Sir Walter Miler provided intensity of Olympic-quality running in Raleigh

Cheryl Treworgy,
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RALEIGH, N.C. – It was as close as anyone watching would get to world-class runners poised to break records when the 2016 Sir Walter Miler took place on the Meredith College track last week.

While the opening ceremonies at the Rio Olympics were taking place, Lauren Johnson, Kyle Merber, and 2016 Rio Paralympian Mikey Brannigan had record-setting nights.

Though they weren’t competing in the Olympics, they were part of a group that included former Olympians and national champions who gave local running fans the opportunity to witness this event in an intimate track-side environment.

Numerous runners broke men’s and women’s North Carolina outdoor mile marks while a T20 world record in the men’s mile was posted.

By the end of it, six women broke the 4:30 barrier and nine men broke 4:00 in the mile.

Johnson led the women’s field in a personal best time of 4:25.04, breaking the previous North Carolina Outdoor state record of 4:28.84.

Her time was the fastest by an American this year, and the third best time in the world.

Following Johnson under the 4:30 barrier was Amanda EcclestonHeather Kampf, Cory McGeeStephanie Brown, and Nicole Tully.

Johnson, Brown, and Tully became the 67th, 68th, and 69th American females to break the 4:30 barrier.

Merber crossed the finish line in a North Carolina Outdoor state record pace, and personal best time of 3:54.57.

Colby Alexander (3:54.94), Johnny Gregorek (3:55.27), Graham Crawford (3:56.05), Ford Palmer (3:56.58), Drew Hunter (3:57.15), Mikey Brannigan (3:57.58), Cory Leslie (3:58.5), and Jack Bolas (3:59.98) also all finished under the four-minute benchmark.

Most notably, Brannigan’s time of 3:57.58 was a T20 world record as he became the 473rd American to break the 4:00 barrier.

Diagnosed with autism when he was 18-months old, Brannigan is the first T20 athlete to ever break four minutes in the mile and will represent the United States in Rio at the 2016 Paralympics in September.

He competes in the T20 classification, a category for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Also to his credit, Brannigan won the men’s 1,500m at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto, Ontario last summer.

Preceding the men’s and women’s elite races, the event also featured a ‘Raleigh vs. Durham Challenge,’ in which local runners competed in the mile in a cross country-style scored race.

Alex Boseman, took the individual men’s title in 4:31.65, and former Apex High and NC State alum Andie Cozzarelli, led the women’s group in 4:50.41.

Team Raleigh won the team title and preceded the ‘Run Club 4×400 meter Relay’ exhibition that the nOg Run Club won with a time of 3:57.05.

2016 Sir Walter Miler

Women’s Elite Mile (Race Video –

  1. Lauren Johnson 4:25.04 ($1350)*
  2. Amanda Eccleston 4:25.64 ($500)
  3. Heather Kampf 4:27.23 ($400)
  4. Cory McGee 4:28.66 ($250)
  5. Stephanie Brown 4:29.06 ($200)
  6. Nicole Tully 4:29.78 ($100)
  7. Shannon Osika 4:30.62
  8. Rachel Schneider 4:32.41
  9. Lianne Farber 4:33.50
  10. Morgan Uceny 4:33.72
  11. Sara Vaughn 4:35.52
  12. Rachel Cliff 4:38.39
  13. Brook Handler 4:41.49
  14. Sarah Rapp 4:55.65

Men’s Elite Mile (Race Video –

  1. Kyle Merber 3:54.57 ($1250)*
  2. Colby Alexander 3:54.94 ($500)
  3. Johnny Gregorek 3:55.27 ($400)
  4. Graham Crawford 3:56.05 ($250)
  5. Ford Palmer 3:56.58 ($100)
  6. Drew Hunter 3:57.15
  7. Mikey Brannigan 3:57.58 ($100)**
  8. Cory Leslie 3:58.51
  9. Jack Bolas 3:59.98
  10. Donnie Cowart 4:00.06
  11. Lex Williams 4:01.14
  12. Brandon Hudgins 4:01.78
  13. Chris Derrick 4:02.02
  14. Morgan Pearson 4:10.12
  15. Blake Williams 4:20.92

*State Record
**T20 world record