Time to get SMile on again as runners encouraged to run speedy virtual mile

SMile event

Action from last year's SMile event. - Credit: Baz Hipwell

The Sportlink Virtual Mile, SMile, is returning, in association with CoolCamper Graphics and On. 

Runners at all levels are being invited to run a mile as fast as they can to qualify for a knockout series of races at the UEA Sportspark, organised by Athletics Norfolk and its volunteers. 

A prize pot of more than £1,000 is up for grabs but this time, thanks to a new handicap system, runners of all ages will have a chance of landing the big prize. 

Entries will be ranked by age grading, rather than time submitted, with the aim to create a level playing field for all. 

Athletes in the Under 13 category (Years 6 & 7) upwards to seniors/masters can enter. There will be four categories; male runners, female runners, male wheelchair and female wheelchair. 

Runners must try to qualify for the track series by logging a virtual mile. Your run must be completed within the period of February 1 and March 14 and submission dates will be live during this time. 

Runners must ensure they run a circular or ‘out and back’ route of their choice, starting and finishing as close as possible to each other (ideally within 100-200m).  

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You will log your time using a GPS watch or by downloading Strava on to your phone and recording it there. 

The top 64 men and 64 women will then be invited to the Sportspark track for the first quarter-final whilst the fastest three men and women will also receive a prize at this stage. 

Runners outside of this may also get the chance to run a mile on the track as wildcard races will also be included. 

The first quarter final is due to take place on Friday, April 1 with 24 athletes qualifying for the semi-finals. Nine runners will then qualify out of these races for the Grand Final - date to be confirmed. 

Sportlink owner Neil Featherby said: “Whilst last year’s tournament was really exciting, it was also something very new for which it also gave us the chance to see how we could then improve on it. I think we have now done this whereby the excitement levels will be even higher whilst also giving people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to make the track finals.” 

Athletics Norfolk chairman, Clive Poyner, added: “Last year’s SMile was a tremendous success. This year we are hoping to build further on the formula. We have attempted to make the final places accessible to all if you are fast enough for your age and gender. The series should be very exciting and great to watch. To make sure everyone gets the chance to shine this year we have included a wheelchair category.” 

Entries will open on February 1, costing £9.95. You can find out more information about SMile here… https://totalracetiming.co.uk/race/331