Runners of all ability levels will converge on Henderson High School Thursday night for the ServiceNow West Chester Mile, a celebration of barrier-breakers and Mile history makers as the 3rd stop on the Bring Back the Mile Grand Prix.
The 2nd edition of this Open Mile Run in West Chester, PA looks to be a night that embraces all those that enjoy testing themselves over one of the most recognizable distances out there: a 5280 foot four lap trip around the track, covering just nine meters more than the traditional 1600m ran in PIAA high school meets. It’s allure may draw those looking to find their fitness before fall, break 8-7-6-5 minutes for the first time, or simply participate in a community event. But one thing’s for sure: this week is going to be a fun one!
Monday & Tuesday
Raffle to Have Dinner With the Milers
Through Wednesday, any purchase of Brooks products made in-store will register you for a chance to win a VIP ticket to our ‘Dinner With the Milers’ at Side Bar. There are very few occasions like these to connect with some of the top middle distance athletes in the sport at such an engaging event, and Side Bar will have a great buffet spread for all those in attendance. The opportunity to meet the nation’s best by purchasing from one of the best run specialty brands out there is a win-win, and we’re excited to see who wins!
Wednesday (Day Before Race)
Packet Pickup (12a-8p) & Run With The Milers (6:30 PM)
Stop by our store at 24B S. High Street in Downtown West Chester from 12-8 to sign up for the Citizen’s Mile or pick up your shirt and race bib. At 6:30, our Wednesday Knight Running Group and a few of our Elite Milers invite you to join them for a some easy miles around town to shake out the legs and get ready for Thursday’s Mile. Brooks Running will be on-hand with some fantastic giveaways, offering free pint glasses for trying on any Brooks products and a free shirt with a Brooks purchase.
Dinner With The Milers (8:30 PM)
We’ll be at Side Bar & Restaurant on Gay Street after our run for a fun evening with our Elite athletes, VIP’s, and sponsors, with 10 VIP tickets for sale on the race registration page (A VIP ticket gets you entered into the Citizen’s Mile, a ticket for the Pre-Race dinner, and access to the upstairs area of Side Bar for our post-race party).
Thursday (Race Day)
Doors Open (5:00 PM)
After packet pickup from 11a-4p at the store, runners & Spectators can make their way into J. Oscar Dicks Stadium from the top entrance and find out which heat they’re in, or sign up to race if they have not already. Remember: the groups of runners in each heat are created based off of similar seed times, so that each Miler gets into a race with other runners of equivalent ability level.
Before the races get going, we welcome everyone to check out all of the great businesses and organizations that will be set up on the Home side of the stadium. We’ll have a bunch of our sponsors being represented as you go down the walkway towards the track, along with Brooks Running and Innovative Physical Therapy set up on the infield. Down near the finish area, we’ll have Kona Ice providing water ice and ice cream, along with Couch Tomato handing out an array of their sandwich and salad samples.
On top of all that, our Elite athletes will have an area near the first turn where they will have some of their own merchandise for sale. While some run for groups or teams and others train alone, all of our Elites running are helped immensely in offsetting training & travel costs by the support they receive from the purchase of their shirts, hats, or any of the other products they have available. These are also limited quantity items, meaning you can have a one-of-a-kind piece from an Elite athlete while supporting them on their journey.
Citizen’s Mile Heats: All Ability Levels Welcome (6:30 PM)
We start off with our all-comers mile heats, a celebration of all those running America’s Distance looking to have fun and enjoy running on the track with great crowd support. No time is too slow to enter: we had Citizen’s Mile finishers last year whose times ranged from just under 11:00 to 4:33. We’d love to see a great representation of all abilities, shaking away the fear of being exposed on a track and embracing the 4-lap trip as an exciting experience to test yourself with the help of others. It already looks like we’ll have more runners on both ends of the time spectrum, with just as many registrants looking for personal achievement as there are runners chasing time goals.
West Chester Running Company Men’s Elite Mile: 2nd Fastest Section (7:50 PM)
Jeremy Rae- 3:57.25 Mile, 3:36.85 1500m
Brian Gagnon- 3:57.91 Mile, 3:38.38 1500m
Tony Jordanek- 3:59.21 Mile, 3:38.85 1500m
Stephen Schroeder- 4:00.77 Mile, 3:42.95 1500m
Alfredo Santana- 4:01 Mile (Road), 3:41.72 1500m
Cam Marantz- 4:01 Mile (Road), 3:49.53 1500m
Tripp Hurt- 4:02.12 Mile, 3:45.47 1500m
Robby Nierman- 4:02.49 Mile, 3:45.50 1500m
Brayden Burleigh- 4:07.79 Mile, 3:46.33 1500m
Steve Thompson (Pacer)- 1:51.14 800m, 2:33.88 1000m ind.
We’ll have a very interesting 2nd Section of our Men’s Elite Mile to start off our fastest races of the night, with a nice mix of talent and the chance of seeing a few men break 4:00 for the first time. With four men in the field who have already accomplished this feat, the likes of Garden State Track Club’s Alfredo Santana and Cam Marantz will be looking towards their solid road mile tune-ups as indicators that they’re due for a big time. Tripp Hurt of Team Run Eugene comes off of a road mile win this summer, hoping to sharpen his racing skills as the field goes up against the likes of Jeremy Rae of Speed River TC and Brian Gagnon of NJ/NY Track Club. The Canadian Rae has the pedigree for the Mile as a constant factor in the event while at Notre Dame, while Gagnon looks to rekindle the speed & strength that saw him run 3:57 and 3:38. Indiana grad Robby Nierman and Shippensburg alum Brayden Burleigh round out the field chasing the magical sub-4 barrier, with good company up front. Last year’s Boxcar Mile pacer, Henderson High School alum Steve Thompson, looks to set the pace for what looks to be a closely competitive field, after pacing last year’ fastest section to 3 sub-4:00 finishers.
Hotel Warner Women’s Elite Mile (8:00 PM)
Lauren Johnson- 4:25.04 Mile, 4:04 1500m
Rachel Schneider (Defending Champ)- 4:28.50 Mile, 4:06.90 1500m
Nicole Tully- 4:29.78 Mile, 4:05.89 1500m
Stephanie Schappert- 4:30.07 Mile, 4:09.41 1500m
Emily Lipari- 4:27.19 Mile (Road), 4:12.17 1500m
Ashley Higginson- 4:30 Mile, 4:08 1500m
Christy Cazzola- 4:36.99 Mile, 4:13.37 1500m
Lauren Wallace- 4:38.39 Mile, 4:04 1500m
Bridgitte Mania (Pacer)- 2:04 800m, 4:44 Mile
The Elite women have stepped up their game this summer, with many of them throwing down huge personal bests in recent weeks with their eyes on a fast time and big payday in West Chester. Lauren Johnson’s fantastic 4:25 from this past Friday’s Sir Walter Miler tops the field, showing the talent that found her running the 1500m at last year’s World Championships in Beijing. Followed closely by three women at 4:30 or under on the track, another sub-4:30 performancer found just found her personal best on the roads, as Villanova alum and BAA Unicorn Emily Lipari ran 4:26 at the High Street Mile in Massachusetts this past weekend. She’ll have her hands full with the likes of defending champ Rachel Schneider, who will be running her 3rd race in 10 days and looks to be in the mix for a personal best after running 4:31 and 4:30 already.
We also have a showdown between sisters, as NJ/NY Track Club’s Steph Schappert dropped her personal best by six seconds in Dublin a few weeks ago to put her in close competition with her sister Nicole Tully, last year’s USA Outdoor Champion in the 5000m. NJNY teammate Ashley Higginson will return to the flat track after a few forays in the steeplechase this season, as a recent 2nd place finish at the Tracktown Summer Series in Eugene, Oregon indicated the same type of fitness that put her up near the front of last year’s Boxcar Mile. Lauren Wallace of NorCal Distance is also trying a change in distances, looking to translate her 2:00 800m/4:04 1500m speed and a strong training block out west into a personal best in the Mile. Add in Atlanta Track Club’s Christy Cazzola and pacer Bridgitte Mania, carrying some solid mile performances from their own mile race in Georgia last month, and you have a field primed for a big run.
West Chester Running Company Men’s Elite Mile (Fastest Heat) 8:15 PM
Leo Manzano- 3:50.64 Mile, 3:32.37 1500m
Jack Bolas (Defending Champ)- 3:53.5 Mile (Road), 3:35.84 1500m
Kyle Merber- 3:54.57 Mile, 3:34.54 1500m
Johnny Gregorek- 3:55.27 Mile, 3:38.76 1500m
Graham Crawford- 3:56.05 Mile, 3:3.08 1500m
Mac Fleet- 3:56.44 Mile, 3:38.35 1500m
Ford Palmer- 3:56.58 Mile, 3:36.98 1500m
Daniel Winn- 3:56.73 Mile, 3:37.56 1500m
Kirubel Erassa- 3:58.24 Mile, 3:39.05 1500m
Travis Mahoney- 3:58.61 Mile, 3:45.40 1500m
Brandon Hudgins- 3:59.64 Mile, 3:38.20 1500m
Reed Connor- 4:01.02 Mile, 3:40.43 1500m
Declan Murray (Pacer)- 1:46.77 800m, 3:47.34 1500m
All but one of our Elite Men’s Milers have gone under four minutes previously, so look for the front of this field to attack the sub-3:55 mark. 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist Leo Manzano comes in with a very fast 3:50.64 PR, and his battle down the homestretch at the Olympic Trials for 4th showed that he’s still up for a good run after over a decade of relevance on the US national scene. This seasoned Miler will be met with the talented contingent from the aforementioned NJ/NY Track Club, as the Gag’s group of Kyle Merber, Johnny Gregorek, and Ford Palmer have raced around the country & beyond since the Olympic Trials. Gregorek was a winner at the Morton Games in Dublin in 3:55, Merber won last Friday’s Sir Walter Miler in Raleigh (also in 3:55), and Ford Palmer has been in the thick of it all with them, running a PR of 3:56.58 in the same Raleigh race. All three are gunning for a sub-3:55 before the summer ends, and Thursday night’s race will be a great opportunity for it.
Some other notable Elites that will be pushing for pole position include defending Champ Jack Bolas, who notched another sub-4 last weekend to show some good fitness. Daniel Winn of the BAA has also been competing alongside the NJ/NY contingent with strong results this summer. In the mix with them will be Graham Crawford, formerly of North Carolina State and a recent 3:56 performer for 5th in the Sir Walter Miler as he looks to pick up a shoe company to sponsor the development of his obvious talent for the middle distances. Travis Mahoney returns from last year’s race, moving from his usual 3000m steeplechase to the Mile as he looks to reprensent his club and his local alum at Temple well. Brandon Hudgins has also been racing on the Bring Back the Mile circuit this year, as he looks to put himself near the front for another sub-4:00 performance to add to his incredible story, after overcoming two bouts of a rare auto-immune disease.
Add the wrinkle of some talented athletes waiting in the wings for a big time, and our Men’s Elite race has the chance to be something special. Oregon Track Club will send it’s two-time NCAA Champ Mac Fleet, whose eyes are set for some fast times this August after some healthy training. Some strong distance runners will also be hopping in for a shot at a quick mile, as Atlanta Track Club’s Kirubel Erassa and NJNY’s Reed Connor take their 5k/10k prowess into the race with a fast time in mind. That fast time will be shored up by a quality pacer, as Declan Murray of NJNY has been training hard to pace our race and the Hoka One One Long Island Mile on August 31st.
On the eve of Olympic track & field events starting up in Rio, all of these runners will converge on Henderson High School in West Chester for a night on the track unique from anything else ever seen in the borough, let alone the greater Philadelphia area. There have been some magical miles at Penn Relays, like the Jim Ryun & Marty Liquori Dream Mile showdown in 1971. Diligent distance running fans will also know of the Swarthmore Last Chance Meet 1500m, site of two Olympic ‘A’ Standard qualifiers this year and the 2012 race that produced 14 men under the 4:00 Mile equivalent for the 1500m, the most ever in a racd in Pennsylvania. But to have the fields that we do on both the Men’s and Women’s sides, running the way they are right now, is something that promises to be as enticing and exciting to watch as any Mile race ever in this area.
Post-Race Party & Awards at Side Bar (9:00 PM)
Join us at Side Bar and Restaurant after your race for a great party with the Milers and celebrate the night. We’ll have our VIP section upstairs and drink specials on-tap for a fun time in beautiful Downtown West Chester.
Run with the Milers (8:00 AM)
Have a few more easy miles with our Elites before they head off to conquer the rest of the summer season, meeting at our store in West Chester. It’ll be a great way to reflect on the night and recover as we recap what looks to be an amazing week for running in West Chester.
There’s still time to sign up for the Citizen’s Mile, with prizes for each heat winner and a great race t-shirt for the first 300 runners to register. Sign up and join us August 11th at Henderson as we Bring Back the Mile to West Chester!