Running a mile in less than four minutes never gets old … just ask Jake Edwards.
The former Delaware Hayes standout, and OHSAA state champ in the mile run, has broken the famous four-minute barrier twice. Both times, though, were away from home.
“I’ve broken four twice this year,” Edwards said. “The first time was Feb. 1 in Cleveland, and the next April 12 in Greenville, South Carolina. Both were incredible experiences, but something I wasn’t able to share with friends and family.”
He hopes to change all that Friday during halftime of Hayes’ football scrimmage against visiting Marion Harding as Edwards, along with a handful of other elite runners, will compete in a USA Track & Field-sanctioned race. The event, dubbed “Mile Night,” will be timed by Timing First, LLC.
“I love Delaware,” Edwards said. “And running is a huge part of my life. Anything I can do to bring the two together, and help grow the sport, is something worth spending time on. The mile is an iconic event, a distance that all Americans can relate. Olympic distances are now all metric, but almost everyone has run a mile at some point in their lives. The opportunity to break four at home, in the town I was raised, and in front of my friends and family is too good to pass up … and I hope this is something we can build in the future.”
Hayes cross country coach Jim Bibler certainly thinks it has plenty of potential down the road.
“We’re hoping it becomes a standalone event in the future, with different heats for different age groups, etc., with elite men’s and elite women’s races headlining it all.”
For now, though, it’s all about one special race.
“This is something I’ve had in my mind since high school,” Edwards said. “I remember thinking it would be an exhilarating experience to have a high school cross country race at night, under the lights, and finish on the track at halftime of a football game. At the time, those weren’t my decisions to make, but fortunately, Bibler and I have remained friends, and when I ran this idea by him a couple months ago he loved it and got the ball rolling.”
Bibler said those in attendance, whether at Hayes for the race or to see how the Pacers look in their final preseason tuneup, will be in for a treat. Seeing stud runners book it at speeds of 15 miles per hour for four straight minutes is worth witnessing.
“I haven’t seen a four-minute mile in person,” the coach said. “But Jake asked me to pace him once … I was riding my bike on the track while he ran and we were really moving. I think people are going to be surprised at just how fast these guys are going.”
With the football game expected to kick off at 7 p.m., the race is expected to get underway sometime around 8.