The 2019 Millrose Games took place this past Saturday, February 9th at the Armory in NYC. For those who don’t know, this indoor track & field competition has been held every year in NYC since 1908 and is considered by many to be the nation’s greatest indoor meet.
The meet brings Olympic, collegiate, high school, junior, and masters athletes together to compete on a single track one Saturday each year. It’s eight hours of track and field paradise with great music, enthusiastic commentary, and a lively crowd.
I was fortunate to get the opportunity to compete with my friends this year in the master’s 4x400m relay. We competed as part of the Greater Philadelphia Track Club and had two relay teams entered into a single race (40+ and 50+). The rest of the race report is a mashup of commentary from different members of the team.
Men’s 40+ 4x400m Team:
- John Goldthorp
- Brock Butler
- Delvin Dinkins
- Rob Schwartz
Men’s 50+ 4x400m Team:
- John Curtis
- Chuck Kruelle
- Bruce Rash
- Nick Damalas
DELVIN: We arrived at the parking lot at 9:50, in time for a 10:00 meet-up on this rather frigid day in the 30s. Our event, Masters Men’s 40-49 and 50+ 4×400 meter relay, was scheduled for 12:29. We organized ourselves, following the usual routine of Chuck divvying out runner’s bibs, pins, and wrist tickets. We made our way to the draped arena and hung out for a while, some of us going here and there, to and fro. Knowing the track was scheduled to close for warmups at 11:00, I started my mile warm up at about 10:45. A few laps in I found myself with John Goldthorp, Brock Butler, Chuck Kruelle, and perhaps a couple other teammates. It felt good to warm up together…as a team. I stretched on the infield until we were asked to clear the track areas, which was at about 11:05.
BROCK: Whew. The Armory felt much different than it did on December 30th when we raced here. The Millrose Games is a big deal! Tons of energy and excitement in the building. So glad I had teammates to lean on for support and levity.
JOHN G: Unlike warming up for your local 5K or even a big city marathon, a big track meet like Millrose requires athletes to be ‘ready to go’ quite a bit of time prior to the start of their race. So, it’s a case of warm
DELVIN: We sat in the stands for a while, deciding we’d head down to the balmy corridor on the second floor at 11:25. We reported to the check-in on the bottom floor as scheduled, 35 minutes before race time. As we waited, knowing the 50s were going to be on the back line and the 40s would be on the front line, my mind played around some with the race plan. Since Rob had mentioned his sore hamstring to me the other day, we switched the order so that he, rather than I, would anchor. I was hoping this would pan out as the best option. I continued visualize how I was going to attack the race. In the gathering area, I started to feel a little oddity in my hamstring. I was like argh! Then, as I continued to move around and do sprint drills, the feel subsided, and with that release came optimism. I still knew Southwest-40s would be untouchable, but all the other teams, even Southwest’s 50s team, were fair game.
BROCK: Not an easy race to warm up for. Given the fridged temps and wind outside we opted to stay indoors and warm up with 100 other people in a tiny hallway. Then I did micro laps (about 20 meters) around an educational display downstairs while we waited.
JOHN G: Sorta felt like gladiators getting ready before being paraded out to the arena. A lot of pent up energy and serious faces. Everyone looked fit and fast. Like, you looked around and it woulda been easy to get psyched out. Luckily, it wasn’t my first rodeo. LET’S GO.
DELVIN: Then we lined up. Dry mouth kicked in. Thankfully, Rob had water on hand to share. We were called trackside as the Mixed Men’s 60+/Women’s 40+ finished up. We were up! One heat. Alley start, 50s on back line, 40s on front line. Two turn stagger. John Goldthorp was lead off! Lane 10 of 11. To his left were Andrew Hogue of CPTC, Mark Williams of Garmin, and Rawle DeLisle of SW; to his right was Quinn Pack of Mass Velocity.
BROCK: Thanks Rob for the water! Mouth was also really dry and heart was beating fast. Breathe. Breathe. Better.
JOHN G: Again, Rob saved the day with his 3 oz. (lol) water bottle. Oh shit, I’m leadoff! Never led off before! Bruce and Delvin gave me solid advice about getting out hard and boosted my confidence, reminding me I’m stronger than most. So, go with the pace and trust my strength. Easier said than done when all you can do is think back to high school when you rigged up in the last 80m… every… time. But I’m a different runner now!
DELVIN: The gun went off…and then the guys were called back. Seems teammate John Curtis jumped the gun a bit. Try #2 was a fair start. As expected, everyone got out aggressively. Big John was in second at the break, while John G was I fifth but gaining. The second lap saw SW extend the lead, but Mark, Andrew, John C., and Getulio Echeandia of SW battling out. A big move by Getulio sealed the deal. Coming down the homestretch, as I had predicted, John G. finished up powerfully and pulled even with John at the handoff.
BROCK: 400 meters goes by very fast. Before I know it I’m running onto the track to try and find a good position to receive the baton. As John G pulls up even with John C, I end up squeezing in just behind Chuck Kruelle, my teammate. There’s barely any room to move by John G finds me and somehow I break free with the baton unscathed.
JOHN G: Oh, hey camera that feeds the stadium big screen. You looking at me? Tried not to look directly at the camera. Played it cool. Maybe flexed the biceps a little. GUN! Got out kinda hard, but not hard enough. OH SNAP these cats are quick! Luckily, there was a false start and (it wasn’t me) and I’ll happily take another crack at this. GUN AGAIN! This time I went all in. Still got dusted a little bit coming off the line, but not terrible. Hung on
JOHN C: I love running
DELVIN: Brock ran an even, seemingly effortless leg. He cut into lead of CPTC and Garmin, handing me the baton with a hair of a lead on them and within 10 meters of Clinton Aurelien.
BROCK: This was not effortless. I took off faster than I’m comfortable with in an attempt to chase down CPTC, Garmin, and Central Mass. I didn’t make up much ground until the 2nd 200m when they started slowing down a little more quickly than I was slowing down. I finally pulled up the shoulders of CPTC at the final turn and I used the momentum of the banked track to pull up to Garmin just as I handed the baton to Delvin.
JOHN G: I knew I didn’t have to worry about Brock. Dude’s a stud! Stumbled off the track and tried to find a place to watch. Regained consciousness in time to see him pass off to Delvin. Psyched to see GPTC fighting for a top place!
DELVIN: I created some daylight between me and Garmin and CPTC, heading for Clinton. I put my head down a little and found that, at the 100-mark, I was within maybe 4-5 meters of Clinton. I closed the gap a little more by the 200-meter mark. At this point, I was trying to decide what to do. And I decided a few meters too late: I went to make a pass on the outside on the backstretch, but I ran out of real estate. I had to tuck back into lane 1, some of my energy depleted. I should have started my push at the top of the turn rather than on the backstretch. At any rate, Clinton maintained a 2-3-meter lead as we handed off.
BROCK: Delvin looked really smooth and strong.
JOHN G: Yo Delvin! Looking good! Relieved the hammy held up. Awesome job locking down the silver medal position.
DELVIN: Nursing a sore hamstring, Rob finished the race in 3:48.64. Although I truly believed we could have run in the mid-3:40s, second place among the 40s teams was pretty good. Our 50s squad finished with silver as well.
BROCK: Delvin put some good daylight between us and the 3rd place team. Rob did well to hold our position. Really impressed by the two anchor legs for SW Sprinters. 51 and 53 seconds!
JOHN G: Really proud of Rob for securing the silver for GPTC and for seeing him come back from injury. Yeah, damn, SW Sprinters were impressive!
DELVIN: The results page indicates the following splits for our 40s team:
- John G: 56.84 (-1) (hopefully to come down two seconds by Penn)
- Brock B: 54.50 — (hopefully come down a second by Penn or at least remain the same given Boston Marathon training)
- Delvin D.: 55.23 — OK time given hamstring (need to come down a second or so by Penn)
- Rob S.: 62.09 (-4) (hopefully come down five seconds by Penn)
- …And then there’s John C. (Could we be looking at four legs at below 55?)
BROCK: Super-fun competition. Happy to run sub-55. Didn’t feel that fast. I think I can continue to improve once I get beyond my marathon training.
JOHN G: This was a total blast and, never thought I’d say it, but I’m excited to be 40 and able to compete with you guys! I promise to not crush moguls, powder, and Moscow Mules just before Penn, guys. My goal is to go sub 54 at Penn. Y’all heard it here first!
DELVIN: We watched some more races and then headed to Coogans a bit after 5:00 for an early dinner. We had an awesome time hanging’ out. It was great that Carl Stocking and Wayne Foulke came out to support the team, Wayne prepared to step in as alternate for either age group.
BROCK: The whole family was present to support me and the team: Kids, wife, and parents. We were entertained by the remainder of track meet which proved to be exciting, with lots of records and close finishes. My son was super-engaged and managed to score a flower bouquet from shot put winner Ryan Crouser when he made eye contact from 20 meters away. Ryan had the longest indoor shot put throw in 11 years (worldwide!).