Centrowitz Attempting to Break Webb's American Mile Record - Saturday 7/24


Looks like a heck of a tune up for Tokyo (the Olympic 1500m final will be run on 8/7)! The table-napkin math from the super-geniuses over at LetsRun puts this attempt at "unlikely but just within the realm of possibility". Webb's mile record can be scaled down to a 3:30.06 equivalent 1500 and that is just a hair quicker than Centro's 3:30.40 1500 PR.

Of course, my favorite subject, technological doping has also entered the conversation. Short of putting literal springs in shoes, I am all-aboard the super shoe train. While it is of course unfair to the runners of yore (they competed at a comparative disadvantage), I love to see how advancements can change sports over time. Nike's Dragonfly (billed as a 1500 to 10k shoe) has already been party to a number of record breaking efforts and I will be curious to see how some of their more sprint-minded shoes, like the Victory (billed as a 800 to 5k shoe) and Maxfly (billed as a 100 to 400 shoe) hold up. It is a shame, I don't think the Viperfly ever made it to production?

So far as pacing is concerned, I am of two minds. Rabbits can provide drafting (although honestly I am not sure this matters at such a short distance?), but rabbits themselves are of course human and subject to any number of errors. Wavelight provides no drafting potential but instead offers absolute accuracy. If I run that internal debate through the sifter I think I prefer wavelight given that it thrusts the spotlight firmly on the athlete.

At any rate, I love to see people swing for the fences and announce their intentions to drop records. I doubt that he will be successful but I think this will give a better idea of his readiness for Tokyo.
It's a good way to grab publicity for Centro (and his sponsor(s)) and build hype on the eve of The Big Show.

How would you judge each of these likely outcomes?
  1. Gets AR, medals in Tokyo
  2. Misses AR, medals in Tokyo
  3. Misses AR, misses podium in Tokyo
  4. Gets AR, misses podium in Tokyo
I suppose since he already has Olympic gold, he's perhaps less hungry for a medal at this point. Relevance is the slippery eel for anyone who's famous, and this event potentially helps him get a jump on whomever rises to the occasion in Tokyo. Most Americans wouldn't know how he finished in Eugene at the OT, but many more would know if he broke the AR. If he gets the AR, it probably goes on SportsCenter, etc. and stays in the news cycle for a week. If he wins a medal, that headline will have to compete with multiple others just that day from Tokyo.

It was a good effort but still not realistically within striking distance of the American Record. To the extent that a scapegoat is needed, his pacers really let him down jumping out of the gate and then fading early.

As for preparation for Tokyo goes, I think he should be really happy with this effort. If the recent Diamond League meet is any indication, the 1500m field will be very fast and very competitive. Centro's performance at the USATF trials would net him a 13th place finish there and his season's best only puts him somewhere around the edge of Top 50 in the world this year. Still, anything can happen and his mile effort shows that he should not be dismissed entirely.

Though, if I had to place a bet, I would choose Door #4 Door #3 above... (edit: whoops!)
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Centro will have his vengeance! It looks like he already has another crack at the mile planned for the Prefontaine Classic at the end of August. The field there should be hotly competitive (4 confirmed athletes at the 3:49 mark, with Jakob Ingebrigsten very likely capable of joining ranks with that pack).

If Centro is capable of toppling the AR (3:46.91), I would think this would be as good a chance as any. Certainly pacing will be out as a scapegoat, unless we see a bonkers race. I still think the AR is safe but it will be fun to see if anyone sets their sights on the Meet/Venue record of 3:47.32?