It was a perfect night for running in Raleigh on Friday as some of the top runners from around the country and the city all met up to put on one amazing show.
Upon pulling onto Meredith College’s campus at approximately 8:30p you could already see the excitement building. Volunteers were out assisting drivers on where to park. Crowds of people were walking across the lawn in a fast paced manner so they wouldn’t miss an event. Sponsors, such as ElliptiGO, were demonstrating their elliptical bikes to groups of people by the field house. And runners were competing hard on the track looking to beat their best time and bring home the gold for their teams.
What was fun to see was the number of amateurs who didn’t run for a living competing hard and even turning out some impressive times, as one athlete finished his 400m leg around 55 seconds which can be difficult for someone who may not run on a regular basis. One of the most exciting events was the 4×400 Meter Relay Tri Clash where teams had a mixture of men and women all competing against other teams to be the first to cross the finish line. The Summer of Miles team took home the gold this year at the Sir Walter Miler with a 3:58.
But the main event was an extravaganza. Professional runners toed the line to see who would finish first and who would run the infamous sub 4 minute mile.
First up were the women. Runners who compete for mega brands such as Under Armour, New Balance, and Brooks were all lined up against each other ready to put out their best time on the track. The starter brought them to their mark, shot the gun, and the show began.
The pace setter got out to a fast start encouraging the other runners to stay on target. With each passing lap the energy and anticipation to see not only who would break 4 minutes but to also witness the final finish was riveting. Coming around the last lap to the final stretch was like watching a movie. The athletes were so close to one another no one could predict who would finish first. But in the least few meters Amanda Eccleston, of Brooks Running, finished first with 4:31.72 with Stephanie Garcia, of Team New Balance, right on her heels finishing second with a 4:31.87.
The final event were the men and it was the perfect finale to an incredible night. A total of 9 runners went sub 4 minutes with Drew Hunter, of Adidas, leading the group with a 3:57.32. The race was strategic and you could just watch every single one of the runners buying their time and waiting for the perfect opportunity to take over the number one spot. However, just like the women’s mile, it ultimately came down to the final stretch and all eyes were on the finish line waiting to see who would cross first. Although Hunter finished first, Craig Engels, of Nike Oregon Project, wasn’t far behind. In fact he was barely a half a step off his hip. Engels finished second with a 3:57.67.
The Sir Walter Miler was created to give more athletes an opportunity to compete in America. What started out as an opportunity for one of the directors, Sandy Roberts, to attempt to break the 4 minute mile in front of a number of people at Cardinal Gibbons High School under the lights in 2013 has turned into an acclaimed track and field event. Sir Walter Running also holds a series of other running events that can be found here.