* Video of Lester's time trial effort on Saturday
Video Credit: Jason Oswalt
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John Lester knew what his sights were.
The Amador Valley (CA) High School rising senior, who had run the third fastest junior 800 meter race in high school history on June 13 in Arizona at the Desert Dream Last Hurrah Invitational in 1:48.26, wanted less than a second off his personal best to surpass Elijah Greer's junior class national record of 1:47.68 from 2008.
On top of that, only 11 athletes in high schol history had broken 1:48.
So on Saturday in Pleasanton, California, he lined up on his home track for one more try.
Friends, family members and coaches lined the fencing off the track. Lester's high school coach, Jason Oswalt, took video from the stands (above). A few teammates, wearing masks on the infield, also lined up their cameras.
But in a race like the 800m, precision is key.
Led through the 400 meter mark by a pacer, Lester soon found that aspiration would be difficult with an officially split 55.09 second first lap.
But incredibly enough, he began to absolutely hammer the last lap.
Few high school 800 meter runners in the country, when slow through 400 meters, can make up a significant time-gap.
He was at the 600 meter split in roughly 1:21.
But Lester actually negative-split his final two 200 meter splits, in approximately 26.9 and 26.9 seconds, to finish an astonishing 53.84 seconds over his last 400 meters and wound up with a final time of 1:48.98.
"Felt like a workout rep," Lester later said.
That marked his second effort under 1:49 in two weeks and also tied a mark Michael Granville achieved in 1995 as a high school junior.
According to the MileSplit database, of the runners who have broken 1:49 in history across their junior seasons, only Granville did it twice across his junior season, going 1:48.47 and 1:47.96.
Chantilly's (VA) Brandon McGorty, a 2017 graduate, broke 1:50 three times, though two efforts were at 1:49-plus and his PR was of 1:48.58. In 2015, Kingwood's (TX) Myles Marshall broke 1:50 a remarkable four times, though three of those performances were over 1:49 and his PR was of 1:48.43. And lastly, in 2009, Buffalo's (MN) Zach Mellon also went under 1:50 twice, though his second-fastest effort was 1:49.69.
Interestingly enough, this race will not be the last we see of Lester.
On July 4th, the rising senior will be a part of the Independence Day Showdown Sub-4 attempt in South Eugene.
- John Lester interview
- Breaking down Lester's 800m PR
- Catching up with John Lester
- We may not have seen the last sub-4
- John Lester drops the third-fastest junior 800m ever