The Everyman: How Fast Can You Run?

Line up at the front of the pack at a race this fall and see what happens. Photo:

Jason Devaney wishes he had more running speed.

I’ve never run a 4-minute mile. Not even a 5-minute mile. I can cover the famous distance somewhere in the range of 6 minutes and change, but that’s as fast as this body will take me for one mile.

(By the way, perhaps I should join the masses on National Running Day and run a mile. I’ll report back with my time next week.)

I don’t know how fast the woman is in the video below, but she’s clearly not able to hold the incredible pace of just over 5 minutes per mile Benjamin Bitok and Nixon Machichin sustained during the recent Stockholm Marathon (Bitok won).

It looks like she’s a TV reporter trying to score an exclusive, in-race interview—except she’s only able to run with the pair for about 15 seconds before getting dropped. So much for getting that scoop.

This reminds me of Ryan Hall, who is my absolute idol when it comes to running form—even though I look nothing like him when I run. And his legs are much, much longer than mine. I’m what you call “torso tall.” And yes, I just made up that term.

Leading up to the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon last weekend, Hall said his goal was simple: “I just want to run 4:50 [per mile] pace for as long as possible.” His finishing time of 1:02:51 amounted to a 4:48 pace, so he delivered on his promise.

How fast is 4:48 per mile? Well, do you remember this commercial from last year?

That’s pretty fast. I dare you to go to the gym tonight, crank up the treadmill to Ryan Hall speed, and see how long you can stay upright. Of course, we here at Competitor can’t be held liable if you fall on your face—which is probably what would happen to me if I were to try.

In lieu of that ill-advised move, maybe us normal folks (the Everymen?) should instead build speed the old-fashioned way: Through tempo runs, speed workouts and weeks of high mileage.

So let’s put in a few months of hard work on the roads, show up at a fall marathon, line up with the elites and hang with them for as long as you can. Easy, right?

Yeah, good luck with that.

What’s your mile time? Tweet me @jason_devaney1.

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