THE four-minute mile was once an unthinkable barrier for any human to break. Now even 16-year-old kids are doing it.

Sixty-three years after Roger Bannister became the first man to crack the magical mark, a Norwegian teen has shocked the running world with another landmark performance.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen, 16, this week became the youngest runner ever to break four minutes for the mile (1609m), clocking three minutes and 58.07 seconds at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon.

The schoolboy, who turns 17 in September, finished in 11th place in a race that featured professional runners.

He smashed the former age class world record of 4:06.7, set in 1972 by Barrie Williams, and becomes the first runner born this millennium to run a sub four-minute mile.

Putting Ingebrigtsen's feat in perspective, American Bannister was 25 find when he made history in 1954. Legendary runner Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco was the same age when he set the current mile world record of 3:43.13 in 1999.

Many scientists agree middle-distance runners do not peak until around the age of 24-26, making Ingebritsen's future potential downright scary.

"It is amazing to smash such a record in this way," Ingebrigtsen said after his historic performance.

"It (running under four minutes) is something I've thought about maybe since I was eight years old. The last couple of years, I really put my mind to running as fast as I can and said 'I want to do that."

Amazingly, this was Ingebrigtsen's first crack at the mile in competition.

"I felt really strong this week and thought I could run fast," he said.

"I felt I ran rally good tactics, stayed in a stable pace and had a good finish."

Henrik Ingebrigtsen, 26, took third in 3:53.79 in the same race as Jakob. Filip Ingebrigtsen, 24, clocked 3:53.23 in the main event of the meet, the Bowerman Mile.

Australian middle distance ace Ryan Gregson clocked 3:56.90 in the same race.

News Corp Australia

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