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MYERS WINS NEW BALANCE INVITATIONAL MILE
By David Monti
(c) 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved.

NEW YORK (24-Jan) -- Reigning USA indoor 1500m champion Rob Myers got his season off to a solid start with a come-from-behind victory in the invitational mile at the 14th annual New Balance Games at the Armory Track & Field Center here in Upper Manhattan.

Myers was well off of the lead as pacemaker Max Smith took his New Zealand compatriot Adrian Blincoe through the first quarter in about 57 seconds.  The pair quickly built a 20 meter lead, and were on pace to break Mark Carroll's meet and Armory record of 3:54.98 set back in 2000.  Myers wasn't worried.

"There was a slight chance they would keep that pace but I kind of figured they would come back a little, and I would just keep working," said Myers still coughing because of the Armory's infamously dry air.

Smith was still on the front with Blincoe through halfway, but the pace had sagged in the second quarter.  The pair hit the half-way mark in 1:57.5, and when Smith stepped off of the track a lap later the slow-down had a big effect on Blincoe.

"We went out kind of hard and then Max dropped to like 32-second pace for his last 200," said Blincoe. "That kind of got me into that funk where I was running too slow."

Steve Sherer was leading the charge to catch Blincoe, and at the bell Sherer stepped into the lead.  He opened a little daylight in Blincoe, but the Kiwi battled back and reclaimed the lead as the race entered the penultimate turn.  Myers, who was just behind Sherer and Blincoe, was waiting for the best moment to pounce, counting on his God-given ability to surge to full speed in just one or two strides.

"That's my thing," said Myers.  "That's something I've been able to do since high school. I just used it to my advantage.  I can change gears faster than most."

Myers ripped through the final turn on the outside, leaving both Sherer and Blincoe well behind.  He hit the tape in 3:59.92, an early world leader.  Neil Speaight sneaked in for second with a strong final 50 meters (4:00.31), and a visibly disappointed Blincoe was third (4:00.33).  Sherer faded in the homestretch to finish fourth.

"Pretty poor," said Blincoe when asked to rate his effort as a season opener.  "I mean, I'm pretty disappointed.  I ran 3:59 here last year getting second to Andrew Baddeley, and my training has been going better than it was at this time last year.  I'm in great shape, so I'm disappointed."

Myers recently moved to Ann Arbor, Mich., to train with Nick Willis and Nate Brannen under University of Michigan coach Ron Warhurst.  He's only been there 20 days, he said, but he's already improved his strength and endurance, something which Willis said was Warhurst's biggest contribution to the reigning Olympic bronze medalist's career.  Myers said he recently set a personal best for four miles in the middle of an 8-mile training run.

"Coach Warhurst is a good motivator," said Myers.  "I like it a lot.  I figured, you can't really go wrong training with a guy who got third in the Olympics."

There were also invitational sections of girls and boys high school miles.  The girls ran first, and despite racing the distance for only the second time, Charlene Lipsey of Hempstead High School on Long Island dominated the event with a powerful last lap surge, clocking a personal best 4:55.81.  She won by nearly a full second.

"I'm not a distance person," said Lipsey who ran 2:09.15 for 800m at the National Scholastic Indoor Championships last year on the same track.  "All my coaches keep telling me is if I stay with them for that last lap nobody should be able to outkick me.  I really rely on that."

Christopher Carrington from North Rockland High School ran a 58 second final quarter to win the boys mile going away in 4:19.83.

"I just tried my hardest and blocked out all the other runners," said the tall athlete with long dreadlocks.  "I knew I wanted to close the race in under 60 because it went out so slow and I still wanted a good time.  I did a 58, so I did exactly what I wanted to do."

In a departure from previous years, the winners of the high school miles did not receive invitations to race in the high school miles in the Millrose Games.  This year, the meets were separated by less than one week so there was not enough time, officials said.

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