Gary Martin Joins Exclusive Sub-4 Club At Philly League Race

* Gary Martin in the boys mile during the Penn Relays in April

Photo Credit: Don Rich/MileSplit

Gary Martin, welcome to history. 

On Saturday in the boys mile at the Philadelphia Catholic League Outdoor Championships in Philadelphia, the Archbishop Wood (PA) senior became the 14th American high school athlete to break four minutes with one of the most balanced sub-4 miles you're ever going to see from a prep: He went 3:57.98. 

The University of Virginia recruit became the first high school athlete from Pennsylvania to go under the elusive mark. 

Martin moves up to No. 3 all-time over the outdoor ranks, just behind legends Alan Webb of South Lakes and Jim Ryun of Wichita East. Webb ran 3:53.43 in 2001, while Ryun ran the first sub-4 high school mile in 1965.

Martin is now No. 5 all-time across both the indoor and outdoor rankings. He's also now one of only four high school athletes all-time to ever run faster than 3:58.

To do it, Martin ran like clockwork. He checked off consistent laps in a way that was reminiscent of the greats: He went 59.67 in the first 409 meters, 58.79 in the second quarter, 59.87 in the third and 59.62 in the final lap. 

Just two weeks ago, Martin struggled to close out what seemed like a sub-4 attempt at the Penn Relays on April 29. While he was on pace through 1,409, his last 200m was off  and he ultimately finished in 4:01.04. 

Martin had also run 4:00.95 on April 13. 

But perhaps that experience, to go along with those prior attempts, was the path Martin needed to take in order to make history. 

He became the 12th high schooler to go under four minutes outdoors and the 14th all-time. If we convert Hobbs Kessler's national 1,500m record to a mile, the former Ann Arbor, Michigan native also went under that coveted barrier. 

Now comes the question. 

Martin's history-making moment made him the second athlete in 2022 to go under the four-minute mile, as he joined Newbury Park's Colin Sahlman, who went 3:58.81 indoors in February -- Sahlman will also feature at the Prefontaine Classic at the end of the month in the same race with hopes of breaking Webb's national record. 

This year's class now ties the Class of 2015 and the Class of 2016 with the most sub-4s across a season's worth of time. 

The 2015 year included Matthew Maton and Grant Fisher. A year later, Drew Hunter and Michael Slagowski went under the mark. 

But more than a month remains until the official end of the 2022 outdoor season. Athletes such as Zane Bergen, Rheinhardt Harrison, Lex Young and James Donahue may also double-down on the effort before the year is up. 

Martin added to the sub-4 legacy on Saturday. But will he be the last?