Minnesota Mile win in front of family caps woman's accomplished season
Heather Kampf, 27, of Minneapolis had already wrapped up the 2014 Bring Back the Mile Grand Prix Tour women's title before she took off from the starting line Sunday of the Minnesota Mile in downtown Duluth.
Heather Kampf, 27, of Minneapolis had already wrapped up the 2014 Bring Back the Mile Grand Prix Tour women’s title before she took off from the starting line Sunday of the Minnesota Mile in downtown Duluth.
But for Kampf, the tour title wasn’t enough. She wanted to finish off the season with a win in front of her family, husband and her 8-month-old puppy, Elle.
“This is Minnesota, I’m from here, I feel like I have this responsibility to put on a great show for my family, my husband and my dog standing over there,” Kampf said at the finish line. “This was really fun.”
Kampf accomplished her goal of finishing on top by running the Minnesota Mile in 4 minutes, 29.9 seconds to best the elite field of runners and win the $3,000 first-place Minnesota Mile prize, plus an additional $2,000 for winning the six-race Grand Prix.
Earlier in the summer, Kampf won the Ryan Shay Mile in Charlevoix, Mich., in 4:21.39. She placed second a year ago in the Minnesota Mile and won the event in 2012 in 4:36.5.
“I knew before the race there was no way the points score could be changed around to take the crown away from me, but I thought it would be a high note to go out on and an affirmation of the place I created for myself,” Kampf said. “So I was really happy.”
While Kampf, a former University of Minnesota runner, took off for a victory lap Sunday as the women’s Grand Prix champion, Jack Bolas, 26, of Chapel Hill, N.C., needed a win in Duluth to secure the men’s title.
Bolas started the race two points back of former University of Wisconsin teammate and tour leader Rob Finnerty, 24, of Burnsville, Minn. Bolas not only won the Minnesota Mile by crossing the finish line in 4:02.3, but he leapfrogged Finnerty in the standings for the Grand Prix title after his former Badgers teammate finished six seconds back in sixth place.
“It’s brand new and I actually had no idea about it until two days ago,” Bolas said of his title chances before the race. “I just wanted to go out with a win. A win on any day with any field, especially a field like this, just feels good. They are few and far between for me. I’m really happy with it.”
Finnerty, who rode with Bolas to Duluth this weekend, won in Charlevoix in July with a personal-best time of 3:56.98 while Bolas was victorious in the Michigan Mile in Flint on Aug. 22 in 4:06.76. Bolas’ previous best finish in the Minnesota Mile was third place last year. That day he clocked a personal-best mile of 3:53.5, but Sunday Bolas faced a headwind running down Superior Street from Fitger’s to Starbucks.
“It has been a rough season, lots of ups and downs, lots of inconsistency,” Bolas said. “This was the last race of the season for me, I love coming here to Minnesota. I was here last year, this is a great event. It feels good, I feel reaffirmed to keep doing this.”
In other races Sunday, Eli Koski, 13, of Duluth won the boys’ Kids Mile in 5:37 and Kelly Lorenz, 13, of Carlton, had the top time in the girls’ race at 6:05.
Nicole Blasing, 31, of Brainerd, won the All-City Mile recreational women’s race in 6:14 and Jared Eickhoff, 23, of Duluth took first in the men’s All-City Mile in 5:11.
Lucas Windholz, 25, of St. Paul won the Duluth Mile, the semi-elite race, men’s title in 4:39 while Kailee Kiminski of Esko took the women’s Duluth Mile in 5:27.
“I haven’t really been running too hard lately. I’ve been very inconsistent with my mileage. I haven’t been doing my workouts, so this felt painful, very painful,” Windholz said.
“It’s a fun race, lots of people lining the streets. It was fun. Running in downtown Duluth is a blast.”
Joey Keillor, 40 of Rochester, Minn., won the Master’s 40-and-over men’s title in 4:23.6 and Breeda Willis, 44, of Steven’s Point, Wis., won the female Masters division in 4:59.9.