Two Golden Gophers take home Michigan Mile titles

Ben Blankenship tries to jump out in front of the competition before winning the Crim Michigan Mile Men's Pro race Friday.

It's been a Mid-Michigan staple for the past 37 years, but only for the past two has the Michigan Mile been a big part of the Crim Festival of Races.

And tonight, it reaches another milestone, as the race runs for the first time in the evening.

Ben Blankenship, a Minnesota-Grad wins the men's race with a time of 4:05.09.

"We didn't know if the turn was going to be past that little merge-section, (but) when we saw that it wasn't, I took the opportunity to get away, and I held on,â?? said Blankenship. â??I looked back a few times, and I was like, 'oh hell, this is going to be a footrace.' I just had to stay calm and collected in my head."

As for the women, 2012 Olympian, and Grand Blanc-native, Geena Gall took to the track tonight in downtown Flint.

She would go up against stiff competition as well - it was another Golden Gopher taking home the title in the Women's pro Michigan Mile.

With Gall finishing fourth, Heather Kampf wins the race with a 4:46.7 time.

"Sara Vaughan made a big surge right as we turned that last corner, and then after that I covered the move, covered the move, and shifted the momentum enough to get ahead," Kampf said.

"Me being an 800-meter runner coming out here and trying to duke it out with all of these other milers is good competition for me and good practice for races in the future," said Gall.