The Sir Walter Miler began due to lack of stateside races for American athletes. In June 2013, Sandy Roberts was coming his best collegiate season, and couldn’t find any meets, that weren’t in Europe, to continue his development. With this position, the “Sandman Mile” was created for Roberts to attempt a sub 4:00 mile with only his brother as the pacer. The event was promoted for only a few days, and would take place at the end of football practice, with the lights still on, at Cardinal Gibbons High School. Hundreds showed up and lined the track to cheer Roberts on. The next year, the Sir Walter Miler took that energy and developed it into a mile-centric event, which has only grown since.
After the inaugural Sir Walter Miler in 2014, LetsRun.com, said of the event: “Meet organizers of America, take note: this is how you put on a professional track meet.” Winner of the race, Ford Palmer, soon got a major shoe deal with Hoka One One, after his win. “It was almost a carnival on the college campus, everyone went to the race, cheered their butts off, and went back to the brewery afterwards. It was the best event I have ever been to as a track athlete,” said Palmer.
Sports Illustrated called the 2015 Sir Walter Miler the “best glimpse of future growth for American track.”
The 2016 event boasted the first T20 sub 4:00 mile ever, as Mikey Brannigan ran 3:57.58 en route to his Gold Medal at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio.
To listen to more about the evolution of the Sir Walter Miler, check out the FloTrack podcast “Making U.S. Track Great Again” here (interview starts around 17:00).
In 2017, Sandy and Pat developed the Summer of Miles podcast to discuss the Sir Walter Miler, interview competitors, and give more information on the history of the event itself.
In 2018, all 13 finishers in the Men’s race ran under the 4:00 barrier, a first for an All American race.
In 2021, the Miler returned after the pandemic-enforced hiatus of 2020 to put nine women under the 4:30 barrier, including a World-leading time by Josette Norris.
The Sir Walter Miler is directed and promoted by Sir Walter Running; a Raleigh-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that consists of Pat Price, Logan Roberts, and Sandy Roberts, with additional help from Elite Coordinators Jeff Caron and Stephen Furst, Melissa Coleman, James East, and a team of interns.
Sir Walter Running also hosts the Raleigh Half Marathon, the Pop Up Miles series, the Raleigh RunDown Downhill Mile, Pop Up Cross Country at Dix Park, the virtual Tour de Walter (and assorted Strava Challenges), the Summer of Miles podcast, and is an official USATF club (#13-1063). More information can be found at SirWalterRunning.com.