While the patrons arrive at the Guthrie Theater in downtown Minneapolis for one of the three plays performed inside the theater a seven act "play" will be happening outside the theater near the banks of the Mississippi River. The Medtronic TC Mile has seven "waves," separately classified events that finish with two elite races for the men's and women's USATF Road Mile Championships for 2016.
At the pre-race press conference, several of the elites cracked jokes and tried to avoid giving their opponents any clues or incentives for tonight's championship races. Stillwater grad Ben Blankenship got one of the biggest laughs of the afternoon by answering the question of what the ideal outcome of the race would be by stating that he wanted to beat defending champion and Winona native Garrett Heath. It didn't matter, he said, if the pair finished in the last two places, Blankenship said with a grin as he looked at Heath, just as long as he was in front of Garrett.
Nicole Blood said her objective tonight was to win some money. The recurring theme that all the racers declared was to get the best out of themselves. The race will be run on a new course for the second year in a row. TC In Motion's executive director Virginia Brophy Achman noted that feedback from last year's course down Hennepin Avenue was that the runners would like a course with fewer uphills and more downhills.
This year's race starts near the Mill City Museum on an out and back course that finishes on the back side of the Guthrie. At the athletes' technical meeting, films of the new course along with advice on what to avoid familiarized the elite runners with the terrain and how to avoid areas near manhole covers and sewer grates near tight turns.
The stage was set and beginning at 6:30 PM the first wave/act will commence as a new form of street theater appears at the Guthrie.