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71-year-old breaks 5:30 in indoor mile world record

The previous record fell at the Armory in New York City

Gary Patton

Gary Patton of the United States became the first runner older than 70 to break 5:30 for an indoor mile on Dec. 7. The then 71-year-old covered 1,609m in 5:29.81 to break a 30-year-old record, according to the World Masters Athletics record book, at the New York Road Runners’ Night at the Races.

The NYRR-hosted event – the same organization that puts on the New York City Marathon – took place at the Armory, a 200m indoor banked track, in Manhattan. Patton, who lowered the record from 5:32.4 from 1987, turned 72 on Dec. 12.

Canadian Earl Fee owns the men’s indoor mile world record of 5:41.95 in the next oldest age group above Patton for men 75-79. Generally, the mile is a lesser-run event in Canada in relation the 1,500m, a distance at which the late Ed Whitlock holds the men’s indoor records for M75, M80 and M85.

For comparison, the men’s outdoor mile world record for M70 is 5:19.75, according to the World Masters Athletics records (last updated on Oct. 1, 2017 as of writing).