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Elite Runners Quest For Chicago's First Outdoor Sub-4-Minute Mile

By Justin Breen | June 1, 2016 5:46am | Updated on June 1, 2016 6:05am
 Greg Kalinowski wins last year's race in 4:04 at St. Ignatius.
Greg Kalinowski wins last year's race in 4:04 at St. Ignatius.
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Steven Bugarin

CHICAGO — The phrase "4-minute mile" still evokes thrills in the running community.

And, perhaps surprisingly, the feat has never been accomplished in an outdoor Chicago setting.

On Friday, a group of standout pro and college runners will try to break the magical mark during the second annual "Magis Miles" meet at St. Ignatius College Prep. Last year's winner Greg Kalinowski finished in 4:04.

"When Greg Kalinowski ran 4:04, that was the fastest mile many people had ever seen in person," said St. Ignatius boys track and cross country coach Ed Ernst. "We have this beautiful facility in a beautiful city. We are excited to invite people in for this event."

Magis Miles — "magis" is Latin for "more" or "better" — also features elite high school runners, likely including recent IHSA state champions Chris and Sean Torpy of Sandburg High School and Kelly O'Brien of Palatine High School, Ernst said.

A sub-4-minute outdoor mile has never been accomplished within city limits, according to research compiled by Ryan Lamppa from the organization "Bring Back The Mile." Officials from Chicago Area Runners Association and former DePaul track and cross-country coach Pat Savage also said they weren't aware of any sub-4-minute outdoor miles ever happening in Chicago.

The only known sub-4:00 outdoor mile in the Chicago area was done by Olympian Jim Spivey, who ran 3:59.4 at North Central College in Naperville on May 17, 1994. St. Ignatius grad Tom O'Hara, who might be a spectator Friday, set a world mile record in 1964 at Chicago Stadium with a 3:56.4, but that was indoors.

Admission is $5 (cash only), and spectators are allowed on the track surface near the runners. The events will run from 7 p.m.-9:30 p.m. at St. Ignatius' Mailliard Track and Fornelli ‘51 Field, 1076 W. Roosevelt Road.

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