The New Year’s Day tradition that is the Millennium Mile took place for the 17th time in Londonderry last Friday, and 1,418 runners and walkers covered the short distance on Mammoth Road from Londonderry High School past the Mack’s Apples farm stand to the corner of Mammoth Road and Peabody Row.
There were 1,342 runners and walkers pre-registered to participate in the event, but race-day registration got the numbers up over 1,400. And for the second year in a row, Andover, Mass., resident Sean Hyland won the race, doing so this time in 4 minutes and 3.4 seconds.
The 31-year-old former Massachusetts high school running star was recruited by Millennium Running director and former Londonderry High multi-sport standout John Mortimer years ago when Mortimer was coaching at Boston College.
“Hyland repeated by running a strong race,” said Mortimer.
The first female finisher was 24-year-old Rachel Schneider of Sanford, Maine, who raised a few eyebrows by finishing 13th overall in 4:28.
“Rachel ran very fast and had the third fastest women’s time in event history,” said Mortimer.
The first Londonderry finisher – 17-year-old LHS cross-country and track stalwart Noah Schrank – crossed the line just ahead of Schneider in 12th place (4:27.9).
Schrank was one of four Londonderry males to finish in the top 50, with 17-year-old Tim Zepf 18th overall (4:34.7), 17-year-old Kevin Letalien winding up 33rd (4:50.1), and 38-year-old Matt Raylinski taking 50th place (5:03.8).
The event was marred somewhat when a runner suffered what was referred to in the Londonderry Police Log as “a serious injury” near the finish line and was transported to Parkland Medical Center in Derry.
“Unfortunately, we did have a participant that had a medical emergency after completing the race and was jogging back to the starting line,” said Mortimer. “The bystanders and first responders of the Londonderry Fire Department and Londonderry Police Department were quick to react to the situation. The individual was transported to Parkland Medical Center for further treatment. Unfortunately, due to privacy (requirements), we are unable to release more information at this time.”
Founded by running friends John Mortimer and Matt and Andy Downin, the first Millennium Mile race was held on the turn of the Millennium in 1999. That inaugural event had 121 finishers and the first ever sub-4-minute mile run in New Hampshire.
All these years later, the event has produced over 25 sub-4 performances and had more than 15,000 participants.