Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Benjamin Blankenship Returns from a Broken Toe, Racing the Fifth Avenue Mile this Weekend

Two days before this summer's Prefontaine Meet, Benjamin Blankenship broke his toe.  The good news: it was a "clean" break, says Blankenship, and it healed quickly.  He was running again in just about a month, he says, but the summer track season was "toast."

Blankenship had only raced twice prior to the break of the big toe on his right foot, the season had been planned for post-Pre meets.  So, this weekend's Fifth Avenue Mile will be his first race of the summer.  "I would have liked to race prior (to the NYC event)," said Blankenship, but that didn't work out.  Instead Blankenship and his  OTC Elite teammate Andrew Wheating formed an unlikely training partnership and have been training together in Eugene.

Blankenshhip and Wheating training at Hayward Field
"Wheating and I linked up surprisingly well," said Blankenship.  "I never expected we would click(as training partners)."  In the logic of opposites may be well suited to help each other, the duo makes sense.  Wheating, Blankenship notes, is a speed guy who does lower mileage.  Blankenship has been working on strength, more mileage, longer runs.

Each can push the other in their chosen path.  "There's a lot of races still to come," says Blankenship, and first up is the Big Apple.  Last year Blankenship got sick right after winning the Minnesota Mile in Duluth and wasn't full strength for the Fifth Avenue Mile.  He hopes he's ready this year.  As usual he'll be putting it all on the line this weekend.

On the horizon there are "a lot of races still to come,"  Blankenship said.  Road races.  Some 5Ks.  He's planning on racing a bit more than usual, making up for lost time this summer.  Another thing on his mind is an all time list for the mile by Minnesotans.  Who has run the fastest?  That question is easy to answer, but in doing so a lot of interesting statistics appear.  The title, for now of Minnesota's fastest miler goes to Steve Holman, who leads the rest with a time of 3:50.40 in Oslo at the Bislett meet in 1997.  Not only that, Holman also has the next five fastest times: 3:50.60 in Oslo in 1996; 3:50.76 in Zurich in 1995, 3:50.91 in Oslo in 1994 and 3:51.38 in Atlanta in 1996.  Second on the all-time list is Will Leer with his 3:51.82 in Dublin this summer.

The rest of the Minnesota sub-four runners list is: Holman again running 3:52.73 in Berlin in 1993 and Paris in 1998, 3:52.86 in Eugene in 1996,  3:52.89 in Eugene in 1995. Then 3:53.02 in Stockholm in 1998. Next comes Garrett Heath’s 3:53.15 in London 2013. Holman again, 3:53.31 in Oslo in 1992 and  3:53.35 in Berlin in 1995.

Heath ran 3:53.61 in Saline and 3:53 76 in Eugene this year. Blankenship 3:54.10 in 2011.  Holman again in  3:54.24 in 1997 in Melbourne, 3:54.86 in London in 1999, 3:55.13 in Eugene in 1999, 3:55.44 in Uniondale in 1999, 3:55.50 in Zurich in 1994, 3:56.01 in 2000 in Brussels.  Heath ran 3:56.21 in Falmouth in 2012.  Blankenship 3:56.27 in Falmouth in 2013.

Leer had two 3:56.39s, one in Dublin in 2012, the other in Eugene in 2013. He also ran 3:56.45 in Falmouth in 2013.  Blankenship, in Cork, 3:56.66 in 2013.  Leer in Eugene in 2014 in 3:56.72 and in Dublin in 2008 3:56.75. Heath ran 3:57.18 in Dublin and 3:57.25 in Walnut in 2012. Leer back in Falmouth in 2009 in 3:57.28. Holman in Eugene in 1997 in 3:57.37.

Then Garrett's brother Elliott Heath ran 3:57.91 in Falmouth in 2013.  Leer in 3:58.16 in Eugene in 2008. Jeff Jirele in 3:58.26 in Stockholm in 1978.  Steve Plasencia 3:58.34 in London in 1982.  Leer in Falmouth in 2011 in 3:58.41. Elliott Heath in Cork in 2012 in 3:58.48.  Leer in 3:58.65 in Eugene in 2012.  Holman in 3:58.85 in Gateshead in 1994.  Ted Nelson 3:59.4 in 1966.  Leer  in 3:59.46 in Eugene in 2008. Mike Slack 3:59.62 in Wichita in 1977 and 3:59.7 in Austin in 1974.

The full All-Time List can be found HERE. Lots of familiar names, including one Sir Roger Bannister who is listed 4,022 in the latest compilation.

This isn't a complete list as the compilation these marks came from only appears to list outdoor meets, not times indoors.  Nor road miles, which probably have their own category somewhere.  So nobody can add a mark to the all time list in the Big Apple this weekend, but they'll all be trying to win, run their best.

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