March 21, 2007

Furman Prepares to Host Track Extravaganza

Blue Shoes Website

March 21, 2007

Greenville, S.C. - Furman University is getting set to host the inaugural Furman Invitational Elite Mile, which will feature several top runners including 2004 Olympian Alan Webb, one of the country's premier middle distance runners. The race, which is sponsored by ASICS, will take place Saturday, April 7 at Furman's Irwin Belk Complex for Track & Field and is part of several weekend activities to raise money for Furman's "Blue Shoes Track Scholarship" program. The Elite Mile race will begin at 2 p.m., and is free and open to the public.

Webb will be in good company as the elite runners attempt to break the four-minute mark on a South Carolina track for the first time. Others in the field include 2005 University of Wisconsin-Platteville graduate Ryan Kleimenhage, 2003 NCAA 800 meter champion and Penn graduate Sam Burley, Brown graduate Brendan O'Keefe, and former college All-Americans Luke Watson (Notre Dame), Kyle King (Baylor), Thomas Morgan (Kentucky), Dan Wilson (UConn) and Hunter Spencer (Kentucky). Rounding out the field are Appalachian State senior Adam Van Nortwick, Winthrop sophomore Brandon Huggins, Furman sophomore Patrick Morgan and Furman graduate Palmer Thomas.

"We are very impressed that Furman has been able to assemble such a quality field," said Gary Slayton, vice president for marketing at ASICS. "I believe this will be one of the fastest fields of runners in a mile race this year in the United States."

The Elite Mile is just one of several events that will take place at Furman over the weekend of April 6-7 to support the university's "Blue Shoes Track Scholarship" program. The scholarship, which was established last year by 1978 Furman graduate Chris Borch, provides support for the Paladins distance runners. Borch named the scholarship after the blue ASICS `Onitsuka Tiger' running shoes he and his teammates wore while attending the university.

Below is a complete list of events for the weekend.

Friday, April 6

5 p.m. -- "Smart Training for the Long Run." Presentation by Furman Health and Exercise Science professor Bill Pierce. Question-and-answer session will follow with faculty of the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training. Event is free to public.

6:30 p.m. -- Blue Shoes dinner with Olympic champion Dave Wottle. Wottle will speak on "The Winning Attitude" and reflect on his 1972 Olympic experience. He will also show the original ABC Sports film of his winning 800-meter race narrated by Jim McKay and Marty Liquori. Reserved tickets are $45; $50 at the door. Tickets for high school or college students are $29. Corporate tables for 10 can be purchased for $400. To reserve tickets for the Blue Shoes dinner, call Furman's Paladin Club office at 864.294.3565.

Saturday, April 7

For more information about the running events, contact Furman head track & field coach Gene Mullin at 864.294.3459 or gene.mullin@furman.edu

8 a.m. -- Furman Invitational -- High school meet

9 a.m. -- Furman Corporate Shield 5K Run

12:30 p.m. -- Blues Shoes Miles (3-4 heats to suit any age and pace)

2 p.m. -- Furman Invitational Elite Mile sponsored by ASICS

2:30 p.m. -- Furman Invitational -- College men's and women's teams including The Citadel, East Tennessee State, College of Charleston, Wofford, Spartanburg Methodist College and Furman.

Complete 2007 Furman Invitational Results