The buzz in advance of Monday night’s track meet at Cushman Field in Grand Forks was that there’d be a good turnout.
Still, after logging my own 7-miler, I was a bit surprised when I arrived for the main events — competitive miles for a field of elite and sub-elite men and women runners — to find several hundred in attendance.
It proved to be a near-perfect evening. And it had all the look and feel of a marquee event.
There was an unmistakable buzz — with runners all around — in the air. Over the loud speakers, a man called out announcements as the events progressed. A pop-up canopy offered a look at the latest running gear and shoes available at See Dick Run, the sponsor of the elite and sub-elite races for men and women.
Little did those in attendance expect to witness a bit of history.
As the elite women, and later the men, stood at the starting line, each runner was introduced by name and significant accomplishments. These fields were loaded with runners ranging from high school to post-collegiate.
The female elite race proved to be a bit tactical until Karly Ackley, the state champion runner from Grand Forks Central High School, pulled away.
A field of 14 runners — all with significant career highlights — comprised the elite male field. Runners appeared to take a tactical approach as the leaders completed the first lap in 69 seconds, a bit pedestrian for the swift-footed entrants. Devin Monson, the former Thompson, N.D., standout who now coaches at Hamline University, pressed to make it an honest race during the second and third laps.
And then Nate Peterson kicked to shave about 2 seconds off the stadium record to make history at Cushman Field.
When a couple hundred people, mostly through word of mouth, come out to watch an elite mile race, maybe Grand Forks needs to have more of these types of events? And can it grow — giving the average runner an opportunity to compete and experience the drama and excitement in a variety of events?
If Monday night is any indication, Grand Forks could might want to trademark “Track Town North Dakota” as an official motto.
Here are the elite results from the See Dick Run Mile.
1. Nate Peterson, 4:16.74 (Stadium record)
2. Tom Linner, 4:18.54
3. Devin Monson, 4:20.34
4. Ryan Wheeling, 4:20.94
5. Camron Roehl, 4:22.84
6. Evan Kottsick, 4:28.44
7. Scott Kvidera, 4:30.94
8. David Hettich, 4:33.44
9. Connor Danielson, 4:34.54
10. Mark Landman, 4:34.94
11. Ty Boucher, 4:37.04
12. Darin Baltezore, 4:37.94
13. Ritchie Osborn, 4:40.64
14. Francis Landman, 4:56.84
1. Karly Ackley, 5:09.34
2. Alexis Roehl, 5:11.94
3. Anika Rotvold, 5:16.04
4. Heather Magill, 5:16.44
5. Gracie Wright, 5:17.94
6. Rachel Torrey, 5:19.74
7. Cailee Peterson, 5:23.54
8. Amanda Larson, 5:31.74
9. Jensyn Zink, 5:35.54
10. Jessie Lynch, 5:39.14