4 Wishes for the Mile in 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, particularly because we as Americans “get” the Mile, and outside of the Olympics and random negative news, our sport desperately needs more media coverage and attention as well as, and moreover, more general interest by the American public.
Wish #4 – Accept Mile times for 2015 World Championships & 2016 Rio Olympics
Why not? Hats off to the IAAF, the international federation, for accepting Mile times to qualify for the 1500 meters at the upcoming 2014 World Indoor Championships in Poland. The Mile standards (3:58.00 – men and 4:31.00 – women) are approximately equivalent to the 1500 standards (3:41.00 and 4:14.00). There is no reason NOT to accept Mile times for the 2015 Outdoor World Championships in Beijing and the 2016 Rio Olympics. Come on, IAAF, you can do it! After all, the Mile is an official world record distance, the only track imperial carry-over when records went metric.
Wish #3 – Out there, somewhere
Out there, somewhere is an enlightened, Big Picture parent, high school coach or federation official, who, like BBTM’s patron saint Bob McIntyre from Massachusetts in the late 1970s, will take the lead in bringing back the Mile in his or her home state. Every American boy and girl should have the opportunity to run the Mile not just the top runners at select meets. Someone at the federation level, step up and leave a lasting legacy instead of just being a rule enforcer or administrator – a necessary, but thankless job.
Wish #2 – What’s the matter with Kansas?
Unbelievably and sadly, Jim Ryun, the first and only high school boy to break 4 minutes for the Mile at a state meet (3:58.3 in 1965), does NOT hold the Kansas state meet record for the 1600 meters despite the fact that he ran further AND much faster than the current Kansas 1600m record (4:13.60). It is indefensible, shameful and plain wrong to not recognize and celebrate Ryun’s incredible to this day performance (photo above). Kansas, honor your state Mile legends Glenn Cunningham, Wes Santee and Jim Ryun by leading the way and becoming the first state to run the high school Mile again and to join Massachusetts, the only state to keep the Mile (and 2 Mile) when tracks went metric circa 1980.
We would also love for Mark Lentz, KSHSAA Administrator, to update the Kansas state record page per the below to reflect and honor Ryun’s record run until they bring back the Mile:
Wish #1 – Step Back
BBTM’s biggest and boldest wish, in an act of civil disobedience that would make Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King, Jr. proud, is that a boy or girl or group at a high school meet would step back 9 meters, or to the Mile mark, for the 1600 meters, and in essence, declare: “They can run the 1600, but for me, the Mile.” Remember, it is your sport not the officials’ sport. If you want to bring back the Mile, step back, stand up and stand out, and go Mile!
MUST READ: Massachusetts Mile champion Madison Granger’s I AM THE MILE story of what it meant to her to break 5 minutes for the Mile vs. 1600 meters.