The event was like nothing the athletes had ever been apart of. The women started 29 seconds ahead of the men but only one runner would become the PUMA Mile Champion rising from a stacked co-ed field.
Crowds lined the track with cowbells and thunder sticks as the gun sounded for the start of the women?s race. Barbara Parker took the lead right from the start while the men continued to stand back for what felt like the longest 29 seconds of their lives. Last year?s PUMA Mile winner, Tim Bayley, stood on the in-field excited and ready to pass the PUMA Mile Champion Belt over to the new champion.
When the men finally began, Tony Jordanek took the early lead with Derek Scott positioned comfortably behind him. The crowds roared while everyone wondered, ?will the men catch the women?? Jordanek led until 800 meters remained when Ian Fitzgerald made a move to the front of the pack. With about 650 meters left, the men began passing the women and Scott moved to the front with 600 meters to go. As the bell rang for the final lap, Scott opened up his stride and then with 200 meters left, he clenched his teeth and dug deep. With 150 meters remaining, Scott passed leading woman Parker followed closely by Andrew Jesien and Liam Boylan-Pett. Scott held on during the final straightaway winning in a time of 4:00.51 with runner-up Boylan-Pett close behind in 4:00.92. Parker was just 4 seconds back from Scott when she finished. Her time was 4:33.79.
Thrilled to be this year?s PUMA Mile Champion, Scott said, ?This was my third season as a post-collegiate and a chance to get an individual contract is huge; it lets you keep going in the sport. And, you know, it?s evident that more guys at the bottom of the base make the guys better at the top, so I?m glad to keep going for another year and to be with and helped by PUMA. It?s going to be awesome!?
Although the contract only ended up in Scott?s hands, his competitors still had a blast. When top woman Parker was asked if she liked the format of the race, she responded, ?Yeah definitely, I think it?s great! I mean, look at the crowd, it?s crazy, right? I think it brings a lot of people here and it?s exciting? It was cool!? Boylan-Pett, better known as LBP, agreed, ?It was awesome! It was an extremely fun race to be a part of and it sucks that I didn?t end up getting in but it was definitely worth the trip out here, it was a lot of fun, and I?m glad I raced that race.? Sam Dech, who finished eighth added, ?It was a great race? it was a blast to be apart of something like this that was put together by PUMA.?
Congrats to Derek Scott and congrats to all PUMA Mile competitors!