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Sara Hall, left, will be among the top women’s milers at tonight’s USA 1 Mile Road Championship.

Elise Amendola, Associated Press

One for the money

  • Article by: CHRIS MILLER
  • Star Tribune
  • May 7, 2009 - 10:16 AM

A world-class mile race rarely involves the possibility that someone will trip on a light-rail track.

But that’s one of the hazards tonight in the USA 1 Mile Road Championship at 7:50 p.m. on Nicollet Mall. A starry field will compete for a possible purse of $42,500.

The Medtronic TC 1 Mile, which involves 3,200 citizen runners, begins at 6:50 p.m.

“There’s a different mentality to this kind of racing,” said Sara Hall, who won New York City’s Fifth Avenue Mile in 2006. “On the track, you always know where you are and when you have to make your move. On the road, there are different things to consider. It’s a little bit out of the ordinary this part of the season, as we’re mostly doing track races. But it’s a great event and should be a lot of fun.”

Shannon Rowbury of San Francisco, who finished seventh in the 1,500 meters at the Beijing Olympics last year, is the women’s favorite with a personal best of 4 minutes, 20.34 seconds.

Top challengers should include Hall and former Olympian Carrie Tollefson of Team USA Minnesota. The other top-seeded women are Ann Detmer of Madison; Team USA Minnesota's Emily Brown; Colleen Newhart of River Forest, Ill.; Angee Henry of Omaha; Meghan Armstrong of Team USA Minnesota; Mason Cathey of Indianapolis; Sara Vaughn of Boulder, Colo.; and Racheal Marchand of Iowa City.

Wearing bib No. 1 in the men’s field will be David Torrence of Oakland, Calif., who won the 3,000 at the U.S. indoor championships this year. Top-seeded challengers are Kyle Alcorn of Phoenix; Jon Rankin of San Diego; Darren Brown of Austin, Texas; John Richardson of Lexington, Ken.; Jordan Fife of Bloomington, Ind.; Tommy Schmitz and Ryan Kleimenhagen of Madison, Wis.; Adrian Myers of Indianapolis; and Bobby Curtis of Philadelphia.

Winners earn $4,000, and the first male to break four minutes and the first female under 4:28 earn a $10,000 bounty.

Supporting Hall tonight will be her husband, Ryan, who has established himself as the top American marathoner after finishing 10th at Beijing and third in last month’s Boston Marathon. The Halls, who both ran for Stanford, have relocated from altitude training in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.

“It’s nice now that he’s taking a break from racing and he can come to my races,” said Sara Hall, 26. “He’s getting ready for a fall marathon and spring marathon, and I’m getting ready for summer. We really enjoy being at each other’s races when we can because there are a lot of times when we can’t.”

The citizens portion of tonight’s race will be run in six waves, as race chips will register a runner’s start time. Females make up 52 percent of the field, and the average age of runners is 37. The race start is at 3rd Street S. and Washington Avenue, and it finishes at 14th and Nicollet.

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