KANSAS CITY, Kan., May 29, 1954 (AP) – Wes Santee, Kansas University’s great distance runner, set a new American outdoor mile record of 4:01.3 tonight as he made an all-out effort to break the 4-minute barrier in the Missouri Valley AAU track meet.
The string bean Kansas senior not only bettered his American record of 4:01.4 set last year but ran the second fastest mile ever recorded.
Only the 3:59.4 by England’s Roger Bannister earlier this month was better than Santee’s time. He was a tenth of a second faster than the former record of 4:01.4 set by Gunder Haegg in 1945.
Santee has completed his collegiate campaigning and will run in the Compton relays June 4 and the Pacific AAU the following night. He got excellent cooperation from a couple of his senior teammates in a great race on the Shawnee-Mission High School track tonight.
Hot on His Heels
Lloyd Koby, the Big Seven Conference champion ran the first quarter in 57 seconds with Santee hot on his heels. Art Dalzell took over the pacing 30 yards from the half-mile mark where he was clocked in 2 minutes. Santee was about four strides behind.
Santee trailed Dalzell until near the finish of the third quarter when he swept ahead to reach that point in 3:02. After that Santee was running alone and swiftly.
Three watches, which had been synchronized and checked by officials before the meet, caught him at 4:01.3.
Santee complained before the race that he was bothered slightly by a strained muscle in his left leg which he sprained in practice earlier in the week.
“The nice pacing by my teammates helped a lot” Wes said. “The leg bothered a little. I’ll just have to run faster at Compton next week.”
The weather was in perfect condition and the pole lane had been given special treatment to make it possible for the great Jayhawker to clock his fastest mile.
Clocked at the 1,500 meter distance, just short of the mile, Santee got there in 3:47 which bettered the meet record of 3:49 set by another great Kansas, Glenn Cunningham, in 1940. The worlds record of 3:43 is held jointly by Jaegg and Lennart Strand of Sweden and Werner Lueg of Germany.
In the strictest sense it was not a paced race, with the pace setters running only quarters or halves. Both Koby and Dalzell completed the mile.
Santee, only slightly winded at the finish, was at least 100 yards in front of Dalzell, the second place man.
Santee’s time by quarters was clocked unofficially at 58 seconds, 62.2, 61.8 and 59.3.