NEWBURYPORT — Not just one but two milestones were set in the men’s division at yesterday’s 23rd running of the High Street Mile.
Twenty-four-year-old Pat Fullerton succeeded both in eclipsing the course record of 4:03 set by Erik Nadeau in 1995 and breaking the vaunted 4-minute mark by crossing the finish line in a time of 3:58.8.
Fullerton used a strong surge over the final quarter of the race to defeat defending champion Abiyot Endale (27), who also ended up besting Nadeau’s 17-year record with a time of 4:01.4.
Endale came within five-tenths of a second of surpassing the record on his way to victory last year.
In the women’s race, former Boston University track star Katie Matthews (22) scored a comfortable nine-second win over runner-up Tigist Tufa (26).
A graduate of Stonehill College and Bradford resident, Fullerton liked his chances of cutting through the 4-minute barrier after excelling in a recent mile run in Manchester.
“About a month ago I ran a 3:48 mile up in Manchester, so I knew, after I did that, I had a shot at breaking 4 minutes here,” he said. “It’s awesome. So many people around town wished me well and supported me (leading up to the race). I didn’t want to disappoint them.”
Fullerton also won Tuesday’s Yankee Homecoming 5K in a time of 15:21.
The loud and enthusiastic cheers of the spectators at the finish certainly aided in spurring Fullerton on.
“I’ve never closed out a race faster than I did today,” he said. “The crowd really helped. With about 600 meters to go, I was getting tired and (Endale) was starting to pull away. That’s when I said ‘the heck with it’ and just took off.”
In the end, Fullerton was able to successfully carry out his pre-race strategy.