This year’s Rose City Mile was one for the (record) books. With over 40 more participants than last year, excited energy was felt all day at Duniway Park, as fast times were ran and cheering fans lined up around the track.
Located in Southwest Portland, Duniway Park track provides a special place to not only run, but host a race. Trees from Marquam Nature Park surround the track to make for a stunning backdrop. This view is unique to most tracks, making it the perfect place to host the mile, which has become a distance with few opportunities to test yourself in a competitive setting.
With temperatures warm, but not unreasonably so, Saturday brought out great competition across all heats. For just over two hours, participants and spectators were able to view a continuous stream of mile races ranging from masters, to youth, to open men and women. Even for those in later heats, being able to watch others race the mile as they warmed up for their own races made for a really special day.
This year’s announcer Jeff Merill, who many know from Portland Track and Tracklandia, kept the crowd engaged and lively, providing all-day commentary that was both knowledgeable and entertaining. Time spent at the track seems to go by just as fast as the mile race itself when you’re as entertained as track-goers were on Saturday.
New men’s and women’s meet records were set by Jeff Lautenslager and Theresa Hailey. Hailey came ready to defend her title as champ last year, besting her time by two seconds with a 4:48. This was Lautenslager’s first time racing Rose City Mile. Lautenslager certainly came ready to run fast, as his performance bettered the men’s record by seven seconds with a 4:08. Defending men’s champion Jordan Tyler took third, coming within tenths of his previous meet record.
Included in the cash prizes and floral rose crowns were the winners from overall male, female, male masters and female masters. Age group awards were also given following the conclusion of races. Master’s mile winners Steven Short and Andi Camp ran away with blazing times of 4:46 and 5:53, respectively.
New this year was title sponsor Under Armour. Duniway Park track was resurfaced with the financial backing of Under Armour a couple years ago, making them a fitting and special sponsor for this year’s event. They also provided runners with the opportunity to wear test shoes during their warm-up and cool-down which isn’t an opportunity you will see at most races.
Racing a mile on the track is special. It will ask you to squeeze every last drop out of yourself, even when you feel like you’ve run dry. It gives fans the opportunity to see your every step as you make your way around the track four times; to see you fight for it every second the clock ticks. It allows people of all ages and capabilities to compete for the same thing—the satisfaction of knowing that when you reach the 1600m mark, you’ve given everything you’ve got that day to the track.