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Manchester Mile record-breaker hopes for more

New Hampshire Union Leader

July 04. 2013 6:59PM

Brian Gagnon of Lowell, Mass., takes first in the Hinkley Allen Manchester Mile race on Bridge Street in Manchester Wednesday. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)

MANCHESTER — Brian Gagnon called it a near-perfect time. Fast, but not too fast.

Gagnon, 26, broke his own course record by winning Wednesday night’s third annual Hinckley Allen Manchester Mile in 3 minutes, 42.97 seconds.

An All-American when he ran for the University of Connecticut, Gagnon had set the previous record for the Manchester Mile when he won the inaugural race in 3:43.99. He did not compete in last year’s event.

“I set the course record, but I didn’t do it by so much that I can’t come back next year and try to do it again,” Gagnon said. “There’s no bonus for setting the record the first time. People always ask, ‘Why’d you run so fast (in 2011)? It’s going to take a lot to break it.’”

Gagnon’s time not only set a record for the downhill race from Derryfield Park to Pulaski Park, but also was faster than the world record for the mile (3:43.13), set by Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj in 1999. The Manchester Mile is not eligible for world or national records because of the course’s slope.

“This is one of those one-of-a-kind things,” Gagnon said. “People won’t look down on the time, but they’ll push it to the side because it was downhill.”

Gagnon, 26, was born and raised in Lowell, Mass., but currently lives in New Jersey. He said his best mile time on a track is 3:57:00.

Nicol Traynor, 24, a former All-American at the University of Richmond, was the top female finisher, She completed the mile in 4:20:40 and finished 12th overall.

Like Gagnon, Traynor is a member of the New Jersey/New York Track Club.

“Brian and I train together down in New Jersey and he recommended this race,” Traynor said. “A downhill mile? I had never heard of that before.

“To run under 4:30 was my goal. I wasn’t sure what a reasonable goal was, but I had that in my mind. I’m definitely happy with my time. It’s nice to have the guys to run behind.”

Race founder John Mortimer said there are probably fewer than 10 one-mile races in the United States.

“It’s a unique draw and it brings out a very high-level, competitive runner,” Mortimer said. “It also draws someone who isn’t really a runner who says, ‘One mile? Downhill? I can do that.’It’s a good way to kick-start a fitness and wellness routine.”

Mortimer called the Manchester Mile a faster, warmer version of the Millennium Mile, a New Year’s Day race that’s run in Londonderry. He said the Manchester Mile attracted one runner from Ireland, and estimated that 19 states were represented in this year’s race.

Aaron Yoder, a track and cross country coach at Bethany College in Kansas, made the trip to New Hampshire just for the race.

“I ran in the Millennium Mile and it didn’t go quite the way I wanted, so I wanted the chance to redeem myself,” said Yoder, who finished fifth in 4:06:11. “Not a lot of hills in Kansas.”

The University of New Hampshire was well represented in the 5K race that preceded the Manchester Mile.

Sandown’s Louis Saviano, who is one semester shy of graduating from UNH, finished first in the 5K. He completed the course in 15:48.

Saviano attended Timberlane Regional High School in Plaistow before he enrolled at UNH. After winning the 5K, Saviano finished 18th in the Manchester Mile.

“Anytime you win a race it’s pretty awesome,” Saviano said. “I wanted to win this and then see what I could do in the mile.”

Goffstown’s Stephanie Burnham was the top female finisher. Burnham, who graduated from UNH in 2003, ran 17th overall in 19:19. She finished second in the 5K last year.

“Since graduating from UNH I’ve continued to run — mostly marathons,” Burnham said. “I’m not very fast.

“Every day I run I’m thankful for. It’s just fun to be out here running. It’s fun to break the tape.”


Manchester Mile

Top 10 Overall

1. Brian Gagnon (Lowell, Mass.) 3:42.97; 2. Pat Fullerton (Bradford, Mass.) 3:48.29; 3. Peter Najem (Derry) 4:00.40; 4. Chris Heibell (Hillsborough, N.J.) 4:01.41; 5. Aaron Yoder (Lindsborg, Kan.) 4:06.11; 6. Jacob McDougle (Walpole) 4:09.62; 7. Brian Kennedy (Newton, Mass.) 4:15.62; 8. Sean Nyhan (Charlestown, Mass.) 4:15.47; 9. James Weider (Brookline, Mass.) 4:16.81; 10. Phillip Mainwaring (Newton, Mass.) 4:17.64.

Female 0-11: Addison Cox (Northwood) 5:36 Male 0-11: Peter Crapsey Jr. (Haverhill, Mass.) 5:22

Female: 12-15: Lauren Robinson (Nashua) 5:12

Male 12-15: Warren Bartlett (Loudon) 4:23 Female 16-19: Casey Hecox (Manchester) 4:58

Male 16-19: Sean Munnelly (Litchfield) 4:19

Female 20-29: Morgan Lingar (Danville) 4:52

Male 20-29: Jacob McDougle (Walpole) 4:10 Female30-39: Jennifer Mortimer (New London) 4:44 Male 30-39: Patrick Joy (Jamica Plain, Mass.) 4:45 Female 40-49: Barbara Baum (Amherst) 6:11 Male 40-49: Sean Nyhan (Charlestown) 4:16 Female 50-59: Muriel Saliba (Hooksett) 5:42 Male 50-59: David Sullivan (Alexandria, Va.) 4:57 Female 60-69: Janet Parkinson (Portsmouth) 6:20 Male 60-69: Perry Seagroves (Concord) 5:32 Female 70-99: Wendy Burbank (Boxford, Mass.) 7:43 Male 70-99: Joseph Stevens (Pelham) 10:13


Top 10 Overall

1. Louis Saviano (Sandown) 15:48; 2. Connor Rose (Somerville, Mass.) 15:56; 3. Eric Williams (Concord) 15:56; 4. Scott McArthur (Manchester) 16:36; 5. Mike Veilleux (Weare) 17:00; 6. Tim Cox (Northwood) 17:11; 7. Mark Hecox (Manchester) 18:04; 8. Emmet Clifford (Dunstable, Mass.) 18:08; 9. Peter Gillis (Manchester) 18:16; 10. Ryan Smith (Bedford) 18:20.

Female 0-11: Jordan Vaillancourt (Manchester) 25:47

Male 0-11: Shaun Fifield (Deerfield) 29:23 Female 12-15: Caryn Ojemann (Sandown) 22:07 Male 12-15: Oliver Spencer (Concord) 19:03

Female 16-19: Alexandra Ojemann (Sandown) 25:06 Male 16-19: Bryan Therrien (Auburn) 21:50 Female 20-29: Mariette Linscott (Dover) 21:26 Male 20-29: Scott McArthur (Manchester) 16:36 Female 30-39: Jennifer Borin (North Scituate,R.I.) 20:36 Male 30-39: Mike Veilleux (Weare) 17:00

Female 40-49: Sheila Jacks (Bedford) 21:39

Male 40-49: Tim Cox (Northwood) 17:11

Female 50-59: Muriel Saliba (Hooksett) 20:47 Male 50-59: Ken Poulin (Northfield) 20:14

Female 60-69: Janet Parkinson (Portsmouth) 23:08

Male: 60-69: Bob Musil (Bedford) 21:42


Female 70-99: Wendy Burbank (Boxford) 28:07


Male 70-99: Peter McDonough (Manchester) 31:34

Running Manchester Photo Feature