Stahr has been
thinking about the Millrose Mile since the TAC Championships in Bloomington,
Ind. last June. "I'd like to break four minutes," he says. "I don't
know if I ought to say it. There's a lot of pressure." Stahr is thinking of
a 57-second opening quarter, 1:58-1:59 at the half, perhaps three minutes at
the three-quarters. "We're constantly talking about the four-minute
mile," says Collins.
"I'm going for
3:54 outdoors," adds Stahr quietly. "I have to put the goal out
there." That time would break Ryun's American high school outdoor mark of
3:55.3 set in 1965. (In that amazing race, Ryun not only won the AAU
Championship and set a U.S. record but also defeated the world record-holder.
He was 18 years, two months old.) In fact, only three U.S. schoolboys have ever
broken four minutes for the mile: Ryun, running for Wichita East, Wichita,
Kans., did it five times; Tim Danielson ran a 3:59.4 for Chula Vista, Calif. in
1966; and Liquori did 3:59.8 for Essex Catholic, Newark, N.J. in 1967.
Stahr's quest is realistic, Dellinger offered this: "I think that a lot of
the barriers we have are mental barriers. Good competition makes for a good
Stahr also dreams
of breaking the schoolboy 800-meter record of 1:47.31 by running 1:47, and
doing 47 seconds for the 400. "I think about the other high school runners
a lot," he says. "I think Carlotti and I will help each other produce
better times for both of us. I'm sure any series of races we have won't be
onesided. I don't want to lose. I really believe I can get my goals. If not
winning, a near second. It's hard to say second. The mile is my favorite
distance because everyone says, 'The mile, the mile,' but I'm better at the
It would be
difficult to underestimate the still-reverberating excitement from Stahr's win
in the last Millrose and the remembered noise of nearly 20,000 fans. He has his
victorious Millrose photo hanging on the wall at home and he plays a video tape
of the race, over and over. On the last lap, he says, he suddenly heard the
shouts from dozens of Carmel supporters, high up in the balcony. "It's the
final turn," he recalls, smiling at the memory, "there are 30 yards to
go, I'm going to win. By the time Millrose comes again, I'll have run that race
On his wall,
Carlotti has a blown-up, poster-size Associated Press photo of his Fifth Avenue
Mile win—himself lunging at the tape, airborne, anguished and
triumphant—beating a straining, dipping Stahr by inches. He thinks of the
Millrose and Stahr incessantly; the photo is there for "incentive."
Carlotti is 5'9½", 148 pounds, but he runs much bigger than the 5'11"
Stahr. He overstrides, running with long, powerful, graceful steps.
is Edward Mather Jr., 52, an intense former half-miler. Mather has created a
middle- and long-distance running empire in the fox-hunting and corporate hills
of west-central New Jersey. His cross-country teams have won 130 straight meets
since 1969, and he claims a 19-year cross-country record of 190-3. Seven years
ago the taxpayers paid $60,000 for the installation of an outdoor black and
white synthetic Reslite 400-meter track at the high school. Mather and Bernards
High's track and cross-country dynasty were such lures, in fact, that
Carlotti's family moved into the district from Cedar Grove, 20 miles away,
after John's sophomore year so he could participate in Mather's 11-month
training program. "This is not our first great runner," says Mather.
Indeed, he hopes to have five competitors under 4:20 for the mile this spring
and to challenge national high school relay records in the 4x1,600, 4x1,500 and
distance medleys. "Awesome," a word track coaches love to use to
connote excellence, fittingly describes the depth of the Bernards squad.
kid, brimming with confidence, Carlotti got into running in the 6th grade
through his mother, Laurie, who took him along to her fun runs on the road.
She's now up to the marathon. Like Stahr, Carlotti won some short races early
on and enjoyed the medals; his times plummeted and he won state titles.
Thriving on Mather's big-mileage program (80 to 90 miles weekly during the late
summer, including a 20-miler once a week) and strong training partners in his
teammates, Carlotti even won the state cross-country championship at 5,000
meters this fall. (Stahr was second in his state cross-country meet.)
Carlotti's best times on the track are 4:09.89 for the mile; 1:51.2 for 800
meters, and 48.7 for a 400-meter-relay leg.
eyeball to eyeball," says Mather. "Very personal. I try to get into a
boy's soul. I don't kid them. They know I'm very serious about running."
Ignoring traditional interval workouts for speed during the cross-country
season, Mather reserves Tuesday afternoons for team time trials at various
distances—3,000 meters, 1,500,800.
At the tail of the
cross-country season, Carlotti's mileage drops to about 60 miles a week. He's
out daily at 6 a.m. for an easy jog and then does the longer quality stuff with
the team in the afternoon as he zeroes in on the Millrose, Stahr and becoming
the fourth high-schooler to break four minutes in the spring.