In the past, Morgan Uceny had to fly all the way from Mammoth Lakes, CA, to win the B.A.A. Invitational Mile.
This year, she just took the Green Line.
“I took the T from my house this morning, all dressed in my uniform,” said Uceny, who re-located to the Boston area along with her coach, Terrence Mahon, this winter. “That was pretty special.”
Special, too, was the 29-year-old’s third victory in the mile, following wins in 2010 and 2012. The win, in 4:44.0, was good for $3,000 and the honor of becoming the event’s first three-time winner, male or female.
Uceny’s experience on the three-lap course, which begins and ends on Boylston Street at the Boston Marathon finish line, is no small advantage.
“As soon as I was in the lead I felt comfortable there, and I knew how to take those corners,” she said.
A three-time U.S. champion and 2012 Olympian who in 2011 was ranked #1 in the world at 1500 meters, Uceny was joined by Kenya’s Violah Lagat in leading the pack of seven through the first two laps. Coming around the final turn, it was Uceny, Heather Kampf and Brie Felnagle in contention, and that’s how they would finish. After Uceny broke the tape in 4:44.0, she was quickly followed by Kampf in 4:44.3 and Felnagle in 4:44.8.
Last year, Uceny missed this race while recovering from injuries sustained after a dramatic fall in the 1500-meter final of the London Olympics. It wasn’t until late last season that the Indiana native, who competed for Cornell University, started coming around, with a win at the CityGames road mile in Great Britain and a runner-up finish at the Fifth Avenue Mile Presented by Nissan in New York City.
But this outdoor season, she is starting off with not only a win in front of her new hometown crowd, but also a chance to experience Marathon Monday like a native.
“I live right in Cleveland Circle, so I’ll be able to pop outside my door and hopefully cheer everybody on,” she said.
By Barbara Huebner