Mile News

The Battle to Bring Back America’s Distance

July 07, 2012

By Amy Simpson, MileSplit

On a windy day in Oxford, England, one man and one distance were elevated to a level of fame previously unattained by any track athlete. In 1954, when Roger Bannister became the first man to run a mile in less than four minutes, the world was inspired to achieve the impossible and "The Mile" gained a romantic luster that remains to this day.

Then the sport changed -- in the 1980s high school state federations switched from the mile to the 1600- or 1500-meter races. New tracks were 400 meters instead of the usual 440 yards, so the change was out of convenience. Today, high school athletes in only one state, Massachusetts, still run the Mile in competition.

One group has begun to push back against the switch and fight for what they call "America's Distance." Bring Back the Mile was formed last fall and has been gaining traction this year, launching its website - - in January and garnering support around the nation. Its founder, Ryan Lamppa, is the media director for Running USA and has always been a fan of the Mile.

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Tags: ryan lamppa (110) , milesplit (1) , bbtm news (207) , amy simpson (1)

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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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