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Hobbs Kessler Shatters American High School Record for the Mile

Joseph Mok

  • March 17, 2021

History was made on February 7th, 2021. 

At the third official American Track League meet, Hobbs Kessler, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, represented Skyline High School in the mile run. He ran a staggering 3:57.66 to claim 3rd place in the race, setting the national indoor high school mile record.

Kessler beat Drew Hunter’s previous record (3:57.81) in 2016 by just .15 of a second.


Skyline’s Hobbs Kessler and Pioneer’s Owen Johnson  at Pioneer.

Running a sub-4 min mile is no easy task. Kessler’s record-breaking race made him the 11th high schooler to have ever run under four minutes.

Kessler began running his freshman year of high school. Before that, however, he was a devoted rock climber who competed in Arco, Italy at the 2019 Youth World Climbing Championship. Both of his parents were skilled runners, and also coached the cross country and track teams at his school. Kessler soon found himself obsessed with running as he fell in love with the sport and developed a deep bond with his team.

Before training, he ran an initial mile time of just under 5 min. It was in quarantine that he started following an especially intense workout plan from his dad to increase endurance and speed. He also received guidance from legendary track and field coach of the University of Michigan, Ron Warhurst, who still trains runners in Ann Arbor.

“… I was doing tempo Tuesdays, hills on Fridays, and a long run on weekends. I just built up my body all around and became more engrossed in the running community,” said Kessler.

Kessler was invited to the American Track League meet by another coach, and olympian athlete, Nick Willis. Kessler had set the goal to officially break 4 minutes, but admitted that on race day, “it was pretty intimidating getting there and thinking everyone here is better than me.” Nevertheless, he gave a solid performance by maintaining a strong, consistent pace during the run, and showing an outstanding (and entertaining) sprint in the last 100 meters of the race to take third place.

Nick Willis (37 years old) of New Zealand, who ran 2nd place in the race, managed to run 3:56.82, making it his 20th consecutive sub-4 min mile. Takieddine Hedeilli, a senior graduate student of Texas Tech, who won 1st place, ran a PR (personal record) of 3:56.79. 

Kessler continues to improve his speed and endurance, and is now back to training at Skyline High School. “Right now, we want to focus on getting back to the ground emotionally and get back to work… My goal now is to just see how fast I can run,” Kesler said.

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