Second-annual Rocket Mile a boon for downtown Rocky Mount
“The Mile distance is one that’s really special. Everyone relates to it, so for the running community it’s our bridge to the non-running world." - Sandy Roberts, men's winner
By Foster Landers, Rocky Mount Telegram
As runners milled about prior to Sunday’s Nash-UNC Health Care Rocket Mile at the Imperial Centre in downtown Rocky Mount, Michael Forrester, the event’s director, offered a simple directive: “You will make three left turns in this race. If you make any more than that, you’re off the course.”
This was not your usual road race. It didn’t begin as the sun rose, before the morning chill wore off, and it didn’t cover a distance unfathomable to all but the most dedicated of runners. That was the goal, after all.
“The Mile distance is one that’s really special,” Sandy Roberts, who won the men’s race in 4 minutes, 20.5 seconds, said. “Everyone relates to it, so for the running community it’s our bridge to the non-running world. A 10K or a half marathon, it’s too long and the public loses interest. A Mile, everyone plugs in.”
Roberts, a former Georgetown and N.C. State runner and holder of one of the fastest Mile times in North Carolina history, beat his nearest competitor, David Thomas, to the finish line next to an old, red-brick warehouse on Gay Street by more than seven seconds.
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