Delaware Runners Set New Records at One Mile Challenge

Senior+Katie+Dorsey+competes+in+the+fastest+high+school+girls+race+of+the+night.+Fans+lined+the+outside+of+the+track%2C+cheering+on+the+runners.

Michelle Flanagan

Senior Katie Dorsey competes in the fastest high school girls race of the night. Fans lined the outside of the track, cheering on the runners.

By Claire M. '23, Padua Academy

A sub-four-minute mile has never been run on Delaware soil—that is, until the night of the Delaware Mile Challenge. The meet was designed to set the Delaware record and run a mile under four minutes. The night of April 9 began with a middle school, high school, and community mile race.

Kelsey Wolff ‘24, a member of the track and field team, was a spectator at the meet.

“Watching my teammates compete in this amazing race and opportunity had to be the highlight of my night,” Wolff said. “Nothing made me more happy than seeing my teammates crush their race and push themselves as hard as they could go.”

There were multiple heats following the community mile, including the master’s mile. Following the master’s mile was the men’s elite heat 2 and the women’s elite.

As the sun began to set, spectators awaited the elite races and there was nervous tension in the air. The elite men made their way to the start line, and with a blink of an eye they were off. This was the last race of the night, the final attempt to break four minutes. Ky McCarthy ‘24 stayed to watch after the high school race and said the anticipation of the crowd was very motivational.

“Everyone was very excited and there were smoke machines that were going off,” she said. “People were lined up on the track and made something similar to a tunnel to cheer on the runners so they had a better shot of breaking the record.”

After the first two laps, the crowd’s concern began to grow after realizing the runners were not on pace to break a four minute mile.

“The meet announcer had everyone cheering and screaming and there was music to encourage the runners,” McCarthy said. “They weren’t on pace to break four minutes the first three laps of the mile, so the last lap was very crazy to watch because they were going so fast.”

Once Sam Parson, the new and current Delaware mile record holder, crossed the line, the meet directors covered the final time to build suspense for Parson and all those watching.

“As soon as he crossed the line first, he was very proud of his win but he didn’t realize he had broken four minutes yet,” McCarthy said. “When he realized he broke four and got the record, there was a lot of cheering and he was visibly very excited because he was jumping around.”

As soon as Parson’s time was revealed, Wolff said she was comforted since the entire meet revolved around setting this new record.

“When the record was broken I first was hit with a sense of relief. The whole meet was based on this race, a race that made Delaware a state with a sub-four minute mile,” Wolff said. “Then the excitement and awe hit. I was excited to see this happen and in awe that someone could run that fast, especially on Delaware soil.”

The night proved to be very inspirational for young runners, the students said.

“As a runner this race inspired me to keep trying for my goals even if I fail,” Wolff said. “There was a complete chance no one would break the record but they still tried, and with all their hard work and effort they reached their goal.”

This story was originally published on Padua 360 on May 10, 2022.