Track Hero Nick Willis Tries Sub-4:00 Again in NY
Over the course of five Olympics, the New Zealand mid-distance runner Nick Willis has become a track and field legend. At 38, he recently embarked on an unprecedented quest. GQ went trackside to witness his attempt at history – and uncover the secrets to his remarkable longevity.
It was as surreal as it was unlikely. On New Year’s Eve in New York City, as a scoreboard above the Armory Track counted down the minutes until 2022, and as a film crew and photographer shadowed his every move, Willis gathered himself for the impending effort, Eric Wills writes for the magazine.
Willis has run at least one sub-4:00 mile every year since 2003. John Walker, a fellow New Zealander and an Olympic gold medallist, held the record: 18 consecutive years, from 1973 to 1990. Willis matched Walker’s mark in 2020, then surpassed it.
And though this year, just two weeks after a positive Covid test, he ran it at 4:00.22, it felt less like an end than a beginning, Wills writes.
It was hard not to be struck by the simplest of truths, one that explains so much: Nick Willis loves to run.
Original article by Eric Wills, GQ, January 7, 2022.
Photo by Johnny Zhang.