Interview by Faith Briggs
Photos by Scott Olberding
A little while back our friend Gilbert Grundy of our home team —The Jacuzzi Boys — stumbled upon information about a world record. 100 people, running 1 mile each, back to back. The current world record is held by The Canadian Milers Athletics Club in Toronto, the record is 7:35:55. So for seven hours, they got one hundred people to come out and run a mile as fast as they could.
Gilbert did not do what one of us might do, laugh, maybe send to a friend and move on. Instead, Gilbert decided that the record should be broken right here in Portland, Oregon.
“The more people I talk to the more I find that people were aware of this thing that exists, which was surprising to me,” says Gilbert. “I had never heard of it, so I saw it and immediately thought, that’s doable. But when you start putting the logistics together it gets a lot more difficult.”
After telling a few folks about the idea, Gilbert immediately had a roster of 30 people, friends told friends and the list is currently up to 94 participants.
“Part of what I’m doing is trying to get people confident,” Gilbert says.
Why? Well, because based on calculations on the spreadsheet that Gilbert pulls up on his phone, the average time needs to be a 4:34 mile.
“I’m biased, as a miler,” he admits, “To me 4:34 seems fine. Honestly, if everyone does the training for it, of this group, they should be fine. But when you get marathoners and 10k guys, it sounds a lot rougher. Longer distance runners get more intimidated by the idea of a 4:30 mile, but I think they’ll be fine too.”
Let’s be clear. The Jacuzzi Boys and friends are fast. But 4:34 is a fast mile. Gilbert has a few guys signed up that can run a sub 4:00 minute mile…it isn’t until twenty minutes into the conversation that I realize he’s one of them.
A bit about Gilbert — he’s half American and half English and didn’t start running until he was about 17 or 18 and then injuries meant he couldn’t really get serious and consistent until he was closer to 21. Gilbert says he’s really indebted to Tom Rawley — who, ran a 5k on his 90th birthday —for seeing potential in him. Training with a former Rawley athlete, helped him get competitive during his time with Guilford and Godalming Atheltics Club.
When he moved to Portland for graduate studies, he found the Jacuzzi Boys and here we sit talking about the best workouts for milers and why Gilbert used to bring a toothbrush to Sunday practices because he had to work afterwards and knew certain workouts would be “Chunder Sessions” aka… you are going to lose whatever is in your stomach.
June 2nd, 2018.
It all goes down at the Sylvania Track. We’ll keep talking to Gilbert during the training season and give you more updates as Record Breaking Day nears.