A “dream mile” could be on the cards when the event is run for the first time in 13 years at the Yellow Pages Series meeting in the Xerox NMMU Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Friday evening.

“If, and only if, the organisers have contracted an experienced pacemaker, a sub four-minute mile may be a reality,” said former national middle-distance runner Jean Verster, who manages the High Performance Institute at the North West University.

Verster, who has about 10 dream miles behind his name, said it was imperative that the leaders reached the start of the fourth and last lap bang on three minutes. The event consisted of four laps plus nine metres, he explained.

“The best way to run a dream mile is to have a quick first lap. One has to make up the extra nine metres in the first 60 seconds, which leaves three laps at 60 seconds apiece.

“If the pacemaker can bring the field to the bell dead on three minutes, any miler worth his salt should be able to convert it into a sub four-minute time.”

Verster tipped Samson Ngoepe (Nelspruit), who represented South Africa over 800m at both the Beijing Olympics and the world championships in Berlin last year, as the favourite by a short head.

“Although he doesn’t have the quickest 1 500m time (3:40:40) in the field, Samson’s kick may be too good for the other runners – especially if it becomes tactical.”

The young Thops Baloyi (Dreamveldt Pukke), who placed seventh over 1 500m at the world university championships in Belgrade and recorded a season’s best of 3:39.81 last year, is another to watch out for, according to Verster.

He said the fastest 1 500m runner in the field was Pharson Magagane, who clocked 3:37.79 last year as well as taking bronze at the national championships in Stellenbosch. “His form however tends to be erratic, so one never knows what to expect.”

Windy Jonas (Kovsies), still only 19, is also expected to have a good race. His personal best over 1 500m (3:42.60) equates to about a four-minute mile, said Verster.

He said it was generally accepted that a 1 500m time of 3:42.20 translated into a dream mile.

Willem Muldner won the last mile in PE, in 1997, in a time of 3:56.65. Johan Fourie’s current South African record of 3:50.82, set in 1987, was also set at this venue on a day that six runners dipped under four minutes.

Other great performances in the Friendly City were Bennie Greyling’s 3:55.93 in 1988, Fourie’s 3:55.36 in 1989 and Johan Landsman’s 3:56.72 in 1991.

“It is fantastic that the organisers have added this event to the programme,” said former Eastern Province middle-distance star Petrus Boukes. “There is something magical about it.”

He said no middle-distance runner’s CV was quite complete without a dream mile. “It is fantastic that the current crop is given an opportunity to emulate the greats of yesteryear.”

Fittingly perhaps, Dean Brummer, son of legendary miler Deon Brummer, will also be in the field. The latter ran a dream mile in PE, with Verster second, on the famous day when several of the leading pack tripped and fell at the bell.

Athletics South Africa (ASA) announced on Thursday that world 800m champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi was a late withdrawal due to death in the family. According to the statement, Mulaudzi had been training hard in the lead-up to the world indoor championships and he regretted not being able to take part.

The pre-programme kicks off at 4pm, with the main programme starting at 6pm.

Tickets cost R10 and will be available at the gate. Scholars and students can enter for free.

For more information, contact Le-Anne de Kock on 041 374 2818.

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