Big Wild Life Runs to grow by a mile this year

Beth Bragg

The city's Big Wild Life Runs will go the extra mile this year.

A mile run had been added to the lineup of races scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 17-18.

It will happen Saturday, providing a speedy prelude to the marathon, half-marathon and 5-K races planned for Sunday.

Entries in the mile -- a classic distance that is track and field's lone remnant of the pre-metric era -- will be limited to 100 men and 100 women.

Though it has been replaced by the 1,500 meters at most track meets -- at the high school level, it has been replaced by the 1,600 meters -- the mile continues to reverberate with runners, especially Americans.

The four-minute mile continues to serve as a benchmark, one of sport's most famous barriers. The world celebrated when Great Britain's Rodger Bannister became the first person to break the four-minute mark in 1954, and more recently Alaska cheered when Kodiak's Trevor Dunbar last month became the first Alaskan to run a sub-4:00 mile. Dunbar, who had flirted with the magic mark on several previous occasions, clocked a 3:59.06.

The Anchorage Mile, as it is being called, will consist of two men's heats and two women's heats, with a maximum of 50 runners per heat. The heats will separate runners who can do the mile in less than six minutes from those who can't. Runners must be at least 18.

A fast, flat course is promised. The race will start on 10th Ave., just east of H Street; it will finish at the intersection of 9th Ave. and G Street.

Entry fee is $25. You can register online through midnight Wednesday or in person at the Aug. 16 expo at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center.

Online registration information is available at, where you can also get information about Sunday's longer races and Saturday's three-hour clinic featuring Olympic runner and author Jeff Galloway.

Reach Beth Bragg at or 257-4335.