Carlos Villarreal, photo by Arizona.com
Possessing a long, enduring kick, Carlos Villarreal took gold in Lima, Peru last summer at the 1,500m in 3:37.22. It is not that the time is so fast, it is that Villarreal has a vicious kick, and he used in one of the toughest venues, the Pan Am Games, and at altitude. This young athlete is going to shake it up in Millrose.
4 Questions With NYRR Millrose Games Wanamaker Mile Runner Carlos Villarreal
The 2019 Pan-Am Champion at 1500 meters, the Arizona standout has personal best times of 3:57.27 (Mile) and 3:37.22 (1500).
The great question is can Villareal step it up and compete with the Big Boys at the Armory?
1) How Did You Start Out in the Sport?
I started running when I was 15 years old. I was a soccer player when I lived in Mexico and when I was 6, we moved to Arizona and I needed to pick a new sport since there were no soccer clubs anywhere near where we lived. With my dad being a basketball coach I began playing basketball and played that all the way up until High School. Finally my sophomore year of high school, my dad and I thought it would be a good idea to go out for the track team in the spring to get in shape for summer basketball. I started out as a sprinter and realized that I was not nearly as fast as I thought I was and slowly moved up and found success in the longer events. I then quit the basketball team and continued with track.
2) When was the first time you saw elite athletes compete live and how did that influence you?
My first time seeing pro athletes compete was my senior year of high school at the Prefontaine Classic. Nike had invited some of the top milers in the nation to compete there in front of the Hayward crowd and it is honestly one of my fondest track memories. It was really motivating to compete at the same venue as some of the best track and field athletes in the world. That is also where I saw my first sub-4-minute mile run in the Bowerman Mile. Experiencing something like that was really encouraging and made me want to be better because maybe one day I could toe the line against some of these athletes.
Carlos Villarreal, photo by Arizonawildcats.com.
3) What is it about the Millrose Games that motivates you to compete there?
Being able to compete at the Millrose Games was one of my goals since I started running. I remember watching the Wanamaker mile at home on TV and thinking to myself “Man, imagine running that fast.” For a high schooler at the time, running in the Millrose Games seemed too farfetched as it is one of the premier indoor meets in the world. Well fortunately, I now get the privilege to not watch the event from home, but instead live it and compete in it. I am very thankful for this opportunity.
4) What ideas/encouragement/advice can you suggest to young athletes hoping to one day compete in Millrose at the highest level?
My biggest advice is for young athletes to dream big. It was not too long ago that I too was watching the Millrose Games from home, but I made it a goal of mine to one day run in the Wanamaker mile. I say no dream is too big if one’s ambition is even bigger.