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Even if the list of competitors is not chock-a-block with Irish names there will always be an Irish air about the Millrose Games which are set for Saturday, February 9 at the Armory in Washington Heights, Manhattan.
For one thing the Meet Director this year, as he has been for a number of years now, is legendary Irish middle distance runner and Longford native, Ray Flynn.
“This is the 112th Millrose Games and the eighth Millrose meet at the Armory. It’s a big deal,” Flynn says.
A big deal indeed.
“And if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that the Armory is an incredible venue, especially for the kids,” Flynn said.
The New York Road Runners Millrose Games did indeed move, in 2012, from the much larger Madison Square Garden to the cozier confines of the uptown Armory.
The effect, however, was a positive in that the Armory is filled to the rafters with 5,000 cheering track and field fans. 400 extra seats have been squeezed in for Saturday’s meet.
One of those cheering will be, of course, Eamonn Coghlan, the “Chairman of the Boards.”
Coghlan and Flynn are but two Irish middle distance veterans who remind track fans of a golden era in Irish middle distance running, that being the 1980s.
Coghlan is the holder of seven Wanamaker Mile titles and holds, among many other titles and laurels, a World 5000 Meter championship gold medal.
Ray Flynn has 89 sub 4-minute miles under his belt and is both the Irish Mile Record holder (3:49.77) and Irish 1,500m Record holder (3:33.5). Both records were broken in the same race in 1982 in Oslo in the Bislett Games Dream Mile.
Flynn, was an All-American in track and field and cross country at East Tennessee State, where his team in 1975 captured the NCAA Track and Field Championship.
Now 62, Flynn currently works as an agent for track and field athletes and is based in Johnson City, Tennessee.
Millrose is unique in that Olympians, as well as other elite professional, college, high school and youth track and field competitors, line up for the various events.
This year, two lucky Sligo kids will get to rub shoulders with some of the best athletes in the world by racing in the “Fastest Kid on the Block” competition.
Alice Belo and Shane Haran will be representing their county and Ireland.
In Sligo, the Fastest Feet program is being used every year to introduce kids to sport, specifically athletics. The man backing the program is Galway’s Richard Donovan who is also behind the World Marathon Challenge, the North Pole Marathon, the Volcano Marathon and other epic global sporting events.
The Armory being indoors, Alice and Shane need not worry about a return of the Polar Vortex.
No fewer than 32 Olympians are included in this year’s Millrose roster. There are Irish names evident, but they belong to athletes from the U.S., Canada, Australia and indeed Antigua & Barbuda.(02/08/2019) ⚡AMP
The NYRR Millrose Games,which began in 1908 as a small event sponsored by a local track club, has grown to become the most prestigious indoor track and field event in the United States. The NYRR Millrose Games meet is held in Manhattan’s Washington Heights at the New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armony, which boasts a state-of-the-art six-lane,...more...
Irish Ultra runner Richard Donovan is close to completing the equivalent of running nearly 130 marathons. The well-known record setter is currently undertaking the epic Trans North America Run, a 3,100 mile run across the US, travelling from San Francisco to New York, to raise funds for fellow runner Alvin Matthews, who became paralysed in 2014.
Alvin is a dam builder and suffered a 25ft fall in Lebanon last year. He had previously completed two races that Richard had organised, the Antarctic Ice Marathon and the North Pole Marathon, and was due to take part in the Volcano Marathon in South America when he had the accident. To help raise funds for Alvin, Richard began his adventure across the US on May 19th in San Francisco.
Richard is no stranger to endurance running and currently holds the world record for completing seven different marathons on seven different continents in less than five days back in 2012. During his North American travels, Richard has managed to cover 50 miles in one day, all part of his training for a run he is set to undertake across Antarctica.
“I wanted to see and experience what I considered to be real America, with some of its epic scenery, and I wanted to do it in the heat of the summer. After the start at the Golden Gate Bridge I ran through the rolling hills of California, ‘wine country’, to Lake Tahoe,” he explains.
Although an experienced ultrarunner, Richard has faced considerable hardship during his trans-America run. Blisters were the biggest issue in the first few weeks. I was in a bad situation, getting up daily with a lot of pain. My skin had split in places and I had what I can only describe as very bad open wounds to a couple of toes,” he said. Injuries were not the only peril that Richard faces, with Mother Nature proving a formidable foe.
“I could hear the howls of coyotes around me during the evening,” he recalls. There were also shadows that appeared to be racing nearby, but I could never see an animal. It was only when I decided to look up that I noticed it was buzzards circling overhead. Of course I encountered many snakes along the route, and had a close encounter with one in particular.”
Richard has been averaging 35 miles per running day. The total distance of the run is 3,200 miles. It’s the equivalent of the flight distance across the Atlantic from New York to Dublin. Richard intends to finish the run this Saturday in Battery Park, New York.(12/12/2018) ⚡AMP