08 JAN 2014 General News New York, United States

Lagat headlines Millrose 2000m field

Bernard Lagat leading in the Two Miles at the 2013 Millrose Games (Kirby Lee)Bernard Lagat leading in the Two Miles at the 2013 Millrose Games (Kirby Lee) © Copyright

This year’s Millrose Games on 16 February will play host to the Paavo Nurmi 2000m, honouring the legacy of the multiple Olympic gold medallist who in 1925 set a world indoor record over the distance at The Armory.

The event will feature three-time world indoor champion Bernard Lagat of the USA and 2008 Olympic silver medallist Nick Willis of New Zealand.

The Millrose Games is the second leg of the Indoor USATF Championship Series, the opening fixture being the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, an IAAF Indoor Permit meeting.

“I’m looking forward to coming back again to the Millrose Games in February,” said Lagat, the 2004 Olympic 1500m silver medallist. “2000m is a new distance for me indoors, and that's exciting. I've had two great runs at The Armory the last two years and hope for another one this year."

The Paavo Nurmi 2000m will also feature US 3000m steeplechase record-holder Evan Jager, Canadian Olympian Cam Levins, world junior indoor record-holder German Fernandez and Finnish national champion Niclas Sandells.

"Everywhere you turn there is great history at The Armory," said Dr Norbert Sander, executive director of the Armory Foundation. "Breaking the American record in the 2000m here at the 2014 NYRR Millrose Games will rewrite the history books and find a place alongside the epic run of Paavo Nurmi in 1925."

The US indoor 2000m record of 4:58.6 has stood to Steve Scott since 1981, while Willis may have John Walker’s national indoor record of 5:03.8 in his sights and Sandells could target Jukka Tammisuo’s Finnish indoor best of 5:20.18.

In honouring Paavo Nurmi’s legacy and world record race at The Armory, a delegation of Finnish guests will be in attendance, including Ilkka Kanerva, a member of the Finnish Parliament. The race’s official starter will be Nurmi’s grandson, Mika Nurmi.

"Our family is delighted with the Paavo Nurmi 2000m at the Millrose Games and I am very much looking forward to being the Race Starter in the arena where my grandfather set the world record," said Mika Nurmi.

Organisers for the IAAF