Centrowitz To Defend Wanamaker Mile Title

Matt Centrowitz celebrates after winning last year's 5th Avenue Mile. Photo: PhotoRun.net

He wants to go for sub-3:50.

(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

NEW YORK — Organizers of the 106th Millrose Games announced on Tuesday that 2011 IAAF World Championships 1,500m bronze medalist Matthew Centrowitz would defend his title in the NYRR Wanamaker Mile here on February, 16. The 23-year-old Centrowitz, who lives and trains in Portland, Ore., and is coached by Alberto Salazar, said he hopes to challenge Bernard Lagat’s meet record of 3:52.97 set in 2005. He told reporters today that he might even be able to run faster than that; he ran he won last year’s Wanamaker Mile in 3:53.92.

“The win’s the first thing, then Bernard’s record would be #2 on the list,” Centrowitz said via Skype.”I believe it’s 3:52, and after last year’s 3:53 I would definitely say that I can get that record if all goes well. I was talking… a few days ago, and if all goes well — good pacing and I just feel good on that day — I’d like to go for sub-3:50.”

Lagat, who will be trying to retake his American best over two miles at the same meet, set the Wanamaker Mile record on the much smaller 145.5-meter track at Madison Square Garden where the meet had been held for over a century. Organizers moved the meet to the Armory in Upper Manhattan last year which has a standard, 200-meter banked track.Lagat is the only American to ever break 3:50 indoors; he ran 3:49.89 in 2005.

Centrowitz said that he has fully transitioned to Salazar’s training which he desribed as “faster, longer and harder” than what he had been doing under University of Oregon coach Andy Powell. He said his long runs have reached 17 miles, and that his fitness is coming along faster than anticipated.

“One of my faster-paced indoor workouts which I have done this season was faster than anything I’ve done in the outdoor season,” said the former Oregon Duck.”It’s more faster than I could imagine when I spoke to Alberto before I transitioned to the team.”

The New York Road Runners, which have organized the fields for the men’s and women’s Wanamaker Miles, have given Centrowitz a formidable group of competitors. His chief rival should be two-time Olympian Lopez Lomong, who has run 3:53.18 for the mile and 3:32.20 for 1,500m. Also entered are Robby Andrews, the 2011 NCAA 800m champion (3:34.78 1500m best); Ryan Gregson, the Australian 1,500m record holder (3:31.06); Miles Batty, the NCAA indoor mile record holder (3:54.54); and Lawi Lalang, the 2012 NCAA indoor 3000m and 5000m champion who has run 3:36.77 for 1500m.

Centrowitz played soccer at Broadneck High School in Arnold, Md., before turning to track and cross country where he quickly excelled. He has close ties to the New York City area, including an uncle who lives in Manhattan, and enjoys competing in The Big Apple, he said. In addition to his Millrose victory last year, he also won the Fifth Avenue Mile last September, becoming only the second man to win both the Wanamaker and Fifth Avenue in the same year.

“I definitely get excited coming to New York,” said Centrowitz, whose father made two Olympic teams. “My uncle lives right near Central Park and my Dad and his family always come up (from Maryland). It’s one of those things where all my family members are talking to me a week before getting me pumped up for these races. It’s a lot of pressure for these races, but I usually do well under pressure.”

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