The Sir Walter Miler celebrated its fifth year bringing elite miling to fans in Raleigh, North Carolina. On a night that saw five women go sub-4:30 and the full men’s field of 13 go sub-4, it is hard to argue that this is anything other than a premiere spot on the circuit. As thousands of fans pack the track at Meredith College, you cannot help but feel the sense of community the Miler brings.
We asked athletes in this year’s field to describe the value of a race opportunity and middle-distance focused fan event like the Sir Walter Miler. See below for responses from the athletes who brought the action under the lights.
I love the opportunity to travel somewhere relatively close and race some of the fastest women in the world. I especially the the environment that Sir Walter Miler has created, letting the fans feel connected to the competitors. I enjoy coming back, they sure know how to make an athlete feel welcome!
The Sir Walter Miler and similar events provide a very unique racing opportunity for athletes. Not only is it an opportunity to run a fast mile against great competitors, but events such as these are my favorite because they pay attention to the little details that make a great track meet. What these type of meets have mastered is the art of making it more than just a race, they turn it into an event that is exhilarating for both athletes and fans alike. When the fans are excited and having fun, athletes can feel that energy and use it to fuel our performances. There is nothing quite like sprinting down the homestretch through a tunnel of cheering fans to propel you to the finish line.
The Sir Walter mile has been one of my favorite events for the last several years. Not only do they bring in high-quality fields and guarantee a hot pace to run fast, it’s simply fun. The whole weekend really caters to the milers and builds up our stories, which creates a phenomenal atmosphere by race night. I think it’s also so important for the community to have a chance to see some of our country’s top milers compete and understand what it looks like at that level. These sort of events are working to grow interest in track and field at the local level and provide a much-needed chance for a fast track race in late summer. I’m a huge fan of this type of event and plan to be at several more this summer!
Having a race like the Sir Walter Mile is valuable for a few reasons. First, it provides an opportunity to run a fast time and compete against a national caliber field right here at home in the U.S. That’s becoming more rare outside of national championships and meets in the spring. Furthermore, it connects athletes with the fan base that makes this sport so great by fostering a grassroots event that transcends just a race. It’s this combination that has me excited to get back to Raleigh and help put on a show.
The Sir Walter Miler provides a rare opportunity to face high quality competition in the US post US-champs. The atmosphere created by the race directors ensures that everyone shows up ready to race and run fast. The short/compact event helps even the most casual fan to stay engaged and involved the entire time. I’m excited to be back for my 2nd Sir Walter Miler!
Sir Walter Miler is one always a highlight of my summer racing season because it combines fierce competition with a very special community focus. There’s a special thrill and motivation from running under the lights with a hometown crowd right on the track with us! I love all the ways SWM connects elite running with the community and brings our stories directly to the fans.
I love being able to compete on US soil with a competitive field. I love how the event brings the fans onto the track which creates an engagement for both the athletes and spectators that is unlike the traditional “sit in the stands” approach. It creates an intimacy & an intensity that elevates the race experience.
Jeff Caron, the Women’s Elite Field Coordinator for the Sir Walter Miler, summed up the event in a great way
Still trying to work through social media posts, meet coverage, and all the kind messages from friends and supporters. But feel I need to post something as we conclude our 2018 @sirwaltermiler weekend. • Since I manage the women’s elite field, I’d like to highlight some of the success we saw in their performances. But obviously, we saw incredible success stories across all races! • First, please join me in congratulating both @charlene800 and @smevaughn on becoming the 76th and 77th Americans to ever break the 4:30 barrier! They know how much our fans love seeing this and I hope they appreciated the celebration we gave them! • That makes 8 women that we’ve added to that list over the 5 years that @sirwaltermiler has been in existence (many more to come!) • 5 women went under 4:30 this year, making 14 sub 4:30s since we started. • Friday’s Race also produced: - 5 Lifetime Personal Bests - 3 Season Bests - 2018 US #5, #7, #10 marks • While we like the numbers above, the bigger success that I saw was providing an evening where these athletes could be fully appreciated by our sport and the community around it, both locally and globally. • This was my 4th year as Women’s Elite Coordinator and while every year has been special in so many ways, this one certainly came together more smoothly than any other year and I know I’ll remember each individual athlete’s experience and gratitude from this year’s event. Those certainly make all the hard work so worthwhile! • Thank you to everyone that raced, attended, and supported this year. This is not only a team effort, but a community effort. One that still has so much growth potential and we hope you’ll continue to grow it alongside us! • #SirWalterMiler #Raleigh #SWMV #BringBackTheMile