Sara Hall Claims Second Consecutive Grand Blue Mile; Peter van der Westhuizen Takes First Crown
DES MOINES, Iowa--Sara Hall became the first two-time winner in the three-year history of the Grand Blue Mile on Tuesday, outkicking Heather Kampf to repeat as champion in 4:45.66. In the men's elite division, Peter van der Westhuizen won his first title in 4:02.99 after finishing third in the 2010 inaugural event and second last year in the downtown road mile presented by Wellmark and The Drake Relays.
A.J. Acosta finished second in 4:03.16 while 2010 winner Boaz Lalang was third in 4:03.36. In the women's elite race Kampf's runner-up time was 4:45.92, while 2010 winner Amy Mortimer was third in 4:47.56.
"I like the new course," Hall told the media after claiming her second consecutive title. "It feels great to win, especially against a great group of women. It was a little slower through the half than last year, but it was exciting coming down the finish with all of the fans."
Van der Westhuizen, a former Nebraska star with many years of Drake Relays experience, was pleased to come away with a win in his third Grand Blue Mile.
"The idea was to conserve as much energy as possible at the beginning and then use my finishing speed at the end to try and win it," said van der Westhuizen, who last year was out-kicked at the finish by American record-holder Alan Webb. "The drums and the atmosphere at the end really helped me and I loved the atmosphere. I love road miles because it is so much strategy and tactics."
More than 3,600 runners of all ages took part in the evening's series of races on a postcard-perfect 80-degree day in Des Moines. Elite athletes, competitive and recreational runners and corporate teams competed in six separate events. Most remained after their mile runs to cheer on the elite competitors, many of whom will compete in the Drake Relays mile and 1,500-meter races at Drake Stadium on Saturday.
"Road miles are rare but I think they should have more because they are great events," Hall said. "It is great seeing lots of first-time runners using this event to jump-start getting physically fit and I hope they have more events like this."
The first events of the Drake Relays begin Wednesday with the heptathlon at noon and the decathlon at 12:30 at Drake Stadium. High school field events begin at 3 p.m. Wednesday, and the popular Distance Carnival begins with an afternoon session at 4 p.m. and evening session at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for the 2012 Drake Relays April 25-28 are on sale now, and may be purchased online through the official Drake Athletics website (www.GoDrakeBulldogs.com) or by calling (515) 271-DOGS (3647).
Third Annual Grand Blue Mile-Des Moines, Iowa
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
1) Peter van der Westhuizen, 4:02.99
2) A.J. Acosta, 4:03.16
3) Boaz Lalang, 4:03.36
4) Fred Samoei, 4:03.69
5) Emmanual Bor, 4:05.17
6) Christian Hesch, 4:08.02
7) Darren Brown, 4:09.87
8) Julius Bor, 4:16.75
9) Duane Solomon, 4:20.22
10) Robert Duncan, 4:31.69
1) Sara Hall, 4:45.66
2) Heather Kampf, 4:45.92
3) Amy Mortimer, 4:47.56
4) Heidi Dahl, 4:50.26