John Lester Runs Away With Independence Day Mile

  • Watch the replay of Independence Day Showdown Sub-4 from July 4, 2020 on Milesplit


The dream for graduated senior Matt Strangio appeared to die with about 600 meters to go just as the future was getting even brighter for rising senior John Lester

At about that spot on the track is when Lester, from Amador Valley HS, took control of the Independence Day Showdown mile and ran away with a victory on Saturday night at South Eugene High School. 

Lester's winning time of 4:06.97 improves his previous personal best of 4:08.90, posted May 23 at the Quarantine Clasico. It also adds to already impressive 2020 that includes an historic 800m victory less than a month ago where he ran the third-fastest time (1:48.26) ever by a junior.

Lester's time ranks No. 23 all-time and No. 4 in California history in the junior class for the mile and ranks No. 22 among all miles by CA boys dating to the start of 2010. 

Isaiah Givens, a rising junior at Pasadena HS, was fifth in 4:17.44. 

Strangio, the brains behind May's Quarantine Clasico, which resulted in a rare sub-4 mile by Arizona's Leo Daschbach, was injured and unable to participate in that event. With the hopes of still having a shot at challenging that historic sub-4 mile, Strangio also coordinated Saturday's event. 

The result, however, was far from what he hoped. 

Pacer Justin Crosswhite took the field of seven through the first lap at 58.46 with Strangio just behind in 58.90 and Lester next in 59.18. Crosswhite hit the halfway point at 1:59.66. Strangio was at 2:00.17, Lester 2:00.45 and Ibrahim 2:00.82

The pacer pulled off on the backstretch of the third lap with Strangio still in second but Lester seized that opportunity to surge and continued to put distance between himself and Strangio. 

Lester hit the bell at 3:02.23 with Strangio next at 3:03.82 and Ibrahim at 3:04.46. 

Ibrahim had the fastest final lap, 1:02.69, but it wasn't enough to catch Lester, as he held on with that 1:03.24 final lap. 

Salcido's previous mile PR was 4:17.33 from May's Quarantine Clasico.

Givens, the youngest runner in the field, had run 4:16.52 a couple weeks ago at the Desert Dream in Arizona. He had hoped to hang on to the pack long enough to drag him to a PR but he lost contact with a 1:04.00 second lap and 1:06.46 third lap and fell off PR pace.