Blake Boldon has been the Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Drake Relays and Senior Associate Athletics Director at Drake since October of 2016.
Ben Huftalin and Preston Davis joined Boldon on the staff as Assistant Directors. Huftalin will oversee the Drake Road Races and Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield while Davis will have oversight of meet operations.
A cross country and track student-athlete at Grand View University from 2017-22, Huftalin was a team captain before serving as a graduate assistant coach for his alma mater in 2022-23 while completing his master's degree. Prior to joining the Relays Staff, Ben was the Assistant Manager of the Des Moines Metro stores at Fitness Sports.
On the track, Huftalin earned All-American status seven times and was a National Champion in the 4x800 at the NAIA level. As part of his connection to the Drake Relays presented by Xtream, Huftalin won the Competitive Men's Division at the 2023 Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark.
"From competing in the Drake Relays in college, and coaching athletes who competed there to running the Grand Blue Mile last year, the week of the Relays is always my favorite time of the year," Huftalin said. "I am so excited about the opportunity to create a special experience for all involved that brings to them the same excitement and joy it has always brought me."
Davis graduated in 2021 from Wayne State College with a bachelor's degree in sport management and exercise science. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in sport and recreational management.
Before arriving at Drake, Davis had been the graduate assistant track & field coach at Wayne State working with the sprinters, hurdlers, javelin, and combined event groups. He also spent a year at the University of South Dakota working in athletic facilities supporting dozens of home events including football and basketball games and home track and field meets.
"Drake has always felt like a home track to me," Davis said. "Being an Iowa kid, competing in the Relays as a collegiate athlete, and coaching athletes who also competed at the Relays. I'm grateful that Blake Boldon has given me the opportunity to make this meet as exciting for the athletes, coaches, and fans now, as it was for me growing up. I'm ready to take on the challenge and get to work!"
After assisting the 2023 Drake Relays as the hospitality intern, Maddi Morales is back in the Drake Relays Operation Manager role. Morales is a graduate student at Grand View University and a five-year letter winner on the Viking women's soccer team. She originally returned to Drake this past fall as an intern in the Drake Athletics facilities and game operations department while serving as the primary game operations contact for the Drake women's soccer team.
Six interns will assist in various aspects of the 114th Drake Relays.
Quinn Monson is a senior at Waukee High School and a member of the Waukee School-to-Work program. Monson is the 2023-24 Waukee High School Student Body President and team captain of the Warrior boys varsity tennis team. He is the hospitality intern and in addition to facilitating much of the catering, Quinn will be a primary point of contact for the Masters 800 Meters.
Lainey Witte will help with the promotion of America's Athletic Classic and drafting newsletters. She is a senior at Waukee Northwest High School and is also a part of the Waukee School-to-Work program with an emphasis on sports marketing, and is also a varsity soccer player.
Alexis Ponce is in the marketing and communications intern role for the 2024 Drake Relays. In her senior year at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, Ponce is a member of the Storm women's soccer team. Whether it's writing, graphics or website management, Ponce helps the Drake marketing and communications departments in multiple capacities.
Also on the marketing side, Governor Lightfoot brings his graphic design and video skills to the Relays staff. As a sophomore at Iowa State University, Lightfoot is a marketing and management major. He took a leadership role in updating and creating the new website for the Grand Blue Mile.
Jonah Larrison has been aiding the Drake Relays staff in special events and project management. Studying at Iowa State, Larrison brings extensive information technology experience to the group. He will be a primary point of contact for the elementary and middle school relays in addition to supporting other stadium events.
Connor Visnic is from Orange, Connecticut and is a current member of the Drake Cross Country and Track & Field teams. Visnic is currently pursuing a master's degree in business administration and represented the Bulldogs at the Drake Relays as a competitor in both 2022 and 2023. Connor will be assisting in all aspects of the Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark.
"As excitement continues to build for America's Athletic Classic, I'm thrilled to be part of this team. Each of them has handled key duties and contributed in a meaningful way as preparation ramps up," said Blake Boldon, Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Drake Relays. "I'm especially proud to say that this is the first time in the 114 year history of the Drake Relays that three native Iowans who competed in Drake Stadium as preps are now working full time on an event that means so much to our state."
All Session tickets for the 114th Drake Relays April 24-27 are available for purchase at https://www.draketix.com/drakerelays.
"The Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark has become a spring tradition, not just in Downtown Des Moines, but on the American road-racing circuit," Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Drake Relays Blake Boldon said. "We are eager to welcome thousands of runners of all abilities, including Central Iowa families, runners from throughout the Midwest, and even aspiring World Record holders."
The Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® returns to "World Record Way" in downtown Des Moines, named last fall after the first-ever world records that were set at the event last year. Nikki Hiltz and Sam Prakel each earned the inaugural world records for the road mile with their performances at last year's event. As part of last week's unveiling of the 2024 schedule for the Drake Relays presented by Xtream, it was announced that the USATF 1 Mile Championship will return to Des Moines. For the eighth consecutive year, national champions will be crowned as part of the Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark.
"Since the very beginning, the Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark has focused on encouraging individuals and families across Iowa to get moving and embrace simple, sustainable healthy habits," said Chris Verlengia, Wellmark's marketing activation & alliance manager and Grand Blue Mile co-race director. "The positive link between physical activity and overall well-being is proven, and Wellmark — through targeted efforts and strong community partnerships like this one — remains deeply committed to the communities we serve. We hope every participant who crosses the finish line keeps moving toward a future of better health."
Registration for the 2024 Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® is now open at https://www.grandbluemile.com/events/register/2024-grand-blue-mile. The $10 flash sale ends promptly at 11:59 p.m. on February 14, after which, regularly-priced youth registration is $15, and adults are $20. As part of Wellmark's commitment to improving the health of Iowans, all proceeds benefit Iowa Kidstrong youth fitness programs and support student participation in the annual Drake Relays.
The health and wellness initiative, organized in conjunction with the Drake Relays presented by Xtream and contested at the Drake Road Races and Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, saw the highest number of employers participating since its inception in 2019, with more than 55 companies and 1,100 employees participating. For the first time in program history, the reigning champion in each division defended their crowns in 2023.
"As a Central Iowa based event that earns global attention, our entire team takes special pride in the continued growth of the Relays Wellness Challenge," said Blake Boldon, Franklin P. Johnson Drake Relays Director. "Looking ahead to this spring, enrollment is underway and our team is eager to continue the positive trajectory. While it has been a joy to celebrate with these winners two years in a row, we are eager to see new challengers contend in 2024 while they encourage their employees to lead healthier lifestyles during Relays Week."
Congratulations to these three division winners and all companies for participating:
Small Business (5-50 Employees) ZLR Ignition
Medium Business (51-500 Employees) Ahlers & Cooney, P.C.
Large Business (501+ Employees) Drake University
The Relays Wellness Challenge is an incentive based wellness competition between Central Iowa based employers where points are awarded based on participation in the Drake Road Races, the Grand Blue Mile and through volunteering at Relays Week events. Rather than emphasizing a finishing time or place, total scores are calculated on a participant point system relative to the total number of employees in the company. Points can be earned by running, walking or volunteering at these two premier events and immediate family members are also eligible to participate.
"The Drake Relays Wellness Challenge is an important part of ZLR Ignition's culture of supporting the community and encouraging ourselves and those we love, to live well and be well, in every aspect of life," said Xan McNelly, president and CEO of ZLR Ignition. "Participating in this annual event is a tradition we look forward to all year as an opportunity to have fun, be active and build teamwork, and we are honored and delighted to be recognized once again."
"Our team has really enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the Drake Relays Wellness Challenge," said Nathan Overberg, Management Committee Member. "As a proud member of the Des Moines community for over 135 years, our firm wants to say, 'thank you' to the Drake Relays for its ongoing commitment to advancing the health and wellness of our community."
Linda Feiden, the Wellness & Recognition Specialist at Drake University, shared what participating in the Relays Wellness Challenge means for Drake, "Drake University is proud to support our very own annual Drake Road Races and Grand Blue Mile – part of the Drake Relays experience. The Relays Wellness Challenge provided our faculty and staff with the opportunity to achieve individual wellbeing goals, while working together toward a common goal. Most importantly, it highlights our pride in the University and our community."
The 2024 Relays Wellness Challenge will continue at the 56th anniversary of the Drake Road Races on Sunday, April 21 and at the Grand Blue Mile on Tuesday, April 23. Enrollment is now open for the Challenge along with registering for the Drake Road Races. Registration for the Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield will open on Tuesday, February 13. For more information on enrolling your organization for the free 2024 Relays Wellness Challenge, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Drake Relays presented by Xtream will host a pole vault competition (Vault at Jordan Creek) at the Center Court area of Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines for the first time since 2014 and will hold a pole vault event outside of the Drake University campus for the first time since 2019.
"The Drake Relays presented by Xtream is not just one of the world's greatest athletic competitions," Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Drake Relays Blake Boldon said. "It is a weeklong, family-friendly community celebration. From elementary school students to world record holders, and from grandparents to die-hard track and field fans, there is a place for everyone to participate and attend as a fan."
"Jordan Creek Town Center is proud to once again host the Drake Relays Vault at Jordan Creek," Jordan Creek Town Center Senior General Manager Randy Tennison said. "The excitement and energy of watching these highly skilled athletes perform amazing vaults inside the mall cheered on by the enthusiastic crowd is exhilarating."
The Drake Relays Team Shot Put Showcase debuted last year and will be back inside historic Drake Fieldhouse on Wednesday, April 24 to be headlined once again by Drake Relays champion Ryan Crouser. In 2023, just weeks after setting a new Drake Relays record of 22.38m (73-5 ¼), Crouser established a new World Record of 23.56m (77-3 ¾). Both of these marks are in jeopardy when the two-time Olympic Champion returns to Des Moines in April.
As always, Relays week will kick off with the 56th edition of the Drake Road Races on Sunday, April 21. This year, the historic half marathon, 10k and 5k will be followed that same afternoon by the world-famous Beautiful Bulldog competition with bulldogs from across the region and country vying for the title of 'Most Beautiful Bulldog'. This marks the first time since 2018 in which Drake Road Race finishers and their families can stay for this family friendly event in the Knapp Center.
There will be another chance to see a World Record as the USATF 1-Mile Road Championships closes out the Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield in downtown Des Moines on Tuesday, April 23. This marks the eighth consecutive year that national champions will be crowned for the 1-Mile Road Championships in Des Moines for both the men and women. In 2023, the inaugural World Records in the one mile road race were established at the event and to commemorate the historic achievement, 13th street between Locust and Grand has been renamed honorary "World Record Way". Registration for the 2024 event officially opens on Tuesday, February 13 with a two-day flash sale for only $10.
"The Drake Relays is not only America's Athletic Classic, but also essential to our metro," Catch Des Moines CEO and President Greg Edwards said. "For 113 years the Relays has hosted thousands of Olympic, professional, collegiate and high school athletes from around the world. Some are visiting Des Moines for the first time and creating lasting lifetime memories."
Additionally, during halftime of tonight's Drake Men's Basketball game against Southern Illinois, a special Elementary Shuttle Relay will be run. Nearly two dozen teams from metro area elementary schools are scheduled to compete in a format similar to the fan-favorite event that has been a staple of the Drake Relays presented by Xtream for a century. Races will be held in boys, girls and coed divisions during halftime tonight. The same race categories will be contested on the infield of Drake Stadium on Thursday, April 24. More than 30 elementary teams have already entered to compete in April.
"The Vault at Jordan Creek will be one of the great local spectacles of 2024 and Ryan Crouser's return to Des Moines will excite track and field fans around the world," Boldon said. "Equally fun is the chance to highlight local elementary school students by creating a platform for them to begin making their own lifelong memories in sport."
America's Athletic Classic will officially begin with the heptathlon and decathlon on Wednesday, April 23 before track and field's best from the high school, college and professional ranks compete on the Blue Oval April 24-27, all culminating in an anticipated 57th straight Saturday on April 27.
Drake Relays presented by Xtream powered by Mediacom All-Session tickets are on sale now at DrakeTix.com/drakerelays.
2024 Drake Relays Week Schedule
Sunday, April 21
Drake Road Races | 7:30 a.m. | Forest Ave./Drake Stadium
Beautiful Bulldog Contest | Doors open at 1 p.m. | Knapp Center
Monday, April 22
Vault at Jordan Creek hosted by Catch Des Moines | 6 p.m. | Jordan Creek Town Center
Tuesday, April 23
Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield | 6 p.m. | Grand Ave., Downtown Des Moines
USATF 1-Mile Road Championships | Grand Ave., Downtown Des Moines
Wednesday, April 24
Shot Put Team Showcase | Doors open at 5 p.m. | Drake Fieldhouse
Wednesday, April 24 through Saturday, April 27
114th Drake Relays presented by Xtream powered by Mediacom | Tickets now available at DrakeTix.com/drakerelays.
History has been made as the performances by Nikki Hiltz and Sam Prakel at the 2023 Grand Blue Mile, presented by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, have officially been ratified by World Athletics as inaugural world records in the road mile. The event, held annually in the heart of Downtown Des Moines, has now carved its name in history as the epicenter of these remarkable records.
"In planning all our events, the entire team is fully committed to facilitating the best possible athlete experience and honoring athletic achievement. Establishing two world records at the Grand Blue Mile presented Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield is a credit to both athletes and the entire planning team," said Blake Boldon, Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Drake Relays. "Special recognition is due to co-race directors Tanner Nissen and Chris Verlengia who have continued to elevate every aspect of this world-class community event. Thanks also to referee Dave Anderson, course measurer Michael Franke, the City of Des Moines, Drake Relays officials, our partners at EnMotive, and the entire team at Wellmark."
The road mile became an official world record discipline as of Sept. 1. As announced after the World Athletics Council Meeting in November 2022, the fastest recorded record-eligible performances for the event between January 1 and September 1, 2023, will be recognized as the world records. On September 7, World Athletics announced that upon ratification both Hiltz and Prakel will be the owners of the inaugural world records for the discipline.
Nikki Hiltz outkicked the field in the Women's US Road Mile Championships and set a course record during the Grand Blue Mile on April 25 with a time of 4:27.97. Sam Prakel secured the top of the podium with a time of 4:01.21 and claimed his second road mile national championship in Des Moines.
In celebration of the historic significance of these achievements and the pride they bring to the City of Des Moines, an honorary street naming was approved by the Des Moines City Council on Sept. 11. The honorary naming of 13th Street as "World Record Way" between Grand Avenue and Locust Street will serve to celebrate the proud legacy of the Grand Blue Mile and cement Downtown Des Moines as the place where history was - and will continue to be - made. This segment of 13th Street is just beyond the finish line of the Grand Blue Mile and is where thousands of community runners and walkers complete their very own one mile.
Details of a street sign unveiling will be announced at a later date.
The road mile became an official world record discipline as of September 1. As announced after the World Athletics Council Meeting in November 2022, the fastest recorded record-eligible performances for the event between January 1 and September 1, 2023, will be recognized as the world records. On September 7, World Athletics announced that upon ratification both Hiltz and Prakel will be the owners of the inaugural world records for the discipline.
Nikki Hiltz outkicked the field in the Women's US Road Mile Championships and set a course record during the Grand Blue Mile on April 25 with a time of 4:27.97. Sam Prakel secured the top of the podium with a time of 4:01.21 and claimed his second road mile national championship in Des Moines.
"For more than a century, the world's greatest athletes have traveled to Des Moines to test themselves at the Drake Relays. These two world records are another page in the history of one of the world's most iconic athletic events," said Blake Boldon, the Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Drake Relays. "Of the sixteen world records set at the Drake Relays, these take on special meaning because they were set on our city streets in a community event, surrounded by thousands of participants and fans."
In celebration of the historic significance of these achievements and the pride they bring to the City of Des Moines, an honorary street naming has been approved by the Des Moines City Council. As formally approved in tonight's city council meeting, the honorary naming of 13th Street as "World Record Way" between Grand Avenue and Locust Street will serve to celebrate the proud legacy of the Grand Blue Mile and cement Downtown Des Moines as the place where history was - and will continue to be - made. This segment of 13th Street is just beyond the finish line of the Grand Blue Mile and is where thousands of community runners and walkers complete their very own one mile.
"From the very beginning, we've worked to make the Grand Blue Mile a world-class experience for our participants and spectators alike," said Chris Verlengia, Wellmark's marketing activation & alliance manager and Grand Blue Mile co-race director. "Establishing these new world records in Downtown Des Moines — Wellmark's home for nearly 85 years — brings those hopes and ambitions full circle. We're so thankful to the tens of thousands of Iowans who've supported this event over the years and look forward to continuing that tradition on 'World Record Way' in 2024."
To commemorate these inaugural world records, registration for the 15th Annual Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, set for Tuesday, April 23, 2024, will open with a special 48-hour Flash Sale for only $10. In addition to the event registration, event shirt and being part of a world class event, registrants who register during this Flash Sale will receive a commemorative keychain that resembles the honorary street sign to be placed near the race's finish line. Registration will open on Tuesday, September 12 and end on Wednesday, September 13 at 11:59 PM CST. Sign up at grandbluemile.com.
The Grand Blue Mile Presented by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield returned to Downtown Des Moines on April 25 for the prestigious men's & women's USATF 1 Mile Road Championships along with the Grand Blue Mile recreational and competitive divisions.
The Iowa Kidstrong Fun Run began the night followed by over 2,300 participants in the recreational division. Drake University's very own mascot Spike won the Mascot Madness Charity Challenge. The men's and women's competitive divisions lived up to their name to set the stage for the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships.
USATF 1 Mile Road Championships
37 elite milers from across the country traveled to Des Moines to vie for a national title.
2023 Women's USATF 1 Mile Road Championship
A late kick propelled Nikki Hiltz to victory en route to breaking the course and USATF 1 Mile Road Championship record with a time of 4:28, which was 7/10ths of a second ahead of Sinclaire Johnson in second.
Women's USATF 1 Mile Road Championship Top-10
1. Nikki Hiltz, 4:28
2. Sinclaire Johnson, 4:28
3. Addy Wiley, 4:31
4. Colleen Quigley, 4:31
5. Shannon Osika, 4:31
6. Alexina Teubel, 4:31
7. Alli Cash, 4:32
8. Jenn Randall, 4:33
9. Micaela DeGenero, 4:34
10. Helen Schlachtenhaufen, 4:37
2023 Men's USATF 1 Mile Road Championship
Sam Prakel finished on top out of the 17 men's competitors, with a finish time of 4:02, while Casey Comber was just behind him as the runner-up.
Men's USATF 1 Mile Road Championship Top 10
1. Sam Prakel, 4:02
2. Casey Comber, 4:03
3. Vincent Ciattei. 4:03
4. Nick Randazzo, 4:04
5. Kasey Knevelbaard, 4:04
6. Jake Gillum, 4:04
7. Shane Streich, 4:05
8. David Ribich, 4:05
9. Craig Nowak, 4:06
10. Colin Abert, 4:08
The USA Track & Field 1 Mile Road Championships, hosted as part of the Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, will bring the nation's top milers to the streets of Des Moines on Tuesday, April 25 for a $5,000 first place purse and the pursuit of a newly created World Record in the road mile.
The national championship event is set for 7:15 p.m. following the recreational and competitive Grand Blue Mile races. Spots are still available for runners and walkers of all abilities for those races at GrandBlueMile.com.
On November 30, 2022, World Athletics, the international governing body of the sports of track and field and road running, announced that an official world record for the road mile would be introduced beginning on January 1, 2023. The flat and fast Grand Blue Mile course meets all requirements for World Record ratification, quickly distinguishing the 2023 USATF 1 Mile Road Championships as a destination for American athletes aspiring to make history. For immediate ratification, a World Record will require a performance of at least 3:50.00 for the men and 4:19.00 for the women. If the listed standards are not met by September 1, the fastest recorded, record-eligible performances will be recognized as the World Records.
After thousands of recreational and competitive runners have navigated the 1 mile course through downtown Des Moines, more than 40 elite runners will compete for the title of USA Road 1 Mile Champion. Those runners include four former 1 Mile Road Champions Sam Prakel (2020), Katie Follett (2017), Nikki Hiltz (2019) and the defending men's champion Vincent Ciattei.
Ciattei won last year's race in 4:03 but owns a personal best of 3:51 and was an NCAA runner-up in the mile and 1,500m as a collegian at Virginia Tech.
Prakel claimed the title in 2020 in a COVID pandemic-altered race that finished in Drake Stadium. He aims to add a third national title to his resume this year, as he recently claimed USATF indoor titles in the 3,000m and 1,500m. The men's field also includes faces familiar to the Grand Blue Mile in Shane Streich, who finished third last year, and Abe Alvarado, who was fourth in 2021.
Nikki Hiltz, a champion in the event in 2019, returns to Des Moines fresh from the USATF Indoor Championship in the 1,500m they captured in March. The 2019 Pan-American Games gold medalist was also a 2019 World Championships qualifier.
Sinclaire Johnson joins the field to make her Grand Blue Mile debut after winning the USATF Outdoor 1,500m title in 2022 to earn her a spot at the 2022 World Championships, where she finished sixth.
The women's lineup also includes a pair of Iowa talents returning to Des Moines in Alex Teubel and Abby Kohut-Jackson. Teubel, an assistant coach at UNI, finished third in last year's race, and the Lisbon, Iowa, native was an Olympic Trials finalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Kohut-Jackson is a product of Ballard, Iowa, who advanced to the USATF Outdoor Championships finals in the steeplechase and was Big Ten champion in the event at the University of Minnesota.
The fastest road mile ever run on Iowa soil was at the inaugural Grand Blue Mile in 2010, when Boaz Lalang won in 3:54.3. A special incentive has been created for the winner, who eclipses that time or 4:29.3 in the women's championship race.
The full fields are listed below.
Men's 2023 USATF 1 Mile Road Championship
Women's 2023 USATF 1 Mile Road Championship
The Set the Pace Challenge will return to the 14th annual Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark® Blue Cross® and Blue Shield®. Registrants can participate in the Grand Blue Mile virtually or in person on April 25 in downtown Des Moines for a chance to win $10,000 for their community.
As part of the challenge, the community with the highest percentage of its residents participating in the Grand Blue Mile — measured by the number of registrants for a given ZIP code against its total population — will be awarded $10,000, courtesy of Wellmark, to use on a project that promotes safe, inclusive, and accessible places in which to be active, such as a park, playground or trail. Additional information and resources, including past project videos and a digital toolkit to encourage and facilitate community participation, are available at GrandBlueMile.com/SetThePace.
"Wellmark is deeply committed to improving the health of our communities and the Set the Pace Challenge provides a tremendous incentive for Iowans to enjoy a family-friendly physical activity, while working together to enhance the well-being of their own hometowns," said Chris Verlengia, Wellmark's marketing activation & alliance manager and Grand Blue Mile co-race director. "By continuing to host the event in a hybrid format, we're inviting participants across the state to engage in the Grand Blue Mile in a setting that suits them best."
Columbus Junction, Iowa, was most recently recognized as Wellmark's Set the Pace Challenge winner following the 2022 Grand Blue Mile. The eastern Iowa community used the award funding from Wellmark to purchase new playground equipment for Chautauqua Park in conjunction with its centennial celebration.
Enter your community for a chance to win, register now
Registration for the 2023 Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark is now open at GrandBlueMile.com. Registration is $15 for youth and $20 for adults. As part of Wellmark's commitment to improving the health of Iowans, all proceeds benefit Iowa Kidstrong youth fitness programs and support student participation in the annual Drake Relays.
Registration for the 2023 Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® opens today with a two-day, $10 flash sale. Again, this year, registrants have the opportunity to participate virtually or in person on April 25 in downtown Des Moines, coinciding with the 113th edition of the Drake Relays presented by Xtream® powered by Mediacom®.
"Since the very beginning, the Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark has focused on encouraging individuals and families across Iowa get moving and embrace simple, sustainable healthy habits," said Chris Verlengia, Wellmark's marketing activation & alliance manager and Grand Blue Mile co-race director. "The positive link between physical activity and overall well-being is proven, and Wellmark — through targeted efforts and strong community partnerships like this one — remains deeply committed to the communities we serve. We hope every participant who crosses the finish line keeps moving toward a future of better health."
"Wellmark and the Drake Relays presented by Xtream look forward to again hosting America's top milers, fitness enthusiasts, runners and walkers alike," said Blake Boldon, Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Drake Relays. "We're excited to continue offering this special event in a way that ensures all Iowans can join in the fun in the setting that suits them best, whether that's in their own hometown or engaging with thousands of other Grand Blue Mile participants, fans, and spectators on the streets of downtown Des Moines."
Registration for the Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark is now open at GrandBlueMile.com. The $10 flash sale ends promptly at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 15, after which, regularly priced youth registration is $15, and adults are $20. As part of Wellmark's commitment to improving the health of Iowans, all proceeds benefit Iowa Kidstrong youth fitness programs and support student participation in the annual Drake Relays.
Joining more than 2,000 participants in-person and virtually from 27 states and three countries as part of the 2022 Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark® Blue Cross® and Blue Shield®, an elite group of world-class milers ran in Downtown Des Moines today to contest the prestigious Men's and Women's USATF 1 Mile Road Championships presented by Toyota®. The evening's events, kicking off a week of competition at the Drake Relays presented by Xtream powered by Mediacom®, also included the Grand Blue Mile's recreational and competitive divisions and the Iowa Kidstrong Celebration of Champions ¼-mile fun run.
USATF 1 Mile Road Championships
More than two dozen of America's best milers traveled to Des Moines to vie for a national title and a share of the championship prize purse.
- 2022 Women's USATF 1 Mile Road Championship
Emily Lipari claimed the 2022 women's championship with a time of 4:32.30, this is her third time winning the USATF 1 Mile Road Champion at Grand Blue Mile. Jen Randall and Alexina Teubel finished in second and third place with times of 4:32.68 and 4:34.28, respectively.
- 2022 Men's USATF 1 Mile Road Championship
Vincent Ciattei claimed the 2022 men's championship with a time of 4:03.20. Paul Ryan and Shane Streich finished in second and third place, with times of 4:03.74 and 4:04.12, respectively.
A total of $25,000 in prize money was up for grabs in the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships, with each men's and women's champion receiving $5,000. The prize breakdown for each championship:
Mascot Madness Charity Challenge
Cy with Iowa State University was the winner of the annual Mascot Madness Charity Challenge and took home a $1,000 prize for their charitable foundation. Cy edged out T.C. with the University of Northern Iowa and Herky with University of Iowa who finished in second and third place, respectively.
Additional race results from this and previous Grand Blue Mile events are posted at: http://www.grandbluemile.com/results/.
The 14th Annual Grand Blue Mile is scheduled to take place on April 25, 2023.