Olympic bronze medallist could threaten Peter Elliott’s long-standing mark in the Wanamaker Mile at the 114th Millrose Games on Saturday
In Tokyo last year Josh Kerr became the first British athlete since Peter Elliott in 1988 to win an Olympic medal in the men’s 1500m and now, in the Millrose Games in New York on Saturday (Jan 29), he has a chance of breaking the Yorkshireman’s long-standing UK indoor record for the mile.
Elliott’s mark of 3:52.02 was set at East Rutherford in 1990, a couple of years after he won Olympic 1500m silver in Seoul and just a few days before he captured the Commonwealth 1500m title in Auckland.
The Scottish record, meanwhile, is held by Chris O’Hare with 3:52.91 set in New York in 2016. Right now, Kerr holds the third fastest time in history on the UK rankings with 3:53.65 from New York in 2019, but if everything goes well on Saturday night he could break one or both of those records.
If the pace is super-fast, the runners might even get close to Yomif Kejelcha’s world indoor record of 3.47.01, set in Boston in 2019.
Firstly Kerr has to win the race, though, which won’t be straightforward. Rivals include Ollie Hoare, the Australian who was 11th in the Olympic 1500m final last year, plus Americans Craig Engels and Clayton Murphy.
Watch out for fast-improving American teenager Hobbs Kessler, too, whereas Nick Willis, who is 20 years older at 38, is aiming to run a sub-four-minute mile for the 20th straight year (he narrowly missed the feat in an event a few weeks ago on the stroke of the new year).
Kerr will start favourite, though, after clocking 3:29.05 to finish third behind Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Timothy Cheruiyot in the Olympic 1500m final in Tokyo. Back then Kerr wore Nike shoes, too, despite being a member of the Brooks Beasts team, but in the Millrose Games this weekend he will race in new Brooks spikes for the first time.
“I enjoy running the mile here,” says Kerr. “It’s a staple in my event calendar in the year. It’s one of the craziest races you can find. I pick my races pretty intentionally and when I pick a race I’m going to be fit and want to win it.
“I’ve been doing base training through the winter,” he adds, on training under coach Danny Mackey. “I began adding some speedwork in January to make sure we didn’t embarrass ourselves here and we think I’m in a very good spot.”
The 114th Millrose Games is taking place for the first time in almost two years due to the pandemic and is part of the new World Indoor Tour (Gold) series. For viewers in the UK it will be streamed live too (see the bottom of this article for the link) with the main events 7.30-9.30pm GMT.
At the last event in 2020 the performances included Jemma Reekie breaking Laura Muir’s UK indoor 1500m and mile records, while O’Hare won the Wanamaker mile.
This weekend’s meeting looks every bit as exciting with the men’s 60m one of the most intriguing events on the programme.
It features the controversial return of Christian Coleman following an 18-month ban for breaking anti-doping rules relating to missed tests. The American holds the world indoor 60m record and the reigning world 100m champion is up against the fastest man in 2021, Trayvon Bromell, plus world 200m champion Noah Lyles and Olympic 100m finalist Ronnie Baker.
The women’s mile will be as hotly-anticipated as the men’s race, largely due to the entry of Olympic 800m champion Athing Mu after the American youngster switched from the 800m to the longer distance. Relatively untested over the mile and better known as an 800/400m runner, she will have a tough challenge, though, as she faces Elle Purrier St Pierre, who ran 4:16.85 at Millrose two years ago to break the American record.
Indeed, the top four from the US Trials 1500m – Purrier St Pierre, Cory McGee, Heather MacLean, Shannon Osika – are all set to race in addition to Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen and Australia Jessica Hull.
Elsewhere, 800m runner Donavan Brazier steps down to 400m looking to revise his PB of 46.91 and beat 400m specialists such as Vernon Norwood and Christopher Taylor in the process.
Ryan Crouser, the Olympic shot put champion and world record-holder indoors and out, is the pick of the field eventers as he opens his 2022 campaign. The women’s pole vault is also high quality with Olympic champion Katie Nageotte taking on Sandi Morris among others.
In the women’s long jump, Tara Davis takes on a number of fellow US jumpers plus Britain’s Olympic finalist Jazmin Sawyers.
Cole Hocker, the US Olympic trials 1500m winner, tackles the 3000m against fellow former NCAA champions like Geordie Beamish, Wesley Kiptoo, Cooper Teare, Conner Mantz, Mason Ferlic. Look out too for Britain’s Charles Hicks and James West, not to mention the talented Drew Hunter and Nico Young.
In the women’s 3000m the European indoor champ Amy-Eloise Markovc of Britain opens her season with fellow Brit Holly Archer also in the field.
Timetable and startlists – CLICK HERE
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