The inaugeral Friendly’s New England Mile was this morning. It runs through downtown Portland on Congress Street, from the Roma to Lincoln Park at the base of Munjoy Hill. The course features a 70 foot drop, and they have been billing it as an opportunity to see a sub 4-minute mile. Unfortunately, there was not a huge field (117 finishers) and there was a fairly good breeze to run against coming from the east. The winner came in in 4:07.05, and his wife won the women’s division in 4:51.25. (Full Results)

There weren’t very many pre-registered for the race, which worked out for me since I got to be seeded when I registered first thing this morning. I managed to run about 10 seconds faster than my seed time.

I was not too impressed with the post race, although I did miss a good part of it. When you finish, you walk into the park where they have water, gatorade, bagels, and Friendly’s ice cream (unfortunately, the ice cream was not doing much for me). That part was fine. However, for such a short race, I think that they need to have more festivities at the finish, and that they need to keep it going all morning. Give people a reason to get up and drive downtown first thing on a Sunday; a mile race is not all that great motivation. Having some live music would have been appropriate, and it is a great park to hang around in for a few hours. The local businesses I am sure would be happy for anything that brings people in during a fairly dead time, as it were, as a number of folks would likely spend a good part of the day in the city. After all, the winners were from NYC.

The initial results that they posted was in whole seconds, and had people seeming to be farther apart than they really were. It also had some people out of order. They would have been better off waiting for the official results that had times in hundredths of a second and which had people finishing in the correct order before posting anything.

They also needed to do the awards earlier, I think, than they did. For a 1 mile race, a lot of the runners took off to do some extra mileage (myself amongst them). In fact, I went for a two mile cooldown, hung out for a while, and then went for a 7 mile run. The awards were during the 7 mile run. I think that my case was probably not that unique; my girlfriend took off during the raffle. I wonder if I would have won anything?

I hope that the race grows next year and that the field is a bit more competitive and a lot larger.