Mile News

Race the Mile: America’s Distance

June 14, 2014

There is something approachable and achievable in the Mile. The race is hard, but it's over quickly. It's achievable for both adults and kids alike.


Roger Bannister of England was the first to break the 4 minute Mile barrier in 1954. Fifty years ago last week, 1960's teen phenom Jim Ryun of Wichita, KS, was the first high school boy to break the mythical barrier. The Mile has become the measure of running accomplishments in America, but there were very few Mile races across the country until recently.

I didn’t run track seriously as a kid growing up. I had to run the Mile in middle school testing for the Presidents Fitness Award. In college after taking to jogging I ran a 2 mile time trial in a low key running class. But I had never raced a Mile race until I moved to Boulder and discovered the fun and excitement of the Pearl Street Mile (photo, above right).

There is some debate on if we should even care about the Mile as an event, and why not just convert to metric all together. Ryan Lamppa has this to counter, “The Mile is ‘America’s distance’. This country understands miles and miles per hour,” After all, even in timing for a 10K event, results may display your average pace per Mile.

Ryan Lamppa is the media director at Running USA and the founder of the Bring Back the Mile effort. Lamppa hopes its rebirth can get more people running the distance, promote track & field and keep the heroics of athletes like Ryun alive in American culture. “Most everyone can get out and run a Mile, if they can do that a few times a week, they are on their way to a healthier lifestyle.”

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Tags: ryan lamppa (110) , bbtm news (207)

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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.

Bring Back the Mile to celebrate the storied distance and to recognize the people who made and make the Mile great and to promote Mile events and the next generation of U.S. Milers.

Bring Back the Mile to create a national movement for the Mile as America’s Distance,
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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