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 in 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.