Records are made to be broken. For this reason, it’s always really exciting to watch the progression of running world records, such as the progression of the marathon world record or the mile world record progression over time.
Just recently, we saw Connor Burns, a senior at Southern Boone County High School in Missouri break Galen Rupp’s long-standing national 5,000-meter high school record at the Track Fest in Walnut, California on Saturday, May 6, 2023.
Burns ran a blazing 13:37.30 5k on the track, closing the last lap in 61 seconds to beat Rupp’s 5,000-meter high school record of 13:37.91 by just over half a second.
As impressive as Connor Burns’ 5000-meter performance was, his American 5k high school record was short-lived.
On Friday, May 26, 2023, Lex Young, a senior at Newbury Park High School, took down the record yet again, resetting the U.S. high school 5,000m record to 13:34.96. at the USATF Los Angeles Grand Prix at Drake Stadium on the campus of UCLA.
Lex Young’s 5k time is almost a full three seconds faster than the high school boys’ 5000m national records set by both Rupp and Burns.
As the youngest runner in the race, 18-year-old Young harnessed the pacing and racing experience of the professional field, finishing in 18th place.
Clearly, finishing in 18th place with such a fast time is evidence of how stacked the men’s 5,000m field was.
In fact, Lex Young had to run a lot of the race himself after dropping back from the front pack early on in the race.
In an interview with Citius Mag after the race, Young shared that he anticipated that there would be more competitors running around his goal time (the 13:30-13:40 range). He had to readjust his race strategy when it was clear in the first few laps that the lead pack was taking off at a pace he wasn’t prepared to hold for the duration of the race.
“I had to take a couple of breaths and think, ‘I’m falling off the back but it’s not because I’m dying but if I keep on going with them, I don’t want to dig myself down into a deeper hole,’” Young said in the interview.
Lex Young, who has a twin brother who also runs, is just months away from starting his collegiate running career and studies at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA.
The Young brothers ran their senior year of track unaffiliated with their high school team. This allowed them to have the chance to compete against fields with professional runners.
According to data on MileSplit, Lex Young is now one of just 11 high school runners in U.S. history who have ever broken 14 minutes for the outdoor 5,000 meters.
You can keep up with Lex Young’s summer track season and his collegiate career at Stanford on his Instagram account.