New records at Freedom Mile

People clad in red, white, and blue attire lined Old Mammoth Road last week in anticipation of the annual Independence Day Parade, but first they watched nearly 450 runners competing for top honors in the Ninth Annual Footloose Freedom Mile.

“We weren’t just competing for the win—we were competing for pie,” said race winner Gabe Proctor, 24. “When I heard Deena was making pies for the winners, I knew I had to race.”

Not only did Proctor win the one-mile road race, but he also broke the course record, which was previously set by American 50k record holder, Josh Cox.

Proctor’s 4:11-mile earned him a $150 course record bonus, and more importantly, an apple rosemary pie baked by local Olympian Deena Kastor. Seth Totten, 22, finished in second place while Tim Tollefson, 29, took home third.

The women’s course record also went down this year as Mammoth local Irene Graham won the race in 5:13.8 breaking Lindsay Tollefson’s previous record set in 2012. Tollefson, 28, who won the Mammoth Half Marathon two weeks ago, finished in second place for the women; Deanna Odell, 47, placed third.

With 450 participants, the race had the highest participation in the history of the event. Proctor, who is an ASICS Mammoth Track Club elite runner and Olympic Trials Qualifier, said this was one of the best races he’s ever competed in.

He was able to sleep in, eat breakfast at home, and walk to the start line—luxuries not often available to traveling professional athletes.

After one year of training in Mammoth under the guidance of Coach Andrew Kastor, Proctor placed first among Americans finish at the L.A. Marathon last spring, putting his name on a short list of the top long distance runners in the country.

He’s also finished in the top 10 in prestigious road races like the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon and the U.S. Half Marathon Championships this year.

Though he’s worked hard to get where he is today, Proctor credits Coach Kastor for his recent successes. He is thankful every day for the opportunity to train with teammates like Josphat Boit, Shadrack Biwott, and John Gilbertson, and have the support of a dedicated coach.

“Andrew has done so much for me and the team,” said Proctor. “He’s made me into the man I am today.”