Mile News


Crazy Running: A 15 Year Journey to 4 Minutes

August 07, 2014

With 1,000 fans screaming, clapping, and slamming their hands on the track, yelling "GET IT, GET IT, GET IT!"

By Donnie Cowart

The Early Years
I can trace my thoughts about a sub-4 minute Mile all the way back to middle school. Just starting my running career, I had no idea the challenge and work that lay before me, but I was extremely optimistic. From eighth to 10th grade I weighed less than 100 pounds. I was cut from my middle school baseball, and basketball teams with the coaches saying, "You need to grow a little taller." "You need to get stronger." Those two statements hurt, especially the "growth taller," because there wasn't anything I could do to speed the process. Then I found my home in track & field, a place where size didn't matter. In eighth grade, I mustered a 5:29 Mile, in ninth 4:59, and by 10th grade I got it down to 4:50. I was on my way. I worked hard did everything I was told to do, always telling myself I was going to be good when I was older, stronger, and possibly after that "growth spurt."

Well, the "spurt" never happened, but my senior year I ran 4:22 and got recruited to college. With a good coach, I went from 4:19 as a freshman, down to 4:04 as a senior during a race I lead from wire-to-wire. After I graduated from college in 2009, my progress continued with a 4:02 Mile in 2010, 4:00.62 in 2011 (almost there!) and 4:01 in both 2012 and 2013. Jump ahead to 2014...

Not Your Typical Pre-Race Routine
The race at Sir Walter Miler was an amazing experience, and for me it was a complete shock because 36 hours prior to my race I had a 24-hour stomach bug. I went for a shakeout Thursday morning thinking just some fresh air and increased blood flow might do my stomach some good. Arriving back at my house, I immediately felt worse and proceeded to vomit and then curl up in a ball on my couch. I had myself convinced I wasn't that sick – that I had simply eaten something that didn't agree with me, and that I would feel better once I rested. I went to work at Crazy Running, a kid's track and field organization that I co-own. After half a day, my business partner sent me home. At this point, all I had eaten was a banana and a few crackers, which I washed down with a sports drink. That night my girlfriend helped me write an email to the race director saying I wouldn't be at the pre-race dinner. We then went to the grocery store to get some tomato soup and bread. I ate as much as I could tolerate before heading to bed for 12 solid hours of sleep. The next morning (12 hours before the race) I was feeling well enough to eat breakfast and make the 2-hour trip over to Raleigh, with my girlfriend driving, of course. We stopped along the way for lunch; though still squeamish, I managed to eat something. For the rest of the trip, we battled traffic and rain, and I drifted in and out of sleep. After arriving at our host family's house, I laid down for a nap once again.

Continue reading at: www.athletebiz.us

Tags: sir walter miler (24) , donnie cowart (3)

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

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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.

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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.

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