Wes Santee

Birthday: 03/25/32 Mile PR: 4:00.5 - 1955
Metric Mile (1500m) PR: 3:42.8 - 1954 (former world record)
High School: Ashland HS '50
Hometown: Ashland, KS
College: University of Kansas '54

Wes Santee  was an Olympian in the 5000 meters at the Games in Helsinki 1952, but he is best known for his efforts in the Mile and 1500 meters. Santee was one of a select few who were chasing the sub-4 minute Mile barrier before it was achieved in 1954 by Roger Bannister of Great Britain.

Santee captured USA Outdoor 1500m / Mile crowns in 1952, 1953 & 1955, and four times he set the outdoor U.S. Mile record between 1953-55, just missing the first sub-4 by an American with his 4:00.5 final record clocking.

On June 4, 1954, Santee set the world record in the 1500 meters with a time of 3:42.8 and also broke the indoor Mile world record twice (4:04.9 in 1954 and 4:03.8 in 1955) and the indoor 1500 meter world record in 1955 (3:48.3). The Kansas grad won the NCAA outdoor Mile title in 1953 and was the 1500m silver medalist at the 1955 Pan Am Games.

Santee passed away on November 14, 2010.

FUN FACTS: Born in Ashland, Kansas, Santee, because of his running prowess, was nicknamed the "Ashland Antelope" and his other nickname was "The Kansas Cowboy". His first name is "David".


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...

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Attic Salt: a look back

October 28, 2012

I didn’t matter what the seconds were. Bannister was under four minutes.

By Ed Cullen, The Advocate

Roger Bannister, who ran the first sub-4 minute Mile in history in 1954, was the hero of high school middle distance runners in the 1960s.

Reading Neal Bascomb’s book, “The Perfect Mile,” has...

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Where Are America’s Milers?

August 27, 1956

A stirring tradition of U.S. distance running is dying on the vine. What are the reasons, and what should be done to bring it back?

By David Richardson, Sports Illustrated 

The most extraordinary thing about the once elusive 4 minute Mile in recent weeks has been the almost casual manner in...

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Santee’s Overwhelming Saturday

March 12, 1956

In an atmosphere of confusion a great Miler scores two triumphs which could be his last

By Roy Terrell, Sports Illustrated

This is the story of a foot race destined to go down in track history as the Blackstone Mile—the only race in the memory of even the oldest AAU official (and not even the...

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The Riotous Wanamaker Mile

February 14, 1955

Gunnar Nielsen won the famed Mile and set a world record of 4:03.6 in doing it, but hardly anyone noticed, for behind the Dane, Wes Santee and Fred Dwyer were wrestling each other down the stretch

By Robert Creamer, Sports Illustrated

NEW YORK - There are those who say it was the best running...

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