High temperatures didn't slow the field much in a variety of races in Eagle Rock, Calif.
BOSTON (15-Apr) -- With temperatures comfortably rising into the 70 degree range (21C) and a slight wind blowing from the south, Morgan Uceny and Collis Birmingham captured B.A.A. Invitational Mile titles under clear blue skies here this morning. Uceny clocked a winning time of 4:43.8, while Birmingham set a new course record of 4:06.0. For Uceny, 27, the win was her second over the past three years here, making her the first athlete to earn multiple victories in the event, annually held a day prior to the Boston Marathon since 2009. "I knew it was going to be a great day; the weather is so nice," said Uceny, who was the #1-ranked miler in the world last year by Track & Field News. Running from the front, Uceny successfully executed her pre-race strategy, taking the lead early then relaxing on the second lap. The race is a three-lap contest run around a 500m city block loop, with the remaining 109m covered at the start. "I wanted to get the first lap going a little bit, sit the second lap, then make sure I was in a good position to kick," she said. Uceny crossed the line just ahead of last year's winner, Marina Muncan of Serbia (4:44.5). Gabriele Anderson finished third in 4:46.3, while Treniere Moser rounded out the four-athlete field in 4:48.0. "I think I've come a long way in two years," said the champion, reflecting on her progression since the 2010 victory. "I am more aware of my running style, my strengths and weaknesses, so it makes it a little easier when you tap into that." Uceny, a member of the Mammoth Track Club, informed reporters that training has been going well in Mammoth Lakes and San Diego, Calif. Almost too well. "My training is indicative that I will have my best season yet, but it's just about staying healthy and making it happen," said the adidas-sponsored athlete. On the men's side, Australia's Collis Birmingham broke from Massachusetts native Tim Ritchie on the penultimate lap, running alone to get the win. "I'm in a fairly good training block," said Birmingham, 27, who is currently training with Bobby Curtis, Adrian Blincoe and Ben St. Lawrence in the Philadelphia area. Earlier this year, Australia named the Nike-sponsored Birmingham to their Olympic team for this summer's games in London in the 5000 meters. "A lot of high mileage weeks, just trying to get that base there," he said. The Aussie ran the final lap alone, breaking Andy Baddeley's event record of 4:08.6 set in 2010. "I thought I'd get close. The advantage of going to the front is that you don't slow down as much on the turns," he said, referencing the course's twelve turns. "Maybe they'll have me back and I'll get under (four minutes)." In the Boy's High School Mile, Framingham's Ben Groleau won his second title, running 4:27.2, more than ten seconds ahead of runner-up Justin Keefe. "There was definitely some factor of pressure coming into it," said Groleau, who is the only athlete to have run all four editions of the race. "I'm excited, it's awesome." Bound for the University of Massachusetts Amherst next year, Groleau hopes to dip under 4:15 for the mile in his final prep season of outdoor track. The Girl's High School Mile was won by Evelyn Heffernan of Newton in 5:23.1. A student at Newton North High School, Heffernan extends Newton's winning streak in the girl's high school event to four straight years. "It was very exciting," said the quiet winner. "I'm so honored to be invited here; it was a great experience. The crowd was unlike anything I've ever seen before."
In addition, many athletes met the Olympic "A" Standard.
Two seasoned veterans hope to put Australia on the medal podium in March.