Preview: Rose City Mile – Race and/or Watch on June 29

Mile races are fun. Fun as a participant (faster than a 5k, yet wholly manageable), and fun as a spectator (you can see things unfolding over the 4 laps but it’s long enough for a surprise ending).

The Rose City Mile is scheduled for Saturday, June 29 at Duniway Track. Registration is $25 if you sign up by the 27th, or $30 day of race. The first heat will step off at 10a, starting with the Masters Men’s mile (see below for the full line-up). There’s also a virtual mile, if you would rather not run in front of a crowd. I get that. However, you’d be amazed how fast you can do a mile with people supporting you.

Amatuer tips for racers:

Kelly Barten 2008 USATF Trials

That’s me, coming in 5th (last) at the Citizen’s 400m race at the 2008 USATF Trials in Eugene. I loved it.

I’m no elite runner. My fastest mile ever, after a whole summer of training specifically for the mile, is 6:35. After that mile I was dizzy and winded and my legs were on fire, but I was proud of my effort, my time, and elated that I did it. So if you’re on the fence about racing a mile: take the leap. I can guarantee you that spectators at the Rose City Mile will be cheering for you 100% of the way with all their hearts.

My advice for the race is to break it up by lap. Think of it like college: Freshman lap feels almost easy, fun. Sophomore lap, shit gets real and you start to struggle. During your junior lap you really have to work to maintain pace. But somehow, Senior lap you get a jolt of energy and the finish is so close you can taste it. The mile is a physically hard race but it’s also a damn hard mental race. Fortunately, you’re strong and brave and you can do it.

Pro tips for spectators:

While I’ve never been a pro athlete (and college rowing doesn’t garner the attention of most sports), I’m an excellent spectator. Here are few suggestions to make the most of your mile-watching:

  • Try to get your hands on a heat sheet. This tells you who’s racing in which heat so you can cheer them on by name.
  • Cheer them on by name!
  • Cheer all of them on. Even the person getting lapped will run stronger and feel more confident with even one person loudly supporting them.
  • Use building phrases like, “You got this!” or “You look strong!” Avoid yelling things like, “You can catch her, she’s fading.” That’s just bad sportsmanship. Yes it’s a race between athletes, but as soon as they cross the finish line, track athletes congratulate each other. No one races alone, and other runners often make a PR possible.
  • Bring noisemakers: cowbells, vuvuzelas, thunder sticks … or just yell and clap!
  • Bring the little ones! Not only will they have fun, but a cute little kiddo cheering for runners is super motivating. They’ll also get to see “grown-ups” having a great time racing.

Here’s the full schedule (note that there may be multiple heats of any one category if there are too many participants for a clean race in just one heat):

Masters Men (40+)
Masters Women (40+)
Youth Boys (10 and under)
Youth Girls (10 and under)
Middle School Boys (11-14)
Middle School Girls (11-14)
High School Boys (15-18)
High School Girls (15-18)
Open Men (19-39)
Open Women (19-39)

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top masters and open finishers, and there will also be age group awards.

If you’ve been to Duniway, you know that parking is limited, so if you can take the bus or get there on bike (or foot) that’s highly recommended. Spectators will be able to line much of the track if the bleachers get too full, which will make this a fun race.

Make plans now to either race, or to head to Duniway after your morning run with friends and show some support for the Portland track scene and those working hard to crush their mile race!

About Author

We started the Run Oregon blog in February 2007, because felt like running in Oregon and SW Washington deserved more positive coverage. We also wanted to level the playing field so that small, non-profit races could compete with big events; and to support local race organizers.

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