2024 Millrose Preview: Kerr & Nuguse Headline Loaded Races and WR Attempts

The 116th edition of the storied meet could be one of the best yet

Year after year, you can count on the Millrose Games to deliver. It has everything you would want from a regular-season track meet: history (this year is the 116th edition), major head-to-head showdowns, and actual stakes. The latter is hard to come by these days, but a victory at Millrose is special, especially in the famed Wanamaker Mile, which is why Nick Willis spent his entire career chasing one. There’s a reason Willis kept showing up to Millrose (while Willis earned two Olympic medals, he never did win the Wanamaker Mile in nine attempts).

The 2024 edition will be held on Sunday and could be one of the best yet. And yes, we’re well aware the meet is on Super Bowl Sunday. Don’t panic. The races are from 1-3 p.m. ET and kickoff in Las Vegas is not until 6:30. Plenty of time to watch both on TV. Though not quite enough time to watch both in-person if your tight end boyfriend is playing in the game.

The men’s mile and 2-mile are both being billed as world record attempts, with Yared Nuguse and Josh Kerr leading the chases (3:47.01 in the mile, 8:03.40 in the 2-mile). But the fields are so strong that neither is assured victory. Hobbs KesslerGeorge MillsCooper Teare, and Mario Garcia Romo are all running against Nuguse in the mile while Grant FisherCole HockerGeordie Beamish, and Joe Klecker are entered in the 2-mile. Both races should be fantastic.

The women’s races should also be hot with Laura MuirAlicia Monson, and Nikki Hiltz squaring off in the 2-mile and a resurgent Elle St. Pierre going for a third Wanamaker Mile title against Jessica Hull.

Below, a preview at the top events on Sunday’s schedule, in chronological order.

What: 2024 Millrose Games
When: Sunday, February 11. TV window from 1-3 p.m. ET on NBC.
Where: The Armory, New York City
*Schedule/entries/live results *How to watch

Men’s 60 (1:22 p.m. ET): Christian Coleman gets the chance to respond to Noah Lyles

Christian Coleman wins 2023 Prefontaine 100m in 9.83 Coleman ended 2023 by winning the Diamond League 100m final (Kevin Morris photo)

Noah Lyles made a statement last weekend in Boston by running a huge pb of 6.44 to win the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. After the race, he said he plans on running next month’s World Indoor Championships in Glasgow, where he will chase 60m gold.

But as good as Lyles is, Christian Coleman is still the king of US 60-meter running right now. Coleman is the world record holder, has won gold and silver at the last two World Indoors, and is 4-0 lifetime against Lyles over 60 meters, including wins at Millrose in 2022 and 2023. If Lyles is to win the world title, he will have to go through Coleman to do it.

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The two will not race each other this weekend, but with Coleman headlining the 60 at Millrose, it will be our chance to see him over his specialty distance before USAs. It will be a quick turnaround: Coleman races at Millrose on Sunday, and then again six days later at USAs in Albuquerque.

The Armory straightaway is not known as particularly fast, but we will get an idea of how Coleman compares to Lyles because he is facing Jamaican Ackeem Blake, who was 2nd in Boston in 6.45 (just .01 behind Lyles).

Men’s 800 (1:32 p.m. ET): Hoppel vs Kibet in battle of World Indoor medalists

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Two years ago in Belgrade, Kenya’s Noah Kibet (who trains in the US with the Nike Union Athletics Club) edged American Bryce Hoppel for the silver medal at the World Indoor Championships. Last year, they raced again at Millrose and it was no contest: Kibet took the victory in a quick 1:44.98 while Hoppel packed it in and finished 7th in 1:54.43 after getting bumped and losing momentum with 300m to go.

Their fates would diverge over the rest of 2023. While Hoppel claimed his second straight US title outdoors and made it to the final at Worlds, Kibet would never run faster than that 1:44.98 all year and did not even make the final of the competitive Kenyan World Championship trials.

Kibet did open up his 2024 campaign with a 1:47 win in Albuquerque but was only 10th in the mile at Dr. Sander two weeks ago. Meanwhile Hoppel, who has been training at altitude for the first time in his career, ran a solid 2:16.91 last week for 2nd in the 1000 meters at the NBIGP in Boston.

That should make Hoppel the favorite here, but this feels like an event where we could see an upset. Princeton/Washington alum Sam Ellis wasn’t far behind Hoppel in Boston last week (2:17.10) while the Atlanta Track Club’s Luciano Fiore (1:47.44) chopped almost a second off his indoor pb to win at Dr. Sander. Could one of them give Hoppel a scare?

Women’s 2-mile (1:38 p.m. ET): Muir takes on American record holders Hiltz & Monson

Muir won the mile at Millrose in 2023 and will step up in distance on Sunday (Kevin Morris photo)

Initially, this was going to be a showdown between the American record holder in the mile, Nikki Hiltz (4:16.35) against the American record holder in the 3k/5k/10k, Alicia Monson. The race got even more interesting this week when British star Laura Muir was added to the field. Muir was initially scheduled to defend her mile title at Millrose, but discovered that the 8:34.49 she ran for 3,000m in Cardiff in December is not recognized by World Athletics because the meet was not listed on its global calendar. Suddenly Muir, who is planning on running the 3,000 at World Indoors in her native Scotland, no longer had a valid qualifying mark. Thus the switch to the 2-mile, where there will be an official split at 3,000 (the Worlds standard is 8:37.00, which is 9:14 2-mile pace).

The American indoor record of 9:10.28, set by Elle St. Pierre three years ago, is definitely attainable (Monson’s US 5,000 record of 14:19 is 9:13 pace for 2 miles). But as far as records go, “American indoor 2-mile” (or is it short track now?) is pretty obscure. The battle for the win is far more interesting.

We know Hiltz, who ran 2:34.09 for 1000m two weeks ago (not technically a US indoor record since it was on an oversize track) is fit, but Hiltz hasn’t race above a mile since 2019. Does Hiltz have the endurance to hang? Meanwhile Monson, who set a US record for 3k at this meet last year, is gearing up for a fast 10,000 in March. Does she have the kick to prevail in a close race?

Muir is the most well-rounded athlete in the field, and as a two-time global medalist in the 1500 outdoors, she is also the most decorated. She’s the favorite here.

Who will win the women's 2-mile at Millrose?

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Men’s 2-mile (2:02 p.m. ET): Kerr debuts in Fisher’s first race post-BTC

One of the great things about early-season meets is that many of the athletes are racing for the first time in months, lending an air of unpredictability to proceedings. After a couple of races, we usually know who is poised to have a big year and who is not. Right now, however, the possibilities are endless. Did someone make a big jump in fitness this fall? Is someone else out of shape? Nothing reveals the truth like a race.

Kerr started 2023 with a win at Millrose and ended it as world champion (Kevin Morris photo)

Some of the top men in this field have already raced this season. Joe Klecker had a subpar race (by his standards) at BU two weeks ago, running 13:06 and missing the Olympic standard. Cole Hocker ran 2:18.26 to win a 1k over Cooper Teare last week at Virginia Tech (Teare ran 2:19.80) after taking 12th at USA XC. Geordie Beamish, who won the 3,000 at Millrose in 2022, is coming off a 13:04 5k pb at BU.

But the two names drawing the most attention in this race will be making their 2024 debuts. The first is Great Britain’s Josh Kerr. For Kerr, this time of year is all about getting strong. Last year, Kerr opened his season by running 7:33 to win the 3,000 at Millrose and he ended the year as 1500 world champion in Budapest. He’s running back the same game plan (plus an extra 218 meters) in 2024 and will have a great shot at the win.

Kerr has also discussed targeting Mo Farah‘s world indoor record of 8:03.40, though it’s worth noting Kerr said that back in November before he knew where his fitness would be for Millrose. The record could go, but, as in the women’s 2-mile, it’s the race that is more exciting.

Hocker and Beamish are big kickers and could be threats if the pace lags. If it’s fast, Kerr will have to worry about Grant Fisher. Fisher missed the team for last year’s World Championships due to a stress injury but rebounded late in the season to show why he is one of America’s greatest distance talents, running 12:54 for 5,000 in Zurich before setting an American record of 7:25 in the 3,000 at the Diamond League final in Eugene. Just a month after that race, Fisher stunned the track world by announcing he had left the Bowerman Track Club, and he revealed to LetsRun in January that he is now living in Utah and has reunited with his high school coach, Mike Scannell, citing the desire for more time at altitude and more control over his training.

It was a big decision to make ahead of an Olympic year. At Millrose, we will start to see if it was the right one. Paris in August will be the ultimate arbiter, of course, but a win and world record over the world champ in Fisher’s season opener would be a sign that things are moving in the right direction.

LRC Grant Fisher Explains His Decision to Leave Bowerman, Reuniting with Coach Mike Scannell, & Opening 2024 at Millrose

Who will win the men's 2-mile at Millrose?

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Will the men's 2-mile world record be broken at Millrose?

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Women’s 800 (2:27 p.m. ET): Goule-Toppin v Rogers

Jamaica’s Natoya Goule-Toppin and the USA’s Raevyn Rogers are the top entries in this race, and while Rogers has a far superior championship record, she can take a while to round into form. Goule-Toppin, meanwhile, had a terrific close to her 2023 season, running a 1:55 pb at Prefontaine, and will be opening her 2024 campaign at Millrose. 2023 Worlds qualifier Kaela Edwards and NCAA outdoor runner-up Gabija Galvydytė of Lithuania/Oklahoma State are also women to watch here.

Women’s Wanamaker Mile (2:42 p.m. ET): St. Pierre v Hull, part II

Hull topped St. Pierre in Boston last week (Kevin Morris photo)

There are three women who could realistically win this race: Elle St. Pierre, Jessica Hull, and Josette Andrews. We saw St. Pierre and Hull duel last Sunday in Boston over 3,000. Hull, who has left the Nike Union Athletics Club and is now being coached by her father Simon back home in Australia, won that one in a great race, 8:24.93 to 8:25.25. Both women are clearly incredibly fit right now — which is particularly impressive for St. Pierre considering she gave birth 11 months ago.

St. Pierre has won this race twice in differing fashions. In 2020, she came from behind to win in a kick whereas in 2022, she controlled the race from the front and burned off her opposition. St. Pierre tried the latter approach against Hull last week and it didn’t work. Will she run it back in New York and try to drop Hull by the bell, or will she leave her chances down to a kick?

Andrews was one of the women St. Pierre left in her wake in 2022, finishing 2nd, and Andrews returned to Millrose in 2023, where she was runner-up again, this time behind Laura Muir. Is third time the charm? We know she’s in good aerobic shape after running 14:46 in Boston two weeks ago. Though Andrews has run well at 1500 in the past, she is focusing on the 5,000 in 2024. Can she hang with the milers St. Pierre and Hull on Sunday?

Millrose always tries to bring in a college star for Wanamaker. This time it’s NCAA 1500 champion Maia Ramsden of Harvard, who will try to join the sub-4:30 club after running 4:30.01 for 4th at BU last weekend.

Who will win the women's mile at Millrose?

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Men’s Wanamaker Mile (2:53 p.m. ET): Nuguse chases world record

Twice in the last five years, we have come very close to seeing a world record in the Wanamaker Mile. In 2019, Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha ran 3:48.46 to miss Hicham El Guerrouj‘s WR by just .01. Kejelcha would break the record three weeks later with his 3:47.01 in Boston, which almost went down in last year’s Wanamaker Mile when Yared Nuguse ran 3:47.38.

The Wanamaker Mile has been around since 1926, and in that span it has seen four world records, but none since 1955. Here’s a look at the previous four:

Athlete Nationality Date Time
Gene Venzke USA February 6, 1932 4:11.2
Charles Fenske USA February 3, 1940 4:07.4*
Gilbert Dodds USA January 31, 1948 4:05.3
Gunnar Nielsen Denmark February 5, 1955 4:03.6

*Tied previous world record

I dug through the New York Times archives to find out a little bit more about each race. Did you know that Gilbert Dodds raced in a truss after developing a hernia in high school? Or that he missed the 1948 Olympic Trials due to mumps? Or that he was nicknamed “The Flying Parson” and would become a minister after his running career? The NY Times recap referred to him as a “chesty, iron-thewed preacher.” Everything about him sounds like a caricature of a 1940s runner.

I was also struck by how everything old is new again. The week before his WR at Millrose in 1932, Venzke had won an indoor race in Boston. Except instead of the TRACK at New Balance and the Armory, he was running at the Boston Garden and Madison Square Garden. And if you think oversize track drama is a recent development, let me assure you it is not: Fenske and Dodds’ times were world records only because no one viewed Glenn Cunningham‘s 4:04 — run on a six-laps-to-the-mile track in a handicap race at Dartmouth — as legitimate.

Of course, some things have changed. Dodds’ WR in 1948 drew 15,000 people to Madison Square Garden; by the 2000s, Millrose had stopped drawing those kinds of crowds and had to relocate to the Armory in 2012. And the New York Times no longer has a sports section.

Nuguse will hope the clock reads a little faster on Sunday

Looking to Sunday’s race, Nuguse has made no secret that he’d like the world record, though he has done so in his typical aw shucks way. The logic is not hard to follow. When Nuguse ran 3:47 at Millrose last year, he wasn’t even trying for the WR. But the first 1200 was pretty quick, and Nuguse was feeling so good late in the race (he split an incredible 25.94 from 1400 to 1600) that he almost broke the WR by accident.

If Nuguse breaks the WR this time, it will be by design. Nuguse ran a 3:43 mile in September at Pre. Even if he is not in 3:43 shape right now, Nuguse told LetsRun in Boston two weeks ago that he feels he’s in better mile shape than this time a year ago. If he’s in better shape, it makes sense to target a pb. And Nuguse’s indoor pb is just .37 slower than the WR.

Nuguse is not the only guy in this race, however. 2022 US 1500 champ Cooper Teare, initially entered in the 2-mile, is dropping down to run the mile. Nuguse’s training partner Mario Garcia Romo of Spain, 4th and 6th at the last two Worlds, is running. So is 20-year-old American Hobbs Kessler, fresh off a win over 2022 world champ Jake Wightman in Boston last week, who says he views Nuguse as his “ride” to a fast time at Millrose.

The guy with the best chance to beat Nuguse is Great Britain’s George Mills. The 24-year-old Mills ran 3:47 to finish 3rd in the Diamond League final last year and beat Nuguse two weeks ago over 5,000, running 12:58 to Nuguse’s 13:02 in Boston. He’s very strong right now, and if Nuguse is chasing the WR, don’t be surprised to see Mills go with him.

Who will win the men's Wanamaker Mile?

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Will the men's world record be broken in the Wanamaker Mile?

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MB: Offical 2024 Millrose Games Discussion Thread – Will the men’s mile and 2-mile WRs fall?

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