sub-50 second quarter

< Previous | Next >


Hi, dear members of the Forum!
Please help me to understand the passage:
I don’t have the sub-50 second quarter speed anymore, so I am trying to run fast off strength.
it is from the article about the runner Tony Young: (Article source)
<<Excessive quotation deleted.>>
"I do a lot more distance now," he explains of his training. "In college, I did 50–60 miles per week with quality sessions on the track. Now I do anywhere from 70 to 100 miles per week, depending on the season. I don’t have the sub-50 second quarter speed anymore, so I am trying to run fast off strength."

Last edited by a moderator:
  • DocPenfro

    Senior Member
    English - British
    "Quarter" means 440 yards, i.e. one quarter of a mile. This was formerly one of the standard running race distances in English-speaking countries, but has now disappeared due to the universal adoption of the metric system in competitions. Most running tracks in the UK, USA etc consisted of an oval, 440 yards in length. The "four minute mile" represented one of the great challenges to middle-distance runners, until it was broken by Roger Bannister in 1954.

    A top runner should be able to run the quarter mile in less than 50 seconds. Hence: "the sub-50 second quarter speed". ("sub-" = less than)
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English - British
    The old standard distance, 440 yards, is almost the same as 400 metres. The race Young had won, as discussed in the article, was 1500 metres.
    It appears therefore that he is a middle-distance runner, not a 400 metre man, so in speaking of a 'sub-50 second quarter' he must be referring to the ability to put in a fast 400 metres during a middle-distance race.
    Not having that ability any more, he has to run the whole 1500 metres at a steady fast pace which would still be slower than a rate of 50 seconds for a quarter-mile.
    Nobody has ever run 1500 metres or a mile at an average speed of 50 seconds per quarter-mile. That would mean a mile time of 3:20. The present mile record is above 3:40.
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >