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

 
The Healthiest State Initiative (HSI) and officials from Grand Blue Mile announced their Set the Pace challenge $10,000 award winner: Urbandale. The challenge encouraged Iowans to develop sustainable, healthy habits throughout 2017, starting with participating in this year’s Grand Blue Mile.

Urbandale 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. 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.

“We are very excited to receive this award,” said Jan Herke, Urbandale Parks and Recreation director. “We look forward to working with the Healthiest State Initiative and Grand Blue Mile officials on selecting a project that will benefit our community for years to come.”

In all, more than 25 communities and thousands of individual participants accepted the challenge — a statistic event-sponsor Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield finds especially heartening. “Grand Blue Mile has always been unique in that it meets every participant exactly where they are in their individual wellness journey,” said Wellmark Sponsorship Manager Chris Verlengia. “The record engagement we witnessed for the 2017 Grand Blue Mile provides the perfect platform to further strengthen our collective efforts to ensure a future of better health for all Iowans.”

HSI Executive Director Jami Haberl wants to keep the momentum going. “We’re excited to work with Urbandale as they determine which project will have a long-lasting impact in their community and look forward to replicating their success across the state,” said Haberl. “We’re encouraging all Iowans to follow Urbandale’s example and move more by engaging in 30 minutes of moderate activity a day.”

Grand Blue Mile announces 2017 USATF 1 Mile Road Championships results

 
More than 2,500 runners took part in the 8th Annual Grand Blue Mile on April 25 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.

USATF 1 Mile Road Championships

More than 35 elite milers from across the country traveled to Des Moines to vie for a national title and a share of the championship prize purse. A total of $27,500 was awarded among the top USATF 1 Mile Road Championship participants, with each men’s and women’s champion receiving $5,000.

2017 Men’s USATF 1 Mile Road Championship
Clayton Murphy finished on top out of the 19 men’s competitors, setting a new record with a finish time of 3:59.96 en route to a $2,500 bonus for his sub-4-minute run. Riley Masters and Pat Casey finished in second and third place, with 4:00.30 and 4:00.88 respective finish times.

2017 Women’s USATF 1 Mile Road Championship
Katie Mackey finished first in the group of 16 women runners, with a finish time of 4:37.00. Amanda Eccleston and Shannon Rowbury finished in second and third place, with 4:37.36 and 4:37.54 respective finish times.

Mascot Madness Charity Challenge
The Maniac from the Des Moines Menace and Herky from the University of Iowa were the winners of the annual Mascot Madness Charity Challenge and each took home a $1,000 prize for their charitable foundation. The Maniac edged out Billy Barnstormer and Rosie Reader with the Des Moines Public Library in the “fastest” division who finished second and third place, respectively. Herky bested Cy from Iowa State University and TC with the University of Northern Iowa in the “furriest” division who finished second and third, respectively.

The 9th Annual Grand Blue Mile is scheduled for April 24, in conjunction with the 2018 Men’s and Women’s USATF 1 Mile Road Championships.

Additional results from the 8th Annual Grand Blue Mile are available at OnlineRaceResults.com.

2017 USATF 1 Mile Road Championship fields confirmed for Grand Blue Mile

 
Grand Blue Mile race officials today announced the elite fields for the 2017 Men’s & Women’s USATF 1 Mile Road Championships set for Tuesday, April 25, in Des Moines. A world-class group of elite runners will headline the event, along with more than 2,500 participants who will compete among the recreational and amateur competitive divisions.

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. 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 are Olympic medalists and World Championship finalists, including:

Men’s Division:

Clayton Murphy

  • 2016 Olympic Games bronze medalist (800m)
  • 2015 Pan American Games gold medalist (800m)
  • Mile personal record: 3:54.31 (indoor)

Leo Manzano

  • 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist (1500m)
  • 9-time NCAA All-American (University of Texas)
  • Mile personal record: 3:50.64

Chad Noelle

  • 2016 Grand Blue Mile Invitational Champion (4:12.11)
  • NCAA 1500m Champion (Oklahoma State University)
  • Mile personal record: 3:57.78

Women’s Division:

Shannon Rowbury

  • American record-holder in the 1500m and the 5000m
  • 4th in 2016 Olympic Games (1500m)
  • 2016 World Indoor bronze medalist (3000m)

 Katie Mackey

  • 3-time Falmouth Mile Champion (2013, 2014, 2016)
  • 7-time All-American (University of Washington)
  • Mile personal best: 4:23.6 (road)

Amanda Eccleston

  • 4th in 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials (1500m)
  • 2-time All-American (University of Michigan)
  • Mile personal best 4:20.7 (road)

“We are honored to host the USATF 1 Mile Championships and these incredible athletes at the Grand Blue Mile,” said Blake Boldon, Drake Relays Director. “Both fields feature some of America’s best milers, and with the additional incentive to set a new course record, this is a can’t miss event.”

2017 Men’s USATF 1 Mile Road Championship – Start List

Thomas Awad
Andy Bayer
Hillary Bor
Pat Casey
Graham Crawford
Dey Dey
Trevor Dunbar
Garrett Heath
Daniel Herrera
Brandon Lasater
Brian Llamas
Leo Manzano
Riley Masters
Clayton Murphy
Chad Noelle
Patrick Peterson
Andy Phillips
Cristian Soratos
Josef Tessema
Lex Williams
Drew Windle
Izaic Yorks

2017 Women’s USATF 1 Mile Road Championship – Start List

Maddie Alm
Jamie Cheever
Margaret Connelly
Brette Correy
Amanda Eccleston
Hannah Fields
Eleanor Fulton
Gabriele Grunewald
Katie Mackey
Ashley Maton
Megan Malasarte
Dana Mecke
Shannon Osika
Meghan Peyton
Shannon Rowbury
Tori Tsolis
Alexina Wilson

Set the Pace

New for 2017, the Healthiest State Initiative and Grand Blue Mile are teaming up to Set the Pace — encouraging Iowans to develop sustainable, healthy habits, starting with participating in Grand Blue Mile, the popular one-mile walk/run through Downtown Des Moines on April 25.

As part of the challenge, the community with the highest percentage of its residents participating in Grand Blue Mile — 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.

“Championing community wellness is at the core of the Grand Blue Mile-Healthiest State Initiative alliance,” said Chris Verlengia, Wellmark Sponsorship Manager and Grand Blue Mile Official. “Collectively, we appreciate the positive impact everyday movement — like walking or jogging a mile — has on our health, and we’re thrilled to see so many Iowans embracing the challenge and registering themselves, their families, and neighbors.”

Mascot Madness

Iowa’s most beloved mascots are back to compete head-to-head in the third-annual Mascot Madness Charity Challenge. The mascot races take place on the backstretch of the Grand Blue Mile course, near 12th Street & Grand Avenue, and follow the recreational division at approximately 6:35 p.m. Mascots will be divided among two categories — the “fast” and the “furriest.” The winning mascot from each division will be awarded a $1,000 prize for their organization’s charitable foundation.

Confirmed mascots in the “fast” division include:

  • Billy Barnstormer (Iowa Barnstormer)
  • Maniac (Des Moines Menace)
  • Surge (Iowa Energy)
  • Viktor (Grandview University)
  • Rosie the Reader (Des Moines Public Library)

Confirmed mascots in the “furriest” division include:

  • TC (University of Northern Iowa)
  • Cubbie Bear (Iowa Cubs)
  • Crash (Iowa Wild)
  • Spike (Drake University)
  • Cy (Iowa State University)
  • Herky (University of Iowa)
  • Wanda the Wallaby (Blank Park Zoo)

Registration for Grand Blue Mile on April 25 is open and costs $15 for youth (ages 17 and under) and $20 for adults until April 24. Event proceeds support Iowa Kidstrong school fitness programs and the historic Drake Relays.

Grand Blue Mile and Healthiest State Initiative partner to Set the Pace in 2017

 
The Healthiest State Initiative (HSI) and officials from Grand Blue Mile (GBM) announced the launch of their Set the Pace challenge, encouraging Iowans to develop sustainable healthy habits throughout 2017 — starting with participating in GBM, the popular one-mile walk/run through Downtown Des Moines on April 25.

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.

“Because Grand Blue Mile was designed for all ages and abilities, it’s the perfect event to bring our communities together in pursuit of improved health and well-being — whether that’s running, walking, or just adding a dose of natural movement to our everyday routines,” said GBM Director Chris Verlengia. “Since the event’s inception we’ve remained committed to creating a welcoming atmosphere and experience that meets people where they’re at in their individual wellness journeys.”

For HSI, it’s that commitment that led them to create the Set the Pace challenge after several years endorsing the event. “When it comes to getting Iowans active, the Grand Blue Mile has something for everyone,” said HSI Executive Director Jami Haberl. “The fact that families with strollers in the recreational division can share the road with professional milers in the elite division speaks volumes for the widespread appeal of GBM. The event, like personal health, isn’t one size fits all, and that’s what makes it special.”

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.

USA Men’s and Women’s 1 Mile Road Championships Return to Grand Blue Mile

 
Grand Blue Mile (GBM) officials from Wellmark and the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee announced the USA Track & Field 1 Mile Road Championships will be returning as part of the annual Grand Blue Mile in 2017 and 2018. The addition of the prestigious USA 1 Mile Road Championships further elevates the elite-level competition of Grand Blue Mile and is expected to attract several 2016 Olympians from across the country to vie for a national title and share of the $30,000 prize purse. The Grand Blue Mile also hosted the 2013 and 2014 USA 1 Mile Road Championships.

“We are honored to welcome back the USA 1 Mile Road Championships to the Midwest’s premier community street run,” said Chris Verlengia, Wellmark corporate sponsorship manager. “The Grand Blue Mile has gained notoriety over the past seven years as one of the best races in the nation because of its appeal to runners of all ages and abilities. Hosting these championships on the heels of USA Track & Field’s historic showing in Rio brings a national focus to the overall goal of Grand Blue Mile — encouraging healthy habits and empowering positive change.”

In 2014, more than 25 American track and field stars competed for the national title at GBM. Leo Manzano, 2012 Olympic 1500m silver medalist, won the men’s championship with a time of 4:05.71. The women’s championship was captured by Heather Kampf, who set a course record of 4:32.62. She followed that performance with consecutive GBM Invitational Championship titles in 2015 and 2016, becoming the event’s first competitor to successfully three-peat.

Coming off the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the 2017 GBM has the potential to see several medalists and finalists return to Des Moines. A few of the 2016 Olympians who have participated in past GBMs include:

  • Matthew Centrowitz – Gold medalist in the 1500m and 2015 GBM Invitational Champion
  • Bernard Lagat – 5th place finish in the 5000m
  • Nathan Brannen – 10th place finish in the 5000m
  • Shannon Rowbury – 4th place finish in the 1500m
  • Kate Grace – 8th place finish in the 800m and 2013 USA 1 Mile Champion (Grand Blue Mile)

“Now in its eighth running, the Grand Blue Mile continues to captivate the national track and field community, while providing an unparalleled Drake Relays experience for thousands of central Iowans,” said Blake Boldon, Drake Relays director. “We’re thankful to Wellmark for their visionary partnership in helping develop this special tradition.”

Last year’s GBM drew more than 4,200 registrants who participated among the elite, competitive, recreational run/walk, and corporate team categories. The one-mile course loops through the streets of downtown Des Moines, finishing in Des Moines Western Gateway. Registration for the 2017 Grand Blue Mile, which takes place on April 25, opens in February.

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