The 2017 Millrose Games was one of the finest meets in its long hallowed history. The move to the Armory has provided a more raucous crowd and a home where the meet is safe. For many reasons, the Madison Square Garden was no longer the haven for the Millrose Games.
Here is what I learnt from the 2017 Millrose Games.
1. When Ben True races, his inner miler appears.
Ben True is one of the finest middle distance runners in America, and when fit, he could be one of the finest in the world. His perfect distance may be 5000 meters. In his short indoor season, two races, Ben ran a PB over the mile at the NB Indoor GP (January 28) of 3:57.31.
His coach, Tim Broe, a man who knows a thing or two, or three, about elite distance running, suggest that Ben True do some indoor racing. The mile was one of Ben’s first indoor races. In the 2 mile, Ben True moved from the very back, running the first mile in 4:11, and the second in 4:00.22! Ben True and Ryan Hill had a fantastic race over that last 200 meters. Ben True won the Paavo Nurmi 2 mile in 8:11:33.
Watch Ben True this spring and summer!
2. Sifan Hissan has found her confidence.
It all began when Sifan Hissan was dusted by Genzebe Dibaba in Monaco in July 2015. I remember watching Sifan after the race. She was incredulous. After the Rio Olympics, Sifan Hissan and her manager, Jos Hermans reconsidered her running, training and racing. That is what great athletes do. So, Sifan Hissan went to train with Alberto Salazar. Alberto Salazar is not a magic coach. But, his attention to details gives athletes confidence. They know that, with Alberto on their side, they have considered all parts of the race. They also know that they will be in the race, when the race gets hot.
Sifan Hissan ran her first indoor mile in the U.S quite tactically. She went out modestly, hitting the 800m in 2:13. Sifan ran the final 800m in 2:05.89 and ran that race to the finish, with a nice 61 second last 400 meters, running the Wanamaker Millrose mile in 4:19.89! Sifan Hissan had a smile from ear to ear. The European champion is getting back her confidence. And those tactics were right out of the Alberto Salazar racing book!
3. Armand Duplantis is the real thing (in the pole vault)
Armand Duplantis has a serious sports gene pool. His dad is Greg Duplantis (PB 5.80m or 19’0.25″), and his mom, Helena Hedlund, was a heptathlete and also played volleyball. Armand’s brothers, Andreas and Antoine, also pole vaulted. Antoine gave up pole vaulting for baseball.
Armand first vaulted when he was four years old. Mondo, as he is known, has all world bests from 7-12. Now, at 17, Armand breaks the World U20 record twice. On February 4, Armand jumped 5.72m in Baton Rouge, LA (Armand goes to Lafayette HS. On February 11, 2017, at the NYRR Millrose Games, Armand Duplantis took the World U 20 record of 5.75m or 18’9.25. That makes him number 4 all time on the junior list. The world junior best is 5.80m or 19’0.25″, by Maksim Tarasov.
Armand Duplantis may be the most talented young pole vaulter that I have ever seen. Nice to see the pride in his father’s face after ‘Mondo’s vault. Armand has qualified for the World Outdoor Champs. Whether he competes for Sweden or the U.S., we will just have to wait and see. Like father, like mother, like son. Armand Duplantis is technically very good, and his speed on the runway is quite impressive. I look forward to watching him vault first hand.
4. Ajee’ Wilson and Charlene Lipsey make great training partners
Ajee’ Wilson broke the AR at 800 meters, with her 1:58.27. Charlene Lipsey also broke the former Indoor AR with her 1:58.64.
Wilson and Lipsey were in complete control of the race, and put nearly three seconds on the third placer, Scottish Olympian Lynsey Sharp, who ran 2:01.14. Ajee’ Wilson is one of America’s finest middle distance runners, and is healthy once again. Her training is coming along fine, and her 800 meters at Millrose showed once again, just how fast Ajee’ can race, and how promising she looks for 2017!
5. The Wanamaker Mile continues to astound, Eric Jenkins is the newest star!
Eric Jenkins, one of the newest members of the Nike Oregon Track Project, won his first Wanamaker mile! Eric ran just under 54 seconds for the last 400 meters, to win the mile in 3:53.23 over Clayton Murphy’s 3:54:31.
The Wanamaker Men’s mile had nine runners under 4 minutes. That’s the beauty of the mile. End of meet, crowd hyped up as well as runners. Good pacing, and with 800 meters to go, the race is on! Eric Jenkins, the Fifth Avenue Mile champion, was a fine runner at the University of Oregon.
With 200 meters to go, Eric Jenkins was on the shoulder of Kyle Merber, and used a 26.90 closing 200 meters to take the win. Clayton Murphy came from fourth, using that 800 meter speed, to grab second. Kyle Merber held on for third, and ran his PB!
And of course, the Wanamaker Mile is the ONLY way to end the NYRR Millrose Games!