RRCA President Mitchell Garner (right) presents awards to female RRCA 1 Mile Champions
On a serene late spring evening in the dessert, Alexis Verdugo, 21, took first place in the 2017 RRCA National Championship Festival of Miles One Mile Run in 4:25.1 on May 26 in Tucson, Arizona. Verdugo, a Tuscon native, faced stiff competition the whole way from Nicholas Hilton, who took second overall with a time of 4:26.3.
There was no such drama in the Female Open Division, as Shannon Porter, 26, of Lacey, Arizona, cruised to first place in a time of 5:10.9. Porter’s time was almost a full seven seconds ahead of the second place finisher, Leah Rosenfeld, 28, who crossed the finish line in 5:17.8.
Hosted by the Southern Arizona Road Runners, the Festival of Miles was part of a weekend long celebration of running. In addition to the Festival of Miles on Friday night, there was also the popular TMC Meet Me Downtown 5K on Saturday, with smaller events for runners of all abilities in between.
Featuring a flat course in downtown Tucson, the area where the event took place was essentially transformed into a city-wide block party, featuring beer garden and food trucks, a beneficiary and vendor expo, children's activities, rock n' roll bands, and an awesome after-party at Tucson’s iconic Hotel Congress. Over 1,700 runners participated in events throughout the weekend.
“Races like this are great since setting a goal to go one mile can get you out the door when you don’t want to go,” Race Director Randy Accetta told the Arizona Daily Star. “We want people to set a goal and be a part of something and change their lives and meet new people and go to new places. By walking or running, you can do all of that.”
Both the men’s and women’s master fields produced strong finishes in the one mile RRCA National Championship as well. In the Men’s Master division, Aaryn Olsson, 41, took first place with a time of 5:18.7, almost nine seconds ahead of the second place finisher. In the Women’s Master division, Tia Accetta, 41, finished first in 6:01.8, almost 25 seconds ahead of the runner up.
2017 RRCA National One Mile Champions:
Male Open: Alexis Verdugo, 04:25.1, age 21, Tucson, AZ
Female Open: Shannon Porter, 05:01.19, age 26, Lacey, AZ
Male Master: Aaryn Olsson, 05:19.0, age 41, Tucson, AZ
Female Master: Tia Accetta, 06:01.8, age 41, Tucson, AZ
Male Grandmaster: Kelly Thompson, 05:33.8, age 53, Tucson, AZ
Female Grandmaster: Penny Rettenmaier, 07:29.0, age 51, The Woodlands, TX
Male Senior Grandmaster: Benito Gonzalez, 05:59.2, age 61, Tucson, AZ
Female Senior Grandmaster: Nancy Fuller, 08:58.0, age 67, Tucson, AZ