Julian Oakley's name is now inked next to the greats of New Zealand middle distance running.

The 24-year-old from Tauranga, who is studying for an MBA in finance at Providence College, Rhode Island, ran a blistering indoor mile time of 3m 55.10s at the Boston University Valentine Invitational last weekend.

The time put him eighth fastest on the all-time New Zealand mile time record list which includes John Walker, Rod Dixon, Peter Snell and Nick Willis.

It also smashed his own personal best by more than two seconds.

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Oakley went into the race in career-defining form after running the second fastest 3000m time by a Kiwi at the same venue in Boston in December.

"I think it was down to having some good training and I had run a few races before it and was ready to go. My training indicated that I was ready to run something pretty good," Oakley.

"The race was set up to go fast. I think six guys broke four minutes and we had two pace makers to take us through 1000m so it was perfectly set up. The venue is one of the fastest indoor tracks in America and I really like racing there and it has a really good atmosphere.

"It all just came together on the day and I was happy with the end result."

Oakley's 3000m personal best lifted his confidence for his next race starts.

"After I ran that 3k in December I had a couple of good races before I ran the 3:55 so it just showed me I can compete with the best guys in the states. I stepped on the line full of confidence and was definitely ready to run a fast time."

It was not until a phone call home to father John Oakley that he realised he had made the New Zealand top 10 fastest milers list.

"I knew it would be up there but I didn't think it would be as high as eighth. It was not something I was aiming for. I was just trying to run as fast as I could.

"I just snuck ahead of one of my old coaches Tony Rogers which is quite funny to see."

Rubbing shoulders with the who's who of New Zealand middle distance royalty is a humbling experience for Oakley.

"Obviously that was the age of New Zealand middle distance running and those are the big names that everyone associates with that so to be kind of inching up slowly towards them is pretty cool.

"Just to be in the same conversation with some of those guys is really awesome and it just kind of makes me want to keep working hard to try and get as close as I can to what they ran."

Oakley's red hot form came too late to qualify for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April.

His sights are now set on a place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

"I had all of last year to qualify (Commonwealth Games) but I was not running as well then when it really mattered. I just came right a little too late I think. If I had another month to qualify I think I might be okay.

"I am looking for world indoors but the Olympics is the ultimate goal for any runner. It is definitely long term what I am looking for to represent New Zealand at the Olympics.

"Hopefully these are stepping stones on the way there."
factbox
New Zealand's fastest mile times
1 3:49.08 John Walker, Oslo, Norway, July 7,1982
2 3:49.83 Nick Willis, Oslo 11 June 11, 2014
3 3:53.62 Rod Dixon, Stockholm, Sweden June 30, 1975
4 3:53.72 Zane Robertson, Dublin Ireland July 11, 2014
5 3:54.04 Peter Snell, Auckland Nov 17, 1964
6 3:54.10 Martin Johns, Eugene, USA May 26, 1996
7 3:54.40 Adrian Blincoe, Rieti, Italy Sep 7,2003
8 3:55.10 (I) Julian Oakley, Boston USA Feb 10, 2018
9 3:55.18 Tony Rogers, Burnaby, Canada Jul 16, 1984
10 3:56.13 Hamish Christensen, Wanganui Jan 16, 1999
Source: www.anzrankings.org.nz/site/results_con