With a little over two weeks left until we take to the track at Henderson High School for the ServiceNow West Chester Mile, we’re excited to announce that we have made some fantastic additions to what already promises to be a special night.
In our Elite races, we’ve picked up a handful of great athletes looking to run fast and capitalize on their summer fitness. Much of that training was put toward success at the Olympic Trials, which new Men’s Elite Mile addition Graham Crawford found as a semi-finalist in the 1500m this year. A recent graduate of NC State, Crawford comes in with some solid credentials (3:37 1500m, 13:42 5000m) coupled with some good momentum as he begins his journey in the post-collegiate running scene. This past weekend, Crawford won the Atlanta Dream Mile held at Emory University in Atlanta, winning the race in humid conditions in 3:58 along with fellow West Chester Miler’s Frezer Legesse, Chad Noelle, Sam Penzenstadler, Kirubel Erassa, and fellow new addition Stephen Schroeder running in our second Elite heat (more on that later).
We’ve also added Molly Ludlow of Saucony, one of the top 800m runners in the US and a 4th Place finisher in the event at this year’s Olympic Trials. Ludlow was in top form coming off of a hard-fought effort in Eugene and was rewarded with a big personal best of 1:57.68 in Monaco 10 days ago, the 7th best performance by an American all-time. After her 6th sub-2:00 run of the season in London this past Saturday, Ludlow heads back stateside as the European circuit takes a break for the Olympics, looking to take a crack at her 4:34.44 Mile PR and see if her half-mile prowess will have sharpened her for another fast time in 2016.
Video of Ludlow’s 1:57 in Monaco
Ludlow bolsters a field that has seen great success on the track this summer, with last year’s Mile winner Rachel Schneider adding a season’s best 1500m (4:06.90) in Heusden, Belgium to her 2016 resume last week. Schneider will join many of our milers in Raleigh, North Carolina for the Sir Walter Miler on August 5th for another chance to sharpen up before toeing the line at Henderson on August 11th. One of those milers is Lauren Johnson, who comes off of a win at the Bend Classic Mile this past Saturday, taking the road course on in 4:43.
Another woman in our field that has been racing well is Steph Schappert, who comes off of a 4:30.07 performance in the Mile at the Morton Games in Santry, Dublin, Ireland this past weekend. Schappert took on a strong field and hung tough to move up into 4th in the end, as the well-paced race saw 3 women dip under 4:30. A meet well known for taking care of it’s athletes, Schappert was joined in Ireland by a few of our Men’s Elite Mile performers, including Johnny Gregorek, Kyle Merber, Colby Alexander, Daniel Winn and Ford Palmer. All five runners ran under 3:58 for the famous Morton Mile, with Gregorek winning in 3:55.57 and Merber & Alexander both finishing within a second of him. Both men’s and women’s races in Ireland were promising signs for what’s to come on August 11th, as Palmer and Winn used an injection of pace with around 600m left in the race to set off a crescendo of finishing kicks from the rest of the field for a strong finish that produced a slew of season’s best and fast times for all.
Replay of 2016 Morton Games (Women’s Mile at 2:25:26, Men’s Mile at 2:49:10)
With the depth of the fields and the recent success many of our milers have enjoyed this season, our Elite Men’s Race has acquired enough sub-4 talent to now have TWO heats. While our fastest section of the Men has positioned themselves for a possibly historic amount of sub-4 milers in one race and sub-3:55 for the winner, our second Elite Men’s heat will be made up with some talented runners, some of whom will be looking for their first sub-4:00 clocking in the mile after close encounters with the milestone. Two of the milers in this heat that have broken 4 minutes are Jeremy Rae (3:57.25) and Jake Edwards (3:58.09). Rae, a Canadian miler running for the Speed River Track Club, was known for some special performances indoors in the mile as a collegiate, breaking the Notre Dame school record and etching his name in Meyo Mile lore. Edwards, who ran in the 2011 NCAA Outdoor 1500m for Ohio State, has continued to pursue faster times as a member of the Furman Elite, winning the Ryan Shay Mile in 4:00 this past weekend. Women’s Elite Mile returner Ashley Higginson also ran well in the Michigan mile with a 4:28 performance that saw her push the pace most of the way, an effort that bodes well for her chances come August 11th.
These runners, led by last year’s Boxcar Mile pacer, Henderson Alum and current Saint Joseph 800m man Stephen Thompson as the rabbit, will join LaSalle grad, 3-time Puerto Rican Champion and Mile returner Alfredo Santana, New Jersey/New York Track Club mainstay and Mile returner Andrew Springer, and 2016 IC4A 1500m Champ and Navy grad Stephen Schroeder as they all look to break the 4:00 barrier for the first time. Our final member of our 2nd Men’s Elite Mile heat is Sean Brosnan, who is looking to be the oldest male ever to break 4 minutes in the mile for the 1st time at age 39. Brosnan is chasing history with the guidance of Steve Scott, the two-time US Olympian and World Champs silver medalist who has had great history with the Mile from his professional days. Scott holds the soil record for the fast mile ever run in Pennsylvania (3:52.26), along with being the former American Record holder in the event, and it’s his coach’s connection with the mile that Brosnan may need to use in the end if he’s on pace with a lap to go and his attempt at history comes down to the last second.
Last Year’s Boxcar Mile
To say we are fortunate to have some many great athletes and stories apart of this great event is an understatement, and we look forward to watching all of our runners creating some great moments on the track in just a few weeks. We are also happy to have two more quality pacers for our Elite fields, including the 1:46.77 800m Irishman Declan Murray of NJNYTC and 2:04 800m runner Brigette Mania of the Atlanta Track Club. While sub-3:55 and sub-4:30 pacing duties through 800m will most likely be the goal, these rabbits will be well within their pace range to set up some fast times from both races.
Those fast times will also now be shown live on Flotrack, where those with a streaming account will be able to watch all of our Mile heats and any other videos that come from the meet. You do need a subscription to watch it on the website live, but we will also be covering it through social media and we’ll look to grab as many interviews as we can. We are excited to have a nationally recognized running entity like Flotrack working to partner with us on this, and we hope to draw as many people in-person and online to check out this great event.
With the buzz building towards August 11th, the Citizen’s Mile heats are starting to slowly come together, as we welcome anyone & everyone to join in on the fun and run the mile before a great night of good times. Citizen’s Mile heats will start at 6:30 PM, with your mile time placing you in a heat where your fellow competitors will be of similar ability level. Everyone who wins their heat will receive a prize, no matter the time! It’s a great way to try the distance for the first time, or even revisit a classic distance from grade school that has been labeled by some as the ‘storybook’ race, with all of the plot elements and build of a great tale. Whether you consider yourself a runner or not, the mile is a distance everyone can run, with plenty of time to cool down and relax before watching the Elites. In addition, it serves as a great way to get your friends & family out for nice night of track in cohesion with the Olympic Games and the celebration of the great track & field performances that always take place this time of year.
Feel free to leave a comment below, and keep an eye out for more content on the ServiceNow West Chester Mile as we get closer to August 11th. We look forward to an exciting evening of track in Pennsylvania as we Bring Back the Mile in West Chester!