Carroll Sets New P.B. for Indoor Mile


Mark Carroll put the disappointment and frustration of the Millrose Games behind him in emphatic fashion today.  A late entrant to the New England Track and Field Indoor Championships in Boston University, Carroll ran his fastest ever indoor mile in a time of 3:54.00. It was a welcome and encouraging return to form for the Leevale athlete, who ran well below his best at Millrose (3:59) because of a hamstring injury. Indeed the hamstring forced Carroll to curtail meaningful speed sessions and racing, and there was always going to be a question as to whether the injury would heal enough to enable him to race to his full potential.  Carroll, to the delight of his coach, Jim Harvey, put these doubts to rest in Sunday’s race. The victory was more impressive because it was essentially a solo time trial. An encouraging training session the previous Tuesday encouraged him to enter the Boston race. Carroll was aided by fellow Irishman, Donal O’Sullivan (also trained by Harvey), who took him through 600 metres in 1:27. Carroll was on his own thereafter and was the only athlete to break four minutes.  “To run 3:54 by yourself is good running,” said Harvey. “I didn’t want him to lift out of the last 400. He’s very fit, as fit as he’s ever been.  If the hamstring heals up completely he’ll fly.”  “It puts him in good spirits three weeks before the World Indoors,” Harvey added. Only Rui Silva, Portugal, 3:52.18 and Laban Rotich Kenya, 3:53 have run faster indoors this year. Carroll can reasonably expect to win a medal in the Championships but he will face a very talented and deep field. “It’s asking a lot for the win,” Harvey admitted. “But we have our expectations.”  The Ethiopians Mekkinon and Wolde may dictate how the race is run. “They may decide to take it out fast and early or kick at the end,” said Harvey. “It’s likely to be a tactical race with a winning time in the low 7:40s. Paul Bitok (Kenya) may also be a factor.”  Carroll will be looking for a fast, honest pace early on, but not super fast. “He’s going without a lot of expectation and pressure,” Harvey said, “which is a nice way to go into a championship.” It is the beginning of a year of redemption for Carroll, who knows he missed out on a golden opportunity in Sydney.  He has realistic expectations of breaking Ray Flynn’s Irish mile record (3:50) and going under that elusive 13 minute barrier for the 5000 metres. A weight training programme over the winter has given an added strength and explosiveness to his finishing kick.  Harvey is very encouraged by Carroll’s level of fitness and motivation. “If he goes into the indoor championships completely healthy,” said Harvey, “he’ll definitely take some beating.”