BYU’s Rory Linkletter was already a nationally acclaimed runner.
Now, after breaking the previous Blue Jean Mile record two weeks ago, he is a world record holder.
Citius Mag, a new runner’s website, created a challenge called the Blue Jean Mile earlier this year.
According to Citius Mag, in order to meet the requirements for this challenge, jeans may be cuffed for safety but may not be rolled more than two inches above the ankle, and the jeans must be some shade of blue in color. They also must be 100 percent cotton or denim which must be proven via a photo of the tag on the jeans.
Additionally, runners must provide video evidence of the feat being accomplished. The video must show the entire track and be a continuous stream of the time trial. Pacers are allowed, and some sort of proof of the track’s accuracy as a 400-meter track is required.
When the BYU cross country star caught wind of this new challenge, he tweeted at Citius Mag, saying that if his tweet got 100 retweets, he would do the Blue Jean Mile. After his tweet hit over 200 retweets, Linkletter knew he would be running a Blue Jean Mile.
“I am a man of my word, so if I say I’m going to do something, I do it. And I’m going to do something like that, I’m going to have fun with it and I’m going to go all out”, Linkletter said.
Prior to the race, Linkletter said he was pretty certain that he would run the time needed, especially considering the altitude conversion.
But the Friday before his Monday timed trial of the Blue Jean Mile, someone lowered the record by around 20 seconds.
Linkletter realized he was going to have to try a little harder than anticipated, but he was up for the challenge.
The day of the race, Linkletter had asked his teammates to bring their blue jeans for him to try on for the race since he did not own any jeans. After looking through multiple pairs of jeans, he realized that none of them were 100% cotton jeans.
“So I’m like ‘oh my gosh I’m not going to be able to do it, it’s not gonna count.’ I was about to get in the car and drive to Walmart and try to find 100 percent cotton jeans. But, at the last second, Clayton Young, my teammate, walks into the locker room with a backpack full of jeans and he happened to have one pair of 100 percent cotton jeans in the bag, and we all just started cheering because we were so excited for it and we were bummed that we thought that we were going to have to put it off for a minute, but he came in clutch right at the end,” Linkletter said.
After getting his jeans, Linkletter was ready to go. “I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “The biggest worry for me was chaffing and discomfort, but I knew that it wouldn’t like necessarily hold me back all that much just to wear a pair of jeans. I knew that it wouldn’t be that terrible.”
Linkletter had BYU Professor Iain Hunter run the official timing and convinced a few of his teammates to run the Blue Jean Mile with him as well.
“It was a little challenging, and I broke the official time by like .3 seconds, so it was really close, but then they gave me the altitude conversion- they counted it as a 4.11 mile instead of 4.16,” Linkletter said. “So right now I am currently the Blue Jean Mile world record holder by five seconds. It was really only like a couple tenths of a second that I beat the official time.”
Linkletter will return to both the BYU men’s track and field and cross country teams as a sophomore this upcoming fall.