Elites Gear Up For San Diego’s ElliptiGO Mile

The San Diego event will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Jim Ryun's sub-4-minute mile performance.

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The San Diego event will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Jim Ryun’s sub-4-minute mile performance.

Mary Decker Slaney, Jearl Miles-Clark, Darcy Arreola Lange and Julia Stamps Mallon will go head-to-head on Thursday in the ElliptiGO Mile as part of the Festival of Miles event at Balboa Stadium in San Diego. Fueled by impressive resumes covering the last 30-plus years of professional track competition, the four athletes will cover four laps around the track as part of an evening celebration of Jim Ryun’s sub-4-minute mile performance on June 5, 1964.

“Although the ElliptiGO is best known for endurance and long-distance athletes, such as Meb, there are actually a bunch of 800-meter and 1,500-meter runners who use the GO, such as Shannon Rowbury, Alysia Montano and Geena Gall,” say Bryce Whiting, the chief enthusiast at ElliptiGO. “You can use the GO for speed work and hill repeats.”

Decker Slaney, gold medalist in the 1,500 meters and 3,000 meters at the 1983 World Championships and current AR holder in the 1,500 meters, one-mile, 2,000 meters and 3,000 meters, turned to the ElliptiGO in 2012 after a slew of injuries and was “all smiles,” says Whiting. “She could go fast again and get that endorphin rush.” Slaney placed second in the ElliptiGO World Championships later that year.

For Miles-Clark, the current AR holder in the 800 meters, and Lange, a three-time Olympic Trials 1,500-meter competitor, it was word of mouth that brought them to the GO. Mallon, who competed in the 2004 Olympic Trials Marathon and was a six-time All-American at Stanford University, is also using the cross-training tool to prep for the 2016 trials in Los Angeles.

“It’s really humbling and exciting at the same time [to be involved with the Festival of Miles]. When we started the company, we ‘knew of’ legends like Mary Decker Slaney and Jim Ryun, but we had no expectation of ever actually interacting with them,” says Bryan Pate, co-founder and CEO of ElliptiGO. “If you had told us back in 2010 that four years later Mary and Jearl Miles-Clark would be racing on ElliptiGOs at Balboa Stadium as part of the celebration of Jim Ryun’s achievements, we simply would not have believed you.”

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ElliptiGO is based out of Solana Beach, Calif., and was created “out of necessity,” according to the company’s website. It provides former runners the ability to continue training with zero impact, and it gives current runners an outdoor option for cross-training that provides similar endorphins to running. 2014 Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi has used the ElliptiGO as part of his regular training regimen for the last three years.

“We’re a little bit in disbelief that it’s actually going to happen, [but] we’re very excited about the event and humbled to be a small part of the celebration this week,” Pate says.

Why tune into this four-lap, 1,609-meter ElliptiGO showdown? “The talent. The resumes. The unknowns. It’s never been done before,” Whiting says.

The Festival of Miles will be held on June 5 at Balboa Stadium in San Diego to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Jim Ryun’s first sub-4-minute mile as a high school junior—the first by any high-school athlete. It’s free, open to the public and includes appearances by some of the greatest athletes in track and running history.