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Originally published Tuesday, April 26, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Flashback: State's fastest miler lost Olympic dream, found faith

Athlete: John Quade, Woodinville, Class of 1985. Sport: Track and field. High-school rewind: Quade won only one state championship but is...

Athlete: John Quade, Woodinville, Class of 1985.

Sport: Track and field.

High-school rewind: Quade won only one state championship but is rightfully regarded as one of the best runners in state history. As a senior, he ran 1,500 meters in 3 minutes, 44.43 seconds in a race in Vancouver, B.C. to then rank No. 3 all-time nationally. His 4:03.59 mile as a senior was the nation's fastest time by a prep runner since 1974.

After high school: Quade won the Pac-10 1,500 championship his senior year at the University of Arizona. After completing his college eligibility, he ran what remains the fastest mile by a runner from Washington — 3:54.6 in 1989.

"I think I'm the future American miler," he told The Seattle Times a few days after the performance. He had run a 3:55.63 mile weeks earlier in the New York Games. His best indoor mile was 3:57.1.

Quade was considered a strong candidate to make the 1992 U.S. Olympic team but said he overtrained, doing as many as 80 miles a week, and injured a knee. His Olympic dreams vaporized.

Personal: Quade, 38, is a bachelor and a vegetarian. He became a Christian in 1997 but says the pull toward Christianity started when he was at Arizona. He said he felt a special peace and strength that helped him get through the demands of school, competition and a coach-mandated training program that didn't seem to fit him. Nearly a decade later, he became a Seventh-day Adventist.

Fast forward: Quade, 5 feet 11, 150 pounds, lives in the Sacramento area and is a Web designer for Amazing Facts, a Seventh-day Adventist ministry. He said the position gives him fulfillment he never achieved in earlier jobs as a mortgage banker, software writer and software salesman. He lives in an apartment but has purchased property in the mountains east of Sacramento and plans to build a home.

He often runs in hiking boots and pants. At a church men's retreat last year, he entered a footrace and predictably blew away the field.

"We didn't know we had a world-class runner here," one participant marveled.

Craig Smith

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