For years the Millrose Games has featured more than one record holder at Madison Square Garden. The historic NYRR Millrose games have moved from the Garden and moved to the The Armory’s New Balance Track & Field Center and next month will feature dozens of Olympians and world championship contenders as they look toward the Olympic Games this Summer In Tokyo.
An anticipated race will take place Saturday February 8th at the 113th edition of the Games. The men’s 800-meter run will feature world champion and American record holder Donavan Brazier and defending Millrose champion and NCAA record holder Michael Saruni.
“The rematch of Donavan Brazier and Michael Saruni may be one of the highlights of the indoor season,” Armory Foundation Co-President Jonathan Schindel said.
“But anything can happen with so many of the world’s best 800-meter runners back at the NYRR Millrose Games.”
Brazier is considered the outstanding 800m runner in the world. At the games last year, Brazier, ran an indoor American record of 1:44.41. In a subsequent race he set an indoor world best over 600m at the USATF Championships. Outdoors, Brazier collected another U.S. championship before claiming the Diamond League trophy in Zurich with a historic come-from-behind victory over Nigel Amos.
Brazier then capped his season in style, destroying the field at the World Championships in Doha to win the gold medal, running 1:43:34 to break Johny Gray’s 34-year-old American record.
“After a successful 2019 season, I’m looking forward to running at the Millrose Games for the fifth year in a row,” Brazier said.
Brazier’s primary competition will come from Saruni, the man who bested him at Millrose in 2019. Saruni blasted a 1:43.98 in that race, making him the second-fastest indoor performer at all times. Despite being hampered by an injury outdoors, Saruni still managed a season best of 1:43.70 in Monaco.
His personal best of 1:43.25 still stands as the NCAA record, and the 24-year-old Kenyan will surely be a threat.
Joining the field is 2019 breakout star Bryce Hoppel.
The former University of Kansas standout won both the indoor and outdoor NCAA 800m titles during a 21-race winning streak. Hoppel went on to place third at USAs to punch his ticket to Doha, where he exceeded all expectations by finishing fourth in a personal best of 1:44.25.
Entering 2020, Hoppel will look to establish himself as a medal contender in Tokyo with a strong performance at Millrose.
The race is more enticing with Isaiah Harris. The former NCAA champion, a star at Penn State, competed at the 2017 World Championships, and he will attempt to reclaim that form heading into the Olympic year.
Rounding out the field is the reliable veteran and Millrose stalwart Erik Sowinski, a former world indoor bronze medalist, and one of the most consistent middle-distance runners in the world, especially indoors.
The NYRR Millrose Games is the most storied event in indoor track and field. The tradition will continue in New York City and more athletes and fields will be announced for the NYRR Millrose Games in the coming weeks.
Already announced is a thrilling shot put duel between Ryan Crouser and Joe Kovacs, along with world record holder Keni Harrison opening her season in the 60m hurdles and newly-crowned NCAA Cross Country champions Edwin Kurgat, Iowa State University.
The Millrose Games moved to The Armory’s New Balance Track & Field Center in Washington Heights in 2012 after having called Madison Square Garden home from 1914 to 2011. More than 200 athletes share the distinction of being both Millrose and Olympic champions.
Visit www.nyrrmillrosegames.org or call 212-923-1803 x7200 to purchase tickets.
Comment: Ring786@aol.com Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso