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Second Grand Blue Mile slated for April 26
'Street mile' features Olympians, current U.S. record holder
April 1, 2011

Iowans will take to the streets of downtown Des Moines April 26, joining world class athletes for the second annual Grand Blue Mile street run.


The Grand Blue Mile, a community fitness event presented by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Drake Relays, is a one-mile run/walk for both recreational and competitive participants. The event will be held Tuesday, April 26. The route will run west on Grand Avenue, beginning near the Brenton Skating Plaza, and ending at 13th Street in front of Wellmark’s headquarters.


Elite athletes take to the streets during Relays Week

In conjunction with the Drake Relays, the event will also feature an Invitational Championship field of professional athletes, including Alan Webb, who holds the current American record at 3:46.91, set in 2007. (The current world record, 3:43.13, was set by Hicham El Guerrouj in 1999.)


Three of six participants in the men’s invitational posted times of four minutes or less in the 2010 race, led by winner Boaz Lalang of Kenya with a time of 3:54.11. Lalang returns to Des Moines this year to defend his Grand Blue Mile title and is currently ranked second in the world in the 800m run.


The 2010 women’s invitational was won by Amy Mortimer of the U.S. with a time of 4:35. Mortimer also returns in 2011 to defend her championship.


In addition to the invitational fields, the event includes:

  • Competitive heats for both men and women
  • Recreational run/walk
  • Quarter mile youth run featuring the Iowa Kidstrong program


Participants include three-time Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton, the most decorated track and field athlete in NCAA history; as well as Rebecca Meyer, The Biggest Loser season 8 at-home winner. Meyer will lead finalists from Wellmark’s Whip It 180 program, who have been training for the event for five weeks.


Grand Blue Mile fun for all fitness levels

“The one-mile run is the classic fitness test for youth,” says Drake Relays Director Brian Brown. “Nearly everyone can run a mile and, with a little practice, run a lot faster than in high school. That’s what makes the Grand Blue Mile such a great addition to Relays Week.”


 “Wellmark and the Drake Relays are committed to improving the health of Iowans,” says Keith Heckel, Wellmark’s executive vice president for sales and marketing. “Events like the Grand Blue Mile that encourage people to move more and live better, and engage Iowans at all levels of fitness, can have a positive impact in the health of our state.”


Grand Blue Mile is sponsored by Asics, Oakley and PowerAde. Entry fees are $15 for youth ages 17 and under, and $25 for adults. Registration includes race entry, timing, and Asics race shirt. A portion of the proceeds will support Iowa Kidstrong’s youth fitness initiatives.


Visit for registration and spectator information, including training and nutrition tips, and a community forum with Favor-Hamilton and three-time Olympian Suzy and Steve Scott. Scott, head track coach at Cal State San Marcos, has run 136 sub-four-minute miles, the most ever.


Contact Wellmark Media Relations

Traci McBee
Phone: 515-376-4338


Teresa Roof
Phone: 515-376-5869


1331 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309-2901

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