Steve Spence ran his first sub 5:00 minute mile 37 years ago and hasn't stopped since. He put it out to the public that he would be making the attempt this fated week a few months ago before he even began running after almost a year layoff due to injury. He began with with 1 minute on 1 minute off in May to just get his body prepared to run. Within weeks he was up to 10, 15, and 20 min runs. But would be have enough time after such a long layoff? He began running with his daughters and within a month he was ready to go out and run with some of his former athletes but he couldnt hang for long before dropping off. He was struggling with going anaerobic on hills which caused some concern. By late July he was now running with the guys team and going further pushing his long run over 80 minutes. But does he have the speed? He was throwing in some fartleks and strides on a few runs a week which was bringing back the snap in his legs he used to feel years ago. Three days out he steps on the track and does a few 400's averaging 75 followed by some 200's in 35. This left him with some mixed emotions because he did those with recovery and in just a few days he had to be ready to go.
Today was race day and he invited a small group to run with him including his brother Neil and alumnis "Gish" from the class of 98'. They recruited a rabbit with the task of running 74's named Dustin Adams who recently finished college with a solid 14:56 5k pr. The weather was ideal, with 68 degrees creating a chill in the air and a sun that already set removed the need for sunglasses. The evening started with the National Anthem played over the speaker with a crowd of over 50 getting excited, something special was about to happen.
The homestretch was lined with fans and the gun went off! Through the 440 they hit 73, was that too fast? At this point Steve was close to the rabbit with Neil and Gish right on 75. They continue through 880 in 2:27 so the pace slowed to a 75 but still on pace. Adams kept pushing and Steve was using his famous 2x2 breathing keeping his body relaxed and the effort in check. 1320 split of 3:41 showed that there was a surge in the pace but hopefully he wasn't going too fast. Gish was 3:46 and Neil was close behind in 3:51 also hoping for the sub 5 minute mile! Coming down the straight the crowd cheered and screamed as the clock ticked off. As he finished it was obvious that he had more left in the tank, the time.... 4:52.9 a great time for only a few months of training and one track workout. Its obvious with a little more time he is capable of much faster. For now though sub 5 is checked off for the year and make sure to check in next year for his next attempt at 38 years at 51 years young!! congrats Gish for a solid 5:03 and Neil in 5:11. A video will be posted on flotrack within a couple of days with footage and post race interviews.
Great job coach!!!