A Pennsylvania teenager broke a track and field record that stood for almost 60 years. Gary Martin, a senior at Archbishop Wood High School ran a mile in under four minutes without a pacer, becoming the first high schooler to do so since Jim Ryun in 1965.
Martin pulled it off at the Pennsylvania Catholic League Championship, crossing the finish line at an official 3:57:98. Martin said seeing everyone at the meet to cheer him on and see him break the record was a great moment.
“To have everyone going crazy over what I had just done was really cool. To my teammates coming up and hugging me, my coach hugging me, and other kids from other schools coming up and patting me on the back. It was cool,” Martin said, via CBS News.
A few high schoolers have run a sub-four-minute mile since Ryun in 1965, but all of those records came with a little bit of help. Three other high schoolers broke four minutes in a high school-only race, but they all used pacers to help hold their speed. Martin is the only runner to naturally break four minutes without one.
As for when he knew he had a chance to make history, Martin said it was about halfway through the race.
“I can get through the first 400 meters in about 58 seconds or so,” he said. “And normally, my next laps after that are about 60 seconds or a little slower and I fall off pace a little bit ... But this time, my second lap was 58.6 again. So, I knew I was well on pace and after about two laps, I was pretty confident I had it.”
Martin said he hopes to one day compete in the Olympics, but for now he will attend the University of Virginia next fall.
More from Sports Illustrated: