At the 7th GNC Live Well Liberty Mile on Friday evening in downtown Pittsburgh, the pro races ended in two thrilling finishes as Shannon Osika of Ann Arbor, MI and Robert Domanic of Dallas, Texas put on closing bursts to edge their respective fields, clocking 4 minutes, 34 seconds and 4:01, respectively.
On a warm summer evening, two-time race champion Ben Blankenship took an early lead on the elongated u-shaped road course on Penn and Liberty Avenues. In the last 200 meters, Blankenship fell back as Pat Casey, Daniel Herrera, Cristian Soratos, Jake Edwards and Robert Domanic made their move. The pack of five battled it out in a thrilling finish with Domanic just edging out Casey, 4:00.44 to 4:00.73.
"This way my first road mile, so I didn't know what to expect. It was tough, but the crowds were great. People were lined up on the street the last 400 meters to go,” said Domanic. “My feet were on fire the last 200 meters. Still, I felt I was in a good position the last 100 meters and was able to finish strong.”
In the women’s race, Eleanor Fulton, Steph Brown and Ashley Maton were at the head of the pack through the first 800 meters. As the women turned from Penn Avenue onto 11th Street and then onto Liberty Avenue at the 2:20 mark, Shannon Osika made her move to the front. She maintained her lead and charged at the final 200 meters to finish first with a time of 4:34.
"At the beginning of the race, I hung out in the back. When we hit the turn at the halfway point, I went for a better position. Then a little bit before the 200 meters, I pushed it a little and was able to finish strong," said Osika. "I love road miles! This particular race has a special place in my heart as I ran it back 2016 when I first turned pro.”
Overall, the event, with approximately 900 participants, featured $30,000 in guaranteed prize money, the second largest Mile prize purse in the U.S. Osika and Domanic earned $5000 each as the GNC Live Well Liberty Mile champions.
“We were honored to sponsor the Liberty Mile again this year,” said Ken Martindale, CEO of GNC. “The event attracts the best American runners of all ages and abilities, and at GNC we strive to provide customers with an assortment of products that help bring out their best. It is exciting to be a part of an event that not only brings the Pittsburgh community together, but also encourages members of our community to live healthy lifestyles.”
The event was also the third stop on the Bring Back the Mile Grand Prix Tour 2018. With her win tonight, Shannon Osika is now in second place with 14 Tour points. For the men, current leader Daniel Herrera earned two points tonight to increase his Tour lead by a total of four points.
The next Tour stop is the Ed Murphey Memphis Mile on Saturday, August. 25. The guaranteed prize purse for the six Tour events totals $125,000, plus an additional $10,000 for the Grand Prix athletes. Per Tour event per gender, the top six finishers will score points (10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1) with the top four scorers earning Grand Prix money ($2500, $1000, $750 and $500) plus a $250 bonus for the Tour Performance-of-the-Year will be awarded per gender.
7th GNC Live Well Liberty Mile
Bring Back the Mile Grand Prix Tour 2018: Third Stop
Pittsburgh, PA, Friday
Friday, July 20, 2018
1. Robert Domanic, TX, 4:00.44, $5000
2. Pat Casey, OR, 4:00.73, $3000
3. Cristian Soratos, MT, 4:01.02, $2000
4. Jake Edwards, OH, 4:01.72, $1000
5. Daniel Herrera, OR, 4:02.30, $750
6. Travis Mahoney, NJ, 4:03.47, $500
7. Ben Blankenship, OR, 4:03.73, $250
8. Charlie Marquardt, PA, 4:04.19
9. Will Leer, CO, 4:05.48
10. Craig Nowak, SC, 4:05.69
11. Ford Palmer, NJ, 4:09.41
12. Brandon Hudgens, NC, 4:09.60
1. Shannon Osika, MI, 4:33.14, $5000
2. Stephanie Brown, MT, 4:34.29, $3000
3. Ashley Maton, CO, 4:35.80, $2000
4. Sara Sutherland, CO, 4:36.47, $1000
5. Eleanor Fulton, OR, 4:37.29, $750
6. Rebecca Addison, MI, 4:37.39, $500
7. Amanda Eccleston, MI, 4:38.26, $250
8. Alexina Wilson, IA, 4:38.32
9. Stephanie Van Pelt, NJ, 4:39.84
10. Sarah Brown, MA, 4:40.44
11. Anna Shields, PA, 4:41.87
12. Hannah Fields, WA, 4:44.87
The GNC Live Well Liberty Mile, the fastest road mile in Pennsylvania, offered the second largest guaranteed mile prize purse in the U.S., including cash prizes for the top five finishers in the Masters mile presented by UPMC Health Plan. The Masters champions, 40 & older, were Charles Novak, 50, of Cuyahoga Falls, OH and Kelly Annapolen, 46, of Pittsburgh, PA in 4:41 and 5:56, respectively; each took home $500.
About the GNC Live Well Liberty Mile
Organized by P3R, the GNC Live Well Liberty Mile is short, fast and fun for runners of all ages and abilities. Pittsburgh’s premier street race offers a $30,000 prize purse with $5,000 for each American Development Pro Mile champion. The seventh edition is part of the Bring Back the Mile Grand Prix Tour 2018. Read more at: LibertyMile.org
About Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon, Inc. (P3R)
P3R is a nonprofit organization that is passionate about promoting a love of running and enhancing community access to health and fitness education and activities. Best known for organizing the acclaimed annual DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, we also manage a variety of other high-quality races, events, and health and fitness programs throughout the Pittsburgh region. While many of our races attract some of the nation’s highest-profile professional athletes, we offer activities for all ages and ability levels. The only criterion for participation is a desire to be happy, healthy and active! Read more at: P3R.org
GNC Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: GNC), headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, is a leading global specialty health, wellness and performance retailer.
GNC connects customers to their best selves by offering a premium assortment of health, wellness and performance products, including protein, performance supplements, weight management supplements, vitamins, herbs and greens, wellness supplements, health and beauty, food and drink and other general merchandise. This assortment features proprietary GNC and nationally recognized third-party brands.
GNC's diversified, multi-channel business model generates revenue from product sales through company-owned retail stores, domestic and international franchise activities, third-party contract manufacturing, e-commerce and corporate partnerships. As of March 31, 2018, GNC had approximately 8,900 locations, of which approximately 6,700 retail locations are in the United States (including approximately 2,400 Rite Aid franchise store-within-a-store locations) and franchise operations in approximately 50 countries