It’s almost time for the third annual Liberty Mile, one of the races that falls under the umbrella of the Pittsburgh Marathon, and once again the organizers have attracted a competitive field. One thing I really like about this race is that it’s so accessible to spectators. It’s short, fast, and the finish can be dramatic.
Last year’s race is the perfect example. Macklin Chaffee, who said he’d never won a race against top mile-distance runners, chased most of the way but took the lead with 300 meters to go and won in a photo finish with a time of 4:00.49. Jordan McNamara, the second-place finisher, ran it in 4:00.52. If that isn’t a close finish, I don’t know what is. The third-place finisher had a time of 4:01.2.
McNamara is back this year, and his toughest competition may come from Leo Manzano, a 29-year-old Olympic silver medalist in the 1500 meters. They also have at least five sub-4 American milers expected to compete.
Also returning this year is Heather Kampf, who’s been the fastest woman the past two years in a row. I wrote about her prior to last year’s race and mentioned her incredible finish at the 2008 Big 10 Indoor Track Championship 600-meter dash. If you don’t know, I won’t give away what happens, but you can watch here:
Racing begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 1, with the women’s and men’s professional races beginning later in the hour. As it gets closer to race day I’ll have more information and a story or two both in the print edition and online.
In the meantime, if you want to register go to www.libertymile.org. Last year’s race drew about 1,200 participants, and another nice thing about this race is that it’s doable for runners of all abilities and especially wonderful for families with little kids who want to run but get stuck waiting at the finish for mom or dad at most races. The very first wave is One for Fun for recreational runners of all ages and Kids of Steel for children 13 and under and their parents.
= SUP 3 Rivers and Friends of the Riverfront are joining forces for a stand up paddle boarding event on Thursday night from 6-9 p.m. along the North Shore. If you’ve never tried SUP but always wanted to, now you can and your money will go toward maintenance and expansion of the Three Rivers Water Trail. If you have good balance and a reasonably strong core you should catch on pretty quickly, and, if not, you can always start kneeling or even sitting until you get more comfortable.
$25 gets you a 40-minute session and includes all the necessary equipment, and sessions will be offered at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Info and registration here: