Four-Minute Mile

Track & Field News has updated its list of U.S. sub-fours and it turns out that Columbia’s Kyle Merber became the 343rd American to do just that in 2010 and our research shows that he was 17th such Heps athlete. Review this list and let me know if you spot others.

Merber’s 3:58.52 on Friday is the fastest first sub-four among Heps runners as a collegian since April 27, 1974, when Denis Fikes of Penn was faster at the Penn Relays! That’s Denis, now known as D. Elton Cochran-Fikes, pictured.

Also, a little praise of Bill Burke’s Heps indoor record which lasted more than 19 years. Burke won the Millrose Games by going sub-four on the small wooden track in Madison Square Garden… without a rabbit. Princeton Coach Fred Samara still calls it “one of the all time great collegiate miles.”

Here is the Ivy sub-four roster as I know it (and how many conferences can say that at least runner from each member school has done it?):

68. Denis Fikes (Penn), 3:55.0 [Philadelphia: April 27, 1974]
69. Karl Thornton (Penn^), 3:57.9 [Philadelphia: April 27, 1974]
90. Craig Masback (Princeton^), 3:59.6 [Oxford: June 17, 1978]
133. Adam Dixon (Harvard), 3:59.39 [Luxembourg: July 20, 1983]
139. Cliff Sheehan (Harvard), 3:59.2 [Philadelphia: April 27, 1985]
167. Greg Whiteley (Brown), 3:59.15 [Westwood: June 10, 1989]
173. Bill Burke (Princeton), 3:58.70 i [New York: Feb. 1, 1991]
177. Bill Rathbun (Cornell^), 3:59.94 i [Boston: Feb. 16, 1991]
191. Ronnie Harris (Navy^), 3:58.03 [Eugene: June 5, 1993]
192. Bob Lesko (Yale^), 3:58.23 [Eugene: June 5, 1993]
212. Dan Browne (Army), 3:59.37 i [Annapolis: Feb. 1, 1997]
219. Darin Shearer (Harvard^), 3:59.76 [Falmouth: Aug. 16, 1997]
227. Scott Anderson (Princeton^), 3:59.80 [Brunswick: July 4, 1998]
261. Aaron Lanzel (Navy^), 3:59.88 [Eugene: June 19, 2004]
296. Ben True (Dartmouth), 3:59.99 [Cambridge: June 17, 2007]
315. Liam Boylan-Pett (Columbia^), 3:59.40 i [University Park: Jan. 31, 2009]
343. Kyle Merber (Columbia), 3:58.52 i [New York: March 5, 2010]

^ Indicates that they managed their first sub-four after college. The ‘i’ following the time indicates that the debut sub-four was achieved indoors.

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