Eamonn Coghlan is the Chairman of the Boards. He was the finest indoor miler of any generation. He was also 4th in Olympic finals twice, and the first 5000m WC, in 1983, when he won his global title. A class act, and always, a supporter of the sport, Eamonn keeps up on the sport. I witnessed Eamonn Coghlan and David Bedford make a bet on Jakob Ingebrigtsen winning a global title at 5000m, which I found fascinating. Beers were involved.
A digression, and my apologies…Jeff Benjamin just did this piece with Eamon Coghlan, one of my true heroes…
6 Questions With NYRR Millrose Games Wanamaker Mile Legend Eamonn Coghlan!
By Jeff Benjamin
While there are no more boards to run on at the Armory or mostly anywhere else in the 21st century, , Eamonn Coghlan will nonetheless ALWAYS be known as “The Chairman of The Boards”.
The Greatest Indoor Miler of All-Time, the former Indoor World Record Holder (3:49.78) who won 52 of 70 indoor 1500/Mile races over an illustrious career, also won the prestigious Wanamaker crown 7 times and later became the first over 40-Masters runner to break the 4-minute Mile (3:58.15) at the age of 41.
Coghlan will once again be at Millrose, as he annually serves as the official starter of the NYRR Wanamaker Mile!
1) How Did You Start Out in the Sport?
I joined my local athletics club, Celtic AC at 11 years old. My Dad was an administrator and big fan of athletics. He voluntarily provided PA equipment to meets. I tagged along and became interested in the sport.
2) When was the first time you saw elite athletes compete live and how did that influence you?
First time was watching Irish elite runners compete in the annual 10 mile cross country in the Phoenix Park, Dublin at Christmas time. Called the Waterhouse, Byrne, Baird Trophy. I won it many years later and my record still holds. I believed even at 12 years old I’d win one day. But it was Kip Keino whom I saw live in Dublin one summer that really influenced the most.
3) What was it about the Millrose Games that motivated you to compete there?
It was the history and tradition of the Millrose and Madison Square Garden that motivated me most. After winning 3 or 4 Wanamaker miles, I just had to try to go on to surpass the great Glen Cunningham.
4) What would you consider your greatest Millrose Moment?
My last win!. Having lost to Marcus O’ Sullivan the previous year, I dedicated 1987 as the year of revenge and to finally break Glen’s record of six wins. The smile on my face, and that of Marcus too, said it all!
5) Although the meet has changed, do you still get all charged up when you come to start the Wanamaker Mile?
Location may have changed from MSG to the Armory but, the tradition goes on. I’ve attended every year since its move to upper Manhattan, and I get as excited now as I did 40 years ago. When I see the Wanamaker Mile in progress, I have to pinch myself to remind me that, yes, I won this a few times. Magic!
6) What ideas/encouragement/advice can you suggest to young athletes hoping to one day compete in Millrose at the highest level?
Young athletes should read the history of the Wanamaker Millrose Games. Get to know who has competed over the years and to use the meet as a goal to aspire to. When they retire in years to come, they’ll cherish it forever. It’s the lucky ones who might win there, but getting there requires hard work, belief and patience.