By Chris Lotsbom
(26-Apr) -- Organizers of the Medtronic TC 1 Mile announced Thursday that a quartet of Olympians will headline a strong field that will take to the streets of Minneapolis on May 9. New Zealand's Nick Willis, Kenya's Boaz Lalang, Canada's Nicole Sifuentes, and Australia's Genevieve LaCaze will all race the one mile, point-to-point course on Nicolett Mall, vying for a first-place prize of $5000. Formerly the host of the USA 1 Mile Road Championships, this race is now an open event with international athletes as part of the field.
Willis, 30, looks to continue his impressive racing streak this spring, notching comfortable wins at the B.A.A. Invitational Mile and the Cooks Classic mile in New Zealand. His 3:58.09 time at the Cooks Classic still registers as an early world outdoor leader in the discipline.
Lalang, Sifuentes, and LaCaze have also registered solid marks in the early stages of the 2013 outdoor track season. Lalang timed 3:41.73 for 1500m earlier this month, Sifuentes won both the 800m and 1500m at the Kansas Relays, and LaCaze earned the Australian national title for the 3000m steeplechase in 10:01.20.
In addition to the four Olympians, reigning event champions Craig Miller and Heather Kampf will return. Miller, 25, timed 4:04.3 for the win last year, while Kampf edged Alisha Williams, crossing the line in 4:36.9.
Aaron Braun, who has finished on the podium twice at road races in the last month, will try and better his runner-up finish from a year ago, while fellow American Garrett Heath seeks to win his second consecutive road mile. The 27-year-old Heath, a Minnesota native, won the USA 1 Mile National title on April 24 at the Grand Blue Mile in Des Moines, Iowa.
Also in the women's field is half-miler Phoebe Wright, the 2010 NCAA 800m champion.
If the winners better the current course records --3:58.4 for men and 4:30.8 for women-- they will take home an additional $10,000. The Medtronic TC 1 Mile features more than just an elite professional race, though. In 2012, more than 2,500 finishers were recorded in the open event which is conducted in multiple heats.
PHOTO: Nick Willis wins the 2013 B.A.A. Invitational Mile on April 14 in Boston (photo by David Monti for Race Results Weekly)