History of the Millennium Mile | MillenniumRunning.com
 

MILLENNIUM MILE CO-FOUNDERS

John Mortimer

John is the main organizer and race director of the Millennium Mile. His and best friend, Matt Downin’s high school running careers helped elevate running in the state of New Hampshire to a higher level. While at Londonderry H.S., Mortimer won 3 National HS track championships and 12 NH State championships in track and cross country. John went on to become a seven-time All-American at the University of Michigan. Mortimer also represented his country on two occasions at the Goodwill Games and World University Games. Inspired by the Millennium Mile, John founded the event management company, Millennium Running in 2011. He and his wife, Jennifer (former Millennium Mile champion) live in N.H. with their sons Jack and Liam.
Matt Downin

The second (or better) half of the Downin/Mortimer tandem, Matt graduated from the Pinkerton Academy in 1995. While at Pinkerton, he won the 1994 Footlocker National Cross Country Championships. He then went onto the University ofWisconsin, where he became a four-time All-American. Matt finished 7th at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Trials in the 10,000m and was the first American finisher at the 2006 New York City Marathon. Matt currently lives in Minnesota with his wife Angie, son Jackson, daughter Abby, and son Miles.

Andy Downin

Andy is Matt’s older brother and graduated from Duxbury HS in Massachusetts. He went to Georgetown University where he became a seven-time All-American. Andy’s career highlight when he won the 1500m at the 2001 U.S. Championships. He also placed 6th in both the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Trials for 1500 meters. He has a best time of 3:36 for 1500 meters (about a 3:54 mile.) Andy has represented the United States at both the Goodwill Games and World Cross Country Champs. Andy is currently working for the Eugene Marathon, while living in Eugene with his wife Nicole and son Charlie,

HISTORY OF THE MILLENNIUM MILE

The idea of the Millennium Mile was conceived on Thanksgiving weekend of 1999. Best friends John Mortimer (Londonderry HS, 95) and Matt Downin (Pinkerton Academy, 95) Hampstead, and Matt’s older brother, Andy Downin (Duxbury HS, 91) were organizing a New Years Eve / Millennium party at the Downin’s home in Hampstead, NH. Upon making the guest list, it was obvious that the list contained an above average number of elite runners. Between John, Matt, Andy and all the guests, the list totaled over 72 All American certificates. In fact, 5 of the top 12 athletes from the 1996 US Olympic Trials 1500m final were attending. Matt and John had the idea of bringing the elite field to a local New Years Eve 5k road race. Since no races were scheduled near by, they decided to organize their own… A 10k or 5K seemed pretty far, but a 1- mile seemed like a manageable distance. So the stretch of Mammoth Rd in Londonderry from Londonderry HS to Mack s Apples seemed like the ideal place to run a fast road mile- it just happened to be downhill. The idea of the Millennium Mile was born.

THE INAUGURAL MILLENNIUM MILE…
At time, there had never been a sub 4-minute mile run in the state of NH. With the generous sponsorship and media coverage from the NH Union Leader Newspaper, the race grew in popularity. On the last day of the Millennium, December 31, 1999, over 120 runners ran the 1-mile downhill stretch of road in Londonderry, NH! The winner was Scott Anderson of Washington, DC finishing in a time of 3 minutes and 51 seconds. Six other men also broke the 4-minute barrier. The women’s winner was Amy Lyman of Springfield, MA with a winning time of 4:32. Every runner left with a smile and the inaugural Millennium Mile was in deed a success!

THE 2ND ANNUAL MILLENNIUM MILE…
11 months after the first Millennium Mile while home visiting family for Thanksgiving, Mortimer and Downin were convinced by local runners and friends to again organize the downhill mile. Despite a field size half as large as the first year, the second version of the Millennium Mile was officially an annual event. Race co-founder, Andy Downin won the race in a respectable 3:58, while Amy Lyman repeated as the women’s champion in 4:33.

THE 3rd TIME IS A CHARM…
In the Millennium Mile’s 3rd year, Mortimer had moved from Michigan back to New England. Committed to a successful and fun community event, he was able to more effectively advertise and promote the race in local running circles. The result was a field size of nearly 250 runners and a more than a dozen sponsors, including the Union Leader, Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Reebok, Life is Good, Runner s Alley, Mack’s Apples Farm, and Gladstone Ford. Co-founder’s Matt Downin pushed the pace early before brother Andy Downin won the race in 3:51. In doing so, Andy Downin and Scott Anderson of Washington, DC now share the MM course record. Kara Malloy of Chelmsford, MA was the women’s champion in 4:41.

THE FOURTH YEAR…
For the first time, the field size was more than 300 runners… There were 304 runners charging downhill at the same time with kids ranging from a 6 month year old in a baby jogger to a 74 year old man. The men’s winner came all the way from the Delaware Running Company. Mike DiGennero finished just strides ahead of Boston College senior Shawn Wallace- both finishing in 3:58. That totals 13 sub 4 minute performances on the downhill course. The woman’s winner, Katie McGregor came all the way from Minnesota to run a women’s course record of 4:27.

MM5 GETS BOOST FROM THE NH GRAND PRIX…
We thought having over 300 runners for the MM4 made for a great race, but the MM5 made the previous years look like a solitary Sunday run. The NH Grand Prix Race Series picked the Millennium Mile to kick off their 2004 race season. Throngs of entry forms from all of the state’s running clubs arrived and over 300 runners had pre-registered. On race day the weather was reminiscent of an April day-sunny and 55 degrees! A total of 546 finishers of all ages and abilities ran down Mammoth Road for the 5th time in as many years. The race was won by California resident and NH native, Sean O’Brien in 3:56. Jennifer Kramer of Loudonville, NY won the women’s race in 4:39 while a master’s record of 4:16 was set by Rich Marion of Templeton, MA.

OLYMPIC MEDALIST DEENA KASTOR RUNS THE MM6…
The participants of the 6th annual Millennium Mile were treated to an appearance by the fastest American female distance runner of all-time- Deana Kastor. The 2004 Olympic Marathon medalist spent the hours preceding the race signing autographs for her fans. The side show was the actual 1-mile race which was the largest single start mile race in the Country with 625 finishers. Race director, John Mortimer won the race in 4:00 while former Boston College coaching colleague Kathy Fleming of Natick, MA won the women’s race in 4:39. Connecticut’s Zofia Wieciorkowska established a new women’s master’s record with a time of 4:47.

OLYMPIAN KEVIN SULLIVAN WINS & AMY MORTIMER SETS RECORD AT THE MM7…
For the 5th year in a row, the Millennium Mile eclipsed the previous total of finishers with 674 runners. All of which saw 2-time Olympian and Canadian 1-mile national record-holder, Kevin Sullivan run away with the victory in 3:52- which ties as the second fastest MM time. They also saw Amy Mortimer (no relation to John) set a new women’s record in 4:20 over former course record-holder and US 10k National Champion, Katie McGregor, who ran 4:24.

ANOTHER RECORD NUMBER OF RUNNERS IN MM8…
With 772 official finishers, the 8th year of the Millennium Mile again set a record for participants. Former University of Kentucky All American and Connecticut native, Hunter Spencer nearly eclipsed the course record en route to his victory with a time of 3:52- which tied him with Kevin Sullivan for the second fastest time in MM history. On the women’s side, Claudia Comargo of Danbury, CT also gave the women’s record a scare with her 4:24 winning time. Kent Lemme from Williamstown, MA was able to establish a new men’s master’s record with a time of 4:11 for 40 year-old and older males. Most impressive may have been future Olympian Brady Cheyne of Brookline, MA who jogged a 16:35 to set an age-group record for 2 year-olds!

MM9 DOES NOT DISAPPOINT…
The MM9 again set a record for entries of just over 800 entered runners. NH native, Sean O’Brien joined Andy Downin as the second 2-time winner of the Millennium Mile. Sean who lives in Eugene, Oregon came back home and ran away with the title in near record time. His winning time of 3:52 is a 3-way tie for #2 all-time. On the women’s side, Bostonian Jessica Minty took home the women’s title in 4:31. Just as impressive was 81 year-old Isobell Parke who broke 9:00 with a 8:59!

MM10 GOES OFF WITHOUT A HITCH…

For the previous 9 year, John Mortimer served as the main organizer and race director of the Millennium Mile. In the 10th anniversary of the MM, John was noticeably absent on race day because he and his wife, Jennifer (2004 MM women’s champion) were waiting the birth of their first child, Jack. Race directing and coordinating duties were left to John’s sisters and Marx Running Store owner Marc Coddaire. Thanks them and the other very capable volunteers the race went off without a hitch. Ethiopian, Abiyot Endale was the first to cross the line out of the 645 registered runners. His time of 3:58 marked the 21st sub-4 minute run in MM history.

POOR WEATHER DOESN’T STOP MM11…

For the first time in MM history, the weather on race day was rainy and cold. Amazingly in the prior 10 years, there had never been rain or snow for the December race. Despite the poor conditions, hundreds of runners still flocked to Londonderry to run the annual race. Local Derry, NH native and former Pinkerton Academy runner, Peter Najem left the field behind in the fog to capture the overall victory in 4:04. The top 5 women all were clocked under 5:00 minutes with Jennifer Campbell of Newmarket, NH taking the victory.

MM SEES OVER 1000 RUNNERS FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER

A record 1115 runners signed up for the 12th Annual Millennium Mile. But no one was faster than Lowell, MA native Brian Gagnon who ran away with the overall title in 3:54. Vermont’s Justin Fyffe also added his name to the sub 4 list. Cladia Comargo returned to the MM to win her second woman’s title over Kara Hass who loggged another spot on the all-time list.

HIGHER HOPES FOR MM13…
If history is an indicator with 21 sub 4-minute mile performances, world-class athletes, and runners of all ages and abilities participating every year, we have high hopes for the 12th running on the Millennium Mile Road Race. We are still working towards the goal of 1000 runners charging down
Mammoth Road!

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