Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Former Ketchikan runner Isaac Updike, age 29, joined an elite crowd on Sunday when he ran under four minutes for the mile at an American Track League meet in Mission Viejo, California.
Updike ran a time of three minutes 58.26 seconds to become just the second Alaskan to break the four-minute barrier.
Updike, who signed a professional contract with Nike during the Olympic Trials in June, has been on the racing circuit ever since.
When asked what it felt like to break a mark that most relate, world-wide, as a standard for running, Updike laughed.
"Yeah that is kind of the standard running joke," he said. "He have to be able to break four to be a good runner and you have to be able to run a decent marathon. That is the only way you can talk to normal, everyday hobby runners that will understand that time. No one understands what a steeple time is. When ever you run into other runners they always ask 'What is your mile time?' or 'Have you ever run a marathon?' Those are the two questions everyone gets asked regardless of what discipline you are running in, the second they find out you are a runner. I just have to do a marathon now and then I'll have the two answers and be set for life."
Updike, who is know more for his steeplechase and cross country running said he has always wanted to see what he could do in the mile. His personal best had been 4:02.
"I have been wanting to break four for a while, for a couple years now," he said. "I thought that I definitely had it in me. Yesterday was not good conditions compared to the evening races. It was probably 10 to 15 mile an hour winds and and 93 or 94 degrees. It was hot out there. Thankfully we had some good pacers and they keyed us up for having a solid last lap."
Updike said he was slightly injured in the race.
"I got scraped quite a bit," he said. "I got spiked. That is probably the most prominent thing right now is that my left leg stings from all the spike marks. I was running to close to someone, behind them, and in their back kick they kind of scrape up your shin. So I have some gash wounds on my shins."
Kodiak’s Trevor Dunbar is the only Alaskan to break the barrier, which he has done three times and has a personal-best 3:55.54 set in 2017.
Updike had the fastest time in the Olympic Qualifying preliminary heat at the U.S. Olympic Trails in Eugene, Oregon this year and was winning the finals with 200 meters remaining before finishing fifth and missing the top three Olympic team spots. He posted the fastest steeplechase time this season in the world, an 8:17.74, which now ranks as the 21st fastest time of the season and is the second-fastest time this season for an American.
According to ESPN2, which covered Sunday's 'Mustache Mile' race, sponsored by pro runner Craig Engels who is known for his mustache and mullet as well as his running. Engels, who served as a pacer for the race, put up prizes for any runners who broke the four-minute mile for the first time as well as for those with mustaches.
According to ESPN2 Updike sported a mustache for the race and his reward was his weight in beer.