Press Release: Norris smashes World lead; Beamish outkicks Men’s field

Photo Credit: Justin Hall

August 6, 2021 – Raleigh, North Carolina – Friday night at Cardinal Gibbons High School, the Sir Walter Miler, after a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, made a triumphant comeback. On the men’s side, it was a tight race until the end when Geordie Beamish came from nowhere to break away from the field down the home stretch with a finishing time of 3:54.92. For the women, it was a scorcher. Josette Norris led much of the race in her return to the Triangle, taking the victory with a world-leading time of 4:25.92.

The women’s race was in itself a historic one. Nine women total broke 4:30 for the mile, including eight American women. Seven of the nine runners went under the barrier for the first times in their careers—including winner, Josette Norris. Prior to Friday, the previous record for most American women under 4:30 in a single race was six. The 2021 edition of the Sir Walter Miler beat the previous record for American women under 4:30 in a single race by two.

Friday night also marked the fourth time in Sir Walter history that the women’s winner broke 4:30 for the first time in the race. Norris joins Stephanie Garcia in 2015, Lauren Johnson in 2016, and Charlene Lipsey in 2018 as adding her name to the American sub-4:30 list en route to winning.

The history of the race was not lost on Norris who, when informed of the magnitude of the results, said, “wow… [leading eight Americans under 4:30] feels incredible—that feels really cool, leading that many people under that time… that’s really rewarding.”

In addition to the seven first-timers in the women’s race, three men went under the four-minute barrier for the first time. Tai Dinger (3:57.72), Isaiah Harris (3:58.30), and Biya Simbassa (3:58.71) all broke the barrier for the first times in their careers.

Geordie Beamish came from behind in the men’s race to take the win, spreading his arms to the crowd with 25 meters to go. “I probably wouldn’t have done that at another race,” Beamish said. His thoughts on the race: “The first thing that comes to mind is the atmosphere out there… even on the back straight I just felt like the fans were right in our face.” Josette Norris echoed the sentiment, saying, “I’ve never experienced anything like that with the fans,” adding that competing at Sir Walter had been on her bucket list since her college days at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Sponsors of the 2021 Sir Walter Miler are Waverly Hematology OncologyGreater Raleigh Sports Alliance, COROSNorth Raleigh Family EyecareNew Belgium BrewingAthletic Brewing Co.Sanctuary VineyardsElliptiGOArrow HaircutsJDL Fast TrackHOKA ONE ONE and On Running.

The Sir Walter Miler is directed and promoted by Sir Walter Running, a Raleigh-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to “bring the Greater Raleigh running community together through innovation, activation, and inclusivity.” Sir Walter Running is a USATF club that produces the Pop Up Miles series, the Raleigh RunDown Downhill Mile, the Raleigh Half Marathon, the Greenway 20kPop Up Cross Country at Dix Park, a series of Strava Challenges, including the Tour de Walter, and the Summer of Miles podcast.

Results

Women’s Elite Mile
1. Josette Norris 4:25.92*
2. Nikki Hiltz 4:26.48
3. Sage Hurta 4:26.76*
4. Amy-Eloise Markovc 4:27.13*
5. Rebecca Mehra 4:27.95*
6. Abbey Cooper 4:29.00
7. Michaela Meyer 4:29.16*
8. Eleanor Fulton 4:29.46*
9. Grace Barnett 4:29.88*
10. Emily Infield 4:30.21
11. Amanda Eccleston 4:30.72
12. Gabbi Jennings 4:32.19
13. Sammy George 4:32.25
14. Elly Henes 4:32.84
15. Sinclaire Johnson 4:33.80
16. Sara Vaughn 4:34.81
17. Alli Cash 4:36.32

Men’s Elite Mile
1. Geordie Beamish 3:54.92
2. Vince Ciattei 3:55.28
3. Sam Prakel 3:55.33
4. Charles Philibert-Thiboutot 3:55.52
5. Craig Engels 3:56.00
6. Waleed Suliman 3:56.78
7. Eric Holt 3:57.70
8. Tai Dinger 3:57.72*
9. Isaiah Harris 3:58.30*
10. Biya Simbassa 3:58.71*
11. Joey Berriatua 4:00.80
12. Mick Stanovsek 4:05.68
13. John Reniewicki 4:05.89

*First time Sub 4:00 / 4:30

Full Results (including Run Club Races)

Photos: Justin Hall | Adam Barcan | Liz Goodman | Jason Honeycutt

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