Reliving The Greatest 1000m Race In State History


Miles' Story

Miles Irish points out that some people run because they love to run. He, however, ran to win.

He didn't start running until he was a freshman at Burnt Hills High School in upstate New York. He might not have been the classic three-sport athlete either but he certainly learned quickly that he had an advantage on the track.

"I had never won anything in my life before running and when I started running, I started to win," Irish, 56, said. "I ran to win, nothing else. People do things for different reasons, have different motivations. I had never won anything in my entire life. I couldn't play baseball or basketball. I had no hand-eye coordination."

Irish played soccer as a ninth grader and recalls that his coach would make the team run laps when it lost a game. It seemed easy to Irish and in time the coach encouraged him to run indoor track as a way of staying in shape and improving his soccer game. 

"The indoor track coach reached out to me and the rest is history," Irish said. "I never kicked a soccer ball in anger again. I was never good at it anyway. I was with my friends [running track] and there were girls on the team. Looking back on it, I liked it. My father died when I was 10, I didn't have a car and we didn't have a lot to do. We had three television channels and no clicker so I had a lot of free time.

"As I ran more, I came to enjoy the bargain. You work hard and you get rewarded. That economic model of running suited me. You make a deposit in practice and then a withdrawal during the race."

Irish proved to be a natural. He won the mile in the Bishop Loughlin Games as a sophomore and he also finished third in the NYS Indoor Meet in the 1,000, while setting the state sophomore record [2:31.7] in the process. He won the 1000 yards at Bishop Loughlin as a junior [2:16.3] and finished just behind Stahr in the Millrose Mile [4:13.63-4:14]. 

He continued to duel with Stahr at the Penn Relays. Stahr set the 1500M record at 3:52.1 while Irish took second at 3:52.7. It went on like that for the rest of their junior year and into their senior winter season leading up to Yale.

Irish had what he called a magical senior year, during which he broke six state indoor records.

"The whole season was special," Irish said. "I don't know if one race stood out. I lost at Millrose to Mike and the 1000 meters to him at Vitalis. I got injured outdoors and then I petered out. That pace was unsustainable with my training.

"Even though it made it harder, I trained by myself as did Mike and Charlie. It made me a better athlete. I could jog with my teammates but I couldn't train with my teammates. I never ran slowly; I never ran seven- or eight-minute miles, those junk miles. I like to run fast. Running a 10-minute mile is like running a marathon for me. I liked the feel of running. Anything over a six and a half-minute pace was torture."

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That will to win, would come in handy at Yale

Irish (1st) would capture the State Indoor Title in the 3200m in 1983