Smooth Transition: Exclusive Interview With Lukas Verzbicas

Newly minted sub-4:00 miler Lukas Verzbicas will attempt to win a world championship in triathlon next month. Photo:

The sub-4:00 miler is aiming for a world championship in triathlon.

Interview by: Linzay Logan

On June 11, high schooler Lukas Verzbicas proved himself as one of the next great American runners. Clocking 3:59.71 for the mile at the adidas Jim Ryun High School Dream Mile in New York City, Verzbikas claimed the title as the second American scholastic male to ever run a sub four-minute mile in a high school-only event.

Just two weeks prior, the 18-year old from Orland Park, Ill., broke the national high school two-mile record with an 8:29.46 clocking at the Prefontaine Classic amid a stacked field of professionals. The strikingly mature teenager has a lot on his plate before heading to the University of Oregon in fall where he will run cross country and track. But first, Verzbicas–also an accomplished amateur triathlete–has a triathlon world championship to win.

In the midst of all his recent running successes, Verzbicas has brought swimming and biking back into his training plan–ironically enough, at a time he thought he would be giving up triathlon to focus solely on his running career. Things changed in March, however, when one of Verzbicas’ best friends and training partners was diagnosed with Hogdkins Lymphoma. “I wasn’t supposed to do triathlon this year but my long time friend, Kevin McDowell, was just diagnosed with cancer,” Verzbicas said. “My goal is to win him the gold medal at the ITU World Championships because I am confident he would have won it.”

With just over a month left to train, we caught up with Verzbicas from his training camp in Warren, Ill., and spoke to him about his sub-4:00 mile and temporary transition back to triathlon.

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