Former champions, the loaded peloton returns to the annual Ryan Shay Mile in Charlevoix

CHARLEVOIX — Some of the best mile runners in the country will soon be back in Charlevoix for the 14th annual Ryan Shay Mile race.

Although they are hoping for somewhat drier conditions in 2022.

After a sabbatical in 2020, the race returned to a downpour last season, although runners continued down Bridge Street to bring the race in.

Now they will return to close out the annual Venetian Festival at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 23 in Charlevoix for one of the most anticipated road mile races in the country.

The race will be sponsored by Munson Healthcare Charlevoix Hospital this year and will carry a total prize pool of $10,000, including $2,000 for first place finishers, $1,500 for second place finishers and $1,000 for third place finishers. Fourth will also pay $500, with an additional $250 to the half-mile leader.

The field is once again packed, which includes former race champions, a 2020 Olympian, a high school record holder and a large group of riders from Michigan-based Very Nice Track Club.

Casey Comber, a former Villanova runner, returns to try to defend his men’s title after clocking 4:05.90 in pouring rain. Comber has a best mile time of 3:54 and was an NCAA All-American.

Also on the men’s side, Hobbs Kessler, the American record holder in the 1,500 meters (3:34) will be present, as will Jack Anstey of the NCAA All-American of Illinois State, Mason Ferlic, steeplechase champion NCAA and Olympian 2020. and many more.

Anstey finished second in the 2021 Shay Mile. The men’s field includes 17 riders in total.

On the women’s side, 2019 Ryan Shay champion Anna Shields returns to the field after taking second place in 2021. Shields ran a time of 4:35.60 a year ago in the rain.

After winning the 2019 race and finishing second a year ago, Anna Shields (front) returns to try and win another women's title.

Joining will be University of Minnesota All-American Madeline Strandemo, who placed third a year ago, as will Big Ten steeplechase champion Abby Kuhot-Jackson, among others.

The Ryan Shay Mile began in the summer of 2008 to honor the memory of Ryan Shay. Ryan died on November 3, 2007 while competing in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in New York City. Ryan was from Central Lake, Michigan, about thirty minutes south of Charlevoix.

A talented racer who, through hard work and perseverance, won championships in high school, college at Notre Dame, and in the pro ranks. Ryan was and is a role model for many young people in Northern Michigan and across the country.

Munson Healthcare Charlevoix Hospital is one of nine hospitals in the Munson Healthcare system, Northern Michigan’s leading and largest health care provider. Charlevoix Hospital was established in 1919. The 25-bed acute care hospital serves residents of Charlevoix and North County Antrim, as well as thousands of holidaymakers each year.

This event takes place as part of the annual Charlevoix Venetian Festival and in conjunction with the Drenth Memorial 5k/10k road races on the same Saturday morning. Charlevoix is ​​located in the northwest corner of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.

Spectators are encouraged to attend the event, as runners finish in downtown Charlevoix in front of often crowded people along Bridge Street.

The full peloton of riders includes:


– Casey Comber, Under Armour/Mission Run Baltimore Distance, Villanova, 1500m 3:37, Mile 3:54, 2021 Ryan Shay Mile Champion, 2021 US Olympic Team Trials – Track and Field entrant, NCAA All-American.

– Jack Anstey, Under Armour/Mission Run Dark Sky Distance, Illinois State University, 1500m 3:38, Mile 3:56, NCAA All-American, represented Australia at the 2022 World Indoor Championships in Athletics.

– Hobbs Kessler, adidas/Very Nice Track Club, US High School 1500m record holder, 1500m 3:34, Mile 3:57.

– Mason Ferlic, adidas/Very Nice Track Club, University of Michigan, 2020 Olympian – Steeplechase, NCAA Champion – Steeplechase, 1500m 3:35, Mile 3:58, 3000m Steeplechase 8:18.

– Morgan Beadlescomb, Very Nice Track Club, Michigan State University, Mile 3:52, 5000m 13:17, 9 times NCAA All American.

– Eric Avila, adidas/Golden Coast Track Club, Southern Oregon University, 2021 USATF Road Mile Champion, 4-time NAIA Champion, Mile 3:55.

– Ben Flanagan, On Running/Very Nice Track Club, University of Michigan, Mile 3:57, NCAA Champion – 10,000m, Canadian 10 kilometer road record holder.

– Tim Thacker, Unattached, Milligan University/University of Tennessee, Mile 4:01, NAIA Champion – Indoor Mile.

– Austin Remick, untethered, University of Michigan, Mile 4:02, 3000m Steeplechase 8:46, All Big Ten.

– Elias Graca, Georgetown Running Club, University of Pennsylvania, 800m 1h48, Road Mile 4h04.

– Nathan Mylenek, Very Nice Track Club, University of Iowa, NCAA All-American, Mile 4:03, 3000m Steeplechase 8:35.

– Cole Johnson, unattached, University of Michigan, All Big Ten, 800m 1:47, Mile 4:03

– Matt Cooper, Wisconsin Runner Racing Team, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, NCAA DIII All-American, Mile 4:02.

– Danny Kilrea, unattached, University of Notre Dame, NCAA All-American, 10,000m 28:23.

– Trestin Mancillas-Finnerty, unattached, Northwood University, NCAA DII Indoor Qualifier, Mile 4:08.

– Ethan Barnes, untethered, University of Michigan, a800m 1:49, Mile 4:09.

– James Gedris, unattached, University of Michigan, Mile 4:13, 5000m 14:11.


– Anna Shields, Hartbeat Track Club, Point Park University, 2019 Ryan Shay Mile Champion, 10-time NAIA National Champion, Road Mile 4:30, 1500m 4:12.

– Madeline Strandemo, Oiselle, University of Minnesota, Mile 4:31, 3000m Steeplechase 9:46, U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track and Field Participant, NCAA All-American.

– Gina McNamara, Georgetown Running Club-New Balance, University of Michigan, Mile 4:39, Road Mile 4:31.

– Jamie Morrissey, Atalanta NYC, University of Michigan, Mile 4:32, 800m 2:05

– Abby Kuhot-Jackson, alone, University of Minnesota, Mile 4:35, 3000m Steeplechase 9:41, Big Ten Champion – Steeplechase.

– Evie Miller, 3 Rivers Racing Elite, Trine University, Mile 4:45, 3000m Steeplechase 10:06, NCAA DIII Champion – Steeplechase.

– Alsu Lenneman, Ypsilanti Running Company/Very Nice Track Club, Eastern Michigan University, 1500m 4:17, 5000m 15:43, 2017 NCAA 5000m 2nd place.

– Natalie Cizmas, Craftsbury GRP/Very Nice Track Club, Eastern Michigan University, 1500m 4:15, Mile 4:39

– Paige Duca, Very Nice Track Club, Boston College, Mile 4:37, NCAA All-American.

– Lauren Jenkins, Very Nice Track Club, Michigan State University, Mile 4:55.

– Kaylin Russeau, Very Nice Track Club, University of Toledo, Mile 4:55.

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