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Centrowitz, 3:50 yet disappointed

Published by
Armory Track News   on Jun 6 2014, 03:55 PM

By Jack Pfeifer

Matthew Centrowitz was on hand for the big Bowerman Mile that always concludes the meet. He was surrounded by a sea of pan-Africa – Algeria, Morocco, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia. To get the pace going, Kenyans were even used as the rabbits. How about 53.5/1:52.2 for your first 800?

This turned into an extremely fast race, the fastest mile ever run in the United States. Six runners were under 3:50, which did not include either Asbel Kiprop, the reigning world champion and former Olympic champion, who was 7th in 3:50.26, or Centrowitz, 2nd only to Kiprop last summer in Moscow, who was 8th in 3:50.53 but wasn’t happy about it, even though it reduced his PR all the way from last year’s 3:51.79.

“It was OK,” said Centrowitz, still just 24 years old. “I can’t say it was great. I expected more of myself.”

It was the fastest mile by an American in seven years, when Alan Webb set the current American record of 3:46.91 in the summer of 2007. Just four American-born milers have broken 3:50 – Webb, Steve Scott, Joe Falcon and Jim Spivey, along with the naturalized citizens Bernard Lagat and Sydney Maree.

“Going under 3:50 is obviously a goal of mine,” Centrowitz said.

As for the race itself, he pointed to the very first 150 meters as his downfall. “I wanted to be more aggressive right at the beginning of the race,” Centrowitz said. “This is completely the opposite from championship races,” where he has already had a lot of success, including bronze in the Worlds in 2011, a narrow miss at a medal in the London Olympics to go with last year’s silver, an NCAA championship for Oregon.

“I missed a month of training this winter with a viral infection,” he said, “so I’m a little behind, but as a result I can have a longer summer. I have another mile coming up, in Oslo.

“I feel I’m still trying to establish myself as one of the top runners.”

On hand for the race were Matthew’s sister, Lauren, an outstanding miler in her own right while at Stanford, and his father, Matt, the former star runner at Power Memorial in New York and at Oregon. Matt ran at Prefontaine himself, setting the American record in the 5,000 more than 30 years ago. 

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