Updated 06/28/2012 07:16 AM
Road Runner Invitational Mile
The Road Runner Invitational Mile is the first in a series of events leading up to this summer's famous Boilermaker road race in Utica. It was a beautiful night for a run and that is what many did on Wednesday night. Andrew Sorensen has more from the course.
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UTICA, N.Y. -- Runners made the mile from Roscoe Conkling Park to the Edward Hanna Recreation Center in just over four minutes Wednesday.
"We started it about four years ago and thought it would be a nice idea to have some of the guys who aren't real distance runners but a little more of a speed based people get a chance to do something that's Boilermaker oriented," Boilermaker Road Runner Mile Chair Gary Parker explained.
But the Boilermaker Road Runner Mile has more competition than just the clock.
"In the women's college and open division, we have four or five girls that have raced against each other since high school," Parker said.
"Off the track we're good friends on Facebook and everything. We warm up and hang out sometimes at meets," said Women's Road Runner Mile winner Allison Lasnicki.
Lasnicki met her friendly competition running at Canastota High School.
"Out there on the course it's a different story," she said.
She's a perfect example of how intense the invite-only race has become in its four years, shattering the women's course record by 11 seconds this year.
"It's a much smaller field, the guys and girls are only running one mile, and it's a downhill mile so they get to really ramp it up and run fast," Parker said.
The Road Runner Mile is also heavily filled with the fastest of the area's high school and college runners. It's almost as if it is grooming future Boilermaker champions.
"This has always been a hotbed of great runners," said Parker. "This area is really strong in runners. Some of the kids hear about it and come back year after year because it's a fun event."
Along with the speed and talent, the Road Runner Mile has steadily grown in size and popularity, making it a likely cornerstone of Boilermaker seasons to come.
The 35th Annual Boilermaker is set to feature a record number of runners on Sunday, July 8th.
Organizers also say there is a new format for the Boilermaker Expo on the Friday before.