Why You Should Run the Medtronic TC 1 Mile
We began the month by asking, how fast could you run just one mile?
We invited you to join the April Mile Speed Challenge, and many of you have taken us up. As you prepare to run a fast Medtronic TC1 Mile (or other event), have you ever thought about what a mile really is?
The Significance of a Mile
We measure distance in miles.
“How far is it to grandma’s house? 20 miles.”
“How far is a marathon? 26.2 miles.”
A mile is the basis for our entire distance measuring system in the United States (sorry meters, you lose). Even distances shorter than a mile are referred to as a fraction of that distance. “I live 1/2 mile from school.”
In one sense, the mile is the foundation by which everything begins. As the quintessential test of fitness (remember gym class?), all runners should appreciate the significance of the mile.
I had the chance to ask Virginia Brophy Achman, TCM Executive Director, a few questions about the TC 1 Mile. I wanted to get a better sense of the importance of this event and the mile in general.
Why Is the Mile Such an Iconic Distance?
According to Brophy Achman,
“It asks a runner to blend speed and endurance in one effort. Since the distance still takes world class runners around four minutes to run – and that the four-minute mile didn’t fall easily – it keeps the distance and the four minute standard in people’s minds.”
This is the 60th anniversary of Sir Roger Bannister’s epic record. On May 6, 1954, he was the first human to break 4 minutes in the mile, with a time of 3.59.4. What might be more impressive was that, he didn’t really train for it.
If you’re more like a 6 minute (like me), or 10 minute miler, the distance can be a great test. Even veteran racers find a welcome change of pace (literally) to do a short quick speed race from the otherwise long-slow-distances of the half marathon or full marathon training.
How Does a Road Mile Differ from a Track Mile?
Nick Willis, who has the course record, recently talked about how a road mile typically doesn’t start as aggressively as track miles and they’re not as driven by positioning and tactics. A runner can find their pace and work into position for the finish.
I also asked Heather Kampf via Twitter who said,
What is the History of the TC1 Mile?
According to Brophy Achman,
“There had been a high profile mile race on Nicollet Mall in the 1980s, and we (TCM) were interested in bringing that back to the community. We thought it would be a great way to showcase downtown Minneapolis. TCM also wanted to give new runners the chance to try an accessible distance. Hence our tagline “It All Starts with the First Mile!”
After a few years of organizing the event and offering a modest prize purse, we pitched the idea of establishing the road mile as a championship distance for USA Track & Field. We thought it would be a way to support post-collegiate running on the opposite end of the distance running spectrum from the marathon. USATF agreed. From 2009 – 2012, we hosted the first USA 1 Mile Road Championships.”
The USA Championships will return to the event in 2015 and 2016.
How Many Runners Show up for This?
Although I was part of this event last year, I was curious how many runners actually show up for it on a week night. Since there are seven waves of runners, it’s a little tricky getting an idea of the vastness. Brophy Achman said,
“We’re expecting more than 3,000 runners. The event has always had a strong corporate team component. We have 50+ corporate teams totaling more the 1,200 runners entered in the race. Corporate Team Challenge runners even have their own wave. It’s great to see all those runners wearing company colors and having fun together.”
She went on to explain that the seven waves give good insight into the types of runners that race the TC1 Mile. There is a family component and waves for the USATF Minnesota Team Circuit, and even a wave just for masters runners.
Of course, the pro runner waves end the evening of fun downtown.
Fun for the Fans Too
One of the fun aspects of the TC1 Mile is that the spectators get a great show pretty much wherever they are. There are designated “cheer zones” along the route at some of the restaurants. No matter where you stand, you’ll feel the rush of excitement as a herd of runners fly by at a near sprint.
There’s also a “Derby” again this year. Race participants (and spectators) can pick up a free “derby ticket” with the name of one of the pro runners on it. If their runner wins, each ticket-holder wins a free pair of FITSOKs!
New this year – kids will receive a pro runner “trading card” at the finish line which they can get autographed after the race.
TCM will be providing “wall-to-wall coverage of the event” on the TCM Twitter feed. Follow @tcmarathon or #TC1Mile to keep up with everything. We’ll also be live tweeting.
Online registration for 2015 is closed, but day of is still open.
If you’re running the TC1 Mile, join us after the race for an informal meetup at The Local.
Also, on Monday, May 5th at 7:30 pm, we’re doing a live google hangout with Will Leer and Heather Kampf, two of the elites running in the TC1 Mile.