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Coghlan helps celebrate Millrose recurrence

The Millrose Games, celebrates its 100th anniversary by welcoming back a number of its greats informs

india Updated: Jan 30, 2007 12:16 IST
Larry Fine (Reuters)
Larry Fine (Reuters)

America's most famous and enduring indoor athletics event, the Millrose Games, celebrates its 100th anniversary on Friday by welcoming back a number of its greats, including "Chairman of the Boards" Eamonn Coghlan.

The Irish runner won the featured Wanamaker Mile a record seven times between 1977 and 1987 on the banked track at Madison Square Garden and he told reporters on Monday that his experiences were among his career highlights.

"There is not a week that has gone by since I last won the Wanamaker mile in 1987 that somebody doesn't make reference to the Wanamaker Mile and the Chairman of the Boards," the 54-year-old said at a track writers' luncheon.

Coghlan, known for his spirited kicks, was one of the best loved by Garden crowds, who over the years cheered on the likes of Jesse Owens, Wilma Rudolph, Bob Seagren, Sergei Bubka, Mary Decker Slaney and Carl Lewis among so many others.

"I really think that Eamonn is the greatest performer in Millrose history," said Howard Schmertz, who served as meet director for 28 years after taking the baton from his father Fred Schmertz, who ran the Millrose Games for 39 years.
Coghlan, a three-time Olympian and former world champion at 5,000 metres, said his last Wanamaker Mile was most memorable.

"That was in 1987, because in 1986, Marcus O'Sullivan beat me that year when I was going to try and surpass Glenn Cunningham's record of six wins," recalled Coghlan, referencing the 1930s American miler who once held the world record.

"When I came back in 1987, I was very, very confident again," he said, remembering Briton Steve Ovett remarking before his first Wanamaker that running indoors 'was a bit of a circus, you're running around a bathtub, except there are no taps'.

"The race is still quite clear in my mind. I knew Marcus was in great shape and was going to try to prevent me from winning the seventh Wanamaker.

"I just sat in the back of the pack with Marcus. Every time we came to a turn, Marcus went high and I went low. So I felt quite confident that I was ready to nab him at any stage.

First Published: Jan 30, 2007 12:16 IST