New York —The NYRR Wanamaker Mile at the 109th NYRR Millrose Games will feature a riveting rematch between defending champion Matthew Centrowitz, of Portland OR, and 2015 runner-up and the fastest miler in the field, Nick Willis, of New Zealand, on Saturday, February 20, at the New Balance Track and Field Center at The Armory.
Centrowitz and Willis ran the two fastest indoor miles in the world last year in the NYRR Wanamaker Mile, Centrowitz breaking the tape just a step ahead of Willis. Shannon Rowbury, of Portland, OR, will attempt to defend her title as key American and international rivals chase the now 1500-meter American record holder for the crown.
“NYRR is honored to be a year-round partner of The Armory and third-year title sponsor of the NYRR Millrose Games, and we’re always especially proud to support the famed NYRR Wanamaker Mile,” said Peter Ciaccia, NYRR president of events and the race director for the TCS New York City Marathon.
“We are anticipating an incredible rematch of our defending champion and runner-up with Matthew and Nick, and look forward to watching Shannon once again compete against a talented and diverse women’s field.”
“The NYRR Wanamaker Mile continues to attract the world’s greatest milers, and each year’s lineup tells a special story,” said Ray Flynn, NYRR Millrose Games Meet Director.
“This year, we’ll get to welcome back both of our defending champions and witness a rematch of one of the closest NYRR Wanamaker Mile finishes in race history in the men’s race. I would like to thank NYRR for their continued support in assembling accomplished and dynamic NYRR Wanamaker Mile fields.”
Centrowitz, 26, is the defending NYRR Wanamaker Mile champion, and also won the race in 2012. In that same year, he won the 5th Avenue Mile and finished fourth in the 1500 meters at the London Olympics. Centrowitz captured the bronze medal at the 2011 IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships 1500 meters, and improved to silver in 2013. He is the third-fastest American of all time in the 1500 meters (3:30.40)
He is the third-fastest American of all time in the 1500 meters (3:30.40), and has won three outdoor USA 1500-meter titles (2011, 2013, and 2015). Centrowitz bested Willis 3:51.35 to 3:51.46 in last year’s NYRR Wanamaker Mile.
“I’m looking forward to coming back to New York to defend my NYRR Millrose Games Wanamaker Mile title on February 20,” said Centrowitz. “It will be my fourth time to run this race and I’m hoping to add to my two victories in 2012 and 2015. The list of NYRR Wanamaker Mile winners is legendary and I would love to take a few more titles and try to set an NYRR Wanamaker Mile record.”
“It will be my fourth time to run this race and I’m hoping to add to my two victories in 2012 and 2015. The list of NYRR Wanamaker Mile winners is legendary and I would love to take a few more titles and try to set an NYRR Wanamaker Mile record.”
Willis, 32, is the runner-up of the NYRR Wanamaker Mile, and looking to avenge last year’s loss to Centrowitz the same way he did at the 2015 NYRR 5th Avenue Mile where he captured the crown and beat Centrowitz handily. Willis is also the 2008 and 2013 champion of the NYRR 5th Avenue Mile, making him the third male athlete in event history with at least three wins. He set the national record in the 1500 meters (3:29.66) in the summer of 2015 and won a silver meda
He set the national record in the 1500 meters (3:29.66) in the summer of 2015 and won a silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in that event. In 2006, he became the first New Zealand athlete to win the Commonwealth Games 1500 meters.
“I’m both excited and desperate to come back to the NYRR Millrose Games to finally win the NYRR Wanamaker Mile,” said Willis. “In my four attempts I have finished second or third place, with none being closer than last year’s lean at the line with deserved winner Matthew Centrowitz. Centro is back again this year, so I look forward to resuming our rivalry.”
“In my four attempts I have finished second or third place, with none being closer than last year’s lean at the line with deserved winner Matthew Centrowitz. Centro is back again this year, so I look forward to resuming our rivalry.”
Centrowitz and Willis will lead a field of top milers, including Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano of Austin, Texas, 2015 USA Road Mile champion Garrett Heath of Seattle, WA, 2015 Pan Am Games 1500-meter bronze medalist Charles Philibert-Thiboutot of Canada, two-time European Championships 1500-meter bronze medalist Chris O’Hare of Great Britain, and 2015 USA Championships 1500-meter runner-up Robby Andrews who lives in Manalapan, NJ. Adding both international and NCAA flavor is Villanova’s Jordy Williamsz of Australia, who, if he runs 3:53.50 will gain provisional selection for Australian Olympic Team.
Defending champion Rowbury, 31, is back to defend her title; now, as the American record holder for 1500 meters. Rowbury ran away with the victory in 2015, winning by three seconds in 4:24.31, the No. 4 indoor time in the world last year. She broke the 32-year-old American 1500-meter record in the summer of 2015 with a 3:56.29 performance in Monaco.
In September 2015, Rowbury was the runner-up at the NYRR 5th Avenue Mile, and has won the event in 2010 and 2009. She earned a bronze medal at the 2009 IAAF World Track and Field Championships in the 1500 meters, and is a two-time Olympian. Rowbury has won six national titles: 1500m Outdoors (2008, 2009), Road Mile (2009), Indoor Mile (2015), and Indoor 3000m/2-Mile (2008, 2015).
“It’s an honor to have a chance to defend my title at the legendary NYRR Millrose Games,” said Rowbury.
“I love competing in NYC at The Armory because the energy is infectious and the NYRR knows how to put on an exemplary event.”
Rowbury’s key rivals include four-time national 1500-meter champion Treniere Moser of Portland, OR, 2015 USA 5000-meter champion Nicole Tulley who lives in Piscataway, NJ, three-time international medalist Ciara Mageean of Ireland, three-time USA Road Mile champion Heather Kampf of Minneapolis, MN, and USA junior 1500-meter record holder Alexa Efraimson of Camas, WA. Adding an NCAA component to the field is Dominque Scott of the University of Arkansas, last year’s NCAA indoor 3000-meter champion.
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Additional Athlete Backgrounds and Notable Performances
· Manzano, 31, is the 2012 Olympic 1500-meter silver medalist and a two-time 1500-meter national champion (2012, 2014). His personal best of 3:30.98 makes him the sixth-fastest American of all-time, and he has placed in the top three in the 1500 meters at the USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships every year since 2006.
· Heath, 30, is the 2015 USA Road Mile champion.
· Philibert-Thiboutot, 25, is the 2015 Pan American Games 1500-meter bronze medalist.
· O’Hare, 25, is the 2015 European Athletics Indoor and 2014 European Athletics Outdoor 1500-meter bronze medalist.
· Andrews, 24, finished second at the 2015 USATF Outdoor Championships in the 1500 meters, and in 2011, was the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field champion in the 800 meters.
· Williamsz, 23, is the 2015 Big East 1500-meter champion, and placed fifth in the 1500 meters at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
· Moser, 34, is a four-time 1500-meter champion at the USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships (2005, 2006, 2007, 2013) and the winner of the same event at the 2006 USATF Indoor Track and Field Championships. At the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championships, she took fifth in the 1500 meters, her highest place in international competition. Moser was also the runner-up at the 2014 NYRR Wanamaker Mile and finished third at the 2014 NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile.
· Tulley, 29, is the 2015 USATF Outdoor Championships 5000-meter champion.
· Mageean, 23, placed second in the 1500 meters at the 2011 European Junior Championships and IAAF World Junior Championships, and second at the 2009 IAAF World Youth Championships in the 800 meters.
· Kampf, 29, captured her third USA Road Mile Championship title in May. The “Queen of the Road Mile” has recorded three victories at both the Ryan Shay Mile and the GNC Live Well Liberty Mile. She owns a road-mile personal best of 4:21.39, was a nine-time All American at the University of Minnesota, and won the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field 800-meter title.
· Efraimson, 18, is the USA Junior 1500-meter record holder and placed third at the 2013 IAAF World Youth Championships in the 1500 meters.
· Scott, 23, is 2015 NCAA Indoor 3000-meter champion.
Mile Personal Best
Nick Willis, NZL
Matthew Centrowitz, USA
Leo Manzano, USA
Jordan McNamara, USA
Pat Casey*, USA
Chris O’Hare, GBR
Garrett Heath, USA
Cory Leslie, USA
Charles ‘Philibert-Thiboutot, CAN
Riley Masters, USA
Jordy Williamsz, AUS
Robby Andrews, USA
Daniel Winn, USA
*Field subject to change
Mile Personal Best
Shannon Rowbury, USA
Morgan Uceny, USA
Alexa Efraimson, USA
Kerri Gallagher, USA
Katie Mackey, USA
Heather Kampf, USA
Nicole Tully, USA
Ciara Mageean, IRL
Treniere Moser, USA
Heather Wilson, USA
Dominique Scott, RSA
Stephanie Charnigo, USA
Leah O’Connor, USA
*Field subject to change
About the NYRR Millrose Games
With a storied history that spans more than a century, the NYRR Millrose Games is one of track and field’s most prestigious and enduring annual events. A New York City sports staple, the meet moved to the New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory in Washington Heights in 2012 after having called Madison Square Garden home from 1914 to 2011. The Games—established by employees of Wanamaker’s Department Store—feature track and field’s most prolific male and female stars as well as collegiate, high school, club and youth competitors. More than 200 athletes share the distinction of being both Millrose and Olympic champions. In November of 2013, New York Road Runners became the title sponsor of the NYRR Millrose Games, which is hosted by the Armory Foundation.