Gary Martin eclipsed Jim Ryun’s 1965 no-pacer time of 3:58.3 with a 3:57.98.

Only two. That’s right, only two high-school guys have ever broken the four-minute mile barrier without a rabbit. It took nearly 60 years, but Gary Martin achieved such a feat on May 14, running 3:57.98 at the Philadelphia Catholic League Outdoor Championship at Cardinal O’Hara High in Springfield, Pennsylvania, eclipsing Jim Ryun’s 1965 no-pacer time of 3:58.3. While there are 14 high-school boys who’ve gone sub-4 to date, Martin’s mark stands out as it was in a high-school only race. That exclusive club has only three other members: Ryun (3:58.3), Michael Slagowski (3:59.53) and Leo Daschbach (3:59.54).

Coached by Paul Streleckis, Martin trains a relatively modest 40-50 miles a week, and his favorite workouts to get in mile race shape include intervals like 400s, 800s, 300s, and 150s—the longer ones at mile race pace. The shorter ones like the 300s, he’ll scream through at 44-45 seconds and rachet down to 18-19 seconds a piece for the 150s. Martin also notes that tempo runs have played a key role in his development and in improving his fitness.

Leading up to the historic race, Martin knocked out a 4:00.95 on April 13 at the Explorers Invitational at LaSalle College High School in Wyndmoor, PA and ran a 4:01.04 at the Penn Relays on April 30.

Martin, 18, who favors toaster waffles and almond butter for breakfast, came through the first 400 at about 58 seconds, and said that he sensed he had a sub-4 going. He commented that his next two laps he usually slows a bit, but this time he hit the 800-meter mark in 1:56. He kept the momentum, breaking the tape in 3:57.98.

In mid-June at Philadelphia’s historic Franklin Field, Martin will be competing in the New Balance Nationals Outdoor, looking to win the outdoor title in his hometown. A well-balanced individual, Martin advises other teenagers with lofty goals to, “find joy in the little things, and the process building up to it. If you’re not enjoying the hard work that goes into it, you’re probably going to have a harder time achieving it.” Articulate and humble, Martin says that to achieve greatness, fellow teens should, “Find joy in the process.” A senior at Archbishop Wood High School, he will be attending the University of Virginia next fall.

Upcoming races: Thursday, June 2 at 8:00 p.m., Maudie’s Moonlight Margarita 5K at Sand Beach Park in downtown Austin. Saturday, June 4 at 11:00 a.m., the Old Town Leander 5K at Brushy Creek in Leander. Sunday, June 5 at 8:00 a.m., the Summer Sizzler 5K/10K at NE Metro Park in Pflugerville.