By Ray O’Hanlon
No matter how many years have passed, Eamonn Coghlan and the Millrose Games remain synonymous.
The Dublin middle distance running legend has been linked with the games for years, not least for his seven Wanamaker Mile wins.
This year, Coghlan’s name is in lights because another runner, Bernard Lagat, record eight-time Wanamaker champion, has a Coghlan record in his sights.
That would be Coghlan’s masters record for the indoor mile, 3:58.15.
Lagat, however, is being humble, or at least cautious, in the context of Coghlan’s impressive mark.
“I see Mr. Eamonn Coghlan as one of the all-time greats in track and field, so I don’t think about breaking his records,” said Lagat.
“He made the records and broke the boundaries for people like myself to follow. Age is only a number, and he made us all believe it. I’m still listening and learning.”
And this at 40.
Lagat will be in the Wanamaker for the 108th Millrose meet this Saturday, February 14, St. Valentine’s Day.
It’s unlikely that he will massacre the field. Indeed, he’s not expected to win his ninth title at all given his years.
But Coghlan’s number, also posted at the 40-years-of-age mark, is well within Lagat’s current capabilities.
“It’s a great field and Eamonn is coming to New York to see the race,” said Longford’s Ray Flynn, Coghlan’s middle distance contemporary, and Millrose meet director.
“This is another year for the Millrose at the Armory in Manhattan and the meet has really settled in there,” Tennessee-based Flynn added.