Will another United States mile record be broken in the Queen City?
John Mortimer thinks it can happen Tuesday when the second annual HASLAW Manchester Mile officially begins at 6:19 p.m. on Bridge Street at Derryfield Park and ends one mile west downhill at Pulaski Park. A 5K race will precede the mile race at 5:30 p.m. at Bridge Street.
Registration is $20 for participants 12 and older, $30 for the 5K race and $35 for both races. Children 11 and younger can participate in either race for free. Registration is available online at www.millenniumrunning.com or at Derryfield Park beginning at 3 p.m.
Last year eight runners finished the Manchester Mile in under four minutes.
Mortimer, race organizer whose Millennium Running company created and managed the event, said Saturday that he wouldn’t be surprised if someone eclipsed Brian Gagnon’s mark Tuesday.
“When we held the event (last year), no one had an idea of how fast the course really was,” said Mortimer. “I mean, I knew it was fast, but I didn’t know how fast. I was just amazed when Brian won the race in 3:43.9. I figured going into the race that a 3:48 or 3:49 time would have been amazing.”
Last year 532 runners took part in the Manchester Mile and 5K races. This year Mortimer said 700 runners have already registered and he expected the final number to climb close to 1,000 by Tuesday.
The fastest U.S. mile ever was recorded in the Manchester Mile last year by the 24-year-old Gagnon of Lowell, Mass., who crossed the finish line in 3:43.9. The record is considered unofficial because, according Mortimer, “the 180-foot drop renders the times ineligible for official American or World Records.”
Gagnon, a former All-American from the University of Connecticut, ran in the 1500-meter event at the U.S. Olympic Trials over the weekend in Eugene, Ore., and failed to qualify for the finals heat. He ran a 3:51.86 time during his semifinal heat, finishing sixth in a field of 12. The top five qualified for the finals heat from his group.
Julie Culley of Clinton, N.J., set the women’s fastest mile time last year in Manchester at 4:13.7.
It’s highly unlikely Culley will return to defend her record after she earned an Olympic berth to London, England, over the weekend. The former Rutgers University All-American won the 5,000-meter run with a personal best time of 15:13.77 last Thursday in Eugene, Ore.
Michael Burleson of Weare was the fastest New Hampshire runner last year, placing ninth overall at 4:01. Right behind him in 10th place was Connor Jennings of Concord in 4:07.
Abigail Mitchell of Manchester was the top female finisher from New Hampshire, placing seventh overall among women in 5:15.
The Manchester Mile is the fourth in a series of races organized by Mortimer and Millennium Running. The first three races — Londonderry’s Millennium Mile (1,200 runners), Manchester’s Shamrock Shuffle (3,100) and Merrimack’s Rock’n Ribfest 5-miler (1,100) — each set registration records.