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Grand Blue Mile grows to include 2013-2014 USA Men's & Women's 1 Mile Road Championships

Addition is expected to draw Olympic-level competition to Des Moines

March 27, 2013

Today, Grand Blue Mile (GBM) officials from Wellmark and the Drake Relays announced that USA Track & Field (USATF) will host its 2013 and 2014 one-mile road championships as part of the annual Grand Blue Mile. The addition of the prestigious USA 1 Mile Road Championships elevates the elite-level competition and is expected to attract Olympic-caliber athletes from across the country to vie for a national title and a share of the $30,000 prize purse.  The 2012 USA 1 Mile Road Championships were held in Minneapolis, Minn.


“We are excited to add the USA 1 Mile Road Championships to the Midwest’s premier community street run,” said Chris Verlengia, Wellmark senior sponsorships consultant. “The Grand Blue Mile has continued to grow because of its appeal to runners of all ages and abilities – beginners, teams and professional athletes have embraced the event and the city of Des Moines and we are confident America’s top runners will love the event as well.”


The GBM has already hosted several top national and international athletes during its three-year history, including Sara Hall who established a women’s course record of 4:45 in 2012, and Peter Van Der Westhuizen who established the men’s course record of 4:02, also in 2012. Several 2012 Olympians are expected to participate in the 2013 event and will be announced closer to the event date.


Last year’s GBM drew more than 4,100 registrants who participated among the elite, competitive, recreational run/walk and corporate team categories – more than 2,500 people are already registered for the 2013 event scheduled for April 23. The one-mile course loops through the streets of downtown Des Moines, finishing in downtown’s Western Gateway.


“We are very pleased to add the Grand Blue Mile to the USA Running Circuit” said Max Siegel, CEO of USA Track & Field. “With a talented field of professional milers and a unique environment for spectators we look forward to having the USA 1 Mile Championships in Des Moines prior to the USA Outdoor Championships in June."


For more information or to register for the Grand Blue Mile, go to


About the Grand Blue Mile

The Grand Blue Mile is an annual one-mile fitness run/walk sponsored by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, in partnership with the Drake Relays, to engage individuals at all stages of fitness, encourage healthy habits and empower positive change.The annual wellness event includes recreational, competitive and invitational events featuring a field of elite male and female track and field athletes from around the world. Proceeds from the event benefit Iowa Kidstrong, Inc., an organization dedicated to promoting healthy, active lifestyles among youth. For more information about the Grand Blue Mile, visit


About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the country’s #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. For more information on USATF, visit


About Wellmark

Wellmark, Inc. ( ) does business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Wellmark and its subsidiaries and affiliated companies, including Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc., insure or pay health benefit claims for more than 2 million members in Iowa and South Dakota. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.


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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