Main Street Mile organizer Shelley Simmering of St. Charles wanted a race "that could be for everyone, that could inspire someone to run a 1-mile race fast, or to run one at all."
That $5,000 enticement for the first man to run a sub-4-minute mile or the first woman to run a sub-4:30 mile didn't hurt, either.
And so it was that nearly 300 people, from first-graders to senior citizens, weekend joggers to a kid who may soon be an Olympian, gave the first Foot Mechanics Memorial Day Main Street Mile a try in St. Charles Monday morning.
The fastest runner of the day was Richard Kandie, 25, a Kenyan who lives in Coon Rapids, Minn., who finished with $5,000 more than he came to town with, crossing the finish line in 3:53.70. Not far behind was Lithuanian Lukas Verzbickas, 17, of Orland Hills, the aforementioned possible Olympic athlete, at 3:56.88. The third man to break the 4-minute mile was Moses Waweru, 32, of Sun Prairie, Wis., in 3:59.72.
Kandie had just run a half-marathon Saturday in Michigan. "I feel very good (about the time)," he said. "Because this is the first mile (race) this year, I did not know how I would do."
No female finisher won the cash, but Rebecca Donaghue, 33, came close with a time of 4:34. Donaghue, a world-class runner, teaches high school cross country and track and field in State College, Pa.
Runners raced in five categories, starting at 14th Street and heading east, closing out in front of the Arcada Theater.
Spectators included plenty of friends and relatives of runners, beginning the cheering as they spotted runners coming down the hill near 6th Street.
The youngest runner, Jackson Otto of St. Charles, Mo., took 13:35.86 minutes to run the course.
Jack Carpenter of Park Ridge was happy with his time in the junior high event. His 4:50.62 put him in first. "It was a personal record. So I'm extremely happy with it," said the 14-year-old, who trains with the Multisport Madness team in the Tri-Cities.
And yes, the event did remember that Memorial Day is not just a day for frivolity.
"If you are enjoying this event today, you need to thank a veteran," the announcer told the crowds. And part of the money from entry fees was donated to Salute Inc., a group that helps veterans and their soldiers.