Article published on Friday, June 12th, 2009 By DEREK CLARKSTON Mirror Writer

The Trevor Dunbar Summer Tour begins Saturday.

Kodiak’s national running star has three major races planned for the summer. The first race is at the Portland Track Festival at Lewis and Clark College on Saturday.

Dunbar, a recent Kodiak High School graduate, is running the 1,600 meters — the event has been dubbed the Sub-4 challenge.

“I know that is unrealistic for me to get,” Dunbar said.

Only four high school runners have dipped below 4 minutes. The first was in 1967 by Marty Liquori and the last was by Alan Webb in 2001. Webb’s time of 3:53.4 is a national record.

Dunbar’s best four-lap time is 4 minutes, 10.78 seconds, which ranks him 20th in the nation this season.

The elite field consists of 10 to 12 of the top mile runners in the nation, including Mac Fleet of California, who owns the nation’s second fastest time at 4:05.33.

“He is going to be a monster,” Dunbar said. “I have already raced him once. He is probably out of my range at that distance.”

Two of the top 800 runners also are in the field.

New Jersey’s Robby Andrews is the top 800 runner with a time of 1:48.66 and Oregon’s Elijah Greer is right behind him at 1:48.31. Fleet is ranked third (1:50.31).

Dunbar is not worried about winning; he just wants to set a personal best time.

“I’m just thinking, I’m ready to dip well under 4:10,” he said.

The next stop on the Dunbar tour is the Nike Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., on June 19 where he will run the 3,200.

“That will probably be the most pressure-packed race, because I have a pretty good chance of winning,” Dunbar said. “The other two races, I don’t really have a chance of winning. So that will be huge to my season if I can get a national title.”

Dunbar’s 3,200 time of 8:51.50 was run at Kodiak’s last home meet in May and is still the second best time in the nation.

On the same day, Jeff Thode from Illinois ran an 8:51.30, which tops the leader board.

Dunbar finishes his summer running the 5,000 at the USA Track and Field Junior Championships at the University of Oregon at the end of June.

“It will be a big month of June,” Dunbar said. “Hopefully, I will get some experience with some really good competition and just get some fast times and have some fun.”

The University of Portland-bound runner finished his high school career as the 1,600 and 3,200 state champion. He won both events despite recovering from strep throat.

Fully recovered from the illness he has run more than 120 miles in the past two weeks to get back in shape.

“The first day, I ran it just felt so weird,” Dunbar said. “It didn’t feel like I was a runner.”

Mirror writer Derek Clarkston can be reached via e-mail at [ printable version ]