Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



Prefontaine Classic Flashback: 20 Runners Demolish Four-Minute Mile 4

Posted on April 11, 2011 by Rojo Grande

(Zimbio) Not many pleasures in life surpass a good distance race at Eugene's Hayward Field.

You’ve got to be fast.

Opportunities to sneak past the giant and steal his goods are rare…and brief.

So when this giant—normally a vigilant guardian of his treasury—carelessly nodded off for 40 winks, 40 feet scampered past him to loot his vaults of their sacred bounty.

And fast those 40 feet were.

It happened just last year—July 3, 2010 at the Prefontaine Classic (Diamond League) international track meet in Eugene, Oregon. Such an elite field of middle distance runners had been assembled that two separate runnings of the one-mile race had to be staged.

The mile run has remained an iconic race through the decades (in spite of the metric measuring system) simply by virtue of its famous four-minute barrier. Though hundreds of runners have dipped beneath that barrier since Roger Bannister’s epic christening in 1954, to accomplish a sub-4:00 mile is still considered a lofty goal and a worthy feat.

In that sense, the four-minute mile continues to loom as a stingy, hulking giant.

Oh, it’s not all that unusual these days for two, maybe three raiders to pilfer from the giant a few token gold coins. But an entire platoon—in one day, at one location—ransacking his storehouse?

Yes, in two waves they came: Gregson, Acosta, van Deventer.

Torrence, Kithii, van der Westhuizen.

Pifer, Brown, Mansoor Ali and Rupp,  early in the meet in the International Mile.

And then, in the meet’s finale, the Bowerman Mile: Kiprop, Laalou, Gebremedhin.

Komen, Wheating, Kiptanui Kemboi.

Lamong, Moustaoui, Lagat and Keiteny. Read the rest of this entry →

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