The Crit and Main Street Mile

Various levels of cyclists partake in the Spartanburg Crit annually


Photo courtesy

The Professional Inter-Mix race kicks off with some of the nation’s elite cyclists.

Dev Patel, Sports Co-Editor

The Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS) annually hosts a criterium bike race, also known as “The Crit,” in downtown Spartanburg. Following last year’s cancellation of the downtown bike race due to COVID-19, the SRHS decided to additionally include a challenge for runners in this year’s event on Aug. 20, 2021. The race was sponsored by Mass Mutual and was called “The Main Street Mile.”  The race included two sections for local and professional runners. The elite mile race started right before The Crit and had seven professional runners compete from across the national and global level.  

Kigen Chemadi, a runner for Middle Tennessee State University, was able to squeeze out the win after a strong kick to take the lead over Abe Alvarado. He finished with a mile time of 4:03.56 and took home the first place $3,000 prize money.  An experienced runner, he is also the 2021 NCAA national champion in the steeplechase. 

Chemadi, originally from Kenya, thought the experience was new for him because it was his first-time racing on the road.  

“I didn’t know how the race was going to be, however I trusted myself as a runner and achieved good results. I had a unexpected notice about the Main Street Mile a week before, but there was no excuse for me as an elite athlete – I am always ready to compete,” Chemadi said.  

Afterwards, the cyclists for the Crit got ready to ride, and spectators enjoyed viewing cyclists zoom through the closed circuit’s dangerously sharp turns around the center of downtown. Spectators watched from tents and relished a southern tailgate experience. The Crit consisted of six races, four on the amateur level and two professional races.  

Sahaan Lawrence (12) is a member of the Viking Cross Country team, and his favorite part was getting the chance to talk to some of the pro athletes after the race.  

“I enjoy watching the Crit and thought the addition of the mile race was great.  It added something new and entertaining to the already great event,” Lawrence said.  

The event brings over 200 professional cyclists to Spartanburg to race in the regional competition to qualify for the Grant Park criterium in Atlanta for a chance at winning the $21,000 prize money. 

Lillie Henson (9) attended the criterium race with her friends. 

“I enjoyed hanging out with my friends, watching the race and eating the food,” Henson said.  

Known as the “fastest night in Spartanburg,” the bike race never disappoints to bring the businesses and residents of the community together for an entertaining night out on the town.