Perhaps the only running distance that has the mystique of the marathon is the mile.
While the marathon has exploded into a multimillion dollar industry, the poor mile has suffered at the hands of mathematics, namely the world’s decision to go metric.
One mile is 1,609.34 meters. Even the mile’s equivalent in today’s world of scholastic, collegiate and professional track is 1,500 meters. For the masses, a mile is just too short (and probably painful) for distance to generate many events. The 5K, after all, has become ubiquitous – and for some, tedious – on the American road race scene.
But like an endangered species holding on with just a fraction of its population, the mile still lives – though just barely.
Ever so often, a glimmer of life appears for the mile.
In Charleston, the next two months hold not one but two one-mile run events, both in North Charleston.
First is the Academic Magnet High School Cross Country Team’s inaugural Magnet Mile at 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, on the school campus, located at 5109-A West Enterprise Street in NChs.
The second is the Charleston Marathon’s inaugural Montague Mile on North Charleston’s main drag starting at 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15.
“It’s a fun, new event that we are bringing to N. Charleston,” says the Marathon’s Executive Director Liz MIello.
“Given that it is a mile, it is open to all ages and running levels. It is a chance to run an all out mile and then to watch the local elites duke it out. The elite heat is last, so the excitement will build as the evening progresses, and we will have a pretty good crowd to cheer on the elites.”
Here’s the tentative schedule of Montague Mile heats:
5:00pm – Kid’s mile (14 and under)
5:20pm – High School mile (15-18)
5:40pm – Females Mile (19 – 39)
6:00pm – Females Masters Mile (40&above)
6:20pm – Men’s Mile (19-39)
6:40pm – Men’s Masters Mile (40&above)
7:00pm – Elite Mile (invitational)
Having two, one-mile races with alliterative similarities (perhaps they will serve M&M’s at the post-race party) one month just a few miles apart is a totally coincidental.
Academic Magnet’s Brian Johnson, an accomplished local runner and promoter of running in Charleston himself, said the mile race was in the works long before Charleston Marathon announced it race and that the school just got the OK for its race.
“I am promoting (the Magnet Mile) as a low cost ‘tune-up’ for the Montague Mile and/or racing season. It will not have all the frills (such as beer, Main Street feel, multiple heats) of the other mile race but will have overall and age-group awards, be well organized, and have a fun atmosphere.”
So why bother running a mile race.
First, it’s a fun, pre-season sort of thing to do that will only whet your appetite for longer races.
Second, it’s an opportunity to sharpen, aka fine-tune your speed. Grab a mile training program and do some all-out intervals. It’ll work miracles for your fast-twitch muscle fibers and VO2 max.
Third, it’ll bide time until the cooler, more race-friendly temperatures of fall arrive.
Finally, it’ll be over quicker than you can eat your lunch.