The New Balance Maine Distance Festival
History and Philosophy
The Festival was created in 1994 and has the following goals:
We remain committed to meeting the above goals through a program of 2.5 hours.
The meet has progressed phenomenally through its seven editions. Past participants have included Olympians from many countries, scores of All Americans, national champions and members of world championship teams. Its seven elite events routinely produce numerous yearly top 10 American performances. In 1998 Regina Jacobs set a new American record in the women's 5000 meters. It was the fastest time ever run in North America by any woman. The men's mile saw seven runners slip under the 4:00 mark. In 1999 Jacobs returned to the Distance Festival to claim the 1000 meter American record by a full two seconds. Marla Runyan also qualified for the World Championships at 1500 meters. At the 2000 meet, Sydney Gold Medallist Derartu Tulu of Ethiopia led Yuko Kawakami of Japan and Mexico's Adriana Fernandez to national records in the women's 10000 meters. Tulu won in world leading of time of 31:08.27 while five women in total ran under 32:00. In men's steeplechase Olympian Mark Croghan ran the fastest time for 2000 on US soil outside of the Olympic Trials (8:22.
The quality of athlete at the New Balance Maine Distance Festival can be illustrated by the fact that in the 1500 meter races at the 2000 US Olympic Trials 7 of the 12 women finalists had run at Maine while 11 of 12 in men's race had done likewise.
Meet management strives to develop fields that will enable each runner to achieve personal bests and provide top flight racing for the fans to watch. Our capacity to accommodate all runners is limited by our facility (no lights) and our commitment to a tightly run twilight meet format (2.5 hours). The meet will offer afternoon sections for developing athletes and master runners. Those events will begin at 2:45 p.m. and conclude no later than 3:30 p.m.