When Caiden Lee crossed the finish line in the mile race at the Thunderbird Track and Field Club Performance Trials hosted by Swangard Stadium earlier this month, he knew he had set a good time – a personal best. four seconds, in fact.

What he had no idea, however, was that he had also narrowly broken a record that had existed since 1985 – his time of four minutes and 12.02 seconds beat the almost four-decade-old U18 mark. of 0.28 seconds.

His trainer didn’t realize it either.

“In fact, I wasn’t paying attention to this record because we don’t run the mile often anymore. It’s rarely raced in Canada and is more common in the United States, ”said Ocean Athletics coach Ted of St. Croix, who has coached Lee for nine years.

“Basically he ran the race and I was like, ‘Wow, that’s a really good time. I should just go check and see what the case is.

The mile is rarely traveled outside of the United States, and in most places, including Canada, it is replaced by the 1,500m, which is approximately 109 meters shorter.

Lee, who is entering his senior year at Semiahmoo Secondary this fall, said the extra 100 meters was not a problem.

“There isn’t much of a difference. I would say it’s more about your overall pace… when you’re there it’s pretty similar, ”he said. “I specialize in the 1500, so the mile is pretty relatable, but just because of how rare it was, it was a big (best personal best) for me.”

Although he was unaware of when his student had pulled off a record-breaking race, de St. Croix said he was not surprised at Lee’s recent success. In fact, his improvement has been fairly consistent over the past few seasons on the track, he said.

“He’s had a lot of PB this year, and I’m not at all surprised, just because of the amount of work he’s put in,” he said.

“He studies sports, he knows exactly what it takes, and he knows his body and how much training it can take. At this age, this is the optimal time for an athlete to improve and develop more strength and speed, but every year it seems to get better.

Additionally, de St. Croix noted that in the 1,500m – or in this case, the mile – young athletes often struggle on the third lap of the track, because the adrenaline and focus they have. at the start have diminished, but they are not yet locked in for a push at the end of the race.

Lee is handling the third round lull well, he said.

“Caiden is very good at maintaining his focus. It’s something you learn while running, and Caiden, he loves to run.

Sanctioned multi-club racing only returned this summer as British Columbia entered a new phase of its COVID-19 restart plan, and although Lee said he handled the sessions very well. mostly solo training from last year once he got used to it, he’s excited to be back racing.

“I have competed in more competitions recently, which I am grateful for. I hadn’t done it for so long, so it was a good change, “he said, noting that getting back into a more competitive frame of mind” was mostly second nature. “

“It was nice to see some of my friends from other cities,” he continued. “(Chez Swangard) I felt like I was traveling through time actually – a few years ago. I wasn’t used to seeing so many people.

With no competitions last year, Lee said he spent most of his days on the track racing time trials, often with friends following him. And while such a mundane schedule might lower motivation for some, Lee said focusing on his future keeps him on track.

“It was a little hard to get motivated at times, but I was also trying to meet college recruiting standards, so without that I think it would have been harder to stay motivated.

The next step for Lee and some of his Ocean Athletics teammates is a July 24-25 ‘challenge’ event that will take place in three cities – Langley, Kamloops and Victoria – and serve as this year’s replacement for the club championships. of British Columbia.

Lee and a few teammates, as well as St. Croix, will be in Victoria, where the middle distance races will take place.

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