2013: The Four Minute Mile is Under Attack

Published by Scott Bush
Jan 1st 2013, 7:55pm | 11638 views
Bernie Montoya - Cibola, AZ - Prefontaine Classic

We're counting down five of our favorite topics to follow in the distance running world in 2013. The first is the push to break the four minute mile from a trio of prep athletes. It's been nearly 50 years since there's been as much top-end depth in the event and we can't wait to see how many can push the magical mark.


2013 is here and there is much to be excited about as a distance running fan. The past few years have shown a rise in performance for U.S. distance runners across the board, as the professional, collegiate and prep levels have each showcased faster times and a deeper talent pool.

One of the most exciting events to follow in 2013 is the high school boys mile. Since Alan Webb broke through with his sub-4 effort back in 2001, the four-minute barrier has seemed more vulnerable. While it took another 10 years for another prep to break it, when Lukas Verzbicas ran 3:59.71 in 2011, this year seems poised to perhaps become the first year in which multiple athletes break the mark.

At the 2012 Jim Ryun adidas Dream Mile, then junior Bernie Montoya (Cibola, AZ) used a potent kick to overwhelm the field, on his way to recording a US#9 all-time mark of 4:01.32. Coming in a close second was fellow junior Jacob Burcham (Cabell Midland, WV) in 4:02.73, while nine runner in total broke the 4:05 barrier, thus laying claim to the race being the greatest prep mile race in U.S. history.

With both Montoya and Burcham back in 2013, along with distance ace Edward Cheserek (St. Benedict's, NJ) running stronger than ever (he finished 12th at the Jim Ryun event in 2012), there seem to be three young men capable of breaking the four-minute mark. With Montoya's and Burcham's performances at the Jim Ryun adidas Dream Mile, and Cheserek's 4:02.21 indoor mile performance, all three are within striking distance of the magical mark. Even better, all three have shown high-level consistency over the past few seasons, thus their personal best mile marks aren't abnormalities, rather they are simply where they've progressed as athletes.

It's going to be a fun indoor and outdoor track and field season in 2013. The watch list in the boys mile is short, but it's more exciting than ever. How many runners will break the four-minute mark? When will they do it? Which one will break it first? Will any other runners break out and push the barrier this spring? These are the questions and it's only a matter of time before we start seeing answers.

U.S. Top Ten List - Boys Mile

3:53.43 Alan Webb
3:55.3 Jim Ryun
3:59.4 Tim Danielson
3:59.71 Lukas Verzbicas
3:59.8 Marty Liquori
4:00.29 Donald Sage
4:01.02 Steve Magness
4:01.09 Rob Finnerty
4:01.32 Bernie Montoya
4:01.5 Gerry Lindgren

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4 comment(s)
4:04 1600 currently leads the nation with Andres Arroyo from Colonial in Florida maybe being that guy
Ryan is a 2012 4:07 guy that bodes well. I really like Ben Malone, especially seeing he is a sub 1:50 type guy. I think Andres Arroyo from Florida has some serious wheels and given the right race and a good race could make some noise as well.
Scott Bush
Nick Ryan (F-M, NY) is an obvious choice. He's not necessarily coming out of the shadows, but he has the talent to take a legit shot at sub-4. It'll be interesting to follow California this spring, as there is some good middle distance talent emerging from that state once again.
There always seems to be someone who kinda steps up out of the shadows and makes a run. Will there be someone of that caliber this year? If so, who?
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