Nearly 100 Runners Take Part in Inaugural Martinsville Mile at Martinsville Speedway
Carmen Graves, from Atlanta, Ga., can add Martinsville Speedway winner to an already impressive resume. Graves, who was a three-time All-American runner at Roanoke College, has participated in the Olympic Trials, and won at the Penn Relays was among nearly 100 people that participated in the Martinsville Mile, the first ever one-mile foot race around Martinsville Speedway.
Graves, who was the first overall female finisher and finished with a time of 5:01, said running at such a historic venue was a unique experience, though it did present a set of challenges.
“I thought it would be awesome to get on a real racetrack and run and I’ve actually always thought they should have a race here,” Graves said. “Here it’s banked, obviously. The pure fact it’s somewhat hard to judge the distance, because it’s so long. It’s just different from a regular track race because it’s two huge laps. Sometimes you would think, ‘oh, I think I’m further than I am, I need to go.”
Roanoke’s Nate Michener was the first overall finisher for the males, with a time of 4:49.
“This is totally different mentally,” Mishener said. “You only have the two laps. It’s really cool. You could kind of imagine all of the people being at the Speedway watching.”
Race Director Joe Philpott said Miles in Martinsville, the group that sponsored the race, checked off many boxes by hosting the race at Martinsville Speedway.
“We’ve been wanting to have a one mile race in Martinsville for some time now and we finally did it this year,” Philpott said. “We thought about doing a road race, but logistically that can get complicated, so we said let’s go visit the Speedway. Nobody has run on here for many, many years, so here we are.
“When we posted it our Facebook page we put come race at the same place that Richard Petty, Glen Wood and Dale Earnhardt have raced and I think that really sounded a bell with a lot of people.”
Martinsville resident and Jimmie Johnson fan Hasan Davis was one of those people.
“Being that it was at this historic landmark in our city, I thought it would be fun to a part of the first race held here,” Davis said. “The atmosphere of being at the Speedway, after coming here watch races, it was inspiring and motivating at the same time.”
Davis also had another reason for running.
“I thought about all the hot dogs I’ve had here and needed to burn some of them off,” he said.
For the Speedway itself, hosting the race was a new way to use the facility.
“While stock car racing is our primary business, we are a multiuse facility and the Martinsville Mile was a great way for us to be able to open our gates to the community, get people active and also give people the opportunity to get on the inside of the fence in a unique way,” Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “We are committed to Martinsville and Henry County and when the right opportunities come along we want to take advantage of them.”
The next event at Martinsville Speedway is the Celebration 2018, the Speedway’s annual Independence Day Celebration. The July 3rd event will feature carnival rides, a concert by The Spinners and the largest Fireworks show in the area. The event is free and open to the public.
Racing returns to Martinsville Speedway this fall with two race weekends.
First is the ValleyStar Credit Union 300, NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious Late Model Stock Car race on September 29.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will return to Martinsville Speedway October 26-28 for the Texas Roadhouse 200 presented by Alpha Energy Solutions and the First Data 500.
For more information about upcoming events at Martinsville Speedway or to purchase tickets visit www.martinsvillespeedway.com.
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