Tony Whiteman first man over 40 to run four-minute mile
TONY Whiteman has become the first man aged over 40 to run a sub-four-minute mile outdoors.
The Cleethorpes-based athlete smashed the iconic barrier with a superb 3.58.79 at the Music Distance City Carnival in Nashville, Tennessee.
Russian Vyacheslav Shabunin set the previous world outdoor M40 mile record, of 4.01.62, in 2010.
Whiteman, who works as a personal trainer in Cleethorpes, has been targeting the feat since taking up the sport seriously again around three years ago.
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At his peak in the 1990s, he clocked 3.51.90 for the mile and 3.32.34 for 1500m. He won the 1997 World University Games 1500m title and competed in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.
But the 40-year-old's latest achievement ranks highly on his list of accomplishments.
He was helped round by a good-quality pack in the opening stages and went through halfway in around 1.58 – but felt the pace was dropping with 500m left to go.
So he took to the front and did it the hard way, pushing the pace along in front of an enthusiastic crowd, grabbing the win as well as the world outdoor masters mile record.
Speaking briefly from America, Whiteman said: "I'm really happy to go sub-four, but even happier to have won the race against good American milers.
"I ran very even splits of around 59 seconds per lap."
While it was the fastest outdoor mile by a veteran, Eamonn Coghlan, of Ireland, once clocked 3.58.13 on an indoor track in Harvard, United States, aged 41.
Whiteman's new outdoor mark was always on the cards given his excellent form this year.
He ran a world M40 1500m record of 3.44.12 during the indoor season earlier this year and at the Loughborough International in May, his 1.48.28 for 800m beat the world masters record which was previously held by US Olympic legend Johnny Gray.
And on the local athletics scene, he rewrote the record books at Croxby, when he set a new one-lap best of 21 minutes 53 seconds on the tough, undulating Wolds circuit.