In May, University of North Carolina (UNC) track coach Dylan Sorensen broke the world record for the fastest mile while dribbling a basketball. He ran an impressive 4:37 to beat the record by 15 seconds. In the months following Sorensen’s run, his record was lowered twice, and heading into his attempt on November 18, the time to beat was 4:33.75. He managed to win the record back, but he cut it close, running a 4:33.73, just 0.02 seconds quicker than the previous mark. Sorensen used his run as a chance to raise money for the FORevHer Tar Heels program, a UNC nonprofit for female student athletes.
A popular challenge
Since former U.S. Olympian Nick Symmonds ran a world record time of 5:29 in August 2019, the basketball mile has become really popular. Not long after Symmonds’s run, a runner from California Polytechnic State University named Thomas Schauerman became the first person to break five minutes in the event, completing the mile in 4:52. Sorensen was the next to beat the record with his 4:37 in May.
A couple of months later, Sorensen’s mark was beaten by former OFSAA 3,000m champion Tennessee Tremain of Guelph, Ont., who ran 4:33.9. In September, the record was lowered once more when Yale University cross-country runner Thomas Cirrito posted a 4:33.75, just barely bettering Tremain’s time. Now, the record is back in Sorensen’s name, but at the rate this event is contested, it might not be his for long.
The women’s basketball mile has also been a popular challenge this year, and it has been lowered on several occasions, including once in July when Sydney Masciarelli ran 5:08.5. Masciarelli recently signed with UNC, so she will be coached by Sorensen, meaning the two will have plenty of chances to work together to run more basketball miles. The current women’s record sits at 4:58.56, and it belongs to BYU’s Whittni Orton.
Sorensen ran at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and while still competing, he posted PBs of 3:47.28 for the 1,500m 4:06.27 for the mile. These are quick times, and Sorensen’s experience in the world of elite track has clearly served him well with his record attempts. His 4:33.73 basketball mile result works out to a blazing-fast pace of 2:50 per kilometre. As he said after the run, “the record is a very small part of this,” noting that his main focus was to raise money for FORevHer Tar Heels. He has yet to post how much money he fundraised, but his run garnered a lot of attention, so the final tally could be quite high.