Deresse Mekonnen wins Wanamaker Mile at Millrose

NEW YORK — Bernard Lagat was interested in only one thing when Deresse Mekonnen was asked if he'd be back to defend his title in the Wanamaker Mile. In fact, he had the follow-up question: "How old is he?"

"Oh, you still have a long ways, man," the 36-year-old Lagat said upon hearing his competitor was just 23.

"At 35 I already had eight. So you can come every year," said Lagat, who won his first Wanamaker in 2001.

Mekonnen held off three late challenges from the record holder in the Millrose Game's signature event to win in 3 minutes, 58.58 seconds Friday night.

Last year when Lagat was surpassing Irish great Eamonn Coghlan's record for victories in the event, Mekonnen was sitting home because of visa issues. But he was at Madison Square Garden for the 104th Millrose Games despite having only three months of training after being sidelined for six months with a stomach ailment.

"I didn't expect to run this well. I thought I might make maybe fourth or fifth," Mekonnen said through a translator.

Mekonnen took the lead with four laps to go and Lagat tried to make his first move move with less than two laps to go, but the two-time defending world indoor 1,500-meter champion brushed him off.

"With two laps left I know in my heart I could win and I went with confidence," Mekonnen said. "I knew that I just had to hang in at that point."

Veronica Campbell-Brown started her season with a strong showing in the 60-meter dash. After a slow start out of the blocks, she blew past a strong field about 25 meters into the race, clocking a time of 7.11 seconds to beat American Lauryn Williams (7.22) and defending women's 60-meter champion Lisa Barber (7.23).

Nesta Carter, also of Jamaica, won the men's 60 in a time of 6.52 seconds, beating American Mike Rodgers by 0.04 seconds. Trell Kimmons, of the United States, was third in 6.57.

Vonette Dixon won the women's 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.00 seconds but finished sixth in the 60 dash.

In the shot put, Ryan Whiting beat favorite and reigning world champion Christian Cantwell with a throw of 69 feet, 11 inches. Cantwell was second at 69-41/4.

Ashton Eaton, who set the heptathlon world record at last year's NCAA Indoor championships, won the made for the Millrose multi-challenge event that pitted the three top American Decathletes against one another in the 60-meter dash, high jump and shot put. Eaton beat 2008 Olympic gold medalist Bryan Clay and 2009 world champion Trey Hardee won world championships in 2009.

Houston Texans receiver Jacoby Jones won the second Super 60 event, blasting past a field of professional athletes and raising an arm in victory about 30 meters into the race.

Share This Story