Gary Martin and Connor Burns make history as two high schoolers go under-4 in same race for first time

June 2, 2022

History was made Thursday night at the 2022 HOKA Festival of Miles in St. Louis.

For the first time ever, two American high school students have gone under 4:00 to the mile in the same race.

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For the first time ever, three different American high school students beat 4:00 in the same year.

And for the first time since jim ryun in 1964, a high schooler went under-4 as Southern Boone (Mo.) High School Connor Burns ran 3:58.83 to become the U.S. Under-4 club’s 15th high schooler. Burns finished 5th, one spot behind high school Gary Martin who lowered his bp to 3:57.89 in 4th, in the race won by pro Paul Ryan in 3:55.95.

Connor Burns (l) and Gary Martin (r) celebrate history

Martin, who rose to national prominence on May 14 when he ran 3:57.98 to join Ryun as the second American high schooler to break 4:00 in a rabbitless high school race, played a leading role in the tonight’s race as he took over the lead at 1km when the bunny gave up. Martin was leading until just before the final corner when the Aussie pro Jack Antsey would pass, soon followed by pros Paul Ryan and Caleb Webb. Ryan would take the lead heading into the home stretch and take the win in 3:55.95 thanks to a final lap of 55.98. As Antsey and Webb would take the next two spots, Martin and Burns chased the story and the clock behind them.

Paul Ryan wins, Connor Burns and Gary Martin go under 4

Martin improved his bp to 3:57.89. A few steps behind, the high school student from Missouri Burns was the biggest surprise of the evening. Just five days after finishing second in the 1600 at the Class 3 Missouri State meet in 4:06.49, Burns closed in 58.22 for his final lap to clock a whopping personal best 3:58, 83 (Burns’ previous bp was 4:02.96 he ran indoors at Iowa State on Feb. 12). Martin remains No. 6 on the all-time list of American high schools, while Burns moves to No. 7. The third high schooler to smash 4:00 this year, Newbury Park’s Colin Sahlman which ran 3:56.24 at Pre Saturday, is #3.

Only once before has an American high school student gone below the 4 mark on the mile: on June 5, 1964, when Jim Ryun ran 3:59.0 to become the first high school student to go below the 4 mark.

Hard to believe it took someone else 58 years to do this, but tonight was a night for records.

Mile results

PL Athlete
Time Intermediate times / Cumulative time
1 RIAN, Paul
Gold Coast
3:55.95 59.52 59.64 1:00.82 55.98 (59.52) (1:59.16) (2:59.97) (3:55.95)
2 ANTSEY, Jack
dark sky distance
3:56.87 59.31 59.70 1:00.74 57.14 (59.31) (1:59.00) (2:59.74) (3:56.87)
3 WEBB, Caleb
3:57.54 59.71 59.76 1:00.76 57.34 (59.71) (1:59.46) (3:00.21) (3:57.54)
4 MARTIN, Gary
Archbishop Wood High
3:57.89 58.26 1:00.20 1:01.09 58.36 (58.26) (1:58.45) (2:59.54) (3:57.89)
5 Burns, Connor
South Boone HS
3:58.83 1:00.35 59.69 1:00.59 58.22 (1:00.35) (2:00.03) (3:00.62) (3:58.83)
6 CLAYTON, Jason
Loyola Chicago
3:59.53 59.17 1:00.22 1:01.32 58.83 (59.17) (1:59.39) (3:00.71) (3:59.53)
seven MAKE PEACE, Euan
Big running river
3:59.92 1:00.12 59.73 1:00.61 59.47 (1:00.12) (1:59.85) (3:00.46) (3:59.92)
8 KIPTOO, Wesley
4:00.25 58.57 1:00.31 1:01.22 1:00.17 (58.57) (1:58.87) (3:00.09) (4:00.25)
9 DALQUIST, Austen
Running Roots
4:00.26 59.78 1:00.16 1:01.04 59.30 (59.78) (1:59.93) (3:00.97) (4:00.26)
ten MANN, Jordan
Ocean State Athletic
4:00.63 1:00.00 59.62 1:00.80 1:00.22 (1:00.00) (1:59.62) (3:00.41) (4:00.63)
11 OGAILIN, Oisin
4:00.75 59.86 59.80 1:01.00 1:00.09 (59.86) (1:59.66) (3:00.66) (4:00.75)
12 SOUTH, Connar
Pitt’s State
4:01.66 1:00.58 1:00.20 1:01.25 59.64 (1:00.58) (2:00.77) (3:02.02) (4:01.66)
13 ACKLEY, Daelen
Eldorado Springs HS
4:11.10 1:00.90 1:00.97 1:02.54 1:06.70 (1:00.90) (2:01.87) (3:04.41) (4:11.10)

Getting Started: Who is Connor Burns?

Gary Martin got a lot of attention when he went under-4 and was a guest on the Track Talk podcast (we’ve got the highlights and the full podcast here), but Connor Burns was relatively unknown before tonight although it is very good.

Burns couldn’t really compete in his freshman year in high school as he was a freshman in the spring of 2020 when most high school sports were canceled due to COVID (although he ran 4:44 for 1600 in July 2020). He first came to attention at LetsRun last year when he ran 4:10 in the mile as a sophomore (see Connor MF Burns). He lowered that to 4:02 in February so obviously the under-4 was a possibility, but he’s a guy who was beaten in his state meet last week in the 1600 (provided it’s the day after his 8:48 run in the 3200). Now he’s the fastest high schooler ever on the mile.

Burns’ father Marc was the longtime cross-country coach at the University of Missouri until 2021, where he coached the future Olympian Karissa Schweizer among others. Marc then left to work at Boost Treadmills.

QT: Kudos to Gary Martin for pushing the pace

Gary Martin at the bell
Gary Martin at the bell

Although there were a few pros in this race, it was Martin who kept the pace somewhat honest when the bunny went down. This shouldn’t be a high school student’s job 🙂

Replay of the race here. Full results with splits here.

Discuss the race and Burns’ achievement on our world-renowned fan forum/messageboard. Did you know that we have an HS only forum?

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