Millrose Games

Millrose Games

The Millrose Games is an annual indoor athletics meet (track and field) held on the first Friday in February in New York City. They will be held at the Armory in Washington Heights in 2012, after having taken place in Madison Square Garden from 1914 to 2011.[1] The games were started when employees of the New York City branch of Wanamaker's department store formed the Millrose Track Club to hold a meet. The featured event is the Wanamaker Mile.



2008 Millrose Games

The Millrose Games began in 1908 at a local armory the same year when its parent, the Millrose Athletic Association, was formed as a recreational club by the employees of the John Wanamaker Department Store. "Millrose" was the name of the country home of Rodman Wanamaker.

In 1914, after overflowing the armory the year before, the Millrose Games moved to Madison Square Garden, and is the oldest continuous sporting event held there. For 10 years beginning in 1916, the Wanamaker 1 ½ Mile race was a highlight of the meet. Run for the last time in 1925, the final edition was won by Paavo Nurmi, the nine-time Olympic gold medalist from Finland. In 1926, the distance was shortened, and the Wanamaker Mile was born. It has often been run at 10 p.m., a carryover from the days beginning in the 1930s when legendary sports announcer Ted Husing would broadcast the race live on his 10 p.m. radio show.

Marking its 81st running last year, the Wanamaker Mile has been won by 44 different men, including such luminaries as Glenn Cunningham, Kip Keino, Tony Waldrop, Filbert Bayi, Steve Scott, Noureddine Morceli, Bernard Lagat, Marcus O'Sullivan and, of course, the Irish legend whose name is synonymous with the event: Eamonn Coghlan. Known as the “Chairman of the Boards” for his dominance on the old wooden Millrose track, the Irishman won the mile here an astonishing seven times, a feat surpassed only by Bernard Lagat, who won his eighth Wanamaker Mile in 2010.[2]

Some of the most memorable moments in Millrose history include Ray Conger’s 1929 upset win over Nurmi in the Wanamaker Mile; pole vaulter Cornelius Warmerdam becoming the first person to vault 15 feet (4.6 m) indoors, in 1942; John Thomas hitting the first 7-foot (2.1 m) high jump, in 1959; Mary Decker’s thrilling run to a 1500-meter World Indoor Record to ear-splitting encouragement from the crowd, in 1962: John Ulysses becoming the first person to pole vault the height of 16 feet, Carl Lewis in 1984 shattering the World Indoor Record with a jump of 28 feet (8.5 m), 10.25 inches, a mark that still stands; Eamonn Coghlan notching his then record seventh Wanamaker Mile in 1987, Bernard Legat breaking Coghlan's record with his eighth Wanamaker Mile triumph in 2010, and Stacy Dragila setting a late-night pole vault world record in 2001.

For 70 of its first 96 years, the role of Millrose meet director was a father-son affair: Fred Schmertz took the helm in 1934, handing the reins to son Howard in 1975. In 2003, the title of Meet Director Emeritus was bestowed on the younger Schmertz.

In May 2011 Norbert Sanders, the President of the Millrose Games, announced that, starting January 2012, the games would be moved to the Armory in Washington Heights, at 168th Street, and that a new all day Saturday schedule would replace the Friday evening format[3].

Millrose Games Facts

The most prolific winner in event history is Loren Murchison, a sprinter who won 13 titles between 1919 and 1926. He is followed by pole vaulter Bob Richards (11), hurdler Greg Foster and 500-600-800m runner Mark Everett (10), and hurdler Harrison Dillard and miler Eamonn Coghlan (9). Coghlan’s total includes seven Wanamaker Mile victories and two Masters Mile wins.

Four women share the honor of most Millrose wins at eight apiece: 400-meter runner Diane Dixon, whose eight victories include five straight from 1988-1992; middle-distance runner Jearl Miles-Clark; shot putter Connie Price-Smith; and high jumper Tisha Waller.

202 athletes share the distinction of being both Millrose Games and Olympic champions.

Millrose Games Hall of Fame

Athlete Country Event Career notes Millrose highlights Inducted
Ashenfelter, HoraceHorace Ashenfelter  United States 2 Miles Olympic gold medalist, Steeplechase (1956) 5-time winner 2001
Bell, EarlEarl Bell  United States Pole Vault Olympic bronze medalist (1984) 6-time winner 2000
Clark, JoettaJoetta Clark  United States 800 4-time Olympian (1988, 1992, 1996, 2000) 7-time winner; 23-time competitor 2003
Coghlan, EamonnEamonn Coghlan  Ireland Mile World Championships 5000 m gold medalist (1983) 7-time winner of Wanamaker Mile 1999
Glenn Cunningham  United States Mile Olympic silver medalist, 1500m (1936) 6-time winner 2000
Davenport, WillieWillie Davenport  United States Hurdles 2-time Olympic medalist, gold and bronze (1968, 1976) 5-time winner 2003
Dillard, HarrisonHarrison Dillard  United States Hurdles 4-time Olympic gold medalist (1948, 1952) 8-time winner 1999
Dixon, DianeDiane Dixon  United States 400 2-time Olympic relay medalist, gold and silver (1984, 1988) 8-time winner 1999
Mark Everett  United States 500, 600, 800 2-time World Championships medalist 10-time winner 2003
Foster, GregGreg Foster  United States Hurdles 4-time World Champion indoors and out (1984-1991) 10-time winner 2000
Gray, JohnnyJohnny Gray  United States 800 American Record Holder, Olympic bronze medalist (1992) 5-time winner 2004
Hightower, StephanieStephanie Hightower  United States Hurdles 1980 Olympian, World Record Holder 5-time winner 2001
Huntley, JoniJoni Huntley  United States High Jump Olympic bronze medalist (1984) 4-time winner 2004
Joyner-Kersee, JackieJackie Joyner-Kersee  United States Long Jump, Hurdles 6-time Olympic medalist, including 3 gold (1988-1996) 5-time winner 2001
Lewis, CarlCarl Lewis  United States Long Jump 9-time Olympic gold medalist, 100 m, 200m, relay, LJ (1984-1996) 4-time winner 2000
Liquori, MartyMarty Liquori  United States Mile Ranked #1 in World three times, 1968 Olympian 3-time Wanamaker Mile winner 2003
McGrady, MartinMartin McGrady  United States 600 World Record Holder (1970) 3-time winner 2005
Murchison, LorenLoren Murchison  United States Dash, 300 2-time Olympic 4x100 relay gold medalist (1920, 1924) 13-time winner 2002
Nehemiah, RenaldoRenaldo Nehemiah  United States Hurdles Ranked #1 in the World 1978-1981 4-time winner 2002
O'Sullivan, MarcusMarcus O'Sullivan  Ireland Mile 3-time World Indoor gold, 4-time Olympian (1984, 1988, 1992, 1996) 5-time Wanamaker Mile winner 2002
Olson, BillyBilly Olson  United States Pole Vault 11-time World Record Holder, 1988 Olympian 4-time winner 2004
Padilla, DougDoug Padilla  United States 3000, 5000 2-time Olympian (1984, 1988) 6-time winner 2000
Paige, DonaldDonald Paige  United States 1000 Ranked #1 in World, Sullivan Award winner (1980) 5-time winner 2001
Ray, JoieJoie Ray  United States 1½ Mile 3-time Olympian, 1924 bronze medalist 3000 7-time winner 2004
Greg Rice  United States 2 Mile World Record Holder, Sullivan Award winner (1940) 4-time winner 2005
Richards, BobBob Richards  United States Pole Vault 2-time Olympic gold medalist (1952, 1956) 11-time winner 1999
Fred Schmertz  United States Meet Director, 1934-1974 2003
Howard Schmertz  United States Meet Director, 1975-2002 2007
Slaney, MaryMary Slaney  United States 1000, 1500, Mile 36 ARs, 17 WR, World Championships double gold (1983) 6-time winner 2002
Stones, DwightDwight Stones  United States High Jump 2-time Olympic bronze medalist (1972, 1976) 3-time winner 2005
Thomas, JohnJohn Thomas  United States High Jump 2-time Olympic medalist, silver and bronze (1960, 1964) 6-time winner 1999
Torrence, GwenGwen Torrence  United States Sprints 5-time Olympic medalist, including 3 gold (1992, 1996) 7-time winner 2003
Toussaint, CherylCheryl Toussaint  United States 440, 600, 800 Olympic 4x400 silver medalist (1972) 4-time winner 2005
Warmerdam, CorneliusCornelius Warmerdam  United States Pole Vault World Record Holder, Sullivan Award winner (1942) 2-time winner 2001
Whitfield, MalMal Whitfield  United States 600, 880 5-time Olympic medalist, including 3 gold (1948, 1952) 4-time winner 2002

Meeting Records


Event Record Athlete Nationality Date Ref
60 m 6.45 Maurice Greene  United States 2000
400 m 46.85 Tyrone Kemp  United States 1990
500 m 1:01.19 Mark Everett  United States 1994
600 y 1:07.53 Mark Everett  United States 1992
800 m 1:47.17 Johnny Gray  United States 1986
1000 m 2:19.3 Sammy Koskei  Kenya 1985
1500 m 3:36.1 Bernard Lagat  United States 2005
Mile 3:52.87 Bernard Lagat  United States 2005
3000 m 7:43.81 Paul Bitok  Kenya 1999
5000 m 13:20.4 Suleiman Nyambui  Tanzania 1981
60 m hurdles 7.43 Allen Johnson  United States 2004
High jump 2.34 m Jimmy Howard  United States 1985
Jimmy Howard  United States 1986
Pole vault 5.87 m Jeff Hartwig  United States 2002
Long jump 8.79 m Carl Lewis  United States 1984
Shot put 22.07 m Adam Nelson  United States 2008
35 lb Weight 24.82 m Lance Deal  United States 1993
Mile walk 5:33.53 Tim Lewis  United States 1988
4 x 400 metres relay 3:11.53 Atlantic Coast Club  United States 1988
4 x 800 metres relay 7:23.08 University of Richmond  United States 1982


Event Record Athlete Nationality Date Ref
60 m 7.00 Gail Devers  United States 1994
400 m 52.20 Diane Dixon  United States 1986
600 y 1:20.79 Lashinda Demus  United States 2008
800 m 1:59.98 Jolanda Čeplak  Slovenia 2002
1500 m 4:00.8 Mary Decker  United States 1980
Mile 4:21.45 Doina Melinte  Romania 1988
60 m hurdles 7.76 Gail Devers  United States 2004
High jump 1.97 m Louise Ritter  United States 1989
Pole vault 4.82 m Yelena Isinbayeva  Russia 2007
Long jump 7.00 m Jackie Joyner-Kersee  United States 1992
Shot put 18.59 m Connie Price-Smith  United States 1999
20 lb Weight 24.10 m Amber Campbell  United States 28 January 2011 [4]
Mile walk 6:41.32 Rachel Seaman  Canada 28 January 2011 [5]
4 x 400 metres relay 3:40.51 Atoms Track Club  United States 1984
4 x 800 metres relay 8:33.94 Villanova University  United States 1989


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