Birmingham, Uceny Win Boston Mile
BOSTON - April 15, 2012 - A field of elite male milers - just five - lined up in near perfect conditions to contest the fourth B.A.A. Mile. Defending champion, Andy Baddeley from Great Britain, was not among them; but, even so - with such weather and such a tightly knit field - sparks were certain to fly on Sunday morning.
There was no distinct pre-race favorite, although Australia's Collis Birmingham was the fastest man in the field on paper, with a 3:53.9 road PB on his resume. Already selected for his country's 2012 Olympic team for 5000 meters, he has based himself in Philadelphia for his pre-Games preparation and viewed this race as speed-work that would serve him well as the Games drew nearer.
Birmingham surged to the lead from the gun and, literally, never looked back. "It's a compact course," he stated of the three laps and 12 turns that the field had to negotiate. "It's important to be in a good position at every turn. And there's no better position than being out in front. That was my plan, right from the start."
It was a good plan. A first lap of 1:25 saw Birmingham holding the pole position, though with Boston College alum and assistant coach, Tim Ritchie, just inches behind, and a further three meters to the remaining three. With two laps completed, the clock read 2:47, with the tall Australian owning just a little more daylight on Ritchie. Ben Bruce, Kyle Miller and Ireland's Aidan Walsh filed through next, in that order.
The last lap told all the tales. Birmingham unleashed all of his Olympian's track speed, opening a full five seconds and showing precisely why he is on his way to London in July. At the finish line, he stopped the clock at 4:06.0, breaking Baddeley's 2010 course record by more than two seconds. Miller surged through for second in 4:11.4 and Bruce edging the fading Ritchie, 4:11.7 to 4:13.5, while Walsh closed out the field at 4:23.2.
In the women's Mile, Morgan Uceny, ranked #1 in the world, became the first two-time race winner, leaving behind her three rivals on the final lap for victory in 4:43.8.
Defending champion Marina Muncan of Serbia was runner-up, in 4:44.5, with Americans Gabriele Anderson (4:46.3) and Treniere Moser (4:48) close behind.
Since her first victory here, in 2010, Uceny, a 2007 graduate of Cornell University, has steadily climbed to the top rung of the international ladder. Last year, she became only the second American woman in history to receive a #1 world ranking at 1500 meters / mile.
After the first lap of the three-lap race, Uceny had a step on the pack; by the second lap Moser, a three-time U.S. champion at 1500 meters, had pulled even, with Muncan and Anderson both on their heels. But by the time the women rounded the last turn off Exeter Street and onto Boylston and the Boston Marathon finish line, the Mammoth Track Club athlete was clearly on the way to victory.
The 27-year-old Uceny, who finished fourth at 1500 meters and sixth at 800 meters in the 2008 Olympic Trials, will be looking to make her first Olympic team this year and said that her training has been, to say the least, coming along well for the upcoming track Trials in Eugene, Oregon.
B.A.A. Scholastic Mile champions were returning champ Ben Groleau of Framingham and Evelyn Heffernan of Newton, in 4:27.2 and 5:23.1, respectively. An athlete from Newton has won the girls' mile every year in its four-year history, but this year Hopkinton took the team title when Shelby Aarden and Melissa Lodge teamed up for second (5:24) and third (5:24.8).
4th B.A.A. Mile
Boston, MA, Sunday, April 15, 2012
1) Collis Birmingham (AUS), 4:06.0*, $3000
2) Kyle Miller (USA / TX), 4:11.4, $2000
3) Ben Bruce (USA / AZ), 4:11.7, $1000
4) Tim Ritchie (USA / MA), 4:13.5, $750
5) Aidan Walsh (IRL), 4:23.2, $500
*course record (previous record, 4:08.6, Andy Baddeley (GBR), 2010)
1) Morgan Uceny (USA / CA), 4:43.8, $3000
2) Marina Muncan (SRB), 4:44.5, $2000
3) Gabriele Anderson (USA / MN), 4:46.3, $1000
4) Treniere Moser (USA / TX), 4:48.0, $750