The 2017 Grand Blue Mile will serve as the USAF&F 1-mile Championships. Photo by Dave Mable

Grand Blue Mile joins the Bring Back the Mile Grand Prix Tour

The 2017 Grand Blue Mile will serve as the USAF&F 1-mile Championships. Photo by Dave Mable

The 2017 Grand Blue Mile will serve as the USAF&F 1-mile Championships. Photo by Dave Mable

The Bring Back the Mile Grand Prix Tour announced that the Wellmark Grand Blue Mile will serve as the opening leg of the Grand Prix Tour.

Started in 2014, the Bring Back the Mile Grand Prix Tour is a national campaign to designed to elevate the presence of the mile in track and field. The Tour features five stops and more than $110,000 in guaranteed prize money. Outside of Des Moines, the Tour features stops in Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Duluth, Minn., and Washington D.C.

Heather Kampf will return to defend her 2916 Grand Blue Mile victory. Photo by Dave Mable

Heather Kampf will return to defend her 2916 Grand Blue Mile victory. Photo by Dave Mable

Heather Kampf, three-time Grand Blue Mile Champion, headlines the Tour as the reigning three-time Grand Prix Champion. Riley Masters, the 2016 Grand Prix Champion, took third at last year’s Grand Blue Mile.

This year’s Grand Blue Mile, set to take place on Apr. 25, also sees the return of the USA Track & Field 1 Mile Road Championships. The Grand Blue Mile last hosted the Championship in 2014 where Kampf set the course record of 4:32.62.Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 3.56.23 PM

Last year’s Grand Blue Mile drew more than 4,200 registrants who participated among the elite, competitive, recreational run/walk, and corporate team categories. The one-mile course loops through the streets of downtown Des Moines.

Participants this year can also register for the ‘Bulldog Double’ to participate in both the Grand Blue Mile and either the Drake Road Races 5k or Half Marathon. Those that complete the ‘Bulldog Double’ will

More than 4,200 runners and walkers participated in the 2016 GBM, a number officials hope to surpass. Photo by David Mable.

More than 4,200 runners and walkers participated in the 2016 GBM, a number officials hope to surpass. Photo by David Mable.

receive a special ‘Spike’ or ‘Griff’ medal while all finishers receive a technical shirt and a finisher medal. Registration for the Drake Road Races also includes one paid admission to the Thursday, Apr. 27 Distance Carnival inside Drake Stadium and a discount ticket rate to Hy-Vee Night at the Drake Relays Friday, Apr. 28.

The current early bird registration rate is available until Mar. 6 is $15 for the Grand Blue Mile, $25 for the Drake Road Races 5k and $40 for the Drake Road Races Half Marathon.

For more information on the Grand Blue Mile, visit www.GrandBlueMile.com

For information on the Drake Relays, visit www.godrakebulldogs.com.