Alaska’s fastest miler on Monday will make a bid to become the Roger Bannister of the 49th state. Trevor Dunbar of Kodiak will go after the mythic 4-minute-mile mark at the Roughrider Twilight meet in Portland, Ore.
Bannister was the first to breaking the 4-minute mile barrier when the Englishman ran 3:59.4 in 1954. Since then, hundreds of runners have followed suit, with Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj setting the world record of 3:43:13 in Rome 14 years ago.
But no Alaskan has ever run a sub-4.
Dunbar, a Kodiak High graduate, is an All-American star at the University of Oregon, where he runs cross country and track.
During the cross-country season last year, he finished third at the Pac-12 Championships and was named MVP of the men’s team. He missed the past NCAA outdoor season with injury problems.
He’s back to full strength now and seems to be in position to make history.
Dunbar ran fast 1,500 meters a week ago at the weekend at the Victoria International Track Classic, finishing second in 3 minutes, 38.38 seconds.
The Alaskan who’s come closest to running a four-minute mile is Dunbar’s father, Marcus, who ran a 4:00.58 at a meet in Eugene, Ore., in the 1990s. Marcus, a former U.S. indoor mile champion, also clocked a 4:04:12 in Alaska at the Palmer Relays decades ago.
Longtime Anchorage sports journalist Van Williams writes a column on the exploits of Alaska athletes for the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame website.