The mile is the only imperial distance that is now raced on the track and that somewhat infrequently save in the USA where it has been retained on the College racing circuit. There is however something rather magical and alluring about the mile. Even people with a passing interest in athletics talk about the four minute mile and they might even know that Roger Bannister was the first individual to break this particular athletic barrier. Sixty one years after Bannister collapsed over the line to gain a world record mark, which many people believed to be beyond a human's capability, there is still a desire to test oneself over seventeen hundred and sixty yards.
Yesterday evening NIRunning in association with the British Milers Club hosted a series of mile races at the Mary Peters track in Belfast. Over one hundred and fifty individuals turned up to test themselves. The majority were I suppose club runners but those with a lesser experience of competitive racing were catered for in the slower races. Many people definitely underestimated their ability and elected for a race which was comfortably within their capabilities. The slowest race was for a predicted time of 10 mins +. Successive races lowered the bar in one minute intervals.
Perhaps not unsurprisingly no one joined Sir Roger's sub 4 club. After all more people have climbed Everest than have broken the four minute mile barrier. The fastest runs of the night were from James Hamilton, (4:33.61) and Kelly Neely, (4:58.93). As for the writer of this blog he does have to report that not only did he not succeed in breaking the four minute barrier but five minutes also proved to be over the horizon. That said with the benefit of the comfort of the dear old age tables he was a good straight in front of Mr. Hamilton.