Tuesday, April 26, 2011
DES MOINES, Iowa--The second annual Grand Blue Mile set a dramatic tone for the 2011 Drake Relays Tuesday evening, as new champions were crowned in both the men's and women's invitational races.
Alan Webb won the men's mile in 4:08.22, while Sara Hall captured the women's title with a time of 4:45.78.
Webb, the American record-holder in the mile, out-kicked runner-up Peter Vander Westhuizen, who finished in 4:08.75.
"We were just running at whatever pace we were running," Webb said. "Then Tommy made a move a little over halfway and really picked it up. Then Peter took off and I really thought he had it won. I was fighting with Boaz to get second, and then we just started going. It's a tough field, and everyone's running really well. I'm just happy to be able to compete with those guys."
Men's 2010 winner Boaz Lalang finished fourth in 4:12.28, while the women's champion from the inaugural event, Amy Mortimer, was runner-up with a time of 4:46.90.
"I was excited to come out here and be able to build some momentum for the Drake Relays this weekend," Hall said. "It was a great field and I feel very honored to have won. I thought it was a great event. I really enjoyed running it last year; it's a great track city."
Nearly 3,500 runners took part in the series of races in downtown Des Moines, more than doubling the total from the inaugural event a year ago. Conditions were cool, but dry, much to the relief of organizers and runners after a steady rain fell until mid-afternoon.
Mortimer will compete in the Drake Relays 1,500 invitational on Saturday, but Hall will not. Webb will headline the men's 1,500 field.
Men's Invitational-Grand Blue Mile
1) Alan Webb, 4:08.22
2) Peter Vander Westhuizen, 4:08.75
3) Brandon Rooney, 4:10.34
4) Boaz Lalang, 4:12.28
5) Tommie Schmitz, 4:14.00
6) Duane Solomon, 4:19.51
7) Steve Slattery, 4:24.88
8) Julius Rotich, 4:40.96
Women's Invitational-Grand Blue Mile
1) Sara Hall, 4:45.78
2) Amy Mortimer, 4:46.90
3) Gabriele Anderson, 4:49.08
4) Molly Beckwith, 4:49.76
5) Heather Dorniden-Kampf, 4:50.82
6) Carmen Douma-Hussar, 4:53.81
7) Jamie Cheever, 4:57.59