Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sub Four Mile at Altitude

Hill stalks Lomong at the Cherry & Silver Invite - courtesy of Blake Wood
World Champs 5000m finalist Ryan Hill dropped-in at the UNM indoor track meet this last weekend and blitzed a sub-four minute mile in the men's open race, an effort rarely seen here at altitude. Hill clocked 3:59:00 flat to best two-time Olympian Lopez Lomong in a tune up for next month's National Indoor Track & Field Championship hosted once again at the Albuquerque Convention Center. This is an off year in track, meaning that there is no outdoor World Championship on the schedule. The big meet on the elite track circuit defaults to World Indoors, meaning that the National Indoor meet coming to town in four weeks is going to be a ripper.

Before last year very few sub-four miles at altitude had been run on American soil. This is partly due to the degree of difficulty and primarily due to almost no quality races held under such limiting conditions. Surprisingly, no sub-four has ever been run in Colorado. Until just last year none had been run in New Mexico. Olympian and BYU alum Doug Padilla was likely the first to accomplish the feat on American soil back in 1983 (Utah). Thirty years later native Montanan Pat Casey cemented his high-country bona-fides by soloing a sub-four in Bozeman as a junior at Montana State. Pat rabbits for Galen Rupp these days. Will Leer ran to a National Indoor title last year to be the first to accomplish the feat in New Mexico. At the time he was likely just the third to ever do it, with numbers four and five less than one second behind him. Eleven months later Hill joins the group. For sake of comparison, the most impressive American mile/1500m at altitude was easily Jim Ryun's run at the '68 Olympic Games - a 3:37.8 1500m at 7300ft (~3:54.8 equivalent mile), only good enough for silver in the wake of altitude trained legend Kip Keino.

Doug PadillaProvo, UT (4549ft)19833:57.83
Will LeerAlbuquerque, NM (5000ft)20133:58.79
Craig MillerAlbuquerque, NM (5000ft)20133:58.90
Ryan HillAlbuquerque, NM (5000ft)20143:59.00
Pat CaseyBozeman, MT (4800ft)20113:59.76
Cory LeslieAlbuquerque, NM (5000ft)20133:59.88
Jim RyunMexico City (7300ft)19683:54.8*

Related Posts:
 - New Mexico's Four Minute Milers
 - US Indoors 2012
 - US Indoors 2011

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