Jim Ryun

Birthday: 04/29/47 Mile PR: 3:51.1 - 1967 (former world record)
Metric Mile (1500m) PR: 3:33.1 - 1967 (former WR)
High School: Wichita East HS
Hometown: Wichita, KS
College: University of Kansas
Current Residence: Washington, DC

Personal website: www.ryunrunning.com

Jim Ryun, a three-time Olympian at 1500 meters, was a silver medalist at the 1968 Mexico City Games. Ryun, at age 17, was the first high school boy to break 4 minutes for the Mile (3:59.0) in 1964 at the Compton Relays (CA) and his 1965 high school Mile record of 3:55.3 lasted nearly 36 years before Alan Webb broke it at the Pre Classic in 2001. Ryun also has run the most sub-4 minute Miles for a high schooler, five (5), including the first sub-4 in a high school-only race and only to-date state meet (3:58.3 at the 1965 Kansas State Meet).

Ryun was a five-time USA champion including three Mile titles and he set world records at 880, 1966; 1500m, 1967; and Mile (twice), 1965-67. In addition, he broke the U.S. record for the outdoor Mile four times once as a high school senior, twice as a college freshman and once as a sophomore. His 3:51.1 U.S. Mile record lasted more than 14 years before Steve Scott broke the standard in 1981. Ryun also set the indoor Mile WR (3:56.4) in 1971.

In 1966, the Kansas University graduate won the Sullivan Award and was Sports Illustrated’s ‘‘Sportsman of the Year", and in 2003, ESPN.com selected Ryun as the best high school athlete ever over LeBron James and Tiger Woods. Overall, Jim Ryun has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated seven times, the most of any track & field athlete.

In addition, he is the only American athlete to be world-ranked #1 in the 1500m / Mile in back-to-back years (1966-67).

Ryun later served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1996 to 2007, representing the 2nd District in Kansas.

FUN FACT: Jim Ryun was the first athlete to set a Mile world record by running every lap under 60 seconds: (57.9, 57.6 [1:55.5], 59.8 [2:55.3], 56.0), clocking 3:51.3 in Berkeley, CA on July 17, 1966.

Photo credit: Track & Field News

@jimryun

News

Jim Ryun Running Camp 2017 Dates Set

March 19, 2017

Scholarships also available for one of three summer camps

The Jim Ryun Running Camp will offer three sites this summer: UC-San Diego, CA, June 25-30, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA, July 9-14 and Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO, July 16-21.

This year will be a...

Read More comments

Olympian, Mile legend Jim Ryun delivers message of encouragement in Lancaster

November 19, 2016

"I've encouraged the next generations of runners, which is in part what my wife and I like to do. So many people have contributed to who we are that it's an opportunity to give back to the next generation."

By Steve Navaroli, LancasterOnline

As a three-time Olympian and politician, Jim Ryun...

Read More comments

The Jim Ryun, Mile Legend, Interview

October 28, 2016

We need to be far more fan-friendly and that’s why I’m so pleased with ‘Bring Back the Mile’ and what they have been able to do. It’s one of those efforts where we realize they are investing in the future and the public and it helps people to identify with it all.

By Gary Cohen,...

Read More comments

Olympian Jim Ryun to speak at Elizabethtown Area High School

October 13, 2016

A Jim Ryun Prediction Mile will also be held at the high school track on Sunday, Nov. 13.

By Paula Wolf, Lancaster Online 

Three-time Olympian and former congressman Jim Ryun — the first high schooler to break the 4-minute Mile — is coming to Lancaster County next month for a series of...

Read More comments

Jim Ryun shatters Mile world record 50 years ago

July 17, 2016

“In New Zealand, we thought the Mile belonged to us. It was a shock when Jazy broke Peter Snell’s record, but when I heard on the radio that the American kid had run two seconds faster, I thought it must be a mistake."; No American male has held the outdoor Mile world record since.

By Roger...

Read More comments

My fall at Olympics: One of the best things to happen to me

July 13, 2016

The challenge of Munich forced us to grow up very fast. We developed a whole new understanding of forgiveness.

By Jim Ryun for Vox.com

The first time I ran in the Olympics, I was a junior in high school. While my classmates were in school in Wichita, Kansas, I was competing in Tokyo.

When I...

Read More comments

One State, Three Mile Legends: Cunningham, Santee, Ryun

November 05, 2015

Record setting, Olympic trio hail from Kansas, the Sunflower State

By Bring Back the Mile

Kansas is known for its expansive wheat fields, but it has also amazingly grown three of the greatest Milers in history: Glenn Cunningham, Wes Santee and Jim Ryun. Consider below the impressive...

Read More comments

Miler Jim Ryun’s 50-year-old upset of Peter Snell still a magic moment in history

June 27, 2015

In an age when track & field was more popular in the U.S. than the NBA, NHL and what is now NASCAR, no one was a bigger star than Ryun

By Scott M. Reid, The Orange County Register

In early June 1965, Jim Ryun, an 18-year-old senior at Wichita’s East High School, and his coach J.D. Edmiston...

Read More comments

The 4 Minute High School Mile, 50 Years Later

May 15, 2015

A half-century after a Kansas high schooler ran the Mile in under 4:00, a select five U.S. boys have joined the sub-4 club with Jim Ryun

By Kevin Helliker, Wall Street Journal

On Monday I called Jim Ryun, thinking it would be cool to tell the greatest Miler in American history something he...

Read More comments

50th Anniversary of Jim Ryun’s Epic Sub-4 at Kansas State Meet

May 15, 2015

First sub-4 Mile at high school-only competition and State meet and still the only sub-4 at a State meet.

By Bring Back the Mile

On May 15, 1965, Jim Ryun, who a year earlier had already broken 4 minutes in the Mile as a junior for Wichita East High in Wichita, KS, the first prep athlete to...

Read More comments

Running Advice from Jim Ryun

October 08, 2014

"I know Coach Timmons had to really reach down inside of me at times and pull out some things that I didn’t think were there."

By Mike Rosenbaum, About.com Track & Field Expert

In the 1960s and early 1970s, Jim Ryun was among the world’s top middle distance runners. He credits some of his...

Read More comments

Jim Ryun’s Favorite Mile Races

October 06, 2014

"And it was an answer to a prayer in that it was the easiest race of my life."

By Mike Rosenbaum, About.com Track & Field Expert

Jim Ryun made headlines in 1964 when he became the first high school runner to finish a Mile in less than four minutes. He went on to break the Mile world record...

Read More comments

Jim Ryun Hopes to Bring Back the Mile

October 05, 2014

“I would say to the high school associations, we need to be more fan-friendly. People understand a Mile."

By Mike Rosenbaum, About.com Track & Field Expert

Jim Ryun is one of the greatest middle distance runners in United States history – an Olympic 1500 meter silver medalist and a former...

Read More comments

Ryun reflects upon 50th anniversary of breaking 4 minute Mile

June 04, 2014

“When I crossed the finish line, I was a little discouraged, because I thought I hadn’t done it.”

By Rick Plumlee, The Wichita Eagle

Six hundred yards into the Mile race, Jim Ryun was bumped in the tight pack of runners. He stumbled off the track to the infield.

“I wasn’t even sure I’d...

Read More comments

Ryun’s Historic High School Mile Celebrated in San Diego

June 03, 2014

“The Mile will always have a special place in people’s hearts. It transcends track & field, because it’s a very relatable distance.” - Alan Webb

By Richard A. Lovett for Running Times

Fifty years ago on June 5, a scrawny 17-year-old finished last in a historic Mile race in Compton,...

Read More comments

50 Years Later: 10 Questions with Jim Ryun

May 22, 2014

I support Bring Back the Mile...if you want to keep the public involved, you have to have something they can relate to.

By Caitlyn Pilkington, Competitor.com

On June 5, 1964, Wichita High School East junior Jim Ryun ran one Mile around the track in 3 minutes and 59 seconds at the Compton...

Read More comments

Mile Moment of the Month: Jim Ryun’s Sub-4 at Kansas State Meet

May 15, 2014

HOKA ONE ONE presents the Mile Moment of the Month

On May 15, 1965, Jim Ryun, who a year earlier had already broken 4 minutes in the Mile as a junior for Wichita East High in Wichita, KS, the first prep athlete to achieve the magic mark, walked onto the cinder track at the Kansas State Meet to...

Read More comments

Jim Ryun Recounts His Storied High School Career

April 29, 2014

Mile legend special guest at May 10th Helping Hands 5K to benefit area’s homeless

By Keith Chartrand, Ocala Star-Banner

On the morning of May 10, hundreds of runners will take their mark at the Helping Hands 5K run at the Baseline Greenway Trailhead. All types of runners — male, female,...

Read More comments

Jim Ryun Festival of Miles to Honor 50th Anniversary of First High School Sub-4 Minute Mile

April 25, 2014

Weeklong celebration begins Friday, May 30 at 17th Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon & 1/2 Marathon Expo and culminates on Thursday, June 5 at Balboa Stadium with Festival of Miles

SAN DIEGO – On June 5, 2014, one of the most significant athletic achievements of the last century will be celebrated at...

Read More comments

Ryun still winning in long run

March 31, 2014

Teen phenom, Mile legend and Olympic silver medalist: “While I was running, I had a hard time believing this was actually happening to me.”

By Joe Tuscano, Observer-Reporter

Maybe Jim Ryun had the most inauspicious start of any major sports figure in American history.

The church baseball...

Read More comments

4 Wishes for the Mile in 2014

January 08, 2014

Any or all of the wishes would elevate, celebrate the storied distance, the athletes and the sport

By Ryan Lamppa, Bring Back the Mile

The year 2014 will mark Bring Back the Mile’s third year or third lap, and call me crazy and a dreamer, but presented below are my 4 wishes for the Mile,...

Read More comments

Jim Ryun Running Camps Announces 2013 Locations

May 28, 2013

Sites include San Diego, CA; Harrisonburg, VA and Greeley, CO; coach Dr. Jack Daniels part of this year’s staff

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Jim Ryun Running Camps has announced that it is expanding to three separate locations this summer. The University of California San Diego camp will take...

Read More comments

Memorial Stadium’s Finest Mile

April 26, 2013

"Ryun was so dominant, everyone in the stadium was on their feet," remembers Larry Knuth, a longtime Los Angeles track & field coach who was there that night. "People were going nuts."

By Cathrine Merlo, The Bakersfield Californian

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Those who were there still remember the...

Read More comments

Pro-Tips: Jim Ryun

March 20, 2013

Pro-Tips is a series of articles directly from the pros. Tips from the mouth of the athletes who have reached the pinnacle of the sport. With tips of every kind, this article series is intended to help enlighten everyone on what it is the pros do that help set them apart.

By Rob Versaw,...

Read More comments

Jim Ryun on Competitor Radio

February 21, 2013

By Bob Babbitt, Competitor Radio

Three-time Olympian, silver medalist, and running legend Jim Ryun came into Competitor Radio's studio for an awesome chat on his racing career, life lessons  and how the sport of track and field has evolved over the past decades. Ryun was the first high school...

Read More comments

Jim Ryun Returns to Site of Record Run

February 13, 2013

By Toni Reavis

San Diego’s Balboa Stadium looked much different in 1965 when it was home to the AFL San Diego Chargers than it does today as home to San Diego High School Cavers.  Before Qualcomm Stadium was built in Mission Valley in 1967, or Petco Park was erected downtown in 2004, Balboa...

Read More comments

The Super Milers Documentary: Thumbs Up, Way Up!

December 03, 2012

Outstanding, compelling hour-plus video covers the eleven world record holders of the Mile from Bannister to Coe

By Bring Back the Mile

The Super Milers documentary from Great Britain’s Channel 4 is entertaining and simply riveting. The hour-plus video covers the eleven world record holders...

Read More comments

Jim Ryun to Speak at Newman for XC Championships

October 17, 2012

By Newman University Athletics

WICHITA, Kan. - Saturday Oct. 20 will mark the second year that Newman University hosts the Heartland Conference Cross-Country Championships. The races will take place at Cessna Activity Center beginning at 9:30 a.m. for the women, closely followed by the men at...

Read More comments

Going Head to Head: Who is the Greatest Miler in History?

September 20, 2012

By Barbara Huebner, NYRR News

Some of the greatest Milers in the world have won the Fifth Avenue Mile Presented by Nissan, which will be run for the 32nd time on Saturday. Sydney Maree, Steve Scott, Mary Slaney, John Walker, Peter Elliott, and Bernard Lagat are among those who have broken the...

Read More comments

Interview with a Running Legend: Jim Ryun - Running Career

September 19, 2012

By Todd Grasley, MileSplit.com

Legendary distance runner Jim Ryun stopped by MileSplit Headquarters recently. Ryun was the first high school boy to break the four minute Mile barrier and went on to be a three-time Olympian and five-time USA champion. Todd Grasley had the chance to sit down with...

Read More comments

1968 Mexico City Olympic Games- 1500 Meters- Jim Ryun vs Kip Keino

August 03, 2012

By Slicethelife

The most anticipated track and field event at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games was the match up in the 1500 meters with Jim Ryun taking on Kip Keino of Kenya.

Jim Ryun was an incredible runner. As a junior in high school in Kansas he was the first high schooler to run a 4...

Read More comments

Ryun a hit at coaches clinic

July 25, 2012

By Bob Castello, Greenville Online

As he trained through the Kansas winter of 1964, not long before he became the first high school runner to achieve a sub-four-minute Mile, Jim Ryun began to struggle.

“Workouts were getting more difficult,” Ryun said Tuesday during the South Carolina...

Read More comments

Throwback Video Thursday: Jim Ryun

June 14, 2012

Interview by Matt Franzblau / Feature edited by Rock Chalk Video

 

Jim Ryun (Track & Field) 1965-69
When one mentions Kansas track and field it is hard not to hear the name Jim Ryun shortly afterwards. The Wichita, Kan. native burst onto the collegiate scene after becoming the first high...

Read More comments

Group seeks higher profile for 1-mile track race

February 15, 2012

By Eddie Pells, AP National Writer

It's the race that cemented Roger Bannister's name into history and the distance that everyday runners use to gauge their progress and pace.

Yet, over the years, the mile has been cut out of most mainstream track meets, replaced by metric numbers that don't...

Read More comments

Forty Years After a Dream Mile, a Harsh Reality for Track

May 15, 2011

By Tim Connelly, The New York Times

The news that the Millrose Games are leaving Madison Square Garden after 97 years to relocate uptown to the 168th Street armory reminds us of how indifferent we are to track and field. And yet, in a coincidence of timing, we remember, too, that we were not...

Read More comments

Pressure’s on When Dad’s a Legend

May 28, 2010

By Bob Lutz, The Wichita Eagle

If you want to see what you're made of, try walking in the footsteps of greatness. Better yet, try running in them.

Jim Ryun, Glenn Cunningham and Archie San Romani Sr. are three of America's greatest distance runners, all produced right here in Kansas.

Ryun,...

Read More comments

The Ryun vs. Liquori Duels

December 08, 2009

Mile legends & Olympians, the Ali-Frazier of the track world, produced some epic races vs. each other

By Villanova Running

So far as I am aware, Marty Liquori and Jim Ryun raced each other a total of eight times. Ryun won the first four races. The fifth race -- the 1969 NCAA Indoor...

Read More comments

High School Athletes Chase Sub-4-Minute Mile

June 24, 2009

By Tom Goldman, National Public Radio

In sport, no matter how much athletes evolve, there are achievements that remain elusive — if not unattainable. Examples include Joe DiMaggio getting a hit in 56 consecutive baseball games, or basketball star Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points.

In track...

Read More comments

Ryun’s Record Still Stands

April 17, 2009

By Tom Keegan, Kansas University Sports

Comedian Will Ferrell, over-actor Paul Giamatti and tattoo model Pamela Anderson weren’t yet famous when the Kansas Relays Mile record that still stands was set by Jim Ryun. In fact, they all were in their mothers’ wombs.

With the help of the Kansas...

Read More comments

The List: Best high school athletes ever

February 02, 2003

Jim Ryun, first high school boy to run sub-4 minute Mile, selected over Tiger Woods and LeBron James

From ESPN Page 2 staff

LeBron James is uncommonly good. But just how uncommon? We dove into our collective brainpool and scoured ESPN's Fly High with Delta Bill Bradley Sports Library to try...

Read More comments

Is There Hope for U.S. Milers?

May 06, 2004

By Dick Patrick, USA Today

Fifty years ago today, Roger Bannister recorded the first sub-four-minute Mile — 3:59.4. Since then, as the world record has improved 16 seconds, elite U.S. male Milers have become practically an endangered species.

In an Olympic year, the talk isn't if the USA will...

Read More comments

An Exclusive Club

June 27, 1994

Forty years after Roger Bannister broke four minutes, the brotherhood of Mile record holders gathered to honor their grand obsession

By Gary Smith, Sports Illustrated

NEVER JOIN SOMEONE WHO ECLIPSES YOU. ALIGN YOURSELF WITH ONE WHO INCREASES YOUR LUSTER. THE MAN WHO PUTS YOU IN THE SHADE...

Read More comments

Where Have All Our Milers Gone?

September 22, 1986

To early burnout as a result of the U.S. system, says the author, and ''the lack of long-term coaching relationships is really hurtful." - Peter Snell

By Kenny Moore, Sports Illustrated

Here's a mystifying bit of track lore you could probably massage into a killer bet in one of those...

Read More comments

A Dream Comes True

May 24, 1971

It was advertised as the Dream Mile, and though for the contestants it often seemed like the Nightmare Marathon the race lived up to its billing as Marty Liquori held off Jim Ryun on the last turn to win

By Pat Putnam, Sports Illustrated

For the first three-eighths of a Mile, it could have...

Read More comments

Trials of an Unlonely Miler

October 21, 1968

As the XIX Olympics began, America's best hope in the 1500 meters found himself so besieged that he had to leave the Olympic Village and train on quieter public highways to get ready for his stern ordeal

By Bob Ottum, Sports Illustrated

They were starting to come through the track barricades...

Read More comments

See You Later, Jim Ryun

July 03, 1967

Sub-54 second final lap yields Mile world record of 3:51.1 and national title for Kansas native in Bakersfield

By Pete Axthelm, Sports Illustrated

Seventeen-year-old Jerry Proctor upset six-time national champion Ralph Boston in the broad jump; Charlie Greene finished second in the 100-yard...

Read More comments

Sportsman of the Year: 1966

December 19, 1966

Youngest person ever selected as SI's Sportsman

By Sports Illustrated

In its first issue, in August 1954, Sports Illustrated reported the duel of the original 4-minute Milers, Roger Bannister and John Landy, at the British Empire Games in Vancouver. Bannister won and, at the end of 1954, was...

Read More comments

A Special Brand of Fame

August 01, 1966

In the week following his record race young Jim Ryun discovers the joys—and hazards—of owning the most treasured mark in all of sport

By Gwilym S. Brown, Sports Illustrated

Young Jim Ryun's hectic life as the world record holder in track's most glamorous event began even while he was spinning...

Read More comments

A Time to Remember: 3:51.3

July 25, 1966

Leaving the whole world far behind him, Jim Ryun, the 19-year-old durable wonder of Kansas, smashes track's most treasured record—the Mile mark that has eluded American runners for 29 years

Anita Verschoth, Sports Illustrated

After a few warmup sprints last Sunday on a field next to Edwards...

Read More comments

Fast Teen-Agers in Grown-Up Time

July 05, 1965

With tactical cunning and a brilliant burst of speed, 18-year-old Jim Ryun beat the great Peter Snell in a U.S. record 3:55.3 Mile

By Gwilym S. Brown, Sports Illustrated

In San Diego one day last week an 18-year-old boy and a former football linebacker sat down to map out the strategy the boy...

Read More comments

A Kansas Boy with a Man-Size Task

September 14, 1964

This week in Los Angeles, 135 athletes will be competing for 60 positions on the U.S. Olympic track & field team. Some of them—such as Dyrol Burleson, Bob Schul and Henry Carr—have already clinched a spot on the team, provided they are still in good shape, by virtue of their victories in the...

Read More comments

Return the Mile to prominence on the American & worldwide sports and cultural landscape by elevating and celebrating the Mile to create a movement.

ELEVATE
Bring Back the Mile as the premier event in the sport, and increase interest in and media coverage of the Mile for both those who love the distance as well as the general public.

CELEBRATE
Bring Back the Mile to celebrate the storied distance and to recognize the people who made and make the Mile great and to promote Mile events and the next generation of U.S. Milers.

NATIONAL MOVEMENT
Bring Back the Mile to create a national movement for the Mile as America’s Distance,
to inspire Americans to run the Mile as part of their fitness program and to replace the 1600 meters at High School State Track & Field Meets across the country.

Become a Mile Maniac member or a BBTM sponsor today! Join us, and go Mile!

Join Us

Thanks for joining the movement and being a Mile Maniac. We'll keep you up to-date with our Mile wires as well as exclusive contests and opportunities. Help us spread the word by sharing our site and joining us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!