thanks to the Schmertz family.

The Millrose Games have lived through three Madison Square Gardens, two world wars and a Great Depression and still survived to celebrate their 100th anniversary.

At this year’s centennial meet, 40-year-old Gayle Devers, already the meet and the American record holder in the hurdles, won the event in 7.86 seconds – the fastest time in the world this year and nearly a second better than the world record for masters ( 40+) athletes in 8.71.

Russian athlete Yelena Isinbayeva set a Millrose Games record for the first time on US soil. Isinbaeva is a 17-time world record holder; he has consistently broken his world record and made his last attempt at Millrose but missed.

In Saturday’s famous Wanamaker Mile, four-time winner Bernard Lagat faced Craig “Buster” Mottram, the 6ft 3 Commonwealth Games champion, and Alan Webb, America’s new “household” miler. Lagat, the Kenyan runner, has apparently become an American citizen.

Lagat’s legacy is already assured as he is a two-time Olympic 1500m medalist. Webb became the first high school American to run the 4 mile indoors (3:59.86) and ran 3:53.43 outdoors at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene (OR), breaking Jim Ryan’s national high school record of 36 years. recording In 2004, Webb won the 1,500 meters at the Olympic Trials, and last year he ran the outdoor mile in 3:48.92.

The Wanamaker Mile is different and challenging because Madison Square Garden has a 160-yard banked track as opposed to the usual 200-yard indoor track. Because it is shorter, the turns are more difficult and it is 11 laps instead of 8 laps.

In this year’s race, Alan Webb led paceman Moise Joseph in a 1:54.99 half-mile, followed by Bernard Lagat, the defending champion, until Australian Buster Mottram overtook him with 4 laps to go.

Mottram knew that Lagat considered being in the lead with two laps to go to win, so Mottram poured it on and still made it to the final lap. Lagat then shifted gears and won with a better finishing time of 3:54.26. Mottram was second in an Australian record 3:54.81 with Webb a disappointing fourth.

I really felt for Alan Webb. He was too frustrated to do better against Lagat. When interviewing Lagat before the race, the announcer reminded Webb that Lagat had beaten him several times and asked how Webb would beat him this time. my heart broke.

I’ve run a lot of races and can understand how the announcer could have sealed Webb’s fate right there. I don’t think Webb was ready to answer such a question before the competition and he couldn’t adjust mentally before the competition.

Webb’s response to the announcer was that he “needs to get tougher,” when a better answer would have been “he needs to be smarter,” especially if Webb ran a tactical race and knew his leg speed was as good as Lagat’s. finish

Otherwise, there’s no way he could have won without trying first in hopes of closing Lagat. Lagat is a Kenyan, not a tortoise. He can also fly and run. Webb’s best indoor mile was a 3:55.18 a short week ago in Boston.

Note that Lagat won in 3:54.81, just 37 hundredths of a second faster. I think Webb is ready physically, but he will have to do something emotionally and mentally to beat Lagat, who showed his tough, winning and confidence experience.

They run the Wanamaker Mile for the same reason they run the Super Bowl. You can talk all you want about who will win and why, but the winning team will have to prove any statement on game day.

Dick Patrick ended his pre-meeting story with this iconic quote:

Howard Schmertz was 7 years old when he saw the first Millrose Games in 1933, where he met director Herb Schmertz with his father.

Howard Schmertz, who succeeded his father as head coach in 1975, has since missed only two Millrose meets while fighting in World War II. (Here’s Howard) Millrose Schmertz’s Best Moments:

10) Bernard Lagat won the 2005 Wanamaker Mile in a record 3:52.87 at Madison Square Garden.

9) Suleiman Nyambui won the 5,000 (meter) race in 1981 after a duel with Alberto Salazar in the New York City Marathon. Nyambu set a world record of 13:20.4.

8) Ireland’s Eamonn Coughlan won a record seventh Wanamaker Mile in 1987, surpassing Marcus O’Sullivan (another great Irish runner).

7) In the long jump in 1984, runner-up Carl Lewis took first place and set a world record of 28 feet, 10¼ inches.

6) Marine Corporal John Wells is the first to clear 16 feet on the mast using the newly installed glass mast.

5) In 1974, Tony Waldrop recorded the first mile in Millrose history.

4) Mary Dekker won the 1500 (meter race) by 80 yards in 1980 and set a world record of 4:00.8.

3) In 1955, Gunnar Nielsen of Denmark retook his world mile record from Wes Santee in 4:03.6. Fred Dwyer, meanwhile, was forced off the track on the last lap and Santi virtually battled home behind Nielsen.

2) In 1942, Cornelius Warmerdam, who acquired a bamboo pole, became the first to clear 15 feet in the cave. He broke the Millrose mark of 14-3 held by Sueo Ohe, who was killed in the Japanese invasion of the Philippines a few weeks ago.

1) In 1959, 17-year-old John Thomas became the first person to clear 7 feet indoors in the high jump, surpassing Charlie Dumas, the first person to clear 7 feet outdoors.

Kudos to Dick Patrick for bringing back some great memories. And hats off to the Millrose Games, still the best indoor games in the world.

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

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