Might The World Record Be Broken In The 2023 Wanamaker Mile? Maybe. But That’s Not the Point.

By Jonathan Gault
February 10, 2023

Update: Yared Nuguse ran 3:47.38 to break the American record in the mile at Millrose. 

Editor’s note: Below we preview the men’s Wanamaker Mile at the 2023 Millrose Games. We have a  full meet preview here: LRC A Fan’s Guide To The 2023 Millrose Games: Loaded 3K’s and Lyles vs Coleman in a 60m Showdown

The men’s Wanamaker Mile at Saturday’s Millrose Games is not a world record attempt, per se. And that’s fine. Not every race needs to be billed as a record attempt. Some of the most delightful records are unexpected — like Yared Nuguse‘s American record in the 3,000 meters two weeks ago in Boston.

The world record in the indoor mile is 3:47.01, set by Yomif Kejelcha (very much not a miler) in 2019. But with Nuguse, Mario Garcia Romo (3:30.20 1500 pb, 4th at 2022 Worlds), Ollie Hoare (defending Wanamaker champion, 3:47.48 mile pb), and Cole Hocker (3:31.40 1500 pb, 6th at 2021 Olympics) all in the field and pacer Erik Sowinski set to tow them through 800 meters in 1:53…well, it doesn’t take a genius to do the math.

“The way the race is paced, it’s definitely something that could happen,” Nuguse said on Thursday. “It’s just all about really keeping that pace up once the pacer drops off. I think that’s something a lot of milers really struggle with, myself included.”

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Nuguse set an American record at 3000m in his last race. He’s targeting the mile AR on Saturday (Kevin Morris photo)

Hoare, who is teammates with Nuguse and Garcia Romo as part of the Boulder-based On Athletics Club, said that a “good day” for OAC on Saturday would be a winning time under 3:50 — a time only seven men have managed indoors. For Nuguse and Hocker, a time under 3:50 would also likely result in an American record. Both are openly targeting the mark of 3:49.89 set by Bernard Lagat, which will celebrate its 18th anniversary on Saturday despite a series of assaults in recent years from Johnny Gregorek (3:49.98), Cooper Teare (3:50.17), and Hocker (3:50.35).

A “great day,” said Hoare, would be 3:48 or faster. The goal, Hoare said, is to run a fast but even pace. They have a good idea of how fast their first half will be. Their second half? Well, that’s where things get messy, complicated by things like fatigue and, you know, trying to win the race.

“You don’t know until you get on the line and you go through 800 in 1:53 and then you’ll know from there,” Hoare said. “We’re confident in our ability, we’ve had some great sessions training together, and I know Yared, I know Mario, I know myself, we’re finishing those sessions feeling very, very confident and very, very strong.”

Hocker was the US indoor champ in 2022 but his outdoor season was derailed by injury (Kevin Morris photo)

We know the OAC men are fit. Hocker’s status is less certain — he was not pushed at all in his 2023 opener, running 7:51 at the Lilac Grand Prix on January 27, a race he won by seven seconds. But Hocker is usually in great shape this time of year. He ran 3:50.55 on this same weekend in 2021, 3:50.35 on this weekend last year, and told DyeStat he’s targeting Lagat’s American record. He’s going to be a factor up front. And he’s going to want some revenge on OAC after Geordie Beamish took him and former training partner Cooper Teare down to win the 3,000 at this meet last year.

And then you’ve got New Zealand’s Sam Tanner and Great Britain’s Neil Gourley, who have run 3:31 and 3:32 outdoors and are coming off a hard-fought battle to the line in Boston last week (Gourley won, 3:52.84 to 3:52.85). Both men will believe they belong up front in this one as well.

It’s a great opportunity, after a fall of base-building and a few months of winter training, to reset the mile pecking order for 2023 (at least among US-based runners). Because the race we’ll see on Saturday should look similar to the one we can expect to see in the 1500 World Championship final in Budapest on August 23.


For much of the 2000s and 2010s, the 1500 meters was really two different events. There were fast 1500’s on the circuit, which tested who could run the fastest one-off race with a pacer helping out for the first 800-1000 meters. And there were championship 1500’s, which tested a different skill set: positioning, kicking, and the strength to handle three races in five days. Some athletes, like Kenya’s Silas Kiplagat, excelled in the former. Some, like the USA’s Matthew Centrowitz, excelled in the latter. Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop excelled in both — until he was suspended four years after a positive test for EPO in 2017.

Over the last six years, the line between the two events has blurred. More and more, championship 1500 races resemble those on the circuit. It started in 2017, when Timothy Cheruiyot ripped the final 1100 meters of the World Championship final en route to silver in London (training partner Elijah Manangoi passed him for gold midway down the home straight). The winning time there was 3:33.61. The winning times for the next three global championships read like times you’d see at the Monaco Diamond League: 3:29.26, 3:28.32, 3:29.23.

What happened? The strongest runners decided they no longer wanted to kick it out with half a dozen men over the last lap. Why try to beat six guys when you can turn it into a 3:29 or 3:30 race and only have to worry about one or two?

“I think it’s the Matthew Centrowitz effect,” Hoare said. “I think after Centro won in Rio in 2016 in a time of 3:50 and a 50-second close [for the last lap], I think kids like me looked at that and said, if I run really hard and train really hard and run low-3:30s, then I prevent that from happening and I maybe have a closer chance to win or medal and not leave it up to so much of a chance in a tactical race. I can limit more factors.”

After Jakob Ingebrigtsen won gold in an Olympic record of 3:28.32, he described his desire for a fast race as his way of “making an unpredictable race predictable.”

“It’s just easier [to run that way],” Ingebrigtsen said after the 2022 world final. “…Why make it harder than it has to be?”

Of course, this strategy does not always produce a gold medal. Looking through the global 1500 finals since Centrowitz’s win in 2016, only once has the person pushing the pace won the gold. Cheruiyot went wire-to-wire in the 2019 world final, but he was beaten by Manangoi at the 2017 Worlds and Ingebrigtsen at the 2021 Olympics, just as Ingebrigtsen was beaten by Jake Wightman at the 2022 Worlds (Ingebrigtsen was also beaten by Samuel Tefera after leading the 2022 World Indoor final). But each time, the man pushing the pace wound up with no worse than silver.

Hoare ran 3:50.83 to win the 2022 Wanamaker Mile (Phil Bond photo)

For most athletes, this movement toward fast championship finals has not been a choice. It’s been forced on them by Cheruiyot and Jakob Ingebrigtsen. And because there’s no defense in the 1500, everyone else has to play by their rules: learn to keep up, or get left in the dust. Hoare, 26, is still figuring it out. He was second behind Ingebrigtsen at the Pre Classic and Bislett Games last year, the latter in an Australian record of 3:47.48, and won the Commonwealth Games in a pb of 3:30.12 over a loaded field that included world champ Wightman. But Hoare was never in contention at World Indoors, finishing 5th, and didn’t even make the final at World Outdoors.

“I wouldn’t be surprised going into Budapest or Paris that semifinals or the final will be low-3:30s,” Hoare said. “Which will be hard. But people will train for that, and I think that’s just the way it’s developed. Jakob has almost perfected it, but other athletes like myself, Mario, and Yared know how to race that. And we’re going to train like that to produce those races because we believe that’s the way that the event’s leaning towards in this generation of runners.”

So that’s why the Wanamaker Mile will be so fast on Saturday. Yes, it’s exciting to run fast and set records. But a fast race against a stacked field at Millrose is also the best way to prepare for the most important race of the year.

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Pre-Millrose interview where Ollie Hoare discusses the Wanamaker Mile, training with some of the best milers in the world, and how the 1500 has evolved in recent years

American record holder Yared Nuguse talks with LetsRun ahead of 2023 Wanamaker Mile

Be fan and talk about Millrose on our messageboard.


Jonathan Gault, a high school All-American at 5,000m and cross country and track & field captain at Dartmouth, is one of the premier track & field writers of his generation.  He has won numerous journalism awards including the NCAA Jim McKay Scholarship. He resides in Boston, Massachusetts, and is known for his daily analysis, in-depth profiles, historical pieces, and love of the Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club. You can follow him @jgault13 or email him.

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