They say the third time is a charm. But for Abiyot Endale, the third time was downright cruel.
Oh, Endale won the High Street Mile title for the third straight year last year in 4:04 (his fourth title in six years), but he has been after the record of 4:03.41 since he first entered in 2006.
He has returned every year since and will be among a handful of contenders for the 23rd Annual High Street Mile Sunday morning, the Parade before the Parade, beginning at Atkinson Common and finishing at Newburyport H.S.
The Boys and Girls Division (ages 15 and under) begins at 9:15 a.m. while the Open Women’s Division (16 and up) begins at 9:50, followed by the Open Men’s at 10:10. Registration is $20 before the race ($25 the day of for Open runners only) and numbers can be obtained at the Greater Boston Running Company on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Winner’s Circle Running Club is also soliciting a $1 donation from each entrant to be donated to the One Fund.
Endale, a native of Ethiopia, really can’t get any closer. In his first five appearances in the High Street Mile, he was unable to break 4:10, but he improved to 4:05 in 2011 and of course 4:04 last year.
He is capable, however, of the big race. He broke the four-minute barrier two years ago at the Fifth Avenue Mile in New York City, running 3:59.4.
Last year, he said he felt like one of the townspeople.
“This is my favorite race,” Endale said. “This is the first race I did when I came to this country the first time. I love the people. Everybody knows me now. I never want to miss it.”
It takes a year’s worth of phone calls, e-mails, Facebook and schmoozing to put on a quality product in the High Street Mile, but the Winner’s Circle Running Club has done it again with a lineup of the utmost quality.