Monday, February 18, 2013

Lomong Wins Wanamaker, Bumbi Now US #3 All-Time

He followed in the footsteps of Eamonn Coghlan and Nourredine Morceli by making everyone follow his footsteps at the 2013 Millrose Games: Lopez Lomong ran 3:51.26 on Saturday night to win the Wannamaker Mile and join its list of renowned champions. Lomong’s performance also broke the event record, but that comes with a large caveat now that Millrose has been moved to an incomparably faster facility at the Armory. What needs no caveat, though, is his new #8 all-time ranking in the world — #3 among Americans — for the mile indoors. Moreover, as fast as the track at the Armory is, Lopez turned in the fastest performance in its long history by a whopping 2.7 second.

Lomong’s teammates from the Jerry Schumacher-coached branch of the Oregon Track Club ran stand-out races in the two-mile, as well. Andrew Bumbalough clocked a sterling 8:13.02 as the race runner-up, making him the #3 American all-time indoors and cracking the Top-20 on the all-time world list, where he landed at #16. Steps behind was Evan Jager in fourth place at 8:14.95 — #4 among Americans, all-time. For the purpose of perspective, it’s worth nothing that Doug Padilla held the American record for decades at 8:15, which he ran back in 1990.

Though the 2013 Wanamaker field lacked the star international miler traditionally brought in for the race, it didn’t lack talent: Lomong bested World Championship bronze medalist Matt Centrowitz (fourth in the London Olympic 1500m final), and a collegiate-record run from NCAA Champion Chris O’Hare of Great Britain. And though Lomong ran the 5000 at the London Games, he was a mile specialist for most of his pro career (Top 10 all-time in the US for 1500m) , making it all the more impressive that his win in New York came in a personal best time by almost 2 full seconds, even while competing on the tighter indoor track turns.

Likewise for the two-milers, the “deuce” was a banner run regardless of venue. Combining indoor and outdoor performances, Bumbalough’s mark makes him the #9 American all-time, indoors or out: Jager, #12. Needless to say, these were big lifetime bests for each athlete: 8 seconds for the Tennessee-native and 33 for Jager… who hadn’t run the two-mile distance since high school.

In the women’s programme, fresh off a great fourth-place run behind a trio of Olympians, Emily Infeld placed eighth in the women’s mile, as she continues to prepare for the World Cross Country championships.

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