Mile News

Off to a Blazing Start

September 20, 2010

Less than six years after taking up distance running, Andrew Wheating has emerged as the next great American Miler

By Tim Layden, Sports Illustrated

He ran not for crypto-religious reasons, but to win races, to cover ground fast. —John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner

Most gifted young runners are not just participants in their sport; they are fully absorbed in its culture. They begin running early and soon learn the obsessively numerical language of the game—splits, Miles per week, national rankings—and they become connected across time zones in an Internet-based community. They are passionate about racing against the clock, but not always about racing against other runners.

Then there is Andrew Wheating. He didn't run a track race until the winter of his senior year at a tiny prep school in New Hampshire, 4½ years ago. When other runners would gasp, "Oh, my god, sixty-two!" for a lap run in one minute and two seconds, Wheating would ask, "Sixty-two what? Sixty-two runners in the race?" When he arrived at Oregon as an under-the-radar recruit in 2006, he had never heard of Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj, the greatest Miler in history.

"I remember him asking me, after he had decided to go to Oregon, what the world record was for the Mile," says former Stanford runner Russell Brown, who knew Wheating from growing up in New Hampshire. "He knew nothing about the sport."

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Tags: tim layden (9) , hicham el guerrouj (15) , andrew wheating (22)

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