SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - It's been 50 years since the first American high school boy ran a mile in less than four minutes. His name is Jim Ryun, and he's in San Diego Thursday to celebrate his record, which lasted for 36 years.
He started running in high school because quite frankly, he wasn't very good at any other sports.
"When I was a young boy, I was cut from every team I was on, including the church baseball team," Jim said.
But he sure could run. In fact, on this day 50 years ago he became the first high schooler ever to run a mile in less than four minutes.
"Gave me a sense of self-worth. It helped me understand that obstacles or defeats aren't the end of life," he said.
Running didn't get Ryun everything he wanted.
"I was sure if I got a letter jacket, I'd get a girlfriend right behind it," he said.
But it certainly put him on the track to success. He went on to become a three-time Olympian, a congressman and director of a Christian ministry.
Jim says there's no such thing as being too old to start running, and the benefits are a step in the right direction toward staying young.
"One of the things we're learning along the way, if you're concerned about dementia and Alzheimer's, is that aerobic exercise, like running 20 to 30 minutes 3 times a week, is one of the best preventatives out there," Jim said.
But he warns to start slowly. Walk a couple miles the first few weeks, then start running part of the way, building up to running the whole way. And don't forget to stretch before and after you run.
Jim went on to run five sub four-minute miles in high school. To this day, no one else has run more than two. He still holds the record for the fastest time ever in a one mile race with all high schoolers.