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Pharson right on time

Ask anyone in athletics circles about Pharson Magagane and they will likely tell you he’s a pretty good 1500m runner. In fact his average time for the metric mile is 3min 40.62sec.

But now Pharson Magagane has a rather unusual distinction ÔÇô he is only the second athlete in the history of the sport to have clocked an exact 4-min mile outdoors, since the inception of electronic timing.

The 25-year-old from Limpopo was timed at exactly four minutes to the mile when finished second behind Ruben Ramolefi (3:59.69) at the Yellow Pages meeting in Bellville earlier this year ÔÇô and sent the statisticians in a frenzy to find out of this had happened before ÔÇô anywhere in the world.

The request went out to the ATFS (Association of Track and Field Statisticians) to determine if anyone in the history of the sport had run exactly four minutes for the mile. The ATFS were stumped, as they only record sub 4-minute mile recordings.

It was left to Finnish statistician Mirko Jalava (author of the website Tilastopaja) to find the information. According to him, Magagane is the only athlete to ever run a 4-minute dead mile since the inception of electronic timing. According to Jalava there are five athletes in world athletics who have the exact 4-minute mile.

The first athlete on record to clock an exact 4minute mile was Italy’s Gianni Del Buono ┬áwhen he clocked 4:00.0 indoors in Inglewood California on 9 February 1973. In 1996 two athletes were clocked (hand time) with a 4min mile — Brandon Bethke in Wellington, USA 26 February, and Gary Lough in Cheltenham on 4 August.

Uganda’s Julius Achon ran 4:00.00 indoors in Allston, Massachusetts (Harvard Univ) on 26 January 1997. This means that Magagane has the distinction of being the first ever athlete to record a legitimate outdoor time of 4:00:00.


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