Archbishop Wood’s Gary Martin runs sub 4-minute mile at the Philadelphia Catholic League championships
The senior crossed the finish line with a time of 3:57.98 at the championships at Cardinal O'Hara, becoming the first Pennsylvania high schooler to run a sub-four-minute mile.
Archbishop Wood’s Gary Martin had come up just short of breaking the four-minute mile barrier at recent meets. On Saturday, at the Philadelphia Catholic League championships, he did it.
Martin became the first Pennsylvania high schooler to ever run a sub-four-minute mile, crossing the finish line with a time of 3:57.98 at the championships, which were held at Cardinal O’Hara High School. He is just the 14th U.S. high schooler to ever run a mile under four minutes.
Martin’s time is the fourth fastest outdoor time by a U.S. high schooler and is the fastest outdoor high school time since 2001. Only two runners — Virginia high schooler Alan Webb (2001) and Jim Ryun (1965) from Wichita, Kan. — have run better outdoor high school times. Both Webb and Ryun were future Olympians.
“It’s crazy, I don’t think it’s set in yet,” Martin told The Inquirer. “It started to set in during my cool-down run but it was a crazy feeling and I don’t think it’s fully set in yet. Just sitting back and realizing three years ago I had never run a mile and the 800 [meters] was a long distance for me ... but I never thought I would take it this far.”
The senior had narrowly missed out on eclipsing the four-minute mark last time out, running a Penn Relays-record 4:01.04 on April 29.
On Saturday, Martin ran away from the competition, as he usually does, finishing an almost unfathomable 20 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Zachary Brill of La Salle College High School (4:17.89). Martin said he knew early in the race he had a chance at history.
“It was a great feeling and I think through 1,200 meters, through three laps, I think I knew I had it because I was well on pace and I felt pretty good so I thought I had another fast lap in me,” Martin said. “I hadn’t made up my mind until this morning on if I was going to go for it, so it was low pressure, just enjoying it and I think that helped a lot.”
Martin, 18, has won four PIAA titles and also two indoor national titles and will run at the University of Virginia in the fall. When asked what’s next, Martin revealed he hasn’t thought about specifics just yet.
“I mean that was the big one, four minutes, that’s a big barrier for a high school miler. Now it’s just about getting faster, running as fast as I can, so I wouldn’t say there is a specific time,” Martin said. “I’m just going to try and enjoy the rest of my high school career.”