Sonja Friend-Uhl, at almost 47, cracks 5 in mile for American record

Nineteen months ago, W45 Sonja Friend-Uhl withdrew from a masters exhibition at the 2016 Olympic Trials. Now the middle-distance superstar is recovered from a strained hamstring and plantar fasciitis in her right foot. How recovered? How about becoming the oldest American woman to run a sub-5 mile indoors? On Facebook, Sonja posted news of her 4:59.99 Sunday at the KMC Invite in Birmingham, Alabama. That beats the listed AR of 5:04.02 set by Alisa Harvey in 2011. (The outdoor AR is 4:56.28 by Kris Paaso in 2016.) Sonja turns 47 in March, so this is an amazing mark. At the same meet, Sonja also ran the 400 in 62.39. Sh wrote: “Man, those girls are fast! I really need to learn how to use starting blocks! I felt a bit rusty and I have much work to do regarding my speed and power, but it was a solid opener to the season and I’m grateful for it!” Sonja’ all-time indoor mile best is 4:39.72 — when she was 28. So she’s lost an average of 1.12 seconds a year for 18 years. Incredible.

Sonja’s Sunday:

Xpress Timing – Contractor License 1/28/2018 – 12:30 PM
KMS Invite 2018 – 1/28/2018
Sponsored by Kevin Stephen
Birmingham Crossplex Arena, Birmingham, Al.

Event 5 Women 1 Mile
KMS Rec: M 4:56.41 1/31/2016 Sonja Friend-Uhl, Atlanta T
Crsplx Rec: C 4:35.62 3/12/2016 Kaela Edwards, Okla State
Name Year School Finals
Section 1
1 Martina Rodriguez Sala Unattached 4:51.41M
2 Sonja Friend-Uhl Unattached 4:59.99
3 Gabrielle Stravach Emory 5:04.65
4 Rachel Kigen Mid. Tenn. State 5:05.18
5 Sarah Edens Embry-Riddle 5:12.19
6 Racheal Kosgei Mid. Tenn. State 5:13.10
7 Julia Jelagat Mid. Tenn. State 5:14.96
8 Kennedy Thompson Unattached 5:23.00
9 Maeve Andrews Emory 5:23.13

Section 7
1 Sonja Friend-Uhl Unattached 1:02.39
2 Sofia Mazza Mobile 1:02.58
3 Tamara Chambers Embry-Riddle 1:02.59
4 Alana Bell Embry-Riddle 1:04.41

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January 29, 2018

6 Responses

  1. Matt B. - January 29, 2018

    Great job! Outdoor record sure to come.
    Amazing 400 speed.
    It shows how staying in shape can reduce the performance decline. 20 seconds is outstanding.
    Anthony Whiteman slowed about 15 seconds from age 26-45 in the mile and only 4 seconds off his 800 PR at age 45. Inspirational performances.

  2. KP - January 30, 2018

    Well done Sonja. KP

  3. Peter L. Taylor - January 30, 2018

    Let’s see — speed, power, impeccable form, endurance, and a great sense of timing, nothing like a Sonja Friend-Uhl exhibition.

    Actually, I’d rather watch Sonja run a 400 than the mile or 1500, as her extended kick in the 400 is a joy to see. I’ll bet those “college girls” didn’t know what hit them.

  4. Sonja Friend-Uhl - January 31, 2018

    Thank you all so much! …and thank you Ken for the mention of my performance. I am hoping to run faster later this season but I have learned that as a Masters athlete, nothing is guaranteed and we have to truly celebrate the good performances we are blessed with as they come. I’m just so happy and thankful I can still be a part of this sport I love!

  5. Peter L. Taylor - February 2, 2018

    Congratulations, Sonja, for being named USATF Athlete of the Week for this wonderful performance. You are one of the greatest middle-distance runners I’ve ever announced.

  6. Ken Stone - February 19, 2018

    Jeff Brower’s Google Doc of record applications indicates that Sonja’s 4:59.99 has been rejected for lack of a Zero Control Test (of the timing system gun). Who messed up at this meet?

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