Canadian Sub-4 Milers

Canada's sub-4-minute milers as of July 1, 2022 .

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, more than 50 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. Nate Brannen holds the Canadian indoor mile record of 3:54.22 at the Millrose Games in New York on February 15, 2014, pending verification of Cam Proceviat’s 3:52:54 from the Boston University Last Chance Meet on February 27, 2022.

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.

Gabriela DeBues-Stafford set the Canadian women’s indoor mile record of 4:19.80 in NYC on February 8, 2020 and the women’s outdoor mile record of 4:17.87 in Monaco on July 12, 2019.

Canadian Sub-4 Milers to March 1, 2022
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. Kelly Britz 3:58.46 16 Jul 84
20. Ken Lucks 3:58.96 16 Jul 84
21. Doug Consiglio 3:55.91 indoor 25 Jan 86
22. Rob Lonergan 3:59.29 18 Jul 86
23. Brendan Matthias 3:58.83 2 Jun 90
24. Graham Hood 3:58.75 indoor 24 Jan 92
25. Allan Klassen 3:57.31 5 Jun 93
26. Kevin Sullivan 3:59.29 19 Jun 93
27. Scott MacDonald 3:59.40 indoor 5 Feb 94
28. Jason Bunston 3:59.70 1 Apr 95
29. Steven Agar 3:57.37 11 May 97
30. Steve Howard 3:58.8 14 May 97
31. Jay Cantin 3:59.90 indoor 5 Feb 00
32. Richard Tremain 3:59.71 19 Aug 00
33. Nathan Brannen 3:59.85 8 Jul 01
34. Zach Whitmarsh 3:58.78 indoor 2 Feb 02
35. Ryan Hayden 3:58.27 18 May 02
36. Ryan McKenzie 3:58.52 1 Jul 04
37. Andrew Ellerton 3:58.68 1 Jul 04
38. Kurtis Benninger 3:58.75 indoor 5 Feb 05
39. Michael Woods 3:57.48 28 Jul 05
40. Graeme Wells 3:58.22 25 Jul 08
41. Taylor Milne 3:56.54 11 Jun 09
42. Kurt Benninger 3:57.18 11 Jun 09
43. Kyle Boorsma 3:59.67 11 Jun 09
44. Cameron Levins 3:59.80 indoor 30 Jan 10
45. Justin Marpole-Bird 3:58.76 indoor 13 Feb 10
46. Olivier Collin 3:57.25 24 Apr 10
47. Jeremy Rae 3:58.52 indoor 6 Feb 11
48. Geoff Martinson ** 3:59.55 18 July 12
49. Robert Denault 3:59.39 indoor 2 Mar 13
50. Lucas Bruchet 3:57.71 indoor 31 Jan 14
51. Charles Philibert-Thiboutot 3:57.85 10 Jul 14
52. Justyn Knight 3:59.51 indoor 31 Jan 15
53. Keffri Neal 3:58:02 indoor 14 Feb 15
54. Adam Palamar 3:59.91 indoor 14 Feb 15
55. Thomas Riva 3:59.00 indoor 14 Feb 15
56. Mohammed Ahmed 3:56.60 20 Aug 17
57. Corey Bellemore 3:57.20 indoor 27 Jan 18
58. Ben Flanagan 3:57.75 5 Sep 18
59. William Paulson 3:59.94 indoor 26 Jan 19
60. Kevin Robertson 3:59.85 indoor 15 Feb 20
61. Marco Arop 3:57.50 indoor 31 Jan 21
62. Cameron Proceviat 3:57.35 10 Jul 21
63. Kieran Lumb 3:57.41 10 Jul 21
64. John Gay 3:58.14 10 Jul 21
65. Aaron Ahl 3:57.95 indoor 30 Jan 22
66. Jean-Simon Desganés 3:58.60 indoor 30 Jan 22
67. Eric Lutz 3:59.40 indoor 12 Feb 22
68. Kevin Robertson 3:57.98 indoor 27 Feb 22
69. Matthew Beaudet 3:58.15 indoor 27 Feb 22

* 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.

Originally posted Feb 17, 2011

10 Comments

  1. Brannen ran a 3:55.07 in Toronto, June 11, 2009. Milne was second in 3:56.54 and Benninger fifth in 3:57.18.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. I was two+ years younger than Dave Bailey when I raced in an open mile race with him at Northview HS in 1962. I saw him finish first, just as I hit the top of the last straight. Best run I ever had. Damn he was quick! Great fun and great memory!

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