Cold and breezy conditions couldn’t slow down Kate Grace and Garrett Heath as both athletes powered to victory Tuesday evening at the USA 1 Mile Road Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, hosted by the Grand Blue Mile. Grace’s winning time was 4:43.02 and Heath finished in 4:02.79.
The USA 1 Mile Road Championships are the fourth stop on the USA Running Circuit (USARC), which will conclude this fall with the .US National Road Racing Championships. The top ten finishers from today’s race qualified to compete in the .US National Road Racing Championships.
In the women’s race, a tight pack ran together much of the way, with no one wanting to take the lead until the final quarter mile. Through the first quarter mile split, a pack of eight women ran stride for stride, crossing in 72.3 seconds. In similar formation, the half way split came in at 2:25.6.
With the finish line in sight, the pack came through the three-quarter mile mark in 3:43. In a mad dash to the finish, Sara Hall took over the lead, as the veteran pushed hard to break her competition. With less than 100 meters to go, Grace and Hall ran stride for stride, with defending USA 1 Mile champion Heather Kampf a half -step behind.
Nearing the tape, Grace put in one final surge, crossing the line victoriously in 4:43.02. Hall came in a close second in 4:43.61, while Kampf came up just short of defending her title, finishing third in 4:43.69.
Rounding out the top seven were fourth place finisher Sarah Bowman Brown in 4:44.09, fifth place Gabrielle Anderson in 4:44.80, sixth place finisher Shannon Rowbury in 4:45.39 and seventh place Alice Schmidt in 4:46.15.
On the men’s side, Heath and Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano took out the race, pushing through the first quarter mile in 61 seconds. The pace continued to quicken, as Manzano and Heath, followed by Jeff See and AJ Acosta, came through the half way mark in 2:00.8.
Into the final half of the race, Brian Gagnon took over the lead, with the rest of the pack trailing closely on his heels. Into the final stretch, Manzano pushed to the lead, only to be passed by See and Heath. In the final strides, Heath pushed ahead ever so slightly, besting See for the title, 4:02.79-4:02.91. Manzano finished third in 4:03.59.
Craig Miller, who won the 2012 USA 1 Mile Road Championship title, finished fourth in 4:03.60, while New Jersey-based runner Travis Mahoney finished fifth in 4:04.47, slightly ahead of sixth place Miles Batty, who closed well in 4:04.53.
About the USARC
The USARC is a USA Track & Field road series featuring USA 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 $20,000 in prize money will be awarded at the USA 1 Mile Road Championships.
The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USARC race (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 USARC is to showcase, support and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USARC and its races have provided over $7 million to U.S. distance runners.
Contributed by Scott Bush