Living up to the billing of “Connecticut’s Fastest Mile” the Spring Street Mile saw three men break the four-minute barrier and four women run under 4:50 on Saturday morning in Manchester. The Spring Street Mile is a downhill course.
Erik Berg (New York City) ran the fastest mile ever on Connecticut soil with a 3:55.31 clocking, just ahead of Joe Gioielli (New Britain) in 3:55.96, while Patrick Hubbell of North Haven ran 3:59.19.
The men’s race began with a strong group of 5 for the first quarter mile, Berg, who represents NY/NJ Track Club settled in 3rd while Stephen Pretek of Torrington was fourth as Gioielli and Hubbell did the pacemaking at the front. The group came through the first quarter in 56 seconds.
The pack of four stayed fairly tight through the half mile, but Berg had stepped into the lead with 1:59 elapsed at the mid-way point. Just after the half mile mark Pretek dropped back just a few yards while Hubbell, Berg, and Gioielli all looked comfortable. The pace heated up at 3/4 mile in 3:01. Gioielli appeared to turn up the pace with 400 meters to go but Berg was up to the task and Hubbell had fallen back just a meter or two.
With 250 meters to go it appeared as though Gioielli make take the win but Berg was able unleash a furious kick in the final stretch to grab the win at the line in 3:55. Gioielli was less than a second back, Hubbell broke 4 minutes and Pretek came through at 4:04.
On the women’s side, Elizabeth Eberhardt (New Britain) used her experience from 2014 to hang with the leaders and then use her speed to outkick the competition.
Courtney Dinnan (Hamden) took the lead with Brittany Heninger (Bristol) right on her shoulder through the first 200 meters. Jackie Baumgartner (North Branford) moved into the lead at the quarter-mile mark as the pack ran 1:06 for the 1/4. Baumgartner and Dinnan, teammates on soundRunner Racing, led through half mile with Eberhardt and Melissa Stellato (Windsor) just off the pace in 2:17.
Baumgartner built up a three-meter lead on Stellato and Eberhardt while Dinnan faded slightly through the 3/4 mark, the trio in front came through 3/4 in just over 3:33. Eberhardt, confident in her kick waited until 200 meters to go when she took the lead and never looked back to finish in 4:42.68, her second straight win on Spring Street. Baumgartner held on for second (4:44) and Stellato third (4:46) with Dinnan also going sub 4:50 at 4:48.
The winners each took home $300 while $150 went to second and $75 for third.