The 2009 winner, Will Leer, is hoping for another victory.
By Chris Lotsbom (c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.
For the 16th consecutive year, a handful of the best milers in the world will take a break from competition in Europe and come to Falmouth, Mass., home of the New Balance Falmouth Mile. Part of the festivities leading up to Sunday’s New Balance Falmouth Road Race, the Mile will be held Saturday evening.
Will Leer, the 2009 Falmouth Mile champion, returns to the vacation town of 30,000 seeking another victory. Leer worked together with former Oregon Track Club teammate Stephen Pifer to secure the top spot in 2009, running 3:57.27. His time was less than a second shy of Jon Rankin’s event record of 3:56.45, set in 2008. The 26-year-old Leer is coming off of a consistent patch of racing in Europe, where he has ranged in distances from the 800m to 3000m.
Joining Leer on the line will be Ciaran O’Lionaird, the former Florida State Seminole who surprised the track and field world by running 3:34.46 for 1500m last week in Oordegem, Belgium. The recently graduated Irishman’s time was good enough to earn a spot at the IAAF World Championships later this month in Daegu, South Korea.
O’Lionaird, 23, was surprised too by his performance in Belgium. In an interview with the Florida State Athletics Department, O’Lionaird said: “Of course, to run a PB by over 6 seconds is a massive drop, and one you can’t really expect. In fact, the race itself was construed last Saturday night by a bunch of us athletes who were disgruntled at the slow pace of the races so far this summer. We just decided to get in line, pin our ears back and shoot for something special. And the result was better than anything I could have imagined.”
Former University of Oregon classmates A.J. Acosta (class of 2011) and Jordan McNamara (2010) will also be competing in Falmouth. Both have been busy competing in Europe since running the 1500m final at the USA Outdoor Championships on June 26. Steeplechase specialist Ben Bruce, who was recently named to the USA National Team headed to Daegu, is also in the field, as is New Zealand Olympian Adrian Blincoe.
Canada’s Nicole Sifuentes leads the women’s field of nine onto the red and yellow Mondo track at Falmouth High School. Sifuentes (nee Edwards) has experience running in Falmouth, as she won last year and placed second in 2009. But the women who Sifuentes was runner-up to in 2009 returns in Erin Donohue. A 2008 Olympian, Donohue has raced somewhat under-the-radar in 2011, competing in Europe and running seasonal bests of 2:02.40, 4:07.04, and 8:55.07 for 800m, 1500m, and 3000m, respectively. Donohue is coached by Frank Gagliano in New Jersey as part of the New York/New Jersey Track Club.
Others set to toe the line will be Team USA Minnesota’s Meghan Armstrong Peyton, as well as 2011 NCAA Steeplechase runner-up Stephanie Garcia, Maggie Infeld, Brenda Martinez, and Sara Vaughn. The women’s field will be without Molly Huddle, who was originally set to compete but withdrew earlier this week.