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Defending Champions Kampf, Heath Ready to Repeat at USATF 1 Mile Road Championships


MINNEAPOLIS/Twin Cities -- After resounding victories at the 2015 USATF 1 Mile Road Championships, Team USA Minnesota’s Heather Kampf and Minnesota native Garrett Heath eye repeat wins Thursday evening at the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships in downtown Minneapolis, hosted by the Medtronic TC 1 Mile.


The USATF 1 Mile Road Championships are the fifth stop on the 2016 USATF Running Circuit. The race will be aired live on USATF.TV starting at 7:55 p.m. CT, while race video, results, post-race interviews and photos will be available shortly after the race in cooperation with Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #USARC.


Kampf returns to the roads of downtown Minneapolis seeking her fourth USATF 1 Mile Road title. Kampf, who is arguably the finest road miler in the world, won the title each of the past two years, along with a win in 2012. She won by just over a second in 2015 and enters Thursday’s contest coming off another victory at the Grand Blue Mile in Des Moines, Iowa late last month.


Rebecca Addison, who was runner-up to Kampf last year, 4:45.4-4:46.5, seeks revenge, hoping to knock off the hometown favorite. Addison and 2015 fourth place finisher Kristen Findlay are equally experienced in competing in road mile competition and will give Kampf a challenge throughout.


Kampf’s former University of Minnesota teammate Gabriele Grunewald, who was a 1,500m finalist at the 2015 USATF Outdoor Championships, looks to get her 2016 racing season going with a top three finish, while former University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh standout Christy Cazzola and Addison’s former University of Michigan teammate Brook Handler give the field even more Midwest middle-distance running talent.


In the men’s field, Heath won last year’s contest by just over one second with a rousing 4:08.3 victory over a very tough field. He finds himself with plenty of competition once again, but continues to prove himself time and time again, whether that be on the track, in cross country or on the roads. The Brooks Beast standout enters as the pre-race favorite and will be the focus of much of the field.


Heath’s strongest challengers on paper are fellow Minnesota native Ben Blankenship and Chad Noelle. Noelle, who won the NCAA 1,500m title last spring while competing for Oklahoma State, tests his fitness against the veteran field coming off a big victory at the Grand Blue Mile in Des Moines last month.


For Blankenship, he’ll look to challenge for his first U.S. road title, while building momentum for the track season ahead. Blankenship finished fourth over 1,500m at the 2015 USATF Outdoor Championships.


2012 USATF 1 Mile Road champion Craig Miller is entered and ready to prove himself against the tough field. Miller finished sixth in the event last year and continues to be a fixture at the event. He’s joined by Heath’s teammates Riley Masters and Travis Burkstand, both fully capable middle-distance runners who will be eyeing the victory. Masters finished third at the Grand Blue Mile last month, while Burkstand, like Blankenship, competed for the University of Minnesota.


Kampf’s Team USA Minnesota teammate Jon Peterson, Eric Avila, Duncan Phillips and Brandon Hudgins are other top entries in the field fully capable of challenging for a top-five finish.


About the USATF Running Circuit

The USATF Running Circuit is a USATF road series featuring USATF championships from one mile through the marathon and consistently attracts the best American distance runners with more than $500,000 to be awarded in total prize money. A total of $25,000 in prize money will be awarded at the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships.


The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USATF Running Circuit race. For the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships, scoring is set as 15 for first, 12 for second, 10 for third, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1, with those earning the most points receiving prize money at the end of the series.


The mission of the USATF Running Circuit is to showcase, support and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USATF Running Circuit and its races have provided over $7 million to U.S. distance runners.


Contributed by Scott Bush

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