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Lohrville wins Grand Blue Mile-Healthiest State Initiative ‘Set the Pace’ Challenge

The Healthiest State Initiative (HSI) and officials from Grand Blue Mile announced their 2018 Set the Pace challenge $10,000 award winner: Lohrville. The annual challenge encourages Iowans to develop sustainable, healthy habits, highlighted by participation in the Grand Blue Mile.

The $10,000 award will be used on a project that promotes safe and accessible places in which to be active, such as a park, playground or trail. Lohrville had the highest percentage of its residents participating in Grand Blue Mile — measured by the number of registrants for a given ZIP code against the community’s total population.

“I am excited that our small community was able to set the pace with such a great response – this award gives a great opportunity to support our active population!” said Lohrville Mayor, Donny Hobbs. “Once the word spread that we had a chance to win the $10,000, the excitement grew. Thank you to Wellmark and Healthiest State Initiative for this award.”

In all, 35 communities — a 10 percent increase from 2017 — and thousands of individual participants accepted this year’s challenge. Event sponsor Wellmark® Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® finds that statistic especially heartening. “Grand Blue Mile continues to meet every participant exactly where they are in their individual wellness journey,” said Chris Verlengia, Wellmark’s senior brand marketing manager and Grand Blue Mile official. “The record engagement we witnessed for the 2018 Set the Pace challenge provides the perfect platform to further strengthen our collective efforts to ensure a future of better health for all Iowans.”

“We’re excited to work with Lohrville as they identify a project to support physical activity in their community,” said Jami Haberl, HSI Executive Director. “We encourage all Iowans to follow Lohrville’s path to invest in the health of their community. That includes doing their part to make “5-2-1-0” healthy choices: 5 of more fruits and vegetables a day, 2 hours or less screen time, 1 hour or more of physical activity and 0 sugary drinks – drink more water.”

Grand Blue Mile announces 2018 USATF 1 Mile Road Championships results

 
More than 3,500 runners took part in the 9th Annual Grand Blue Mile on April 24 in Downtown Des Moines’ Western Gateway. This year’s event included the prestigious Men’s & Women’s USATF 1 Mile Road Championships along with the Grand Blue Mile’s recreational and competitive divisions and the Mascot Madness Charity Challenge.

Spectators also witnessed 96-year-old Mike Fremont set the American road mile record. His time was 13:55.82. He will now attempt to break the World Record for the 95-plus age category in the men’s masters 800 meters at the 109th Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee on Friday, April 27, at approximately 10:21 a.m. The current record, 6:02.94, was set by Herb Kirk in 1991.

USATF 1 Mile Road Championships
More than 40 elite milers from across the country traveled to Des Moines to vie for a national title and a share of the championship prize purse.

  • 2018 Men’s USATF 1 Mile Road Championship
    Riley Masters finished on top out of the 20 men’s competitors, with a time of 4:03.12. Eric Avila and Nick Harris finished in second and third place, in 4:03.90 and 4:04.31, respectively.
  • 2018 Women’s USATF 1 Mile Road Championship
    Emily Lipari finished first in the group of 15 professional milers, with a time of 4:32.87. Brenda Martinez and Rachel Schneider finished in second and third place, in 4:33.07 and 4:33.77, respectively.

A total of $30,000 in prize money was up for grabs among the top USATF 1 Mile Road Championship participants, with each men’s and women’s champion receiving $5,000*. The prize breakdown:

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
$5,000 $2,500 $1,500 $1,250 $1,000 $500 $300 $200 $150 $100

* An additional $2,500 is awarded in both the men’s and women’s championships for establishing a new course record.

Mascot Madness Charity Challenge
Maniac with the Des Moines Menace and Cy from Iowa State University were the winners of the annual Mascot Madness Charity Challenge and each took home the $1,000 prize for their charitable foundation. The Maniac edged out Billy with Iowa Barnstormers and Viktor with Grandview University in the “fastest” division who finished second and third place, respectively. Cy bested Spike from Drake University and Herky from the University of Iowa in the “furriest” division who finished second and third, respectively.

The 10th Annual Grand Blue Mile is scheduled to take place on April 23, 2019.

Mike Fremont, 96, to attempt American record at Grand Blue Mile

Grand Blue Mile race officials are proud to announce Cincinnati native Mike Fremont, at the age of 96, will attempt to set an American record in the road mile at Grand Blue Mile on Tuesday, April 24. He is the current single-age world marathon record holder in the 88-and 90-year-old age categories and the single-age world half marathon record holder in the 90 and 91 age categories.

“We can’t wait to welcome Mr. Fremont to the Grand Blue Mile and celebrate his tremendous achievements in active living,” said Chris Verlengia, Wellmark Blue Cross® and Blue Shield®’s senior brand marketing manager and Grand Blue Mile official. “His story speaks to the heart of the event’s mission to promote sustainable, healthy lifestyles. He’s an incredible inspiration to individuals looking for a relatable example of how consistency pays dividends when it comes to practicing good habits.”

Healthy lifestyle and diet contributes to longevity
After the death of his first wife in 1958, Fremont was faced with raising three small children. At that point, he decided to take up running as a stress reliever. He waited a dozen years before officially entering a race, and didn’t post his best times until after turning 60. Since then, running has been a near daily ritual for Fremont.

His training regimen consists of running 10 miles three times per week. When he’s not lacing up his running shoes, Fremont races canoes long distances (now for 55 years) to stay active.

“The reason I continue to run is simply because I can,” he said. “But, it’s really the importance I place on a healthy diet that is key to my performance.”
Fremont will attempt to establish the record as part of the Grand Blue Mile recreational division, scheduled for 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24. Members from Drake University’s cross country and track & field teams will accompany Fremont as part of his pace team.

“I suggest you have a hearse ready for me at the finish line,” Fremont joked before reflecting. “I know I’m lucky to still be running, and I don’t want to take a single day for granted.”

Second record attempt at Drake Relays
Fremont will also attempt a World Record for the 95-plus age category in the men’s masters 800 meters at the 109th Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee on Friday, April 27, at approximately 10:21 a.m. The current record, 6:02.94, was set by Herb Kirk in 1991.

“I’ve known Mike Fremont since shortly after he set his first World Record,” said Blake Boldon, Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Drake Relays. “The experience he’s gained in the last few years has prepared him for a big week of American and World Records in Des Moines. His humor, toughness and positivity distinguish him as one of the greatest athletes I’ve ever had the chance to know.”

Register today
Registration for the Grand Blue Mile is open and costs $20 for youth (ages 17 and under) and $25 for adults until April 21. Event proceeds support Iowa Kidstrong school-based fitness programs and the historic Drake Relays.

Fields set for 2018 USATF 1 Mile Road Championships at Grand Blue Mile

 
Grand Blue Mile race officials announced the fields for the 2018 USA Track & Field 1 Mile Road Championships set for Tuesday, April 24, in Des Moines. A world-class group of elite runners will headline the event along with approximately 3,000 participants from across the nation who will compete among the recreational and amateur competitive divisions.

“We’re confident the fields we’ve recruited for these championships will thrill even the most casual fan,” said Chris Verlengia, Wellmark Blue Cross® and Blue Shield®’s senior brand marketing manager and Grand Blue Mile official. “These athletes embody the true spirit of the Grand Blue Mile — a commitment to healthy habits and the perseverance to achieve their goals. You don’t have to be a runner to be inspired by their stories.”

This year’s race features a top prize of $5,000 each for the men’s and women’s champions with the potential to earn an additional $2,500 for setting a new course record — currently 4.00.0 (2017) and 4:32.7 (2014), respectively. Overall, $30,000 in prize money will be contested across the men’s and women’s championship divisions. Vying for the national title and a share of the prize purse are Olympians and world champions, including:

Men’s championship:

Leo Manzano

  • 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist (1500m)
  • 2-time USA Outdoor Champion (1500m; 2012, 2014)
  • Mile personal record: 3:50.64

Garrett Heath

  • 2-time USATF 1 Mile Road Champion (2013, 2015)
  • 8-time NCAA All-American (Stanford University)
  • Mile personal record: 3:51.0 (road)

Riley Masters

  • Big 12 1500m Champion (2012)
  • Grand Blue Mile finishes: 4th in 2015, 3rd in 2016, 2nd in 2017
  • Mile personal record: 3:56.15

Women’s Championship:

Katie Mackey

  • 2017 USATF 1 Mile Road Champion (Grand Blue Mile)
  • 2018 World Indoor Championships finalist (3000m)
  • Mile personal best: 4:23.5 (road)

Brenda Martinez

  • 2016 USA Indoor Champion (1500m)
  • 2013 World Championships Bronze Medalist (800m)
  • Mile personal record: 4:18.4 (road)

Shannon Osika

  • 4th place, 2017 USATF 1 Mile Road Championship (Grand Blue Mile)
  • 6-time NCAA All-American (University of Michigan)
  • Mile personal record: 4:25.1 (road)

CURRENT START LIST (BY LAST NAME)

Men’s USATF 1 Mile Road Championship Women’s USATF 1 Mile Road Championship
·         Eric Avila ·         Becca Addison
·         Dylan Blankenbaker ·         Sarah Brown
·         Emmanuel Bor ·         Savannah Colon
·         Mikey Brannigan ·         Hannah Fields
·         Pat Casey ·         Eleanor Fulton
·         Graham Crawford ·         Therese Haiss
·         Dey Dey ·         Jessica Kamilos
·         Brandon Hazouri ·         Emily Lipari
·         Nick Harris ·         Katie Mackey
·         Garrett Heath ·         Megan Mansy
·         Daniel Herrera ·         Brenda Martinez
·         Tripp Hurt ·         Dana Mecke
·         Brannon Kidder ·         Baylee Mires
·         Brandon Lasater ·         Shannon Osika
·         Leo Manzano ·         Meghan Peyton
·         Riley Masters ·         Rachel Schneider
·         Eluid Rutto ·         Molly Seidel
·         Jackson Thomas ·         Rachel Weber
·         Henry Wynne ·         Alexina Wilson
·         Izaic Yorks

Set the Pace Challenge
A reminder that it’s not just the elites competing for prize money. Communities have a chance to win $10,000 to use on a project that promotes safe and accessible places in which to be active, such as a park, playground or trail. The community with the highest percentage of its residents participating in GBM — measured by the number of registrants for a given ZIP Code against its total population — will be awarded the $10,000 as part of the Grand Blue Mile-Healthiest State Initiative’s Set the Pace challenge.

Register today
Registration for the Grand Blue Mile is open and costs $20 for youth (ages 17 and under) and $25 for adults until April 21. Event proceeds support Iowa Kidstrong school-based fitness programs and the historic Drake Relays.

Healthiest State Initiative partners with Grand Blue Mile again in 2018

 
The Healthiest State Initiative (HSI) and officials from Grand Blue Mile (GBM) are partnering to encourage Iowa communities to “Set the Pace” again in 2018. The Set the Pace challenge encourages Iowans to develop sustainable, healthy habits throughout 2018 — starting with participating in GBM, the popular one-mile walk/run through Downtown Des Moines on April 24.

As part of the challenge, the community with the highest percentage of its residents participating in GBM — measured by the number of registrants for a given ZIP code against its total population — will be awarded $10,000 to use on a project that promotes safe and accessible places in which to be active, such as a park, playground or trail.

“Bringing the Set the Pace challenge back to the 2018 GBM was an easy decision after seeing the inspiring amount of community participation last year,” said GBM Director Chris Verlengia. “Promoting community health is something we’re very passionate about, and we’re eager to partner with HSI again to continue that commitment.”

The 2017 Set the Pace challenge winner, Urbandale, used their award to add new trail enhancements, including a play pod to Walnut Creek Regional Park.

“Receiving this award was such an honor to the City, and we’re proud of all the Urbandale residents who participated in the challenge,” said Jan Herke, Urbandale parks and recreation director. “We’re very grateful this partnership has helped us fund a project that will continue to benefit our community for years to come.”

To watch a video and learn more about the project, click here.

“We are excited for another year of the Set the Pace Challenge,” said Jami Haberl, HSI executive director. “The Grand Blue Mile has something for everyone, and we’re encouraging all Iowans to follow Urbandale’s example and move more by engaging in 150 minutes of moderate activity a week.”

Register today
Youth and adult registration for the Grand Blue Mile is now open, with all proceeds supporting school-based wellness programs in association with Iowa Kidstrong and the historic Drake Relays.

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