My attempt to break the five minute mile at age 45

2004 was a great year for me running. I broke three hours in the marathon and won trophies at the national masters race.

In Puyallup, Washington they have a wonderful Summer track and field program for all ages. They have meets once or twice a week at Sparks stadium. I would go there with friends, family or students I was coaching. For me it was a night of training. I would usually run the 3200, 800, 400 and possibly a 200 and jog a lot in between. I was feeling faster.

Sparks Stadium

One day I decided to run the 1600m (essentially the mile). I almost never ran that distance, but I wanted to see how well I could do. The best I remembered was about 5:15. So that day I bought new, very light running shoes. I wanted to see how close to five minutes I could get. The shoes felt great. Every ounce of shoe affects your time.

I ran the 800 to warm up. To run a 5 minute mile you need to average 75 seconds per lap for four laps. I knew I could do it for two but four seemed tough. The first lap was exactly 75 seconds, the second was exactly 75 seconds… The third lap I started to struggle but somehow came through in 75 seconds. I could barely breathe as the fourth lap started. It was agonizing and I felt like I was slowing even though I was working hard.

Sparks Stadium

As I came to the last corner I saw the guy who sold me my shoes that day. Somehow that made me run faster the last 100m. I did my best, but figured I probably ran a 5:05 or 5:06. It always takes them a minute or two to record the times. I was next to the scorers. When I saw my name it read 4:59.9. I didn’t believe it. They confirmed it and I remember looking up into the stands and celebrating. I had run a 74.9 final lap! Truly a highlight in my running career. I never ran the mile again.

Published by jimboyce44

World Traveler, Educator, Father, Husband, Son

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