Emily Lipari will return to defend her women’s title at the TC 1 Mile on Thursday night, when top professional runners compete for a purse of $25,000 along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.

The men’s and women’s professional races, which begin at 7:50 p.m., end the night of races on a 1-mile course that starts at the Mill City Museum and ends at the Guthrie Theatre along West River Parkway.

Lipari, from San Diego, has a personal best of 4 minutes, 31.68 seconds in the mile. The women’s field also includes 2013 champion Sarah Brown of East Weymouth, Mass., who was a four-time NCAA champion at Tennessee, and Lithuanian Natalja Piliusina, who won the NCAA 1,500-meter title for Oklahoma State in 2013.

Two-time defending champion Ben Blankenship will not return to the men’s race. Men’s favorites include Daniel Herrera of New Orleans, who has run 3:56.13; Chad Noelle of Boulder, Colo. (personal best 3:57.03); and 26-year-old Kenyan Lawi Lalang, a former NCAA cross-country champion at Arizona who has run 3:52.88. Two-time U.S. Olympic steeplechaser Anthony Famiglietti, 39, was added to the men’s field this week; he has run 3:55.71.

In addition to prize money, runners can earn $10,000 bonuses for course records held by Blankenship (3:55.8 in 2016) and Sarah Hall (4:30.8 in 2011).

More than 2,500 runners will take part in the events, with the races starting at 6:30 p.m.

STAFF reports