Gunding takes mile for second year

WHEELING – Colin Gundling had a simple strategy when it came to this year’s Ogden Mile.

Run as fast as you can.

It proved effective as the 27 year-old physical therapist from Sewickly, Pa. broke the tape first for the second consecutive year.

”Two years in a row is pretty exciting,” he said. ”My brother was breathing down my neck the whole time. I just tried to run as fast as I could.”

Gundling’s time of 4:150.4 was seven seconds faster then his brother Ryan’s time of 4:22.7.

”When I started, I was just trying to get out as fast as I could,” said Gundling, who is originally from Wheeling. ”The first part of the race is flat and if you can leg it out, the next part is downhill and I’m pretty good at downhill. I knew by the end of it, cause I’ve done it a number of times, when you hit the flat after the downhill, it’s really tough cause your legs are tired at that part and really start burning. I knew if I had a distance between me and the second person by then, I could probably keep it because they’re going to feel the same.

”Really, that’s all in hindsight. I didn’t put that much thought into it. I just tried to run as fast as I could.”

Gundling noted the Ogden Mile, which is dubbed as one of the fastest one-mile strips in America, is the only mile race he normally runs, saying he’s more into distance running and will once again compete in the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic, which he won in 2011.

”I just came down a night earlier and do this,” Gundling said. ”It’s a fun way to start the weekend.”

Sarah Flynn, who was the first woman to finish with a time of 5:10.3, agreed.

It was the 35 year-old writer from Rockville, Md. first time in the Ogden Mile after hearing about the race from a friend who lives in Wheeling.

”I was talking to the other woman who finished behind me and she said it was pretty twisty and hilly,” Flynn said of today’s race. ”I’ve been doing a lot of hill runs lately, so hopefully I’m a little bit prepared. I’m mostly doing it for fun.”

The mile run was added to the Ogden Race weekend in the early 1990s and the winner had broken the 4-minute mark every year until 2006. Since, though, only five sub 4-minute miles have been run in Wheeling, and three of those were in the same race.

The course record was set in 2003 at a blistering 3:39.82.

The last winner of the mile with a sub 4-minute time was Michigan’s Anthony Pavicic at 3:54.3 in 2008, the year three runners finished in under 4 minutes.

In all, 30 runners participated in the event.