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High schooler runs sub-4 mile at California track meet

Leo Daschbach became the 11th American high schooler to run a mile in under four minutes on Saturday

Photo by: leo_m_daschbach

On Saturday night, Leo Daschbach became just the 11th American high schooler to break the four-minute-mile barrier, running a 3:59.54 at the Quarantine Clasico in El Dorado Hills, Calif. Daschbach closed with a second 800m of 1:56.52, and he clocked a final lap of 56.81 to eke out a sub-four-minute run. He now sits in ninth-place all-time for U.S. high school boys, and he is the sixth high schooler to go under four minutes since 2015.

Daschbach’s run

Daschbach is from Gilbert, Ariz., and he’s signed to run for the University of Washington next year. He told MileSplit that as he closed out the race, he didn’t think he was going to break the four-minute barrier.

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“I didn’t realize I was going to run sub-four until I literally leaned across the line and the clock still said 59,” he said. “I still can’t believe it.” With 800m to go, his time was 2:03.03. He ran his third lap in 59.71, starting his bell lap at 3:02.74. Although he probably wasn’t in the right headspace to do the math, that time meant he had to run a blistering 57-second final lap to break four, and he did just that, running a 56.81.

With his new PB, Daschbach has joined an elite list that includes U.S. mile record-holder Alan Webb, who ran a 3:53.43 in 2001 at the age of 17 (his U.S. record is 3:46.91).

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Canadian sub-four (and sub-4:36) milers

To date, 56 Canadian men have broken the four-minute barrier, according to Broadway Run Club. Of those 56 men, three were juniors (under the age of 20) when they broke four minutes for the first time. Justyn Knight holds the indoor Canadian junior record from 2015, when he ran a 3:59.51 in Pennsylvania at the age of 18 (although he was already out of high school and attending Syracuse University when he ran this time).

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Michael Woods and Marc Olesen are the other two junior sub-four Canadian runners who broke four minutes before university. Woods owns the Canadian junior outdoor mile record of 3:57.48, which he ran in July 2005 at the age of 18, just over a month before going to the University of Michigan. Olesen attended Stanford University, and he ran his first sub-four mile—a 3:58.08—in June 1983, also before going off to school. No other Canadian boy has broken the four-minute barrier, and none have done it while still in high school.

For the women, the four-minute barrier equivalent is 4:36, and 33 Canadians have beaten this time. Gabriela DeBues-Stafford has the Canadian mile record of 4:17.87, which she ran in July 2019. Glenda Reiser is the only Canadian junior who has ever dipped below the 4:36 barrier. She ran 4:35.13 in London, U.K., in 1973 at the age of 18.