Shooting for 4-minute mile in North Dakota
To the best of Ryan Enerson's knowledge, a four-minute mile has never been run on a North Dakota outdoor track.
His hope is that could happen Monday at Grand Forks' Cushman Field.
Enerson, a former standout track athlete at Grand Forks Red River High School, is one of the organizers of the See Dick Run Elite Mile.
"We're trying to get the fastest people in the region here,'' Enerson said. "We want to run the fastest outdoor mile ever in North Dakota. The goal is to have someone run a four-minute mile.''
While there is no official record of a four-minute mile run outdoors in the state, Enerson and other race organizers have researched it. The only record they could find of a runner breaking the milestone in the state was by former North Dakota State University standout Mike Slack at an indoor meet in 1972.
"We've checked different databases that keep college track marks,'' Enerson said. "We've searched the internet. We've gone through facility records at tracks all around the state we could find. We've checked college and high school records. We've talked to coaches.
"We couldn't find anybody who did it. Nobody can remember it happening. Maybe somebody did it and it was undocumented. But we couldn't find anybody.''
The event will be held at approximately 8:30 p.m. Monday. Two male and two female races, with approximately 10 runners in each heat, will compete.
The fastest race is expected to be the men's elite division. Among the runners who have indicated they would run include:
Hunter Lucas of Fargo, who just completed his freshman track season at University of Minnesota;
Ryan Wheeling of New Town, who just completed his freshman track season at Oklahoma State;
Isaac Huber, who running for Edgeley-Kulm won the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 at the recent Class B state high school track meet;
And Eldon Warner, a University of South Dakota standout who ran in the first round of this spring's NCAA meet.
The women's top runners are expected to include former NDSU All-American Maddie vanBeek, current NDSU runner Katie Bostrom and University of Mary NCAA Division II national champion Lexi Zeis.
The one drawback in the bid for a four-minute mile might be timing. "The college guys recently finished their seasons, so runners usually take a few weeks off after that,'' Enerson said. "We're kind of in that window now, where they haven't trained hard.''
This is the third season the race has been held, and Enerson said there was more of a push to get elite runners from around the region.
"We talked to as many people as we could,'' Enerson said. "We got the word out on social media. I think we have more elite runners coming this year.
"We broke the mile facility record at Cushman each of the last two years. I think we'll shatter it this year.''