In front of hundreds of fans at West Anchorage High School, Kyle Merber became the first runner to produce a sub-4-minute mile on an outside track in Alaska. 

Merber from New York battled a stiff wind to clock a mile time of 3 minutes, 59.36 seconds at the first of two legs of the Great Alaska Mile Series on Wednesday in Anchorage. 

The second leg is scheduled for 1:15 p.m.  Saturday at Joe Floyd Track and  Field in Kodiak. 

Ben Blankenship, a 2016 Olympian, also dipped under the historic time barrier, finishing second in 3:59.67. 

Colby Alexander from New York was third in 4:00.01, while Kodiak’s Trevor Dunbar was fourth in 4:02.21.

Dunbar took the lead after the rabbit — Doug Benson — peeled off the track, but was unable to hold off Merber, Blankenship and Alexander down the stretch. 

Prior to Wednesday, no runner has logged a 4-minute mile outside in Alaska. In 2014, New York’s Jack Bolas recorded a 3:58.3 inside The Dome in Anchorage.

Dunbar and the six other elite runners will take aim at that record on Saturday. The National Weather Service is calling for scattered showers with a high of 51 degrees.

Dunbar, a 2009 Kodiak High School graduate and professional runner, and his father, Marcus, organized this event. 

“This is something that I always wanted to do — compete in front of my hometown and hometown crowd,” Dunbar told the Daily Mirror earlier this week. 

Dunbar is the only Alaskan to run a sub-4 mile. He has done it four times, with a personal-best time of 3:55.54. 

Five of the seven runners in the Great Alaska Mile Series have logged mile times under 4 minutes. Leading the way is Blankenship with a 3:53.04. Merber’s PR is 3:54.57. 

  

  

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