Bright local stars shine under night sky at the Mile High Mile

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Montoya and Llamas break the tape at the Inaugural Mile High Mile

Maggie Montoya of Roots Running Project lead the elite field of 18 women from the gun, quickly escaping the small patch of light at the start and finish line, into the curve only lit by cell phones and stars and around the back side guided by glow lights then around again back into the light and cheering fans each lap. Montoya broke the tape with a time of 4:48.03 with Ashley Stinson on her heals in 4:50.45.

“It was unlike any meet I’ve ever run. There weren’t stadium lights but there’s something about having a community of runners and spectators that love the sport surrounding the track to shine light on the lanes that created a great energy and excitement that followed us every step of the way through the race,” said Montoya.
“I loved it and how excited everyone was to see all the races.”

The Mile High Mile was the final event of the Boulder Road Runners All Comers Summer Track and Field Series held every other Tuesday in the summer on the historic CU Potts Field, and hosts events for runners of all levels and ages in a variety of distances from the 100M to the Steeplechase, to the 5k and 10k on occasion. The event experience was elevated as it was moved to the last race of the evening in the fleeting daylight to dark, Fully Automatic Timing, Pro announcer Rob Vermillion and elite athlete and running icon Noah Droddy provided commentary, insights and humor for all of the races. A podium presentation post-races provided the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the night and the runners who have dedicate so much to the sport.

Before the elite competition, there were three waves of All Comers, an eclectic mix of age-groupers including Lynn Hermanson who ran 7:52.14 to earn her an All-American Status in the mile at for her 65-69 age group, and 11 year old Gavin Engtrakul who ran 5:25.52. The event also provided an opportunity for several runners to nip the sub 5 minute mile mark they had been chasing all summer. Those included masters runners Paul Kraus, Brad Cooper, Greg Weich and 38 year old J.P Robb who tweeted:

And for the first time since 1997, I broke 5 minutes in the mile! 4:59.4 officially. So stoked! [The] Scene was intense up there. The elite races were after us, so there must’ve been 100+ people cheering us on. It was a sick environment.

In the final event of the evening, 25 men shot off the line at the gun. While John Minen took to the front for the first half of the race, followed closely by Sub 4 minute runner Connor Winter, it was Brian Llamas who appeared from the dark and into the dimly lit finish line to break the tape in 4:15.9 after a sub 60 second final lap, then Connor Winter and Tim Rackers finishing 4:16.6 and 4:16.7.

The race featured a unique payout system for runners who could run faster than set thresholds; 4:30 for men and 5:12 for the women. Those who could break that mark would earn $25 +$5 per second faster than the mark. 13 men ran 4:30 or better and 12 women ran 5:12 or better paying out about $1500 in total prize money made possible by Sage Dental Care and the Boulder Road Runners.

The top 5 in each race were awarded on top of the podium with gifts from Roll Recovery and the Boulder Running Company. Top 3 masters were also recognized no matter which heat they ran.

The Mile High Mile Challenge
It was Maggie Montoya of Roots Running Project and Tim Rackers who clocked the best combined times of the Pearl Street Mile, held just one week previously, and the Mile High Mile earning them the award and honor of being “crowned” King and Queen of the Mile.

Mile High Mile race organizer Todd Straka, We wanted to do something to finish the summer off with a bang to help bring more attention to the summer series, support the local running community and to raise awareness on the need for a public track here in Boulder where these athletes could train, even during school hours. It was really exciting for me to see it all come together and see the support from this community.”

Full Results from the Mile High Mile

can be found online at:

Photos of the Mile High Mile

by Dave Albo –