Burns racing for US Indoor Mile Record in Boston

Southern Boone County High School senior and University of Oregon commit Connor Burns has another chance at history today in Boston. After running 3:58.83 in the men's pro race at the Festival of Miles in June to join the Sub-4-minute mile club, move to 7th on the US All-Time high school list, and break Jim Ryun's junior class record, Burns races an international field at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in the Junior Boys International Mile, with a chance to break the U.S. High School indoor record.

The scheduled 4-plus hour meet features mostly professional and post-collegians, but also has some junior, high school, and masters events. Burns is the top seed in the race with South Dakotan and fellow Oregon signee and sub-4 miler Simeon Birnbaum second with his 3:59.91 mark from last summer. Other U.S. high schoolers include Devan Kipyego-4:00.68, Rocky Hansen-4:00.76, Aaron Sahlman-4:01.34, and Kole Mathison-4:04.82 (1600m).

This will be Burns' first international competition. He took a spill at last summer's USATF Junior Championships in the 1500-meters, which cost him a shot at making the US Junior team for the Under-20 World Championships. Today he'll face five Europeans, three from Great Britain: Corey Campbell, Isaac Rothwell, and Kristian Green as well as two from Ireland: Sean Cronin and Caolan McFadden.

Burns is in the middle of the last 18th months of his prep career, including the past year, which has been an amazing stretch that has put him atop the Missouri high school running mountain of greatness. Last February, Burns ran 4:02.96 for the mile indoors at Iowa State in a race with collegians. An 8:52 3200-meters at the Arcadia Invitational moved him past every other Missourian except Austin Hindman. Burns posted 4:06 and 8:48 at state, surpassing Hindman's state meet record in the 3200.

After his FOM 3:58 mile in June, Burns ran 8:45.00 for 2 miles to win the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle, bettering Hindman's state record of 8:43.40 for 3200 meters when converted. Burns dropped his 800 meter personal record to 1:51.00 a few days later at the NSAF Outdoor National meet, taking 6th.

In the fall, Burns ran faster than any other Missouri prep with a cross country 5k of 14:32 for a meet record at the Chile Pepper Festival. Burns posted an amazing 15:01 in claiming the Class 3 state title, battling frigid and windy conditions. The consistent wind gust at more than 20 miles per hour for much of the race, and cost him a shot at the course record and sub-14:50 clocking.

At the Team Midwest Regional meet, Burns had an epic battle with a handful of others. The 1,000 meters was an unforgettable dual with Hunter Jones of Michigan. The pair blazed down the nearly 500-meter homestretch at jaw-dropping pace before Burns' body gave way with 120-meters to go and Jones claimed the title in 14:21. Burns was 2nd in 14:27, both smashing the course record by more than 20-seconds, as five men in total broke Futsum Zeinasellassie's 11-year-old mark.
Brutally cold and windy conditions were what the field at the Team National meet had to endure. Burns ran to a disappointing 32nd place out of 198 in Portland, running 15:31. Newbury Park's Aaron Sahlman claimed the title in 14:44 and is one of many from that race that will toe the line in Boston.
At Team Nationals, along with Sahlman in 1st, was Kole Mathison-4th, Simeon Birnbaum-6th, and Devan Kipyego-15th, who are all scheduled to race today.

Burns opened his senior indoor campaign two weeks ago in Chicago, at the new Gately Indoor Track and Field facility at the CYUP Misfits Invite. Burns ran 2 miles in 8:48.53 to move to just outside the U.S. high school All-Time top-ten 2-Mile indoor performance list. However, he was second, as Dowling Catholic's (West Des Moines, IA) Jackson Heidesch, who was 5th at Team Nationals and ran 4:06.14 to win the high school boys race at the Festival of Miles, blasted 8:42.60. That puts Heidesch 5th on the all-time U.S. indoor list.

Hobbs Kessler of Michigan, who turned professional and signed with adidas after his senior season in high school and just before the 2021 Olympic Trials,  has the national record, running 3:57.66 in 2021. Fellow adidas professional Drew Hunter broke Alan Webb's mark as a senior in 2016, and has the 2nd and 3rd fastest times ever.

Newberry Park's Aaron Sahlman will look to race past his older brother Colin Sahlman, who sits 3rd on the U.S. high school list with the 4th best time of 3:58.81 ever, from last year. Festival of Miles alum Brodey Hasty ran 4:00.05 in 2018, which puts him 5th on the list, behind Alan Webb's 3:59.86 from 2001.