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March 02, 2015

The sixth annual Grand Blue Mile on April 21 will welcome more than 4,500 runners and walkers to its signature mile course through downtown Des Moines. This community street run — scheduled to kick off the 106th Drake Relays — is an annual tradition for many of America’s best milers and individuals at all stages of fitness.

“In its sixth year, the Grand Blue Mile has grown from a small event encouraging people to take their first step toward better health to being named one of the top-10 mile races in the U.S. by,” said Wellmark Chairman and CEO John Forsyth. “We are proud of what the Grand Blue Mile has become but will never lose sight of why it was created — to encourage healthy habits and empower positive change.”

Returning to the Grand Blue Mile to headline the men’s invitational championship and defend his 2014 USA 1 Mile Road Championship is Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano. Headlining the women’s invitational championship is two-time USA 1 Mile Road Champion and course record holder (4:32.62) Heather Kampf.

This year’s race features a top prize of $5,000 each for the men’s and women’s champions, with the potential to earn an additional $2,500 for setting a new course record. Overall, $30,000 in prize money will be contested across the men’s and women’s invitational championship divisions.

“It is exciting to see the caliber of athletes the Grand Blue Mile continues to draw each year,” said President-Nationwide P&C Independent Distribution Jeff Rommel. “We are proud to support the Grand Blue Mile and all of the participants — recreational, competitive and elite.”

Early bird registration fees are $10 for youth (ages 17 and under) and $15 for adults until March 12. On March 13, registration increases to $15 for youth and $25 for adults. As part of Wellmark’s commitment to improving the health of Iowans, event proceeds benefit Iowa Kidstrong school fitness programs and the Drake Relays. Visit Site to register for the race, view the course map, find training tips and get spectator information.

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 Nationwide and 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 Site.

About Nationwide

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, homeowners and life insurance, annuities, mortgages, long-term savings plans, among others.

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.