Boulder runner Rory Fraser broke a 37-year-old Colorado mile record this weekend with a run clocked in at 4 minutes, 3.99 seconds at the St. Vrain Invitational track meet.
The meet, which hosted around 1,300 high school student athletes at Longmont High School, also attracted elite athletes in the hopes of seeing someone run a sub four-minute mile, said Lyons track coach and one of the meet's organizers Mark Roberts.
"That was probably the highlight of the meet," Roberts said of Fraser's mile.
Last year, the meet had a $750 purse for anyone who could run below four minutes, Roberts said. No one could do it last year, so they put most of that purse back into the pot for this year's race. They upped the purse to $2500 for anyone with a sub four-minute mile. The NCAA has a converter tool that accounts for elevation, and according to the conversion, Fraser ran a 3:58.17.
The Colorado soil record was set in 1976 by Ted Castaneda at 4:04.86, according to Colorado Milesplit, which he ran during a University of Colorado relay.
Fraser, 26, was born in Leicester, England, and moved to the United States to run for the University of New Mexico. He graduated in 2011 and now works as a Nike representative, traveling to races and events.
He set up his Nike booth at the St. Vrain meet before running the mile. Most high school kids who met him at the Nike booth didn't even know he could run, he said, laughing.
Roberts said the meet tried to draw elite runners to show high schoolers inspiration to stick with the sport and to get people excited about track and field.
"It's one thing to see a high school kid run even a 10.7 in the 100 meters, but it's a whole other level when you see someone run 10.2 or shoot it 17 or 18 feet in the pole vault," Roberts said. "We want these kids to have a view of what's possible down the road. We want some of these local people trying to make that next step in their career to have a venue where they know they're appreciated and get the kind of crowd they don't see at the collegiate level."
Because he worked all day before the race, Fraser said he "wasn't expecting to run that fast." The 4:03.99 was a personal best for Fraser, too.
To spectators, it looked like runner Dey Dey, of Thornton, would win for the first three laps. Roberts said Dey Dey "fell apart" in the last 70 meters, and Fraser finished strong. Dey Dey tied with Westminster's Mark Husted at 4:06.51, behind Fraser.
"I wanted to win," he said. "I didn't know what that would take. I thought if I ran under 4:10 that would be a successful day."
Fraser said he donated back half of the $2,500 purse to Lyons and Longmont high schools. He said often, "the lure" of other sports takes kids away from track and field and he hopes he inspired a few kids to stick with the sport.
One of the reasons he ran so fast was because of how loud the kids were cheering, he said.
"I didn't think I would win or break the record or win that much money, but I just felt this is a high school and what they're doing is so, so awesome," he said. "I wanted to help."
--Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.