Central Iowans of all ages will take to the streets of Downtown Des Moines by the thousands this spring for the third annual Grand Blue Mile. Organizers Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Drake Relays host the one-mile run/walk community event to engage individuals at all stages of fitness, encourage healthy habits and empower positive change. The event will take place Tuesday, April 24, 2012, at 6:00 p.m.
Experienced athletes will race to beat last year's time, while area residents will take the first step toward greater fitness as part of the statewide goal of a healthier Iowa.
Since its inception in 2010, the event has quickly become a popular attraction for families and individuals. Last year's event included approximately 3,000 participants more than double the 2010 turnout.
"We're delighted with the level of excitement around the Grand Blue Mile. This event has a broad appeal and is representative of Wellmark's dedication to community wellness," said George Hanna, Wellmark executive vice president.
To elevate the participant and spectator experience, this year's race will include notable changes, such as a U-shaped course beginning on Locust Street near 13th Street. The route runs east to 6th Street before turning north and heading west on Grand Avenue finishing at 13th Street in front of Wellmark's headquarters.
In addition to logistical advantages, organizers are excited about new opportunities to connect fans with professional milers competing in the championship divisions.
"Watching a 4-minute mile unfold is exhilarating," Hanna said, "and the new layout will offer unprecedented access to our field of elite athletes and their races."
Entry fees are for youth ages 10-17, and for adults. As part of Wellmark's commitment to improving the health of Iowans, a portion of the proceeds will go to Iowa Kidstrong youth fitness initiatives.
Visit www.GrandBlueMile.com for registration and spectator information, including training and nutrition tips and coaching from three-time Olympians Suzy Favor-Hamilton and Steve Scott.