Let me put some context on this thread. I normally post under BeenThereDoneThat on most threads. My name is Dan Poole and I went to school with Sean Brosnan our first year in college in the mid 1990's. It's interesting Sean should say that, because if I recall, he ran about 4:18 (1600m) and 9:35 (3200m)in high school in New York State,; at least that's what he told us back then. I was on the team with him at Brevard Jr. College in Brevard, NC in the 1995/1996 school year. He transferred out after one year. Don't think the small mountain town life appealed to him. But that aside, my roommate Joe Gibson ran 4:20/9:20/15:12 (eventually ran for Hansons Distance Project in Michigan for a few years). The guy Sean roomed with, Chris Pluchos ran 4:14 or so in high school (and eventually ran like 14:00/29:30's for 5K/10K at NC State). We had another freshman on the team named Will Hodges who ran like 1:53/4:13/9:13. We had 4-5 sophomores who had broken or been right at 4:18-22 in high school, with another, Tommy, at about 4:14 as well . Sean is speaking from the context of what he knows/experienced. And he's right in a way, because it's really about mentality and devotion and not limiting yourself to some abstract 'number' equating to 'good'. If you set the bar low, kids aim low. Set it high and they aim high. Maybe they don't break whatever barrier is there (in this case, 4:20 for 1600m), but some will and others will get close. Sean used to tell us that in New York he was consistently in the low 4:20's himself, ran right under it a few times, indoor and outdoor, and usually was lucky to make top 4-5 in most of the 'big' meets he went to back then. I can still recall his New York accent, "I'd run like 4:21 or something and be like 6th place. Talent in New York is crazy." (He was right. I also trained a short time with Anthony Famiglietti in college and he was like a low 4:20's/9:30's guy in high school in New York and he eventually went 3:55 mile/13:13 5K, etc. He told me once he wasn't that competitive in New York, just 'above average' good.) Anyways, enough rambling, but that may be why Sean thinks they way he does. And I agree with him to a point, but I also would tell kids who want to go for 'whatever' goal that the final outcome isn't as important as the process in getting there: you learn to know yourself and how to set goals and work towards them with sacrifice/devotion/tenacity, etc. I know in the county I grew up in only two guys have broken 4:30 and it's not because of lack of talent. It's really that there isn't incentive, community support/knowledge, good coaching, and dreaming big. I've met a few kids in the area who had the talent but they have no one to help them structure and explain the couple of years of steady work it takes to get to that level.