4 Minutes with a Miler – Leo Manzano
Podcast series kicks off with Leo Manzano discussing why the Mile is important, breaking four minutes, and the Manzano Mile. It is hosted by Duncan Larkin with the audio available below and through the iTunes store, in addition to the complete transcript below.
Greetings, this is Duncan Larkin with Bring Back the Mile. Our first installment of “Four Minutes with a Miler” is with 2008 Olympian and this year’s U.S. Indoor Champion in the 1500m, Leo Manzano. Leo welcome to the program and thank you for speaking with us.
Leo Manzano: Thank you, Duncan. I appreciate it.
First question, Leo, is what does the Mile mean to you?
You know, Duncan, to me the Mile means a lot, actually. The reason for that is I felt like it’s given me a lot in the first place. It’s given me an education. It’s given me a job. And it’s given me an opportunity to do many things. So, to me, it means a lot.
What are your memories of the first Mile that you ran? What can you recall about that experience?
Some of my first memories of when I was in middle school when I was trying to run the Mile. I guess it was called the mile, but it wasn’t the actual Mile. But I guess the first time I ran the actual Mile was at the Texas Relays. That was pretty exhilarating, running in front of about 20,000-30,000 people.
You first broke the 4-minute barrier [in the Mile] when you ran 3:59.86 in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2005. What are your thoughts on that memorable race when you made it into that exclusive club?
That was unreal. It was unreal to me; it was unreal to my teammates. I remember just coming across the finish line just wondering if I had broke it. There was a moment, a ten-second moment between the time I finished and the time I was looking at the clock and it just seemed forever. Then it came up and it was flashing 3:59.82 or .84 I believe. Then the crowd went crazy and my teammates rushed me. They picked me up and just went crazy.
Now you’ve got the Manzano Mile coming up on March 24. Tell us about that.
For the Manzano Mile, we include a lot. Some of the main things we include are health and fitness, but then we also help out the community. At the same time we bring in a lot of the love of Track and Field into this event.
Where did you get the idea for the race?
You know, I had been to a track meet, I believe it was in Missouri, and they had a really cool concept of just getting the community involved. It was maybe about a year or a year and a half afterwards and that concept kind of stuck in my head. I was like, “You know, I kind of want to do something similar to that.” Then my buddies over at Jack & Adams [bicycle shop] and High Five [events], I started talking to them and they thought it was a great idea. We just kind of started piecing everything together. Of course, at first, it was a lot of work. It was new to us and we were trying to figure everything out. It seems like it’s kind of taking off now.
It’s called the Manzano Mile with the Mile as the second part of the title. Why not call it the Manzano 1600?
[Leo laughs.] Everyone can just relate to the Mile. You don’t ask people, “Hey, how many 1600s did you run today?” You ask them, “Hey how many miles did you run today?” Everybody can relate to a Mile. Not that many people can relate to a 1500m either.
Do you have a favorite Miler that you look up to? Any role models?
I wouldn’t say a favorite. I have a couple guys that I look up to that were awesome back in the day, especially the British Milers. Those guys were just insane. I don’t get tired of watching their races and all that. Like Sebastian Coe and all those guys. They were just on another level.
Last question, Leo. What are one or two things that people listening to this can do to help Bring Back the Mile?
The biggest thing is just Tweeting, Facebooking, and just following all the athletes that run the Mile, especially following the Bring Back the Mile campaign with you guys. That’s huge. If everyone just gets out there and Tweets and re-Tweets and Facebooks. I mean the Mile is here. It’s just coming back and is going to be bigger and better.
That’s all the time we have for this installment of “Four Minutes with a Miler”. Thank you, Leo Manzano, for joining us on our inaugural show. We wish you the best of luck with your Manzano Mile.
Thank you so much, Duncan.