By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2022 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(27-Apr) — Emily Lipari (adidas) and Vince Ciattei (Nike Oregon Track Club Elite) were the winners at last night’s USATF Road Mile Championships presented by Toyota and hosted by the Grand Blue Mile in Des Moines, Iowa. Lipari, 29, a former high school soccer player, collected her third national road mile title in 4 minutes and 33 seconds, while Ciattei, 27, won his first in 4:04. Both athletes won $5000 in prize money out of a $25,000 purse.
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Lipari, who will be moving to Hawaii next month, took control of the race from the start. Running on the left side of the U-shaped course in downtown Des Moines, Lipari was joined by steeplechaser Alexina Teubel (née Wilson) on her right, and sub-2:00 Allie Wilson just behind her. Former Ithaca College athlete Jen Randall was back in the pack.
Through halfway (about 2:17), Lipari and Teubel were side by side, but within a few meters Lipari pressed the pace and stretched out the field so she would have a clear path through the two 90-degree left-hand turns in the third quarter. Lipari had the inside on both turns with Teubel on the outside. About three meters behind, Randall began to move up, passing Wilson. She was clearly gunning for the two leaders.
On the second turn coming into the final quarter, Lipari had only half a step on Teubel and had no idea that Randall was closing in. Lipari conserved her energy, not wanting to sprint too soon, and that allowed Randall to catch the two leaders on the inside. Lipari glanced over her left shoulder to see Randall move into the lead. Lipari used her superior speed to pull away from Randall in the final 50 meters and win by less than a second. Both athletes were timed in 4:33 (extended times of 4:32.3 and 4:32.7, respectively). Teubel was third in 4:35 and Wilson fourth in 4:37.
“The community here is amazing,” Lipari told race announcer Mike Jay who reminded the crowd that Lipari had won all three of her USATF road mile titles in Des Moines. “It always surprises me about how much this community just loves running, and you’re coming down that final 200 and people are screaming and cheering and I just really love the positive energy here. It makes me thrive.”
In the men’s contest, Olympic steeplechaser Hillary Bor was the early leader with both Ciattei and USA indoor 1000m record holder Shane Streich close on his heels. Paul Ryan, who is about a head taller than Bor, ran in the center of the roadway just to Bor’s right. Clayton Murphy, the 2016 Olympic 800m bronze medalist, stayed tucked in the pack. The leaders hit halfway in a conservative 2:06.
Streich and Bor led through the first turn, then Willy Fink came around the outside to take the lead on the second turn. Ciattei was in fourth place and Ryan in third. The pace was clearly picking up, and Ciattei positioned himself on the left side of the roadway and saw a clear path ahead to the finish. His form still looking smooth, the 2018 NCAA championships 1500m runner-up for Virginia Tech started his final sprint. He looked over his shoulder five separate times in the final few meters to make sure he was clear, and edged Ryan by less than a second, his arms outstretched as he broke the tape. Both men were given the same time of 4:04 (4:03.2 for Ciattei and 4:03.8 for Ryan). Streich just edged Murphy for third; both men were timed in 4:05.
“I’m 27 and it’s my first one,” said a smiling Ciattei in his post-race broadcast interview. “I had to be patient and think it would come eventually. I thought it might come on the track, but a road one is pretty sweet, too, so I love it.”