By Ben Stroup
Delaware grad Jake Edwards was seconds away from eclipsing the four-minute mark at last year’s Mile Night, an event Edwards and Hayes cross country coach Jim Bibler cooked up last summer.
Seconds from doing something once thought to be physically impossible.
This year, Edwards, who won the 1,600 in 4:09.89 at the 2007 State Track and Field Championships as a Pacer standout, is back and hoping to change the outcome a bit … at least by a few seconds.
“I ran 4:02 and 4:01 this indoor season on the track, then recently ran 3:56 for a road mile,” Edwards said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to break four in Delaware.”
The event itself, slated for August 22, will be a bit different as well.
“The biggest difference is this year it will be a standalone event,” he said, pointing out last year’s showcase was held during halftime of a Hayes preseason football scrimmage. “Last year, a crowd was already on hand. This year, it’s just the race, so we’re hoping we can still attract a good crowd without a football game also going on.”
Mile Night was originally planned to be back at Hayes, but, with installation of the new track still underway, it was moved to Ohio Wesleyan’s Selby Stadium.
There will be multiple heats that anyone can register to participate in. Heats will start at 8:30 p.m. Registration forms can be found at Second Sole, www.leaguelineup.com/hayespacersxc and on the Delaware Hayes High School athletics website.
The Elite Race, the one Edwards will be participating in, is set for 9 p.m.
“The group looks good so far,” Edwards said. “I’ve lost a couple to injury and late-season fatigue, but I have a couple guys I’m pretty confident about.
“One is a British steeplechaser, Rob Mullet, who attended Butler University. He’s broken four in the mile several times, and should be ready to do so again. Another guy I’m excited about is a University of Michigan grad, Lex Williams. He’s run 4:00 flat, so I’m hoping this will be a great opportunity to get him under four for the first time. We also have a strong rabbit who should set us up nicely.”
Edwards said running under the lights at Hayes was special, but he’s looking forward to what’s in front of him at OWU.
“Although it won’t be at Hayes, the real appeal for me is doing it in my hometown,” he said. “Delaware is a great place to live and run, and I want to do anything I can to bring some attention to the community.”
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.