This is a fun idea from our friend, Jeff Benjamin, who sent questions to some of the finest milers in the world, all, who will be at the 2020 NYRR Millrose Games and will be competing at the Wanamaker Mile. Sam has PBs of 1:46.75 at 800m, 3:36.84 at 1,500m, 3;54.64 for the mile and 8:08.58 at 3000m. Indoors, Sam has gone 3:50.94 in Mile on 3 March 2019, and just ran a 13:48.79 PB at 5000m on 7 Dec 2019!
Thanks to Jeff Benjamin and our friend, NYRR Millrose meet director Ray Flynn.
4 Questions With 2020 NYRR Millrose Games Wanamaker Mile Runner Sam Prakel!
By Jeff Benjamin
Miler Sam Prakel has been the model of progressive development. The 5-Time All-American out of Oregon now turned Pro has seen his 1500/Mile times drop steadily over the past few years, sending a shockwave in 2019 with an indoor Mile time of 3:50.94 in Boston.
As Millrose approaches, can Prakel break through once again?
1) How Did You Start Out in the Sport?
My family introduced me to running at a pretty young age. Neither of my parents were distance runners, but both were active and athletic and encouraged my four sisters and I to participate in local 5k’s growing up in Indianapolis and Ohio. I can remember running 5k’s with my family in Indianapolis as far back as 2nd or 3rd grade. I usually did pretty well in my age group, so I had a feeling running was something I was good at. When my oldest sister, Mary, joined cross country and track, she found success with a few state titles, and I was inspired to follow in her footsteps. At that point, I set the goal of becoming a state champion someday, and so began my competitive running career.
2) When was the first time you saw elite athletes compete live and how did that influence you?
I flew out to watch the last 4 days of the 2012 Olympic Trials in Eugene with my dad (during) the summer before my senior year of high school. That experience made a huge impact on my life. Watching athletes at the highest level of track & field was inspiring and motivating to me. Also, my dad kept pointing out which athletes were from Ohio, which made dreaming of competing at that level someday slightly more realistic. The atmosphere at Hayward Field also blew me away and made me want to come back as a Duck.
3) What is it about the Millrose Games that motivates you to compete there?
The Wanamaker Mile is one of the most historic races out there. I remember watching it on tv growing up before I even followed elite running. The thought of contributing to that tradition is very motivating to me.
4) What ideas/encouragement/advice can you suggest to young athletes hoping to one day compete in Millrose at the highest level?
Follow your own journey. Everyone has different paths to success. I was under trained and under the radar in high school and even most of college, but I didn’t get caught up in what other runners were doing. I focused on the most effective training methods for me (lower mileage, off days, intense workouts), and then, I kept doing those things until I found myself lining up against the fastest guys in the world.