Masters Mile World Record – We Were There!

Masters Mile World Record ‰ÛÒ We Were There!

No, not at Millrose this Feb. 14 for 40 year-old Bernard Lagat‰Ûªs
epic mile, but at Harvard‰Ûªs Gordon Track on February 20, 1994 as Irish great
Eammon Coghlan attempted to become the first runner over 40 to run a sub
four-minute mile.


A few excerpts penned by this impressionable cub reporter over two
decades ago: ‰ÛÏIn a specially designed Mobil Mile held during he Massachusetts
High School State Class Championships at Harvard‰Ûªs Gordon Track on February 20,
Irish miler Eamonn Coghlan accomplished yet another first in his distinguished
career; he changed the course of track and field history by becoming the first
runner over 40 years of age to run the mile in under four minutes.‰Û


Following world class 800 meter specialist Stanley Redwine through
the half in 1:59.44 and three quarters in 2:59.22, Coghlan ran alone for the
last two laps. Exhorted onward by nearly 3,000 high decibel, mostly youthful
fans, the ‰ÛÏChairman of the Boards‰Û turned on the jets and flew across the finish
line to freeze the clock at 3:58.15.‰Û


‰ÛÏIn the delirium that followed, Coghlan was handed an Irish flag
as he jogged a victory lap. He was mobbed by reporters and fans, many of whom
found themselves hoarse. ‰ÛÏI‰Ûªve never heard so much noise in all my life,‰Û
exclaimed a jubilant Coghlan. ‰ÛÏIt was electrifying. It was great to do this in
front of all these kids. It was louder than Madison Square Garden.‰Û ‰Û_


‰Û_ ‰ÛÏThe magic of the impending moment was not lost on the thousands
straining their lungs in hopes of ushering in a new world record to the loudest
accompaniment possible. Newman added his amplified vocals to the din: ‰ÛÏHe can
do it! Bring him home! He‰Ûªs going to do it!‰Û With trademark grimace, Coghlan
clocked the penultimate 200 in 29.38 and bore down for the final assault. ‰ÛÏWhen
Stanley stepped off the track at 2:58,‰Û said Coghlan, ‰ÛÏI knew that if I kept
the momentum and the same effort, and tried to relax the last few laps, it was
within reach.‰Û


Amid a rising cresendo, Coghlan clipped the final 200 in 29.55. Up
went the record, down from the stands came the Irish flag. Coghlan draped
himself in it and began a slow, victory jog surrounded by well wishers,
autograph seekers, photographers and reporters. Redwine watched it all from the
infield. He‰Ûªd seen world record assaults before, but‰Û_‰ÛThis,‰Û he said smiling.
‰ÛÏThis is something different.‰Û


Bill Clark, who was instrumental in putting the mile together, was
one of many who joined Coghlan in celebration at the Eliot Lounge following the
record. This issue‰Ûªs cover photographer, NY‰Ûªs Victah Sailor, was Coghlan‰Ûªs
chauffeur on the ride back to the Empire State. And yours truly (of legal age)
gladly accepted a Budweiser proffered by the Great One, perhaps the only
Budweiser to ever pass these lips, but hey, it was a special evening.

‰ÛÓBob F.


Photo: Legendary milers Bernard Lagat and
Eammon Coghlan following Lagat‰Ûªs masters world record in the Millrose Wanamaker

Photo by Andrew McLanahan/



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