The venue for the Millrose Games, The Amory in NYC, has earned the moniker “The Fastest Track in the World” due to the numerous records that have been shattered at the event. This explains the inclination of elite runners from around the world to include the event in their season. Scotland’s Josh Kerr, a gold medalist in the 1500m race at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest, is set to grace the historic event. In an interview with M&F, he expresses his fondness for the venue as one of his preferred locations to leave a mark.
We gain insight into the event’s magnetic appeal and delve into Kerr’s current training regimen.
The Millrose Games originated after the formation of the Millrose Athletic Association by employees at the Jon Wanamaker Department Store in 1908. Initially, the games were held at Madison Square Garden before being relocated to The Armory in New York City. Prominent runners like Paavo Nurmi and Bernard Lagat have competed at the event, and on February 11, the Millrose Games will celebrate its 116th edition.
The event is now renowned for its strict anti-doping measures and hosts the Wanamaker Mile race. It is regarded as one of the most esteemed meets for indoor track and field competition and often marks the commencement of the athletes’ season.
Why Does Josh Kerr Opt for the Millrose Games to Kickstart His Running Season?
While the Olympics and The World Championships are fixed highlights of the summer, there are running events scattered throughout the year that athletes can enroll in. So, how do they determine when and where to begin their season? Kerr remarks, “I differ from most individuals. I relish competing in major meets right off the bat. I thrive under that pressure. We plan backward from the major championships. So, starting from the Olympics, we trace back and strategize on the races that will position us favorably. It’s an event that captivates spectators, exuding a fantastic ambiance, and it’s a meet that all top athletes aspire to attend.”
Kerr is no stranger to record-breaking feats. Hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland, he inaugurated his running journey with a scholarship that led him to The University of New Mexico. During his tenure, Kerr clinched national titles for the indoor mile and secured three NCAA titles. He also established a new collegiate record for the 1500m, a triumph he would later replicate. Kerr recounts that a rigorous training day in college entailed 8-to-15-mile runs followed by hour-long gym sessions, in addition to managing academic obligations.
As a full-time athlete now vying for gold on the global stage, Kerr values the trials of his early days. He has developed a keen awareness of the significance of maintaining his core strength and enhancing his explosive power during strength and conditioning sessions. Describing the process of augmenting speed, he explains, “We aren’t striving to lift heavy weights, but rather to lift them swiftly.” Box jumps, medicine ball throws, and squats constitute the cornerstone of Kerr’s training routine. Last year, he emerged victorious in the 3,000m race at the Millrose Games.
Notable track and field milestones from the games include pole vaulter Cornelius Warmerdam becoming the first person to clear 15 feet (4.6 meters) indoors and Carl Lewis leaping 28 feet (8.5 meters) to obliterate an indoor record in 1984.
Kerr elucidates that with the Olympics still approximately six months away, now is an opportune moment to delve into his “problem-solving” phase, delineating the season into indoor and outdoor competitions.
Middle Distance Running: A Puzzle to Solve
Divulging his training regimen, Kerr mentions that he logs around 70 miles per week, encompassing 18 to 20-mile runs on Sundays. This routine persists throughout most of the year to maintain his fitness, and he gradually refines specific techniques as the season draws near. With elite runners completing 1500m runs in about three and a half minutes, Kerr emphasizes that only through consistent practice can he train his mind to make the requisite adjustments to stay ahead. “We meticulously dissect and train for various segments (of the run),” shares Kerr, who clinched Olympic bronze at Tokyo 2020. “Race day is akin to an examination day. So, if someone else makes a swift start, we are well-equipped to respond… The more seasoned you are, the quicker your solutions manifest.”
Josh Kerr will be the focal point of the men’s indoor two-mile event at The Millrose Games on February 11. “Millrose is a very special event, as the spectators are in close proximity to the track,” he remarks to M&F.