We’ve got some fun track and field action taking place this weekend! The CITIUS MAG team returns to the broadcast booth for Trials of Miles’ Track Night NYC on Friday night, and the Diamond League makes its second stop in Birmingham, Great Britain, on Saturday morning.
Last year, Kyle Merber and I called races in Texas, Kansas City and New York City as part of Trials of Miles’s Qualifier series in hopes of providing athletes with the opportunities to race and chase qualifying marks for the U.S. Olympic Trials and World Championships. As the sport has returned to a full calendar of meets across the country, we’re only doing one meet this year – don’t miss out. We’ll have quality fields and some entertaining/off-the-wall exhibition events that’ll make for a fun night. I’ll highlight some of the key races below. We’ll also be doing several giveaways on the broadcast so tune in and subscribe for your chance to win.
Here’s what to watch for at Track Night NYC:
Exhibition Mile (7:40 p.m. ET)
Last year, I helped kick off the night of racing with a mile showdown against New York Times best-selling author and Revisionist History podcast host Malcolm Gladwell. I got my butt kicked and Gladwell ran an impressive 5:15 mile that made plenty of headlines. The YouTube video of that race has been viewed more than 250K times. While I may have mentioned the possibility of a rematch in our post-race interview, neither of us is ready to return to the track yet. I do think we can see where things are in two years… when he turns 60. This year’s exhibition mile field includes Nev Schulman (host of MTV’s ‘Catfish’), Survivor’s Xander Hastings, The Bachelorette’s John Paul Jones, former BYU and Temple runner Emma Gee, Beer Mile Podcast hosts Chris Robertson and Adam Shurson, and our very own photographer Johnny Zhang.
Men’s 800m (7:48 p.m. ET)
Professional action gets started right after that with a strong 800m field that includes District Track Club’s Festus Lagat, who ran 1:44.47 last summer. He’s coming off a 3:37.75 personal best and victory at the Sound Running ‘Track Meet’ men’s 1500m. But the one to watch in this race may just be Marshall High School (KY) senior Cade Flatt (1:47.04 PB). New York City has been good to him – it’s where he won the New Balance Nationals Indoor title in March that propelled him to stardom with entertaining post-race interviews. He has made it known that he wants to try and break Michael Granville’s 1:46.45 mark, which has stood since 1996. He’s also not afraid to try and contend for the win against the pros.
“I know a few names in the field who are top guys, like Festus Lagat,” Flatt told The Lap Count this week. “So with guys like him, it’s hard to say that I’m going to lead the whole thing. But then again I’m still going out there as a threat and as a dangerous man, like always. I’m not scared of anybody at any level. I have to go out there and stay out of trouble, but I’ll bring some trouble if I have to.”
Women’s 800m (7:56 p.m. ET)
Two-time Olympian and reigning World Indoor champion Ajee’ Wilson has not lost a race on New York soil since 2016. She is undefeated in all her indoor and outdoor 800m races in 2022, too. It’s truly remarkable the consistency that she’s been able to bring to one of track and field’s hardest events for the past decade. She’ll have a slew of young stars trying to get their first one on her this Friday night. The biggest challenger could be Atlanta Track Club Elite’s Allie Wilson, who holds the world-leading time of 1:58.18. Her teammates Sadi Henderson and Olivia Baker (2022 World Indoor Championships qualifier) could be ready to lower their personal bests. Nikki Hiltz will also be opening up their season with the 800m/1500m double, their first track races since moving to Flagstaff to train under new coach Mike Smith.
Men’s 3000m Steeplechase (8:18 p.m. ET)
Last year’s men’s steeplechase race at the New York City Qualifier was a thrilling one that saw Canada’s Jean-Simon Desgagnes come away with the win in 8:29.41. We’ve got some of the best steeplechasers on the East Coast going head-to-head weeks after many of them opened up their season at the Penn Relays. Empire Elite’s Isaac Updike, who was fifth at last year’s U.S. Olympic Trials, took the win in Philly in 8:22.96. He’s got the fastest personal best of the field with his 8:17.74 from last year. This will also provide a chance for redemption for Jordan Mann, who took this tumble and got soaked on the final lap of the Penn Relays.
Men’s 1500m (8:44 P.M. ET)
Empire Elite’s Eric Holt burst onto the scene with victories at all three Trials of Miles Qualifier meets in 2021. His victories meant the audience on YouTube would be treated to electric post-race interviews and “Holtamania” was born. Sharing Eric’s voice with our audience helped bring in new fans, who then helped fund part of his trip to the U.S. Olympic Trials. He’s back but it won’t be easy for him to repeat as champ. He’s facing off against Festus Lagat (doubling back from the 800m), 2016 Olympian Robby Andrews, and former Georgetown star/prolific YouTuber Spencer Brown.
Women’s 1500m (9:02 P.M. ET)
We should have a good battle here between 2019 World Championship finalist Nikki Hiltz and Atlanta Track Club’s Yolanda Ngarambe, who finished fourth at the recent American Track League meet in 4:07.23 – her fastest time since 2019. New Yorkers will also have a couple of local pros to root for in Jamie Morrissey and Karisa Nelson of Atalanta NYC.
Non-Alcoholic Beer Mile (9:30 P.M ET)
Canada’s Corey Bellemore holds the world record for the beer mile (run four laps and down four beers) with a 4:28 run at the 2021 Beer Mile World Classic last October. Chris Robertson holds the American record of 4:37.40 set in September 2020. These two faced off last year in Connecticut for the first major world record attempt for the non-alcoholic beer. It’s tougher because Athletic Brewing comes in cans, which slows the flow down compared with bottled beer. Bellemore ended up winning and setting the record at 5:06.00. The beer mile had its Roger Bannister moment in 2014 when James Nielsen ran 4:57 and became the first person under five minutes. Eight years later, a total of 13 men have gone under that mark and six have broken 4:50, according to Beermile.com.
The women’s world record is 6:29.17 by Elizabeth Laseter, a 2020 Beer Mile World Classic silver medalist. Kassandra Marin, who raced at that championship, is in the field for Friday night.