Chris O'Hare Surges To First NYRR Wanamaker Mile Victory

By Rich Sands, @sands
(c) 2018 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

NEW YORK (03-Feb) -- On an afternoon that included a world record and a world best, it was Chris O'Hare who put an exclamation point on the 111th NYRR Millrose Games here, holding on for a thrilling win in the meet's signature and final event, the NYRR Wanamaker Mile. 

The Scottish star used a gutsy tactic to force the pace and had just enough left to score his first win in the historic race. That followed all-time bests in two rarely-run events, with Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas matching the 300 meter world best mark, while an all-star team of Americans squeaked under the 4x800-meter relay world record at the New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armory in upper Manhattan.

Chris O'Hare reacts to winning the Wanamaker Mile:

Chris O'Hare runs away with Wanamaker Men's Mile

But the NYRR Millrose Games is best known for its closing event and O'Hare dazzled the crowd of approximately 5,500 to join the fraternity of Wanamaker champions. Making his 2018 season debut, the 27-year-old from Edinburgh had advocated for a fast opening tempo. He was pleased with the pacesetting of Riley Masters, who took the field through the opening quarter mile in 58.1 and the halfway point in 1:55.8. Masters pulled aside on the next lap, and O'Hare moved to the front, determined to keep the heat on. He passed three-quarters of a mile in 2:54.6, a full two seconds ahead of the pack.

The last two laps were arduous for O'Hare, and the field sensed an opening. Ben Blankenship of the Nike Oregon Track Club threw in a surge and started to close the gap, but was ultimately unable to catch the leader, who finished in 3:54.14, the second-fastest time in the world during this young indoor season. The University of New Mexico's Josh Kerr, the reigning NCAA indoor mile champion and another Scot, joined the chase and passed Blankenship at the line for second, 3:54.72 to 3:54.77.

"I just wanted to make it hard—for myself and everyone else," said O'Hare, who recently moved from Boston to Oklahoma, where he attended college at the University of Tulsa and where he met his wife, Meredith. "I wanted to test what we've done [in training], but also test everybody else and where they were at."

It was a courageous strategy for his first race of the year and he wasn't sure it would pay off until he crossed the line. "I was looking up at the screen and I could see where they were coming from," he said after the race, while battling his 2-year-old son, Ronan, for control of a bottle of water. "Every time I looked up they were a bit closer, but I just tried to stay smooth. I tightened up a lot on the last lap, but that's what happens when you put in such a big effort with 600-700 meters to go."

The crowd was already hyped up from the previous event, the women's 4x800, which saw the foursome of Chrishuna Williams (2:05.10), Raevyn Rogers (2:00.45), Charlene Lipsey (2:01.98) and Ajee' Wilson (1:58.37) slip under the world record. Their time of 8:05.89 improved on the 8:06.24 set by a Russian squad in 2011."

That is the loudest I've ever heard it here," said Wilson, who won bronze in the 800 at last summer's IAAF World Championships. "Every lap was high energy, it wasn't just for the last 100. It was powerful during my entire leg. The crowd definitely helped push me."

Earlier in the meet Miller-Uibo, the 2016 Olympic champion in the 400 and a dominant 200 runner as well, split the distance and equaled the world best in the 300. (The IAAF does not recognized the event for official world record status.) She clocked 35.45. duplicating the time of Russian Irina Privalova, set way back in 1993.

Statistically speaking, the meet's most impressive mark was the 1:44.21 of Emmanuel Korir in the men's 800. The Kenyan won NCAA indoor and outdoor titles in the event last year as a freshman at the University of Texas-El Paso, but has since turned professional. He's now the third fastest man ever indoors. Behind him, Donavan Brazier (1:45.35) and Drew Windle (1:45.53) moved to the No. 2 and 3 slots on the U.S. all-time indoor list, and locked-in qualifying times for the upcoming IAAF World Indoor Championships in March.

The women's 3000 meters turned into one of the day's most competitive races, with an excellent depth of results. Jamaican Aisha Praught-Leer took the win in 8:41.10, just six-hundredths of a second ahead of training partner Emma Coburn. With many of the athletes eyeing the 8:50 qualifying time for the IAAF World Indoor Championships, there was no shortage of challengers up front. Karissa Schweitzer, a senior at the University of Missouri, took the lead with 800 meters to go, hoping to pull off an upset. Praught-Leer and Coburn responded quickly and staged a spirited duel. Coburn, the reigning world champion in the 3000-meter steeplechase, tried to take the lead at the bell, but Praught-Leer fought her off, setting a Jamaican record, while Coburn moved up to the No. 4 slot on the U.S. all-time indoor list.

"I don't think a lot during races, so when I saw that blond hair that I'm really familiar with, I just thought, 'let's go,'" Praught-Leer said of Coburn's challenge. "It's fun and [we] have a great competitive nature between the two of us, but because we love each other so much we push each other. I'm so happy we both ran fast."

Closing fast at the end was Dominique Scott-Efurd of South Africa, who edged past Schweizer for third, clocking a national indoor record of 8:41.18. Schweizer's consolation prize in fourth palace was a collegiate record 8:41.60. That surpassed the 8:42.03 run by Colorado's Jenny Barringer (now Simpson) in 2009.

"Going into this my coach never said I should try winning it, he just told me to stay relaxed and be competitive," said Schweizer, who swept NCAA titles in cross country and the indoor and outdoor 5000 as a junior. "So for me to be competitive in a race means to take any chance I get. I got passed at the end, but that doesn't take away from this awesome experience. To race with some of those girls is incredible in itself."

Other impressive winners included Colleen Quigley in the women's Wanamaker mile (4:30.05, just three-hundredths of a second ahead of Nike Bowerman Track Club training mate Kate Grace).  Both women were running their first races of the year, and were the last women to enter the event. Shadrack Kipchirchir won a very competitive men's 3000 in 7:45.49.  He held off Syracuse University's Justyn Knight who ran a personal best 7:45.86. In the men's race, all 11 finishers broke the IAAF World Indoor Championships qualifying standard of 7:53.00.

Sophomore sensation Katelyn Tuohy of Thiells, N.Y., was upset in the girls high school mile.  Leading most the the race, she faded badly in the final quarter and would only finish fourth. The win went to Gabrielle Wilkinson of Wynnewood, Pa., in a personal best 4:42.94.

NCAA DIII XC Recap: North Central Wins No. 19 In Rout, WashU. Scores Upset

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloTrack!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

Race Replay: 2018 DIII NCAA XC Championship Men's 8k

A shocking upset in the women’s race and a dominant performance by the winningest men’s program in NCAA cross country history told the story on Saturday at the 2018 DIII NCAA XC Championships in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, as the Washington U. women beat two-time defending champs Johns Hopkins by one point, while the North Central men won their 19th DIII title with their lowest point total since 1993.

Morgan McDonald Reigns, NAU Three-Peats At NCAA XC Championships

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloTrack!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

Race Replay: 2018 DI NCAA XC Championship Men's 10k

MADISON, WI. — The men's NCAA DI XC Championships made history on Saturday morning as Wisconsin senior Morgan McDonald became the first man to win the individual title on his home course since 1992, and Northern Arizona became the first team to win three consecutive team titles since 1998.

Champion Dani Jones Leads Colorado To NCAA XC Team Title

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloTrack!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

Race Replay: 2018 DI NCAA XC Championship Women's 6k

MADISON, WI. — You couldn't write a better story for Colorado senior Dani Jones, who captured her first individual cross country national title while leading the Buffs to their first team championship in 14 years.

Coast Guard's Kaitlyn Mooney Eyes NCAA History At DIII XC

When Coast Guard sophomore Kaitlyn Mooney crosses the finish line Saturday at the 2018 DIII NCAA XC Championships in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, there’s a very good chance she’ll have accomplished a feat that no other woman has in NCAA history.

Loyalty To Team Is The Driving Force At NCAA Cross Country Championships

(c) 2018 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

MADISON, Wisc. (16-Nov) -- Morgan McDonald has worn the Australian colors in five global championships, and placed eighth at last April's Commonwealth Games in the 5000m on home soil.  But the 22 year-old senior from Sydney, who will be running his final cross country race tomorrow for the University of Wisconsin, said those championships don't compare to tomorrow's NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships here when it comes to his drive to succeed as a member of a team.

2018 DIII NCAA XC All-American Projections

NCAA XC: Dynasties On The Line

Below are FloTrack's 2018 projections for the men's and women's DIII NCAA XC All-Americans:

Former NCAA Stars Make Their XC Predictions

NCAA XC: Dynasties On The Line

Watch the 2018 DI NCAA XC Championships LIVE on FloTrack, Saturday Nov. 17th!

DIII NCAA XC Women's Preview: Hopkins Hones In On Dynasty

Workout Wednesday: Johns Hopkins Men & Women

The 2018 DIII NCAA women’s cross country championships will feature a favorite in Johns Hopkins looking to expand on their recent dynasty, and a slew of challengers seeking to put an end to the Blue Jays’ dominance. Hopkins will race for their sixth title since 2012 on Saturday in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, a run that only one other DIII women’s program in history has accomplished. It should be fascinating to watch it all unfold in brutal cross country conditions this weekend.

Deep Field Tries To Take Down New Mexico, Kelati Goes For First Title

NCAA XC: Dynasties On The Line

It didn’t take long for the narrative of the women’s NCAA cross country season to shift. New Mexico entered the fall with three of the nation’s best runners, high profile transfers, and a clear line to their third team title in four years. 

NCAA XC Champs Confidence Picks: NAU Three-Peats, McDonald Edges Fisher

The stakes are clear and the storylines are well established.