Festival of Miles | HISTORY
page,page-id-127,page-template-default,qode-core-1.2,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,pitch child-child-ver-1.0.0,pitch-ver-1.7, vertical_menu_with_scroll,smooth_scroll,grid_1300,woocommerce_installed,blog_installed,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.0,vc_responsive








The ninth edition of the Festival of Miles was most certainly one of the very best.


A record number of participants competed in the GO! St. Louis Youth Races to kick off the evening. Then the 2016 FOM athlete-in-need, 4-yr-old Triston Walls, was introduced to the crowd at 7pm to a huge ovation. The meet was off to a perfect start.


As has become tradition, the Jr. High Invitational Girls race kicked off the night’s track races. Eighth-grader Niquelette Fazekas took home top honors with her 5:20.16, leading four young ladies under 5:30. But the big show was next as FOM fan favorite Brandon Miller wowed the crowd with a 4:25.02, smashing his own meet record by more than seven seconds and establishing himself as one of the nation’s top eight-graders.


The meet records continued with the Spewak Training Elite Development HS Miles where Colorado’s Madison Mooney ran 4:55.58 to take the victory in the girls race. On the boys side Tennessee’s Joshua Bell ran a smoking 4:11.01 for the win. With beautiful weather (70s, no wind and low humidity) it was clear there were more fast times to come.


The U.S. Marine Corps 800s were next and these HS 2-lap races have become two of the most exciting races at FOM. In the girls race Missouri State Champion Allison Bailey got the win in 2:09.87, keeping the streak alive of a sub 2:10 HS 800s at FOM. For the boys it was Eugene Grayson (OK) who tore up the SLUH track with his 1:51.49.


Next up was the Big River Running Company High School Girls Championship Mile where Iowa’s Stephanie Jenks would be going for her fourth straight FOM title. The deepest field in meet history had other ideas however. In the end it came down to a sprint finish/lean-at-the-tape between Kansas State Champ Cailie Logue and Missouri State Champ Anna West. Logue got over the line first in a near meet record of 4:46.89 with Jenks finishing up her FOM HS career in fifth (4:50.61). All told, 13 girls broke five minutes.


The Saint Louis Injury and Rehab Womens 800 then provided the crowd one of the all-time FOM moments. The sixth year of this particular event, only one athlete had competed in every edition. That would be native Saint Louisan Shannon Leinert (Brooks/Speed Factory Athletics). Facing a monster field that included defending champion LaTavia Thomas, Leinert moved through the field on the backstretch before taking the lead with 100 meters to go and never looking back. The crowd roared as the Eureka HS grad broke the tape in 2:03.19, proving that the sixth time was a charm.


The Big River Running Company High School Boys Championship Section was once again the night’s penultimate event and featured a national level field with athletes from as far away as New York and Wyoming. Fordham Prep senior Conor Lundy (NY) broke the race wide open with a 58-second third lap, forcing the rest of the athletes to chase him down. It took a 57-second final lap from Jon Davis (IL) to overtake Lundy and secure the win in a new meet record of 4:05.29. Lundy ended up a well-earned fifth in 4:09.64. All told, nine boys broke 4:12.0 to once again make FOM one of the top post-season miles in the nation.


And the crowd at FOM knows what comes last. The Saint Louis Track Club Elite Men’s Mile has become a must-see for the St. Louis sports fan. This year’s race featured three-time FOM champ Jordan McNamara (Nike OTC Elite) going for his fourth title but he’d have to fend off challenges from Cristian Sorates (adidas) and Frezer Legesse (Under Armour). The three sub-4 milers hit the one lap to go mark at 3:00, needing a sub-60 to break the mark once again. They did that and more with McNamara rolling a 56.5 to get his fourth win in 3:56.39. Legesse (3:57.24) and Soratos (3:57.39) trailed just behind. Those marks were the 20th, 21st and 22nd sub-4 miles in FOM history.





TY KANOYA PHOTO GALLERY (over 2,000 pics & you can purchase them!)



Despite a shaky forecast earlier in the day the rains went south and the weather ended up perfect for fast middle distance running. And that’s exactly what happened!


The Jr. High Invitational Girls race kicked off the track races with a meet record, 5:07.26, set by Jennifer Weaver of the Saint Louis Blazers Track Club. She just edged out Grace Ping who traveled to FOM all the way from Minnesota. Not to be outdone, Brandon Miller of the Ultimate Speed Academy Track Club shattered the FOM meet record for the Jr High Boys with his 4:32.66.


The Saint Louis Injury and Rehab Elite Development Miles were FAST with Grace Klausen (Mo) winning the girls race in 5:02 and Jonathan Davis (IL) stunning the field with a 4:11. Davis led five boys under 4:15 and Klausen led eight ladies under 5:12.


By this time it was clearly a fast night and the First Bank 800s kept the ball rolling. There are certain marks in high school running that have a big time meaning. Going sub 2:10 for 800 meters on the girls side is a huge deal and Larkin Chapman (IL) busted out a four-second PR to win the race in 2:09.90. With nine total ladies under 2:15 this event was clearly a meet highlight. And the boys race was just as memorable. Memphis University High School’s Carlton Orange ran the nations’ third leading time with his 1:50.45. Orange went wire-to-wire to lead six boys under 1:54.


Next up was the Big River Running Company High School Girls Championship Mile where Iowa’s Stephanie Jenks completed the hat trick, securing her third straight FOM win. Jenks’ 4:47 was just a tick off her own meet record. All told, seven ladies broke the five-minute barrier with Anna West (MO), Callie Logue (KS) and Lexi Reed (CO) going 2-3-4. The race was a microcosm of what FOM has become on a night in which 14 different states were represented at the high school level.


Then, if not for something very special that happened later, the UMB Bank Womens 800 meters would’ve stolen the show. Not one, but two ladies went under the old FOM record. LaTavia Thomas became the first FOMer to run under 2:01 (and win an extra $1,000 for our 2 flat bonus). Her 2:00.99 led three athletes under 2:02 with Oiselle’s Lauren Wallace running 2:01.13 and Shannnon Leinert going 2:01.62. The marks were personal bests for both Wallace and Leinert. And…as if all that wasn’t enough, high schooler Hannah Long (MO) finished fifth in 2:04.23– the number one time in the nation.


The Big River Running Company High School Boys Championship Section was the night’s penultimate event and the young men did a great job setting the table for the pros. A hard-charging Bryce Richards (IL) stunned the field with a mad dash to the finish that saw the 15th seed take the win in 4:09.47 over an incredibly deep group. All told, nine athletes broke 4:13 for the full mile and FOM cemented its position as one of the country’s top post-season HS miles.


And then there was the Saint Louis Track Club Elite Men’s Mile. The crowd was at a fever pitch as former FOM champs Jordan McNamara and Jack Bolas took to the track against top U.S. Marathoners Aaron Braun and Tyler Pennel, among others. Oh yeah…and high schooler Grant Fisher (MI) was in the field, trying to become the seventh U.S. high schooler to break four minutes in the mile. McNamara went with the early pace only to fall back to the pack after 1,000 meters. With 200 meters to go Fisher moved into second behind Pennel and it looked like the HS phenom might just win the whole thing. With 50 meters to go, McNamara came out of seemingly nowhere to pass both Fisher and Pennel for the win and then there was only one more thing to look at and that was the clock. And he did it! Grant Fisher ran 3:59.38 and did indeed break the four-minute-mile, becoming the third fastest American high schooler of all time.


The night was incredible. The fans and athletes had a great time. 2015 will go down as one of the best FOMs in history.









A record crowd of more than 2,000 watched the fastest edition yet of the Nike Festival of Miles. Temperatures in the 70s with little to no wind made for perfect racing conditions at Saint Louis University High School and the athletes did not disappoint.


The night’s premier event, the Saint Louis Track Club Men’s Mile, featured Jordan McNamara (Nike OTC Elite) who addressed the crowd before the race and asked them for their help as he was going after the meet record of 3:55.29.


“These guys all want to break four and I want to go 3:54,” McNamara said. “We’re going to need you to be going absolutely crazy the whole entire time to do it.”


The crowd obliged and so did McNamara, running a blistering last lap to finish in 3:54.27, ahead of Duncan Phillips (3:56.10) and Tommy Schmitz (3:56.45). Chris Gowell also broke four minutes in 3:58.90.


Just before the Men’s Mile the high school boys had already stunned the crowd with the deepest high school mile of the year. All told, seven boys broke 4:10, led by Glendale (MO) senior Spencer Haik who ran a US#2 4:05.98. At the bell (3:06), eight boys were still in contention with Thomas Pollard (IA) and Haik at the front. With 200 meters to go though, it was all Haik as the Columbia-bound miler laid down a 59.14 last lap to get the huge win.


Other stars on the night included Heather Kampf (Asics) who won here for the third straight year in the Speed Factory Athletics Women’s 800 with a new meet record, 2:01.48 over Lauren Wallace (Oiselle) and Erica Moore (Brooks). In the Athletics Sports Medicine High School Girls Mile it was defending champion Stephanie Jenks (IA) running a US #9 to win in 4:46.67. The mark bested her own meet record from 2013. Michael Wells (MO) won the boys 100 in a sizzling 10.52 while winners in the boys and girls 800 races were Daniel Chan (IA) in 1:53.17 and Hannah Long (MO) in 2:09.03.


Sponsors for the 2014 Festival of Miles include Big River Running Company, the Saint Louis Track Club, GO! St. Louis, Speed Factory Athletics, First Bank, UMB Bank, Athletics Sports Medicine, Saint Louis Injury and Rehab, EnviroPAK, Dr. Hydrate, Saint Louis University High School, Xerox, TRXC Timing and Drury Hotels.






The threat of thunderstorms had the athletes, fans and meet organizers worried as high winds and dark clouds rolled through Saint Louis on May 30, 2013. A ten minute downpour just as the GO! St. Louis Healthy Kids Mile ended gave way to a rainbow however, and the meet was underway!


Things got kicked off in style with Farmington’s Ryan Parson smashing the meet record in the Junior High Boy’s Mile with his 4:40.18.  On the girls’ side it was Jennifer Jenks who took the win, foreshadowing what her sister would do later on in the high school mile. After the middle schoolers left the track it was time for the FOM’s newest event, the Saint Louis Injury and Rehab 100 meter dashes.  With fields that included State Champions from both Missouri and Illinois the sprints were a huge hit…and they were fast! A’Ieasha Irvin-Muhammad from St. Elizabeth’s Academy won the girl’s title in 11.87 with Cleveland NJROTC’s Michael Wells blazing a 10.43 for the boy’s victory.


The fields for the evening’s other high school event, the MoMileSplit All Star Miles, were among the best of any post-season meet in the country. They lived up to their hype as well with three girls breaking the 4:50 barrier led by Iowa’s Stephanie Jenks who ran 4:47 to best Missouri superstars Hannah Long (4:48) and Taylor Werner (4:49).  The boy’s race was even more exciting, if that’s possible, with four boys finishing within four tenths of a second led by Glendale’s Spencer Haik in 4:12.23. Patrick Perrier (IL), Noah Kauppila (MO) and Alex Riba (IL) followed him across the line with nine boys breaking 4:20.


The Speed Factory Athletics helped make the case that the Women’s 800 is one of the most exciting events in track and field today with three ladies besting the previous meet record led by defending champ Heather Kampf in 2:01.96. She was able to pass hometown favorite Shannon Leinert in the last 50 meters with Shannon coming across in 2:02.14, just ahead of Canadian Olympian Jessica Smith in 2:02.22.


The rain returned in the form of a light drizzle just before the start of the Saint Louis Track Club Elite Men’s Mile but it didn’t seem to bother the competitors or the crows, all 1200 of them. The deepest field in meet history produced one of the tightest races in meet history with three runners breaking the four minute barrier and eight men under 4:03.  In the end it was New Balance’s Craig Miller who had the best kick, avenging his runner-up finish from 2012. He edged Daniel Clark, who notched his first ever sub 4 (3:59.45) and Mexican record holder Pablo Solares (3:59.49).


Proceeds for the 2013 event went to local runner and young father Brad Eastman who had recently underwent surgery to remove a cancerous baseball-sized tumor in his brain. Brad, his wife Sarah, and their daughter were able to attend the meet and thank the crowd for their support. Brad even helped hand out ribbons to the Kids Mile participants! All told the event raised $6,000 for the Eastmans.




The Saint Louis University High School stands were once again packed for the 2012 Festival of Miles presented by Under Armour. The fifth edition of the event brought its deepest fields ever as the event saw record numbers in the GO! St. Louis Healthy Kids Mile and meet records in the Yurbuds Masters Men’s Mile and the SLIR Corporate Relay.


The MoMileSplit High School All Star Miles, in only their second year, quickly became a “must-run” for all of Missouri’s top milers and even attracted top athletes from Illinois and Arkansas. MICDS star Amos Bartelsmeyer won the boy’s race in 4:11 and Eureka freshman Hannah Long notched another FOM win in the girl’s mile in 4:56. Long had previously won two Junior High titles.


The AppWorldSolutions Women’s 800 saw Team USA Minnesota’s Heather Kampf tie the meet record of 2:03.09 and hold off local favorite Shannon Leinert from Big River Running Company. Kampf also won the “Battle of the Sexes” $1,000 Bonus which went to either the men’s mile winner or the women’s 800 winner, depending on who had the superior time according to IAAF scoring tables.


The Saint Louis Track Club Elite Men’s Mile was run under unusually cool, misty and windy conditions with temps dropping into the 50s by night’s end. Still, the stellar field was able to produce yet another sub 4, the ninth all-time at FOM, when New Balance’s Jack Bolas kicked home ahead of teammate Craig Miller to win in 3:59.75.


Proceeds from the evening went to local runner Chris Lister who had been badly injured while running a road race in early January. The event raised $6,000 for the Lister family.




More than 1,200 enthusiastic spectators, participants and track fans gathered at St. Louis University High School for the fourth annual Big River Festival of Miles presented by Under Armour on Wednesday, June 1. Things kicked off with more than 100 first to eighth graders running the GO! St. Louis Kids Mile, providing an awesome start to the evening.


The featured event, the Saint Louis Track Club Elite Men’s Mile, dazzled the crowd with three competitors breaking the four-minute barrier. Jordan McNamara, Oregon Track Club, took home the win with a time of 3:57.84. John Jefferson, Brooks Team Indiana Elite, barely edged out McNamara’s OTC teammate and hometown favorite, Stephen Pifer for second place with a time of 3:58.54. Pifer, who raced in front of his hometown (Edwardsville) crowd for the first time as a professional ran a 3:58.55.


Team USA Minnesota teammates Gabriele Anderson and Heather Kampf battled down the home stretch of the AppWorldSolutions Elite Women’s 800 with Anderson coming out on top with a time of 2:03.09.


One huge highlight of the evening came during the boys Juice Plus High School Boys All-Star Mile when Daniel Everett of Westminster Academy ran a blazing fast 4:07.68, one of the fastest times in the nation in 2011. Colleen Quigley of Nerinx Hall led the girls field with a winning time of 4:52.83.


St. Louis University High alum and world-renowned road racing/track announcer Toni Reavis entertained the crowd throughout the night and more than $6,000 was raised for the Rathmann family.




The success of the 2009 event propelled the Festival of Miles to a whole new level in 2010. Under Armour stepped up as the presenting sponsor and Flotrack brought its number one track reporter, Ryan Fenton, to cover FOM for the whole nation to watch. The new event on the FOM schedule, a special kids one mile race for all-comers (not just the speedsters) was a big hit. The race started and finished on the track with the kids running out onto the school campus for the middle of the race.


Other highlights early in the night included meet records in both junior high races with John Esswein running 4:47 for the boys and defending champ Hannah Long running 5:09 for the girls. Adam Hylan broke the masters mens mark as well, running 4:45.


The women’s mile featured Missouri High School star Emily Sisson who was coming off a top 20 finish at the IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships earlier in the spring. Sisson wowed the crowd with a 4:48 mile to win going away from the field of collegiate and post-collegiate athletes. Later that summer Sisson set the US High School Record for 5,000 meters, running 15:48 at the IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships.


The Saint Louis Track Club Men’s Elite Mile capped off the evening once again and the athletes gave the crowd the closest race in meet history. Former University of Arkansas star Andy McClary battled Saucony’s Tommy Schmitz all the way to the line with McClary holding on for the win in 3:58.16 to Schmitz’ 3:58.40.




Just two months after the inaugural Festival of Miles tragedy once again struck the Saint Louis track and field community when Mike Rathmann, an All-State high jumper from Saint Louis University High School was paralyzed from the waist down in an accident while on vacation. To make matters worse his mother was going through chemothmikeerapy treatment for her own battle with cancer. It was an easy decision to hold the event again in 2009 and to raise money for the Rathmann family this time. The 2009 Festival of Miles really brought the event to a whole new level. We added two crowd-pleasing events; the 10-and-under 100 meter dash and the celebrity 100 meter dash where local sports and media celebs battled it out for the unofficial title of “St. Louis’ fastest celebrity.”


We held the event on a Saturday evening in late May to avoid the cold weather and we brought in an absolute first-class field of elites that included sub 4 milers Derek Scott, Jordan Fife, Dan Strackeljahn, Tommy Schmitz and Olympian Leo Manzano. The event was a huge success with more than 1,000 spectators filling the bleachers and the backstretch of the track. Leo gave them what they came to see with a 3:55.29 mile, the third fastest time in the world at the time as well as the fastest time ever run in Missouri, indoors or out. The event was covered by Flotrack, once again made the Letsrun.com front page and was covered pre and post-race by the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch. We raised $5,000 for Mike’s family.




The Festival of Miles began in 2008 as a way to raise money for the family of Brigette Schutzman, a standout cross country and track runner for Saint Louis University who had been badly injured in a car accident on New Year’s Eve 2007. Brigette spent several weeks in a coma and doctors gave her a pretty slim chance of recovery but slowly that spring she began to make progress. We held the event in April of 2008 on a Monday evening after a junior varsity track meet at Saint Louis University High School.


The highlight of the evening was to be an attempt at a sub four minute mile; it would have been the first outdoor sub 4 in Missouri since the 1960s. We preceded the marquee event with a moving tribute to Brigette, who was able to attend the event; her first trip since the accident. She actually walked a few steps for the crowd to a standing ovation. There were four races before the mens elite mile; a junior high boys and junior high girls mile, a masters mile and an open womens mile. The sub 4 attempt drew a very solid field but with temps in the 40s and lots of wind they fell short with Mizzou grad and Olympic Trials Qualifier Neville Miller running 4:08 for the win. The event received a ton of media attention in Saint Louis, including a full page article and photo in the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch. It also made the front page of letsrun.com. Most importantly it raised $8,000 for the Schutzman family in their time of need.