BOULDER – In a race against the clock, Colorado track and field senior Joe Klecker claimed the title of the fastest mile on Colorado soil Friday evening in a time of 4:01.00 in front of a packed crowd at the Colorado Invitational.
Klecker, who previously held the fourth-fastest mile time ever run in the state, was virtually alone as he stayed on near-perfect 60-second quarter-mile splits until the very end. The senior crossed the line just 1.01 seconds from becoming the first male ever under the 4-minute barrier in the state. He takes the title from former Adams State alum Tabor Stevens who ran 4:01.27 in La Junta at just 4,000-feet elevation and puts it back above a mile above sea-level.
“It means a lot, there has been so many great runners in this state,” said Klecker on the accomplishment.
“I don’t know if it’s totally indicative, a lot of great runners didn’t have this facility to run in. So it’s great but at the same time I’m sure a lot of CU guys can probably run around what I did. But that being said, I’m happy to run faster than I did three years ago. Just to get that state record by a quarter second or something, I’m happy with that.”
The time converts down to 3:55.06, two seconds faster than any other time in the nation this season and more than three seconds faster than the school record, though it will not replace the record. The mark would be good for sixth in school history, though Klecker already owns the second-best mark at 3:58.51 when he ran at MPSF Championships last year.
“My biggest thing is comparing myself three years ago, and I was able to run faster than that,” said Klecker. “It lets me know that I’m set up for a good indoor season. Three years ago, I had a very good season coming off this race, so to start off this season with the same race I did three years ago but a little faster makes me excited.”
Klecker will line up to race next at the Millrose Games next week in New York in the men’s 3,000 against Kurgat of Iowa State, the NCAA Cross Country Champion, Paul Kipngetich Tanui of Kenya (four-time global medalist), US Olympian Hassan Mead and former NCAA Champ Justyn Knight.
“You come here and you’re racing against the clock today,” said Klecker. “I go next week and there’s Olympians and Olympic medalists. I’m going to be a small fish in that pond and I just want to go out there and compete. The only thing I need to do next week is get an NCAA qualifier and everything beyond that is just racing for place and trying to get used to running with these high-level professionals.”