Joe Klecker and Olli Hoare Break Colorado’s Notorious 4-Minute Mile Barrier – runnersworld.com

Joe Klecker and Olli Hoare Break Colorado’s Notorious 4-Minute Mile Barrier  runnersworld.com

No runner had ever run a mile in less than four minutes in the state of Colorado—until now.

In a certified intrasquad time trial on Monday, August 3, Olli Hoare and Joe Klecker, of the newly formed , became the first two people to ever run a sub-four-minute mile in Colorado, finishing in 3:56:8 and 3:58:4, respectively. This time trial came after only a month of team workouts for the newest pro running group.

Klecker—a standout at the University of Colorado-Boulder, who took second at the 2019 NCAA cross country championships—was the first to sign with the team earlier this summer. On worked to set up the new group around Klecker, considering his input on where the team should be based, who should be the coach, and who else should be on the team.

“[On’s] commitment to this team and to developing top of the line footwear stands out,” Klecker told Runner’s World. “We’ve been going a month and they’ve already sent their product development team out to Boulder, we’ve been on video calls, and they’re listening to what we have to say about the product and team and implementing them. They just rolled out their first spike, and we used their new carbon shoe on the track [Monday night], not the one on the market so far.”

The group is coached by three-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, who retired from pro running earlier this year. Ritzenhein moved his family from Michigan to Boulder, Colorado, to take on the coaching role.

Since then, seven other athletes have signed with the track team—including Hoare, who signed with the team in June after a successful career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison—and have been practicing together since early July.

“When I looked behind the scenes, I saw a company pushing for performance-based gear from an athlete’s perspective and perception and expanding fast all over Europe, the U.S., and even home in Australia,” Hoare told Runner’s World. “As a global athlete, that stuck out to me. They hear my input and made me feel like I didn’t have any restrictions about what I wanted to do. It was, and is, a brand and coach [Ritzenhein] that I could get behind.”

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When the team set up the time trial at a local high school as a way to gauge their fitness levels, the Colorado mile record was on Klecker’s mind, after he finished in 4:01 on the dot at the Colorado Invitational in January. Klecker has been averaging 100-mile training weeks since much of his racing schedule was upended when the NCAA Indoor Championships were canceled in March, so he knew a sub-four-minute mile was within reach.

“It’s been a big goal of mine,” Klecker said. “Coming close during the indoor season, I knew I wanted to take another stab at it. With races canceled, this was a good opportunity to do that. We had it planned for maybe a month or two, and once we had some races possibly set up for August, we set up a time trial because’s no unlikely to think this might be the only race of the year.”

With a pacer, they started out slow, going out at 61 seconds for the first 400 meters. Around 600, the pacer dropped out after not feeling well, but Hoare took the pacing reins and made up the time on each lap. With one lap to go and feeling strong, they both knew they had it.

With 150 meters to go, Hoare opened up his stride and kicked to finish his final 400 in about about 56 or 57 seconds and a time of 3:56:8 for the new record, and Klecker finished his final 400 in about 58 or 59 seconds for a time of 3:58:4.

Ritzenhein was jumping “17 meters” off the ground in excitement, Hoare said, facetiously.

Hoare punctuated his record-breaking run by losing his breakfast burrito shortly after crossing the finish line.

“People were starting to worry, but then it all came out and they were like, ‘Okay, he’s human,’” Hoare said. “The race was an amazing feeling. Looking at the mountains and being able to do what we did, I’m so thankful for Ritz and Joe to be doing this right now.”

After the event, both runners celebrated in their own ways. Hoare, a self-proclaimed “fast-food fiend” purchased $35 worth of McDonald’s and shared some IPAs with his roommate, fellow Australian, and former UW-Madison teammate, Morgan McDonald, who currently runs for Team Boss in Boulder.

Klecker celebrated by eating tacos with his parents.

After this promising start, the month-old team is hoping to get more races on the schedule this month or next, depending on what the pandemic allows. Either way, Klecker and Hoare believe this performance is a sign of things to come.

“Ritz and Joe are literally thinking the sky is the limit for what we can achieve,” Hoare said. “For me, I’m just happy to be supported by this group of people and a great company. We’re in a great position to make our mark in the pro world with as many races as we can moving forward.”

Gear & News Editor Drew covers a variety of subjects for Runner’s World and Bicycling, and he specializes in writing and editing human interest pieces while also covering health, wellness, gear, and fitness for the brand.

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