The gym class thing doesn't all jibe with my experience. High schooler trying in a gym mile means you were at a far less cynical school than mine. We had a 6'4" klutzy guy train to break 5 (I think he did) when I was a junior. He probably weighed 200 pounds. Zion has a bad body type for distance running. Doesn't mean a 4:55 is that hard, just means given his mass and fast-twitch profile I find it unlikely. You can look at UNC's mile challenge stuff, guards can break 6 sometimes even 5. Big guys aren't that fast though.
SDSU Aztec wrote:
No, he didn't. There were a lot of guys who came out for XC/Track that weighed around 150lbs that couldn't break 5:00. I ran 9:30 in HS, but took it about a year to run sub-5. There are decathletes that can't run that fast.
At my HS, distance running was considered a pus*y sport and there were guys who claimed they had run sub-5 and who thought they would beat me if they came out for XC. Before practice one day, I raced a mile against one of them and dropped him while running at about 5:10 pace. He didn't even finish.
4:55 isn't exceptional.
I ran 4:55 as a high school freshman, and I was absolutely mediocre. This was also on a fairly mediocre team, where we might get ONE runner to the State Championships each year, and almost never qualified in Cross Country. In fact, occasionally, freshmen could run close to Sub-5 in PE miles each year, even if they had no running background. They were swimmers, basketball players, etc. and were all relatively fit, but no formal distance running training at all.
We also had a guy join the team as a sophomore after having played hockey his entire life, and he could run 17:00 - 17:30 5Ks right away.
If he was claiming something like 4:30 with no background, it would be VERY difficult to believe, but it's really not that difficult to believe that a very talented athlete could run a 4:55.