Master of the Mile
Steve Scott, now 40 and a cancer survivor, plans to break 4 minutes again
By John Walters, Sports Illustrated
Steve Scott stands at the starting line on the track at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field, in Eugene, on May 26, 1996. He has 4 minutes to prove to himself that he is immortal. Running more sub-4 minute Miles (137) than anyone in history has not convinced him. Nor has setting the U.S. record in the Mile (3:47.69), a 14-year-old mark no other American has approached. Beating cancer, which Scott did in 1994, came closest to establishing his immortality. "It was just like overcoming an injury," he says.
Steve Scott—the name sounds boyish, like Peter Pan—will run four laps around Hayward's oval against a world class field. Twenty-one days before, on May 5, he celebrated his 40th birthday. "I couldn't wait to turn 40," he says. "For the last three years I've been salivating for that day."
He wants to be the first Masters runner - 40 and older - to break 4 minutes for the Mile outdoors. (Eamonn Coghlan accomplished the feat indoors in Boston in '94.) Three years have passed since Scott's last sub-4, but as Coghlan, 43, says, "If anyone that age knows how to break 4 minutes, Steve Scott does."
Starting in Los Angeles, where he first broke the barrier in 1977, Scott and the sub-4 Mile roamed 29 countries on six continents. The track club that sponsored Scott in his prime, during the early 1980s - its name was emblazoned across his singlet, as if on a license plate - was called Sub 4. Scott's California license plate reads MRMILER.
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