Friday, April 19, 2013

This year's Festival of Miles to benefit Brad Eastman

Running fast and for a cause: the missions combine annually at the Festival of Miles, set for May 30 at St. Louis University High School.

Brad Eastman helps members of Girls on the Run.
Since its beginning in 2008, the event's mission has been two-fold: gather the fastest milers at the youth, high school, college and national levels, and let them duke it out at a distance once thought extinct. The races have brought out the best in runners, including nine of sub-4-minute performances.

Disclaimer: The event got us in a little hot water that first year, when I wrote a story about how the organizers hoped to be the first to stage a race in Missouri that included a sub-4-minute mile. Neither my research nor the efforts of organizer Ben Rosario turned up any information -- until after the meet, when we found this article in the Sports Illustrated vault about a meet in 1963. I wrote a long but loving feature for the following week that doubled as a correction.

The other mission is to provide assistance for runners in need.

Among the beneficiaries since 2008 has been Brigette Schutzman, a track and cross country runner at St. Louis University, who suffered traumatic brain injuries in a car wreck in 2007 and took a long road back to recovery.  The second and third benefited Mike Rathmann, a track athlete at St. Louis University High, who suffered spinal cord injuries was injured in a car wreck.

The entry fee is $15 for athletes, $5 for spectators. This year, proceeds will benefit Brad Eastman, a distance runner who helps Girls on the Run. Eastman was diagnosed with a brain tumor, 95 percent of which has been removed, and is undergoing rehab and on the road to recovery. Events range from a Healthy Kids Mile, sponsored by GO! St. Louis, to junior high, high school, elite and master's races.There's even a corporate relay and women's 800 meters.

If you would like to donate to the Festival of Miles, contact Jen Rosario.