Irish eyes were smiling in Madison Square Garden last Friday night, only this time seven-time race champ Eamonn Coghlan was among the almost 15,000 onlookers.
The first two places in the famous Wanamaker Mile race, centerpiece of the Millrose Games and perhaps the most prestigious indoor mile in track and field, were taken by two Irishmen, Mark Carroll, from Cork, with a time of 3.59:19, and James Nolan, from Offaly, in 4.00:06.
Carroll now follows in illustrious footsteps. Former Irish Olympic champion Ronnie Delaney was unbeaten in the event, wining four successive victories in the 1950s. Coghlan, the famed chairman of the boards, won the race seven times, while Marcus O’Sullivan was a five-time winner.
Both Carroll and Nolan had to battle against Kenyan challengers. Pacemaker William Kebit led the field through the halfway point in 1:56. But when he dropped out, Carroll bounded ahead, reaching the front with two laps to go, a position he comfortably maintained to the end.
Nolan outsprinted two Kenyans, Laban Rotich and William Tanui, to claim second.
It was not only the men, however, who basked in the Garden’s glory. Kilkenny’s Sinead Delahunty finished third in the women’s mile, which American Regina Jacobs won.
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