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February 16, 2017

Who were sub-four U.S. Milers No. 100, 200, 300 and 400?

The United States added five new members to the all-time sub-four minute miler list last weekend. The Husky Classic welcomed Craig Nowak, Tim Gorman and Cole Rockhold to the all-time list.

We are now at No. 484 and No. 500 could be possible by the end of 2017. Last year had the most new additions with 26 men breaking four minutes. 2017 already has nine new additions and all of them are collegiate runners.

UPDATE: As of Aug. 31, the U.S. sub-four minute lists now sits at 492 runners.

Before we try to predict who will be Mr. 500, here’s a look back at No. 100, 200, 300 and 400:

Mr. 100: Jim Spivey (Indiana)

Sub-Four: 3:58.9 indoors on February 9, 1980 at the Mason Dixon Games in Lousiville, Kentucky

Less than a month before he turned 20 years old, Spivey broke the four-minute barrier for the first of his 68 sub-four miles. Spivey went on to become an Olympian and was fifth at the 1984 Olympics for 1,500. He missed the Olympic team four years later with a fourth place finish at the Trials but then made the team for Barcelona in 1992. He took eighth in the ’92 Olympic final before moving up to the 5,000 for the next Olympic cycle. He actually still holds the American record of 4:52.44 in the rare 2,000 meter run.

Mr. 200: Chris Katon (Unattached)

Sub-Four: 3:59.19 outdoors on June 4th, 1994 in Eugene, Oregon

Katon broke the four-minute barrier in a race where Buck Jones (Club Northwest), Shannon Lemora (Nike Oregon), Benny McIntosh (Asics), Jon Warren (Nike Texas) and Jim Howarth (Nike RR) all joined the club. There is not a whole lot of information on Katon available on the internet but he never ran faster than that performance. None of the guys that joined the club that day ever did.

Mr. 300: John Richardson (Kentucky)

Sub-Four: 3:59.35 indoors on February 2nd, 2008 at the McCravy Memorial Meet in Lexington, Kentucky

Richardson is one of New Jersey’s most famous runners as he was a standout at Ocean City high school. He broke four minutes in his last home meet and finished second in the race. Former Kentucky runner David Freeman was running unattached and beat him at the finish line. Richardson was the last Kentucky Wildcat to get under the barrier until Matt Hillenbrand came around in 2014. Richardson never improved upon his time.

Mr. 400: Robby Andrews (Adidas)

Sub-Four: 3:57.82 outdoors on April 27th, 2013 at the Penn Relays

Just about four years ago, Andrews broke four minutes for the mile for the first time, which many didn’t realize at the time because he put together an impressive fourth place finish at the 1,500 Olympic Trials. In the same race, Mike Rutt and Tyler Mulder broke four minutes for the mile for the first time to become No. 398 and 399 all-time.

I remember watching this race from the stadium and it’s funny to look back on because Andrews’ style now out-kicks people in the second half of races and the 2013 Penn Relays mile was a race, where he tightened up in the closing meters from leading in the late stages and was swallowed by Kenya’s Jonathan Sawe, Rutt and Mulder.

Andrews’ mile personal best is now down to 3:53.16 (2016) indoors and 3:57.15 (2015) outdoors.

Listen to our recent podcast with Andrews below:

View the full list of U.S. sub-four minute milers here.

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