Tuesday’s Manchester Mile attracts varied competitors
TERESA ROBINSON – JULY 1, 2012 – UNION LEADER SUNDAY NEWS
Six months ago, to the day, I did something I had never done before: run a one-mile race. Tuesday, I’ll do it again.
Tuesday evening marks the second HASLAW Manchester Mile, a downhill run from Manchester’s Derryfield Park, down Bridge Street, and ending at Pulaski Park.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the area, it’s a really, really downhill race — like, the kind that you just hope you don’t accidentally stumble or trip. As I drove down the course the other day, all I could picture was an out-of-control, head-over-heels tumble from top to bottom, cartoon-style.
Aside from the fear of tripping (I have a history with that, after all), I’m really looking forward to this one-mile challenge. Six months ago when I walked to the starting line of the Millennium Mile in Londonderry, I remember having no idea how to run a one-mile race. Truth is, I still don’t.
But at least I have a benchmark from six months ago. I’m anxious to see how my time compares, partly because I’ve been running more than I was during the winter and partly because I want to prove wrong a young friend of mine who told me the January race would be my fastest mile all year. We may wager a dinner at our favorite Mexican eatery on it.
One-mile races are a quirky thing. They appeal to the most elite runners looking to break records. And they appeal to the most average runner and non-runners, alike. Truly something for everyone.
Last year’s winner of the Manchester Mile, Brian Gagnon, of Lowell, Mass., made his way to the finish line in a blazing 3:44 (yes, that’s three MINUTES and 44 second) — the fastest mile in the country, which doesn’t officially count as a record because of the downhill course. On the women’s side, Julie Cully of Clinton, N.J., crossed at 4:14.
I’m sure this year’s race will be just as exciting. I’m only bummed that I will be only half-done my run by the time the winner finishes, so I won’t get to see what a sub-four-minute-mile looks like. Even Gagnon admitted after last year’s race that it feels like you’re running out of control.
But races like Tuesday’s one-miler aren’t just for elites and speed demons. A one mile race is doable for most and, I think, encourages everyone to take a sip of the running Kool-Aid.
At a work event last week, one of my friends mentioned that he may tackle Tuesday’s race as a way to work his way up to the Thanksgiving Day run at Northeast Delta Stadium. I don’t think he’ll take offense if I categorize him as a non-runner. He even joked that a “guy like me” could even try the Manchester Mile. I’ll refrain from outing him here, so he can still change his mind.
I think I added a casual “good for you” to the comments among the group when he told us he was thinking about it. Inside, I was cheering and jumping up and down. I love seeing people try new things and experience a little of that race-day rush that runners love.
If it leads to a lifetime love of running and being healthy, great. If it’s a one-time deal, it’s still a good thing to check off your life list.
You can find more information about the Manchester Mile, which also has a 5K before the one-mile race, at www.millenniumrunning.com.
See you at the top of Bridge Street on Tuesday. Let’s all just try to stay on our feet, okay?
Teresa Robinson is Community Relations Manager for the New Hampshire Union Leader. Her column appears every other week in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.