Canadian Sub-4 Milers

As of February 14, 2015, 53 Canadians have officially run the mile under four minutes.

After seeing the Track and Field News list of the world’s 1192 sub-four-minute milers in 2011, I decided to start my own list of Canadian sub-four milers and their times when they first broke the elusive barrier.

The Miracle Mile of Englishman Roger Bannister and Aussie John Landy at the 1954 Empire Games in Vancouver was not only the first race in which two men ran the mile in under four minutes, but it was also the first sub-4 mile run in Canada. It would be twelve years before Torontonian Dave Bailey became the first Canadian to break the four-minute barrier for the mile with a 3:59.1 in San Diego on June 11, 1966, and another year before Bailey would be the first Canadian to break four minutes in Canada, running 3:57.7 in Toronto on July 22, 1967. Since then, 52 Canadians have run the mile under four minutes.

Kevin Sullivan holds the current Canadian mile record of 3:50.26 run in Oslo, Norway on July 28, 2000, and Nathan Brannen lowered his own Canadian indoor mile record of 3:55.11 with a 3:54.22 at the Millrose Games in New York on February 15, 2014. Mike Woods became the 38th Canadian under four minutes with a 3:57.48 in Windsor, ON that still stands as the Canadian junior mile record. Justyn Knight ran 3:59.51 at the Penn State National meet on January 31, 2015 to break Ryan Hayden’s Canadian junior indoor record and become the first Canadian junior to break four minutes indoors.

Leah Pells is the Canadian women’s mile recordholder with a 4:23.28 in Zurich on August 14, 1996, and Sheila Reid recently eclipsed Lynn Williams’s longstanding Canadian women’s indoor mile record of 4:27.77 with a 4:27.02 at the Millrose Games in New York.

Canadian Sub-4 Milers to February 14, 2015
1. Dave Bailey 3:59.1 11 Jun 66
2. Norm Trerise 3:59.1 5 Jun 70
3. Grant McLaren 3:59.0 29 Jul 72
4. Ken Elmer 3:58.5 20 Jun 73
5. Paul Craig 3:59.8 1 Jun 74
6. Peter Spir 3:58.71 14 Jun 77
7. Dave Hill 3:55.89 26 Aug 77
8. Paul Steeds 3:59.6 12 Apr 80
9. John Craig 3:58.05 8 Aug 80
10. Greg Duhaime 3:59.8 8 Aug 81
11. Graeme Fell * 3:57.5 1 Jun 83
12. Paul Williams 3:58.6 1 Jun 83
13. Kelly Britz 3:59.5 1 Jun 83
14. Dave Reid 3:58.03 16 Jun 83
15. Marc Olesen 3:58.08 16 Jun 83
16. David Campbell 3:58.91 16 Jun 83
17. Ron Becht 3:59.12 16 Jun 83
18. Alec Ritchie 3:59.59 16 Jun 83
19. Ken Lucks 3:58.96 16 Jul 84
20. Doug Consiglio 3:55.91 indoor 25 Jan 86
21. Rob Lonergan 3:59.29 18 Jul 86
22. Brendan Matthias 3:58.83 2 Jun 90
23. Graham Hood 3:58.75 indoor 24 Jan 92
24. Allan Klassen 3:57.31 5 Jun 93
25. Kevin Sullivan 3:59.29 19 Jun 93
26. Scott MacDonald 3:59.40 indoor 5 Feb 94
27. Jason Bunston 3:59.70 1 Apr 95
28. Steven Agar 3:57.37 11 May 97
29. Steve Howard 3:58.8 14 May 97
30. Jay Cantin 3:59.90 indoor 5 Feb 00
31. Richard Tremain 3:59.71 19 Aug 00
32. Nathan Brannen 3:59.85 8 Jul 01
33. Zach Whitmarsh 3:58.78 indoor 2 Feb 02
34. Ryan Hayden 3:58.27 18 May 02
35. Ryan McKenzie 3:58.52 1 Jul 04
36. Andrew Ellerton 3:58.68 1 Jul 04
37. Kurtis Benninger 3:58.75 indoor 5 Feb 05
38. Michael Woods 3:57.48 28 Jul 05
39. Graeme Wells 3:58.22 25 Jul 08
40. Taylor Milne 3:56.54 11 Jun 09
41. Kyle Boorsma 3:59.67 11 Jun 09
42. Cameron Levins 3:59.80 indoor 30 Jan 10
43. Justin Marpole-Bird 3:58.76 indoor 13 Feb 10
44. Olivier Collin 3:57.25 24 Apr 10
45. Jeremy Rae 3:58.52 indoor 6 Feb 11
46. Geoff Martinson ** 3:59.55 18 July 12
47. Robert Denault 3:59.39 indoor 2 Mar 13
48. Lucas Bruchet 3:57.71 indoor 31 Jan 14
49. Charles Philibert-Thiboutot 3:57.85 10 Jul 14
50. Justyn Knight 3:59.51 indoor 31 Jan 15
51. Keffri Neal 3:58:02 indoor 14 Feb 15
52. Adam Palamar 3:59.91 indoor 14 Feb 15
53. Thomas Riva 3:59.00 indoor 14 Feb 15

* Graeme Fell ran his sub-4 mile as a British citizen

** Geoff Martinson’s sub-4 mile was a paced time-trial at Oak Bay High School with a camera crew and a funky soundtrack. Watch the video evidence.

Check out Athletics Canada’s All-time Outdoor Rankings which gives me another idea for a post.

Originally posted Feb 17, 2011

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8 Comments

  1. That would be three guys faster than Mike Woods’s 3:57.48 and last time I checked Toronto was Canadian soil. Thanks Tom!

  2. Thanks Rick! I see Grant McLaren’s time on the Athletics Canada All-Time list now so I’m not sure how I missed it (unless it was also subsequently updated). AC has him down as running 3:59.0 in Toronto on July 29, 1972. I found his name on a Trackie forum thread credited with a 3:59.0 in Eugene, OR from July 10, 1972, though I couldn’t confirm it elsewhere. The University of Oregon was hosting the US Olympic Trials at that time so unless there was an all-comers mile event, the July 10 time must have been a mistake. Until I hear otherwise, I’ll go with McLaren’s Toronto time as his first sub-4.

  3. Thanks for that Craig! What a great day for Canadian milers. It would appear that Neal and Palamar would have run their miles earlier than Riva, so I have updated the list accordingly.

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