Running: Defending Shay Mile champs back in elite field
Slated to start at 10:30 a.m., just prior to the Venetian Street Parade at 11 a.m., the race is an invitation-only road mile with separate races for men and women.
This event provides elite middle-distance and distance runners with a competitive opportunity on the spectator lined streets of downtown Charlevoix.
Event coordinator Matt Peterson said once again, the spectators in Charlevoix should be treated to terrific race to the finish line for the Shay Mile with a deep men’s field and a strong women’s field.
Both winners from 2012, Daniel Clark and Heather Kampf, will be returning to defend their titles. With the current fields assembled both course records, men’s 3:55 (Jeff See, 2010) and women’s 4:31 (Heather Kampf, 2012), could be broken, Peterson added.
It will not be easy for Clark as he will be pushed by a field that has at least 10 sub-four-minute milers (or the 1500 meter equivalent).
Leading this pack should be Liam Boylan-Pett and Matthew Elliott. Boylan-Pett is a two time runner-up in the Shay mile and has recorded a time of 3:37 for 1500 meters in Europe this summer.
The 2011 runner-up, Elliott, is no stranger to the Shay mile but he provided track and field fans with a surprising finish at this year’s U.S. Championships in the 1500 meters placing fourth and earning the right to chase the qualifying times for this year’s Track and Field World Championships, and he has hit a time of 3:37 for the 1500 meters in Europe this summer.
But, getting on the podium will not be easy as five others boast personal bests of 3:40 or faster for 1500 meters; Brian Gagnon, Tony Jordanek, Kyle Boorsma, Macklin Chaffee, and Daniel Stockberger.
And it won’t be any easier for the course record holder Kampf. Geena Gall, a 2012 London Olympian in the 800 meters, is returning to the Shay Mile after a runner-up finish in 2009.
Kampf and Gall were both in the final of this year’s U.S. Championship 800 meters, and have set personal bests for the 1500 meters of 4:08 and 4:09 respectively this summer.
Last year’s runner-up, Ashley Miller, and Lauren Johnson with a mile best of 4:33, should provide plenty of competition, along with Chemtai Rionotukei this year’s winner of the Grand Rapid’s 25K Fifth Third River Bank Run.
Peterson noted that the race has had several world class athletes participate since its inception in 2008.
Past participants De’sean Turner (steeplechase), Ashley Higginson (steeplechase), Dot McMahan (marathon) and Jeanette Faber (marathon) will represent the U.S. in the World Championships in Moscow this year.
Desiree Davila (U.S., marathon), Geena Gall (U.S., 800 meters), and Nicole Sifuentes (Canada, 1500 meters) all represented their countries in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Davila and Gall represented the United States in the 2009 World Track and Field Championships in Berlin, Germany.
Delilah DiCrescenzo, 2009 participant, qualified to represent the United States in the steeplechase at the 2011 World Track and Field Championships but could not run because of injury.
Peter van der Westhuizen has represented his native South Africa in two world championship meets. The inaugural winner for the men, Grant Robison, ran in the 1500 meters at the 2004 Olympics for the United States.
The Ryan Shay Mile started in the summer of 2008 to honor the memory of Ryan Shay. Ryan passed away on Nov. 3 2007, while competing in the 2008 USA Olympic Marathon Trials in New York City. Shay was from Central Lake.