Mile News


State Mile Guide: #2 Pennsylvania

March 13, 2013

Date of Statehood: December 12, 1787
Capital: Harrisburg
Motto: Virtue, Liberty and Independence

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a rich Mile history with the "State of Independence" hosting some of the fastest and most exciting Mile races in the United States. The historic Penn Relays has produced some of the state's fastest Miles including Tony Waldrop's 3:53.2 in 1974 and Mary Decker Slaney's 4:26.10 in 1997, both still meet records. Pennsylvania was also host to the epic 1971 Dream Mile at the Martin Luther King International Freedom Games held at Franklin Field between Marty Liquori and Jim Ryun. And then there was 20-year-old Mary Decker setting the still standing state record of 4:23.49 at the East Coast Meet of Champions 18 years earlier than her Penn Relays Mile record. In addition, Pennsylvanians also have a rich history with the Mile from 1908 Olympic gold medalist Mel Sheppard to two-time Olympic medalist (800m) Kim Gallagher and recent record runs by prep star Angel Piccirillo’s.

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Olympian Kim Gallagher appears on a T&F News cover in 1988.

STATE RECORDS

Pennsylvania Soil
Male: 3:52.26, Steve Scott (USA / CA), 1981
Female: 4:23.49, Mary Decker (USA / OR), 1979

Pennsylvanian
Male: 3:56.41, Craig Miller, 2012
Female: 4:24.85, Gina Procaccio, 1990

BOYS: 
Mile: 4:11.1, Jerry Richey, North Allegheny HS, 1967
1600m: 4:03.22, Paul Vandegrift, Archbishop Kennedy HS, 1987

GIRLS:
Mile: 4:36.94, Kim Gallagher, Upper Dublin HS, 1982 (Open competition)
Mile: 4:39.94, Angel Piccirillo, Home Center HS, 2012 (HS-only competition)
1600m: 4:39.42, Angel Piccirillo, Homer Center HS, 2012

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Did you know?
In 1974, Denis Fikes from the University of Pennsylvania finished second at the Penn Relays in 3:55.0 to Tony Waldrop's still standing meet record of 3:53.2. Fikes' mark was the fastest 'first time under 4 minutes in the Mile' by an American, which stood until Steve Holman's sub-4 debut of 3:53.31 in 1992
BBTM note - originally we stated that Fikes was the first African-American to break four minutes in the Mile. Reggie McAfee was actually the first to do so when he ran 3:59.3 in Raleigh, NC in 1973, interestingly also finishing second to Tony Waldrop who broke four minutes for the first time in that race (3:58.4). Thank you to Mark Wenneker for the contribution.

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BBTM’s state-by-state Mile guide is being produced to share the rich story of each state’s history with the Mile, a distance regardless of age, gender or fitness-level, that everyone understands. If you consider yourself a Pennsylvanian T&F sage and would like to help us expand our guide, email milemaniac@bringbackthemile.com or leave us your comments below. We welcome your support and feedback!

REFERENCES

Tags: tony waldrop (7) , steve scott (28) , state guide (14) , pennsylvania (1) , penn relays (13) , mel sheppard (4) , mary decker slaney (18) , marty liquori (26) , kim gallagher (1) , jim ryun (94) , dream mile (31) , bbtm tour (166) , angel piccirillo (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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