2016 HOKA ONE ONE Long Island Mile

Hoka-535.jpgMark your calendars! The Hoka One One Long Island Mile will be bringing professional track and field back to Long Island on Wednesday, August 31st, 2016. In its debut, last year’s event saw 150 community athletes blazing the track, 7 men eclipse the 4-minute mile barrier, and 3 professional women battle down the home stretch in a photo finish. The sport was on display at every level, with first time milers and kids “fun-runners” racing just minutes before the elite men’s and women’s heats, which were loaded with All-Americans, international competitors, and world record holders.

Once again, the event will take place under the lights on the fastest track on Long Island, at St Anthony’s High School in Huntington Station, NY. With over three thousand fans in attendance last year, the enthusiasm for year two is already brewing. Race directors expect to see an increase in both participation and spectators after the success of the inaugural event.

‘I think the toughest part of creating an event is getting the word out and convincing people to buy in. Last year, we were able to do that, but now we’ve got some great momentum to build on. All you have to do is watch the race video, or see a couple pictures to see how much fun last year was. How could an athlete or fan see that and not want to come back?’ said co-meet director Kyle Merber.

The event was dreamed up by Merber and co-director Brendan Barrett, during shifts at Sayville Running Company, a running store owned by Barrett where Merber worked during college. After years of theoretical discussion of how to help increase the exposure and opportunity for track and field on Long Island, some of their ideas were able to come to fruition when Kyle signed a professional contract with shoe company Hoka One One, giving them the resources to bring their plans to life.

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After last year’s success, the sequel was an easy commitment for the meet’s title sponsor. “HOKA ONE ONE is proud to continue our support of The Long Island Mile.  Kyle and Brendan put together an energetic meet last year and we are excited to see how the event develops and evolves in its second iteration,” said Lee Cox, Director of Global Marketing for HOKA ONE ONE.

Their vision culminated in victories last year for Hoka One One athlete David Torrence, who took home the men’s race in an incredible 3:53 mile, as well as for Brooks’ Amanda Eccleston, who closed swiftly to break the tape in 4:29. Kyle himself got to race in front of hometown friends and family, placing 3rd in the men’s race in 3:58.

“There was an electricity to the event last year. People were talking about it when they came into the shop for weeks afterwards. The pro’s were so accommodating and encouraging and I think the local community really rallied around that. Plus, it didn’t hurt that they ran such fast races.”

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Once again, RunnerSpace will be on hand for race coverage and to live stream the event for those not able to attend. They will be resuming their collaboration with Just-In-Time-Racing, who will be in charge of timing and scoring.

Athletes of all ability levels and ages are encouraged to sign up, and can register online at LongIslandMile.com or in person at Sayville Running Company (49 Main St. Sayville) or Smithtown Running Company (91 E Main St. Smithtown).

SignUp: https://runsignup.com/Race/NY/HuntingtonStation/HokaOneOneLongIslandMile

Twitter: @HokaLIMile

Facebook: Facebook.com/HokaOneOneLongIslandMile

Contact/Email: LongIslandMile@gmail.com

For Registration/Sponsorship: Brendan@sayvillerunning.com

For Elite Athletes: LongIslandMile@gmail.com

Sayville Running Company: 631-589-5700

Tickets: https://sayvillerunning.com/item/210807/

Buy now and get a $5 Gift Card to Sayville Running Company

Coverage: www.RunnerSpace.com

Read more: Hoka One One Long Island Mile – News – Track Returns To Long Island With HOKA ONE ONE Long Island Mile

 

Last Year’s Results: http://hoka-one-one-long-island-mile.runnerspace.com/eprofile.php?do=info&event_id=11220

 

2015 Sayville Running Company Elite Men’s Mile Race Video: http://hoka-one-one-long-island-mile.runnerspace.com/eprofile.php?event_id=11220&do=videos&video_id=154926

 

2015 Smithtown Running Company Elite Women’s Mile Race Video: http://hoka-one-one-long-island-mile.runnerspace.com/eprofile.php?event_id=11220&do=videos&video_id=154925

Full Press Release: http://hoka-one-one-long-island-mile.runnerspace.com/eprofile.php?event_id=11220&do=news&news_id=414320&utm_content=buffer7001a&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

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Profile: Armory Foundation Yearbook

The following is a piece that was originally published in the ‘2015 Armory Yearbook’ as printed by the Armory Foundation. I was honored to be included, and was extremely happy with the way the author, Dave Hunter, was able to convey my personal journey. Enjoy!

“Local Boy Makes Good – Meet Kyle Merber”

By Dave Hunter

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Pacing at the 2016 Wanamaker Mile (Photo: @ShaneFord14)

How Kyle Merber – lifelong New Yorker and now member of a world-record-setting relay team – became interested in track may sound like a Hollywood movie, but it’s true nonetheless. “I started elementary school in 1996, right after the Atlanta Olympics,” said Merber, who grew up in West Hempstead, Long Island. “In October of that year, Derrick Adkins, who had attended the same elementary school and had won the gold medal in the 400 hurdles in Atlanta, came back and spoke at an assembly for the whole school. And I basically just listened to it in awe, spoke with him in person, and shook his hand. Right after that, I went home inspired and basically told my Mom I wanted to run track, so she signed me up.”

Adkins’s Olympic spark ignited the young Long Islander. “I had run in and out of school for a number of years. When I entered high school at Half Hollow Hills West, they had a kind of a sprint-oriented program,” Merber said. “But my coaches knew I wanted to be a distance runner. So we figured it out together, how to make it work. Of course, it meant a lot of running alone for a while. But together we just figured out the plan – what worked and what didn’t work,” he said.

“I was a solid freshman – nothing crazy – but probably a little bit better than average. I hardly broke 5:00 for the mile. It was a steady progression. By my junior year, I was becoming competitive enough to be recruited by colleges. And my senior year really took off – I won (state) cross country, won the mile indoors, won the mile outdoors, and just really, really found my stride,” Merber said. “It was just a matter of steady progression and figuring things out.”

Armed with solid academic credentials and a high school best of 4:11.6 (1600), Merber headed across town to Columbia University. “One of the things I really liked about Columbia is that I could come in and – while not the best on the team – be able to make an impact,” he said. “During my high school experience, Half Hollow Hills West got a lot better. And I really, really enjoyed that process and in seeing that development. So it was really important to me in college to be able to be a contributor to that growth again.

“In my freshman year, Columbia did not make the national meet – and we never had,” Merber said, describing the team’s goal of getting the Lions to the NCAA cross country nationals. “But by my senior year, we qualified for nationals for the first time. That sort of progression is something that I am really proud of, to have been a part of. And so for me in going to Columbia, that was a huge, huge factor.”

Columbia never finished worse than third in the Ivy League cross country championships in Merber’s four years in Morningside Heights – 2nd in 2008, champions in ’09, 3rd in ’10 and runnersup in the fall of ’11, with Merber finishing second individually and the team making Nationals.

As was the case in high school, Merber’s unwavering commitment to running continued to generate further progression: running a sub-4:00 mile as a sophomore to set a new Ivy record, and collecting three Heps titles along the way – 1st in the outdoor 1,500 in 2010 and 2012, 1st in the indoor 3,000 in ’10. The capstone of his college career was his unexpected 1,500-meter performance in a most unlikely setting: a Last Chance meet at Swarthmore College in May 2012.

“There were a bunch of professionals that were going for the Olympic standard. And so I was able to sneak my way into the race as probably the last entrant in the field,” Merber said. “The pace was quick. Nick Willis was rabbiting his teammates. And I just kinda got in line. They were going way faster than I had ever gone out before.

“But I just got in line and hit my time and realized that I was good to go, feeling way better than I had ever felt despite being really faster than I had ever been. I just got competitive and tried to win the race. The time came – and I did it.” Merber won in 3:35.59 – roughly a 3:52 mile — the second-fastest collegiate mark of all time and not far from the collegiate record of 3:35.30, set by Sydney Maree of Villanova 34 years ago.

“I was really, really lucky to be in a race like that. I don’t think a lot of collegians ever even get into 3:35 races. I think it was a matter of being in the right place, at the right time, and feeling good at the right time.”

After an ill-fated, injury-riddled 5th year at the University of Texas, Merber returned home to New York. “When I finished up at Texas, there were no shoe companies knocking down the doors to get me anymore. So I came back to the New Jersey/ New York area and joined up with Coach [Frank] Gagliano and ran for the [New Jersey/New York Track] Club.” Merber said he now thrives under Gagliano’s tutelage.

“I think Gags’s greatest asset is his ability to make you think you can do things that you didn’t previously believe to be possible. When Gags tells me that I can run a certain time or beat a certain person, I trust him. And that’s a huge mental barrier that athletes are always working to get over. For Coach to instill that sort of confidence in you, it really aids in jumping to that next level.”

Merber – who turned 25 in November — is also a disciple of the Gagliano training approach. “The thing Gags always says is, ‘You put strength and speed in a bowl, you mix it up, and you get a champion.’ We at all times of the year touch all systems. Monday would be strength work, long intervals. Wednesday would be a tempo in the morning and hills in the evening. And then Friday would be speed, turning it over. I do a two-hour run on Saturday. And with everything in between, I hit about 90 miles a week.”

The high-water mark of Merber’s young professional career is his leadoff leg on Team USA’s world-record-setting performance in the distance medley relay at this spring’s World Relay Championships in the Bahamas. After opening with “a tactical 2:53” 1,200 leg, Merber waited nervously as Brycen Spratling [400] and Brandon Johnson [800] got the baton around to Ben Blankenship [1600]. “I realized with 200 to go that we had a really good shot at not only the win but also the record,” said Merber, who was mentally calculating splits during Blankenship’s anchor leg. “It was awesome,” he said of watching Blankenship’s determined drive to the line. The USA’s winning mark of 9:15.50 shaved .06 seconds off Kenya’s 2006 world record.

The internet is replete with photos capturing the Americans’ post-race celebration – as relay mates can be seen restraining an exuberant Merber. “I get a little excited,” Merber admitted sheepishly.

Merber knows that his homecoming to New York – along with Gags’ oversight and a sponsorship with Hoka One One – has given him the stability he needs to go to the next level. “I am officially still a Long Island resident. But I split my time between Clinton, N.J., Long Island, and New York City, where my girlfriend lives.” With 2015 serving as another year of progression – an indoor PR in the 2000, outdoor lifetime bests in the 1500 (3:34.53) and the 3000 (7:52.95); a 6th-place finish in the tactical USATF outdoor 1500, and the world record in the DMR – Merber embraces his post-collegiate life as a professional athlete. “It is even better than I imagined,” he said. “With just everything that you do, you can focus entirely on becoming the best athlete possible. It’s really, really easy to put your energy in when you wake up in the morning and the only goal is to get better.”

Merber has no hesitation proclaiming that when his elite racing days have concluded, he wants to find a way to give back to the sport that has been so good to him. “I don’t know the exact best way. I’m sure after my career I’ll jump around to a number of different opportunities in track and field until I find a place where I can help contribute the most. I’ve got a lot of ideas,” said Merber, who was the mastermind – and 3rd-place finisher – at last fall’s successful Hoka One One Long Island Mile.

For the upcoming season, there’s the ambition of trying to make the U.S. Olympic team, where his competition will include the reigning American champion, Matthew Centrowitz. The last New Yorker to make the men’s team in the 1,500? Matthew’s father, Matt Centrowitz, 40 years ago.

HOKA ONE ONE Long Island Mile 

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Premier Track and Field is returning to Long Island! Thanks to the partnership of Sayville and Smithtown Running Company with HOKA ONE ONE, we are proud to announce the birth of a new event: the HOKA ONE ONE Long Island Mile.

On the evening of Wednesday, September 9th 2015, the world of professional running will head to St Anthony’s High School in Huntington, NY for an event that combines both the community and elite athlete’s love for running and racing.

The meet is the brainchild of Kyle Merber, the professional miler for HOKA ONE ONE and Long Island native, as well as Brendan Barrett, co-founder of the Sayville and Smithtown Running Company. The co-meet directors have big hopes for the event, which they hope will help connect the local high school runners with some of the top 4-lappers in the world.

“Long Island high schools are filled with top-talent, amazing coaches, and competitive meets week in and week out. There are great college teams here, and the island is home to well over a dozen major running clubs. And we want to continue to help build the sport here from a grassroots level in a way that would benefit everyone. There is unbelievable participation on the roads each weekend, and now we want to bring it to the track” said the enthusiastic Merber.

The last major mile race on Long Island was during the 1998 Goodwill Games at Mitchell Field in Uniondale, NY. That race saw Noureddine Morceli of Algeria clock a 3:53.39 for the full mile, and no race since has been run in under the magical 4-minute barrier.

Brendan Barrett is a native of Sayville, where he was a member of their state championship cross-country team in 2000 before heading on to run at Notre Dame collegiately. He hosts the “Sayville Summer Series,” which is now entering its 8th year that now sees over 4000 runners participate in the five races.

Brendan shared his vision, “This is an opportunity for the local die-hard track fans to not only watch a world-class field compete in their own backyard, but to race on the same track. It’s going to be a fun, festival-like atmosphere aimed to celebrate Long Island running, and the sport at large.”

The meet will only be 2-3 hours long, but with races for runners of all ages and abilities, from a Kids 400m run to a Masters Mile. Whether the goal is to break 10-minutes or 4, there will be heats to make it possible. The meet will then culminate with local-elites, and finally then men and women’s professional mile. Admission for spectators is only $5, and an early purchase comes with a $5 gift card to Sayville and Smithtown Running Company. The event will also be streamed live on RunnerSpace.com for free so fans from across the country can follow the action.

Merber has promised a full field of some of the country’s best runners, with the goal of chasing Morceli’s Long Island record. His personal best currently stands at 3:54.76, but he hopes there will be a string of guys fighting for it on the final homestretch with packed stands cheering.

“We have spent countless hours talking about what we can do to help the sport grow. And rather than just talking, we decided it was time to do something about it. Thanks to HOKA ONE ONE—It’s time to help!”

“HOKA ONE ONE is excited to support the Long Island Mile and Kyle Merber. We truly believe this offers additional opportunity to elite runners and for the community to come together to support the sport of running. We know Kyle will do a phenomenal job on this first-year event and hope it grows into a long-standing tradition,” said Jim Van Dine, President of HOKA ONE ONE.

Sign Up: https://runsignup.com/Race/NY/HuntingtonStation/HokaOneOneLongIslandMile

Twitter: @HokaLIMile

Facebook: Facebook.com/HokaOneOneLongIslandMile

Contact/Email:

For Registration/Sponsorship: Brendan@sayvillerunning.com

For Elite Athletes: Kyle.M.Merber@gmail.com

Sayville Running Company: 631-589-5700

Tickets: https://sayvillerunning.com/item/210807/

Buy now and get a $5 Gift Card to Sayville Running Company

Coverage: www.RunnerSpace.com

About the HOKA ONE ONE® brand

HOKA ONE ONE® is the fastest growing, premium running shoe brand in the world. Two life-long runners launched HOKA in 2009, after years spent handcrafting and shaping lightweight shoes with extra-thick midsoles. Initially embraced by ultrarunners because of their enhanced cushioning and inherent stability, HOKA now offers shoes for all types of athletes who enjoy the unique ride the shoes provide. For more information visit www.hokaoneone.com or follow @hokaoneone #hokaoneone.

About Deckers Brands

Deckers Brands is a global leader in designing, marketing and distributing innovative footwear, apparel and accessories developed for both everyday casual lifestyle use and high performance activities. The Company’s portfolio of brands includes UGG®, Teva®, Sanuk®, Ahnu®, and HOKA ONE ONE®. Deckers Brands products are sold in more than 50 countries and territories through select department and specialty stores, 138 Company-owned and operated retail stores, and select online stores, including Company-owned websites. Deckers Brands has a 40-year history of building niche footwear brands into lifestyle market leaders attracting millions of loyal consumers globally. For more information, please visit www.deckers.com.

Read more: Hoka One One Long Island Mile – News – Track Returns To Long Island With HOKA ONE ONE Long Island Mile