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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Foster - first ever Tasmanian to run sub 4min mile

Foster - first ever Tasmanian to run sub 4min mile

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Foster busts four-minute mile

Hobart Mercury
January 31, 2011

RYAN Foster created athletics history yesterday when he became the first Tasmanian to break four minutes for the mile.

Running for Penn State University at an invitational indoor meeting in Pennsylvania, Foster ran 3m58.49s to finish third in the race, behind Cory Leslie and Jeff See.

The previous best run by a Tasmanian was on January 9, 1974, when Randal Markey clocked 4m00.9s.

"I've always been one of those people who held onto that magic four-minute mile barrier. I know all the stories of Roger Bannister and John Landy and it has always been one of the dreams that has kept me going," Foster said immediately after his race.

Foster was coached by Max Cherry, who was also Markey's coach, until Cherry's death in 2008.

"My coach, rest in peace, I think he wanted that one more than anything. I think he will be pretty pleased," said Foster, who sports a tattoo in memory of Cherry.

Foster's performance also broke the record for his Penn State University and qualified him for the NCAA indoor nationals.

Competing on a 200m indoor track, Foster sat behind the leaders almost the entire way, enjoying an easy sit at a consistent pace.

"When the gun went, I tried to get in that pole position, then we ran a nice steady pace and I tried to hold on and hold on, which I did," he said.

The four-minute barrier was first broken by English athlete Roger Bannister in 1954.

Each first time achievement by an athlete will be held closely to them and it is no different for Foster.

Foster becomes the 48th Australian to better the mark and now sits 35th on the all-time national rankings.

All this for a man who still considers himself an 800m runner.

Since Foster moved to the US on a scholarship in 2009, he has enjoyed a flurry of success.

In January last year he broke the Australian indoor 800m and 1000m records.

And in 2009, he eclipsed the World Championships B qualifier for 800m.

"I'm pretty happy," Foster said.

"People back home and particularly my family might not understand some of the things in the USA, like being an All American or competing at Big Ten titles, but a four-minute mile, to all my family, will make them pretty excited."

Foster will return to Australia in April to attend the Australian Athletics Championships, where he will attempt to qualify for the World Championships to be held in Korea this year.

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