Jim Beatty

Birthday: 10/28/34 Mile PR: 3:55.5 - 1963
Metric Mile (1500m) PR: 3:39.4 - 1962
High School: Central (Charlotte, NC) '53
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
College: University of North Carolina '57
Current Residence: Charlotte, NC

Jim Beatty was the first man to break 4 minutes for the Mile indoors (3:58.9 on February 10, 1962 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena). Beatty, a 1960 Olympian at 5000 meters, was an outdoor AAU champion in the Mile in 1962 and a three-time indoor AAU Mile champion (1961-63).

The 1962 Sullivan Award winner and University of North Carolina grad also held American records for 1500m and the Mile that he set four times (outdoors) as well as the world indoor Mile record twice.

FUN FACT: The local North Carolina newspapers called him "Little Jimmy Beatty", and later, he was known as Mr. Inside because he was the first man sub-4 minutes for the Mile indoors (Roger Bannister was Mr. Outside).

FUN FACT II: Beatty, a state Mile champion and former boxer, also recorded the first sub-4 minute Mile at the national championships (3:57.9 outdoors in 1962).


Celebrating 60 years since Jim Beatty ran the first indoor sub-4 minute Mile, a record by the book

February 09, 2022

“‘I want to be that person and I want an American to do it.’”

By Scott M. Reid, Orange County Register

On an autumn day in 1961, Jim Beatty, the world’s top-ranked Miler, was on an easy run in Los Angeles, slowly returning from an injury.

It was one of those solitary runs runners sometimes...

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Beatty, world’s first indoor sub-4 Miler, donates track spike to MOWA

January 03, 2022

“I wanted an American to become the first man in the world to go under 4 minutes indoors.”

By Simon Turnbull for World Athletics Heritage

Whenever Jim Beatty is asked to speak about his enduring niche in track & field history, as the first man to run an indoor Mile in less than 4 minutes, he...

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Jim Beatty Interview

February 10, 2015

That last quarter Mile was run out of fear because I didn’t know what I had to negotiate.

By Gary Cohen

Jim Beatty is the first person to run a sub-4:00 Mile indoors which he did on February 10, 1962 when he ran 3:58.9 at the Los Angeles Invitational. The trailblazer is also the first...

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Jim Beatty’s “Good Luck” Telegram

September 29, 2013

50 years later a 1956 twenty-six foot love letter with more than 1,200 signatures wishing Jim Beatty luck resurfaces; Beatty first man to run a sub-4 minute Mile indoors

By Wendy Brenner, Oxford American

It takes three people to hold it up, like an anaconda, draped between them and unfurled...

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Jim Beatty: An All-American Miler

February 10, 2012

Fifty years ago on February 10, a short middle-distance specialist from North Carolina stepped up on the boarded indoor track at the Los Angeles Sports Arena and made running history. Three minutes and 58 seconds after the starting gun had sounded, Jim Beatty became the first human ever to go...

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Bring Back the Mile Salutes Jim Beatty

February 09, 2012

Historic first sub-4 minute indoor Mile by Beatty celebrates 50th anniversary on February 10, 2012

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – On February 10, 1962 in Los Angeles, American Jim Beatty became the first man to break 4 minutes for the Mile indoors, nearly 8 years after Great Britain’s Roger Bannister...

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The summit chase of an organization Miler: Jim Beatty

September 03, 1962

"Everybody said the American runner is lazy, don't work. Now the American distance runner is the best in the vorld."

By John Lovesey, Sports Illustrated

Getting to the top these days is not so much a climb for mountaineers as it is an exercise in pyramidal logistics. A large expedition,...

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History on The Boards

February 19, 1962

The starter's gun in Los Angeles sends off Jim Beatty on the fastest indoor Mile ever run. The field from the pole: Tabori, Beatty, Grelle, Close, Martin

By Tex Maule, Sports Illustrated

Murray Halberg, an almost painfully thin New Zealander with cool light-blue eyes under pale bushy...

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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.

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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