Normal Weight For 9 Year Old 5 Foot 7 Inch 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’d have to be a runner to appreciate the Millrose Games, which celebrated their 100th event at Madison Square Garden in New York at the weekend.

The Millrose Games is probably not the most prestigious indoor track and field meet in the world, in fact it is the most prestigious indoor track and field meet in the world. As a runner in high school and college, you dream of running the boards at the Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden, just like a football player dreams of playing in the Super Bowl.

Track and field has fallen on hard times in the United States recently, which is why Millrose’s 100th run is so significant. Only the 2007 Millrose Games, as Dick Patrick wrote in USA Today on Thursday (2/01/07), “survived the demise of the once-vibrant inner circle that the US had monopolized.”

Patrick is right.

Not only has Camelot lost its luster with the tragic loss of President John F. Kennedy, the Millrose Games have lost some of their heyday, but they can still flourish thanks to the famous Wanamaker Mile competition and enough world-class athletes to merit 2 hours of live coverage on ESPN2 on Friday and 1 hour on ABC Saturdays.

I was glued to the TV for both shows.

Many of the runners who watched the Millrose Games on the tube would not have done so had it not been for sportswriters like Dick Patrick. His pre-meet coverage of the event in USA Today was interesting, informative and rich.

Started in 1908 by John Wanamaker of the Wanamaker chain of department stores, Millrose Games first gained traction in the 1920s. Herb Schmertz, who worked for the Wanamaker 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. until 2003.

The Schmertz family operated the Millrose Games for 69 years, and Howard Schmertz continued as meet director emeritus for the 100th Millrose Games. The new meeting director is Mark Wetmore of Global Athletics Management.

John Wanamaker of Wanamaker Department Stores was a giant in American retailing. In 1861, he opened the first department store in Philadelphia and eventually had 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 advertisements, the first to guarantee his goods and offer exchanges and refunds, the first to create the price tag as we know it today, and the first to locate a restaurant in his department store.

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

No wonder John Wanamaker sponsored a major sporting event and gave birth to the Millrose Games. As major sponsorships, meetings and attendances began to fade in the 1990s, Europe became a much more important indoor player; However, the Millrose Games continued thanks to the Schmertz family.

The Millrose Games has been through three Madison Square Gardens, two world wars and one Great Depression and still survived to celebrate its 100th birthday.

This year’s centennial meet saw 40-year-old Gail Devers, already the meet holder and American steeplechase record holder, win the race in 7.86 seconds – the fastest time in the world that year and nearly a full second better than the listed world record. for masters (40+) athletes in 8.71.

Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva set a Millrose Games record when she competed on US soil for the first time. Isinbayeva is a 17-time world record holder; consistently breaking her own world record and she attempted her final attempt at Millrose but missed.

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

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

The Wanamaker Mile is different and difficult because Madison Square Garden has a 160-yard plate with elevation compared to the 200-meter normal indoor tracks. Because it is shorter, the corners are more difficult and it is 11 laps rather than 8 laps.

In this year’s race, Alan Webb led Pacemaker Moise Joseph in a 1:54.99 half-mile before Bernard Lagat, the defending champion, took over until Australian Buster Mottram sprinted in front with 4 laps to go.

Mottram knew that Lagat found it vital to be in the lead for two laps to win, so Mottram poured it on and still led into the final lap. Lagat then shifted into another gear and won with a better finishing speed in 3:54.26. Mottram was second in an Australian record 3:54.81 and Webb was a disappointing fourth.

I really felt for Alan Webb. He was mentally conditioned to do better against Lagat. While interviewing Lagat before the race, the announcer reminded Webb that Lagat had passed him several times and asked how Webb would beat him this time. My heart sank.

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

Webb’s response to the announcer was that he “needed to be tougher”, although a better answer would have been “he needed to be smarter”, especially if Webb was running a more tactical race and knew his foot speed was as good as Lagat’s. Complete.

If not, there’s no way he can win without first pushing harder in hopes of exhausting Lagata. Lagat is a Kenyan, not a turtle. He can fly as well as run. Webb’s best indoor run was a triumphant 3:55.18 a week ago in Boston.

Remember, Lagat won in 3:54.81, only 37 hundredths of a second faster. My guess is that Webb is physically ready, but has emotional and mental work ahead of him to beat Lagat, whose gritty, winning experience and confidence have come through better.

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

Dick Patrick ended his pre-meeting story with this excellent sidebar:

Howard Schmertz was 7 years old when he saw his first Millrose Games in 1933 accompanied by his father and met director Herb Schmertz.

Howard Schmertz, who succeeded his father as director in 1975, has since missed only two meetings with Millrose as he fought in World War II. (Here’s Howard) Schmertz’s best Millrose moments:

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

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

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

7) In the long jump in 1984, Carl Lewis takes first place from second and sets a world record of 28 feet, 10¼ inches.

6) Marine Corporal John Uelses, using a newly designed fiberglass pole, becomes the first to clear 16 feet in the pole vault.

5) In 1974 Tony Waldrop recorded the first sub-4 minute mile in Millrose history.

4) Mary Decker won the 1500 meter 80 yard race in 1980, setting a world record time of 4:00.8.

3) In 1955 Denmark’s Gunnar Nielsen took his world record in the mile from Wes Santee in 4:03.6. Meanwhile, Fred Dwyer went off the track on the last lap and Santee practically struggled down the homestraight behind Nielsen.

2) In 1942, Cornelius Warmerdam, borrowing a bamboo pole, becomes the first to clear 15 feet in a vault. He broke Millrose’s 14-3 mark held by Sueo Ohe, killed a few weeks earlier in the Japanese invasion of the Philippines.

1) In 1959, John Thomas, 17, becomes the first to clear 7 feet indoors in the high jump, surpassing Charlie Dumas, who was the first to clear 7 feet outdoors.

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

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

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