Summer is underway! Barbeques, swimming pool trips, lawn mowing and baseball watching fill our days. And if you’re a runner who doesn’t have the Olympics to worry about, summer means one thing...base training; mileage, mileage, and oh yeah, more mileage. As a runner myself I’ve always enjoyed summer, mainly because it isn’t winter and my hands won’t go numb no matter how many pairs of gloves I’m wearing, but I have to admit that mile after mile after mile can get a bit monotonous at times…especially if you’re on your own. Sure you have some tempos and workouts to break up your summer regimen, but everyone knows the real thrill of running comes from racing. I mean it’s why we train right? And that’s why many of us look to summer 5ks and 10ks as a means of escape from training and enjoying the fruits of our labor.
One such race can be found in the little southern West Virginia college town of Athens. Only this race is not your average summer road race. This race is only one mile. Yes, just one mile. The mile has a lot of rich history in the sport of track and field, and it may very well be the most popular distance event to those outside the running community. Thanks to President Lyndon B. Johnson who implemented the Physical Fitness test is 1966, everyone in America has a mile time. It’s one of the few connections us runners have with the outside world.
So why are mile road races so uncommon? Good question! I have no clue! And that doesn’t matter. The fact of the matter is if you’re looking to break up your base training and run a fast mile time on a fast course, then Athens, West Virginia is the place to be on July 21st. Entry forms for this race can be found at www.athensmile.com along with a course description and other basic info! Other fun activities of the day include a Clydesdale division and a Kid’s Quarter Mile race. To register, simply print off, fill out, and send in the form with your check to the Princeton Church of God. Participants who register before July 1, will get the discounted price of $15 dollars. Those who wait to the last minute to sign up, like I usually do, will have to dish out $20. Proceeds for the race will go towards the Princeton Church of God Running Club to help with various running club expenses and future races.
Oh and one more thing! Have you ever seen a 4 minute mile run in person? What about being in the same race with a 4 minute miler? Well, the Athens Mile may be your chance! Donnie Cowart of Charlottesville, Virginia recently joined the Athens Mile event on Facebook. Donnie’s mile PR is a smoking 4:00.62! When I asked him about the Facebook commitment he said, “I'll see what the summer has in store for me, but it’s a possibility.” What exactly might the summer have in store for Cowart? Have you ever heard of the Olympics? That’s right! Come June 25th Cowart will be toeing the line in Eugene, Oregon to race against the nation’s top 3000 meter steeple chase runners in hopes of reaching the final which could very well earn him a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. Cowart’s steeple PR is an amazing 8:26.38 and he’s currently ranked 8th among U.S. Steeple chasers this year.
Whether Cowart comes or not, his mere interest is enough to excite me! This race looks to be a fast one though, and it should be a fun time away from your summer base mileage! Once again, for more information on the race you can go to the race website (www.athensmile.com) or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Map of race below: