LAHAINA - David Torrence wasn't just looking to win this year's Front Street Mile, he was gunning for the record. That's exactly what happened.
Torrence crossed the finish line on Saturday in 3 minutes, 57 seconds - two seconds ahead of the previous mark on the out-and-back oceanfront course set in 2003 by Jason Lunn.
"I knew it was going to be a tough record to break, but my training has been going well, my racing has been going well so I knew I could run fast on the roads," said Torrence, whose personal best road mile is 3:55.
David Torrence runs ahead of Jon Rankin and Garret Heath en route to winning the Front Street Mile on Saturday.
The Maui News / LEHIA APANA photo
Heather Kampf leads Angela Bizzarri during Saturday’s Front Street Mile.
The Maui News / LEHIA APANA photo
Jon Rankin, one of the professionals in the field, pulled up next to Torrence with about 400 meters to go, then fell back a bit but narrowed the gap a second time before finishing in 4 minutes flat, just ahead of Garret Heath, who was third with the same time.
"Jon comes hard pushing it and I was like, 'Oh, man, I don't know if I can respond,' " Torrence said. "To surge, to battle back another surge and then resurge again - that's some tough racing."
Torrence said the tough competition pushed him.
"It snaps you out of that complacency and snaps you out of that rhythm and kind of wakes you up," he said.
Torrence's family flew from Los Angeles to Maui to surprise him earlier in the week.
"Man, they got me good," Torrence laughed. "That was a real inspiration having them come all the way out here and watch me. Just having that family support really means a lot to me."
Heather Kampf was the women's winner in 4:39, a second ahead of Angela Bizzarri.
Saturday was Kampf's wedding anniversary - her husband, Ben, served as the women's pace runner.
"I was in Europe this summer doing some track competitions and I heard someone talk about how this guy had sent them a Facebook message about a race on September 17 so I kind of perked up to hear that and then when they said it was in Hawaii, I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I have to get to this race,' " Kampf said.
Kampf was three seconds shy of the women's record set by Lyuda Vasilyeva in 2003.
"That's what we were all going for," said Kampf, who was running her first out-and-back course.
"I've only done road miles that have been from point to point on a straight course, so this was fun and interesting today to do something where we were taking turns," she said.
Her strategy was to remain with the pack for the majority of the race, then surge ahead with about 400 meters left.
"We stayed really tight until a quarter to go and then when I felt that if I started kicking I could keep that kick going for the rest of the race, I just decided to make a move and make it strong and just go with it," Kampf said. "It worked today. It doesn't always, but it did today and I felt great."
* Lehia Apana is at email@example.com.
FRONT STREET MILE
Saturday's winners At Lahaina
Open-David Torrence 3:57. Masters-Andrew Farrell 4:51. Youth-Jake Jacobs 5:13. Midget-Andrew Gibbons 5:48. Bantam-Kekoa Hunth 5:58. Subbantam-Richard Haney 6:43.
Open-Heather Kampf 4:39. Masters-Neccie Logan 6:54. Youth-Ally Smith 6:21. Midget-Selai Damuni 6:26. Bantam-Mindy Kimura 6:26. Subbantam-Nadia Toscano 7:15.
Inter/Young-Akona Adolpho 5:47.