Mile News

Sub-4: The Quest for Greatness

May 22, 2013

By Darrin DeTorres,

On a wet and windy day nearly 59 years ago, a young man with a dream of the seemingly impossible became the first runner to break the 4 minute barrier in the Mile. In the 59 years following Roger Bannister’s magical performance, runners all over the world strive to become a member of the very elite and join the Sub-4 Club. The exclusive U.S. Sub-4 Minute Milers list HERE.

In the ranks of these elite there is a yet more elusive club, American high school sub-4 runners with members you can count on one hand: Jim Ryun, Tim Danielson, Marty Liquori, Alan Webb and Lukas Verzbicas - the only 5 who have accomplished the feat over the last 49 years since Jim Ryun first went sub-4 at the Compton Relays in 1964 (3:59.0).

In the high school quest for sub-4 minutes, nearly all who have tried... fail.

“It’s better to have tried and failed than to live life wondering what would’ve happened if I had tried” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

High School prodigies and Olympians like Galen Rupp (4:01.8) and Gerry Lindgren (4:01.5) have toed the line in hopes of sub-4 greatness only to fall short by mere tick’s of the stop watch. In a little over the time it takes for one heart beat, many high school runners have gone from the cusp of chasing immortal greatness and the underlying expectations that comes with that feat, to just being very very good; looking in from the outside of the select sub-4 club

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Tags: tim danielson (6) , sub-4 (19) , marty liquori (32) , lukas verzbicas (7) , jim ryun (93) , alan webb (57)

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