Dreaming Big: Joel Gomez Sees Himself Running Sub-4 Mile in High School
“I think every kid that races the Mile dreams of wanting to break 4 minutes. For Joel, he has already overcome so much – he understands that it won’t just happen and knows he is going to have to work for it.”
By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego
In sixth grade, Joel Gomez passed a test allowing him to skip 7th grade math. Now a 15-year-old sophomore at Canyon Crest Academy, he’s taking calculus.
But his biggest math challenge involves running — averaging under 60 seconds a quarter-mile lap four times in a row.
Joel can see himself becoming a sub-4-minute Miler before graduation — a feat accomplished by only 10 American preps — including one in San Diego (Tim Danielson’s 3:59.4 in 1966, the second overall).
“I’ve … been saying that since I was a freshman,” Joel says. “That was my goal. Coach [Andrew] Corman thought I was a little crazy because he hadn’t seen me run yet. … I think he’s taking it a bit more seriously now.”
So is U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee. That governing body recently named Joel a Track & Field High School All-American for his 1500 meter run of 4:15.86 at the Desert Challenge Games last June in Tempe, Arizona.
That’s roughly 4:34 mile pace — as a 14-year-old freshman.
Even more remarkable: Joel is legally blind.
“My mission in life is to inspire others, so that they too can overcome their challenges,” he said in a TedX talk in his home of Encinitas. He’s an ambassador for San Diego-based Vision of Children Foundation.
Born with a rare genetic disorder called blue cone monochromacy (BCM for short), Joel likens it to the blindness one briefly experiences walking out of a dark theater into bright sunshine. Except his affliction is constant, even in moderate light.
Continue reading at: timesofsandiego.com
Original song “Runnin’ Blind” video by Joel Gomez below.