Rio Olympic gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz headlines Downtown Yakima Mile
Top men’s & women’s fields expected, vying for $23,500 plus record & time bonus money; second edition benefits the YWCA Yakima and it family services program
YAKIMA, Wash. – The Olympics may be over, but the competition for the title as the world’s fastest Mile runner definitely is not, and some of the world’s top Mile racers will compete at the second Downtown Yakima Mile on Saturday evening, August 28.
The inaugural Yakima Mile, in 2019, established the fastest Mile recorded on Washington state soil when Amos Bartelsmeyer of Germany sped through the downhill portion of Yakima Avenue with a blazing time of 3 minutes, 51.76 seconds.
This year’s race returns with a white-hot men’s field of more than 20 elite Milers, most with times under 4 minutes, including three-time Olympian Matthew Centrowitz, who earned the 1500 meter gold medal in 2016. becoming the first American to win the event since 1908. He comes to Yakima after a disappointing Tokyo 2020 Olympics and a 9th place finish at this past Saturday’s Bowerman Mile (3:53.32).
Also entered in the men’s field is Craig Engels. After finishing fourth in the 1500 meters at the recent U.S. Olympic Trials, the fan favorite has been on a tear across the country torching every road and track that he’s touched as well as producing thousands of smiles. NOTE: Engels has scratched.
In addition, the field includes Vince Ciattei, Sam Prakel, Woody Kincaid (Tokyo 2020 Olympian), Geordie Beamish (NZL), Brett Meyer, Garrett Heath, Paul Ryan (Washington State grad), Andrew Rafla, Tripp Hurt and Craig Nowak. Collectively, in 2021, this field has clocked 12 of the 20 fastest outdoor Mile times by Americans.
Meanwhile, the women’s Elite field features 2019 Pan American Games gold medalist Nikki Hiltz, Sage Hurta, University of Washington alum Eleanor Fulton, British Olympian and UW alum Amy-Eloise Markovc, Marisa Howard (Pasco native) and Taryn Rawlings.
Queen of the Road Mile Heather Kampf, who ran in the first DYM, says, “As a connoisseur of road Mile races, the Yakima Mile is among the very best I have ever experienced.”
The Elite race purse available totals $46,500, almost doubling since 2019, with $23,500 guaranteed. The race champions will each take home $5000. An additional $5000 will be awarded for a Washington state record-bettering performance (3:51.76 and 4:23.68), and another $5000 will go to the runner finishing under 3:48 for the men and 4:20 for the women. Cash prizes will also be awarded to the second through sixth place finishers of the Elite races.
The Downtown Yakima Mile presented by Home2 Suites by Hilton-Yakima Airport is a true community event, offering 11 heats with opportunities for runners / walkers of all ages and abilities. This includes the Dog Mile Championship, the SOZO Family Mile and the Sgt. Joe Deccio Military, First Responders & Healthcare Heroes race. The races begin 6:00pm on Saturday, August 28.
This year’s event supports YWCA Yakima, the largest provider of domestic violence services in Yakima County. The YWCA provides the only shelter of its kind in the city of Yakima, operating 24 / 7. In addition, YWCA Yakima offers the first affordable housing specific to families who are homeless as the result of domestic violence. Crisis, housing and legal advocacy is also provided to those in need. In 2020 alone, the YWCA helped 13,000 people in the Yakima Valley. Learn more about the life-saving services provided at: ywcayakima.org
Additionally, regarding the regional wildfires, the fire department is providing updates multiple times a day concerning containment levels and future wind patterns. In short, if the air quality is acceptable on race day, the race will continue, and if on race day the air quality is unhealthy, the race will be cancelled. Do keep in mind that because of the topography of Yakima, the distance from the fires, and the winds, the AQI may differ from location to location in the area. However, at the moment, the air quality does seem to be in our favor and has been improving since late last week.
The races will be livestreamed on both Instagram and Facebook. For more information or to register, go to: yakimamile.com
The Downtown Yakima Mile, a BBTM Featured Event, was founded by Chris Waddle of Hogback Development Company. Hogback works to elevate the standard of living in Yakima by attracting national tenants and bringing thousands of jobs to the community. Hogback’s mission is to advance the community through new construction and the rehabilitation of distressed, and often historic properties.