Dyrol Burleson

Birthday: 04/27/40 Mile PR: 3:55.60 - 1963
Metric Mile (1500m) PR: 3:38.80 - 1964
High School: Cottage Grove HS '58
Hometown: Cottage Grove, OR
College: University of Oregon '62
Current Residence: Turner, OR

Dyrol Burleson was a two-time Olympic finalist at 1500 meters, finishing 6th in 1960 Rome and 5th in 1964 Tokyo. He was ranked top 10 in the world at 1500m / Mile on seven occasions and held the #1 ranking by Track & Field News in 1961 (the first American ever).

Burleson won gold in the 1500 meters at the 1959 Pan Am Games and was a five-time USA 1500m champion, winning the Olympic Trials in 1960 and 1964. He twice held the outdoor U.S. Mile record, 3:58.6 in 1960 (see below) and 3:57.6 in 1961, and the U.S. 1500 meter record (3:41.3 and 3:40.9 in 1960) as well as setting the indoor U.S. Mile record (tie 4:03.8 in 1961) .

As an Oregon Duck, Burleson was a three-time NCAA champion, taking first in the 1500 meters in 1960 and the Mile in 1961 and 1962. On April 23, 1960, Burleson was the first runner to clock a sub-4 minute Mile (3:58.6) at the University of Oregon’s famed Hayward Field; it was also his first sub-4 (and second American to do so). He also set the U.S. high school Mile record twice in 1958 (4:13.2 and 4:12.2).

In 2023, Burly was one of 14 inductees into the second class of USTFCCCA’s Collegiate Athlete Hall of Fame.

FUN FACT: Burleson was the first to receive a full track & field scholarship from legendary University of Oregon coach Bill Bowerman, and Burly rewarded Bowerman's faith in him with an undefeated streak in his three years of collegiate competition.

FUN FACT II: His Cottage Grove High School coach was another legend: Sam Bell (also a National Track & Field Hall of Famer).


Burleson Headed to Collegiate Athlete Hall of Fame

April 28, 2023

Two-time Olympian, who won two NCAA Mile titles, one of 14-member class to be inducted Sept. 14 at the Hult Center in Eugene

From University of Oregon Athletics

EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon great and three-time NCAA champion Dyrol Burleson is headed to the Collegiate Track & Field / Cross Country...

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Olympian Dyrol Burleson addresses Cascade High students

October 27, 2017

“I had the desire not to lose... I guess that’s a mental side.”

By Justin Much, Stayton Mail

Who better is there to ask about his favorite place to run than a world class runner?

Two-time Olympic middle-distance runner Dyrol Burleson, an inductee of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame,...

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Dyrol Burleson Interview

May 01, 2012

Greatest running moment: That first sub-4 Mile on Hayward Field thanks to Ernie Cunliffe – that would be it.

By Gary Cohen

Dyrol Burleson was a member of the 1960 and 1964 United States Olympic teams in the 1500 meters where he finished in sixth and fifth place, respectively. He won the 1960...

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Dyrol Burleson (1954-58) Lions’ World Class Track Legend

March 05, 2008

Two-time Olympian was first runner to break the 4-minute Mile barrier at the University of Oregon

By Jerry Thompson, Cottage Grove Sentinel

It all began with a magazine cover. As a 14-year old growing up in Cottage Grove, Dyrol Burleson saw a photo of Great Britain's Roger Bannister on the...

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A Kansas Boy with a Man-Size Task

September 14, 1964

This week in Los Angeles, 135 athletes will be competing for 60 positions on the U.S. Olympic track & field team. Some of them—such as Dyrol Burleson, Bob Schul and Henry Carr—have already clinched a spot on the team, provided they are still in good shape, by virtue of their victories in the...

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Dyrol Burleson, Miler

May 30, 1960

Two-time Olympian featured on two SI covers: "The Mile was really something back then."

By Farrell Evans, Sports Illustrated

As a precocious teenager growing up in Cottage Grove, Ore., in 1954, Dyrol Burleson set three goals: run a sub-4 minute Mile as Roger Bannister had in making history...

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The New Herb Elliott

May 30, 1960

Australia's superb Miler may still be the best in the world, but he has lost his fierce dedication. Now he faces the challenge of Oregon's Dyrol Burleson, who is still hungry

By Tex Maule, Sports Illustrated

Two years ago a grim, young, hawk-nosed Australian named Herb Elliott was the talk...

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