Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Sexagenarians Just Miss A Record

The younger guys(50+ Masters team) were not the only ones going for a record in Northfield on Friday night. A group of 60+ runners also had their sights on a new world best, but fell a scant five seconds short. The foursome, shown here in the photo provided by one of the runners, Thom Weddle, are(from left to right): Norm Purrington, Jim Graupner, Thom Weddle, and Paul LeMere. They offered their thoughts on the race.

Thom Weddle:
No one recorded our splits. A cardinal sin on our part for not asking someone to do the honors. Without this information it's difficult/impossible to evaluate our individual performances to determine where we "went astray."

The field house was a great venue for indoor running, and the crowd could not have been more supportive. The announcer was outstanding. Not only did he call our names numerous times during the run he provided splits and projected individual 1600 times -- even to the point on Dan's (Morse of the 50+ group)team that they were "X" minutes ahead of the record. I can't tell you how many of the spectators called our names as we went by them.

Dan was the one with the idea to get a 50's team together for a try at the record last year. He became injured, and the other team members did not want to run without him, so nothing happened. For the past several months he is running basically injury free -- just look at his times and age records. He re-organized the 50's team and made numerous contacts with USATF and National Masters News (NMN) to obtain as much information as he could about records -- not much was available. This year NMN is sponsoring interest in relay running. I'm wondering if part of it could be due to Dan? Anyway, he discussed the matter with Norm Purrington at a race and Norm in turn contacted Jim, Paul, and me. I knew of a 60's team that had run a 23:09 during a meet at Boston University a couple of years ago and we thought we could surpass the time.

We have been planning to run as a team for a month plus. Having said that, we never trained together and never attempted a handoff until an hour or so before the race. I'm not sure if Jim ever ran a relay with a baton. Norm and Paul had run relays in high school, and several years ago I ran with a group that included relay competition.

We expected to run around 23:00. I think a lot of the problem is that the last time Norm, Paul, and I ran indoors was at the MDRA Meet of the Miles, about six weeks ago. I think Jim ran at Bethel about that time. In my case, prior to the Friday race, I had been able to run all eight splits within a second of goal, while at St. Olaf the feeling of pace was nonexistent. I think we all started out too fast on the first couple of laps, and dearly paid for it at the end.

As for future attempts to break the record, we talked about it and agreed that it's something we should pursue. On the drive back to the cities we talked about some strategy and training we could do to run more consistently. I'm planning to follow up on a location in the cities that might be available for us upon my return. It also would be nice if a couple of other teams could be recruited so each one of us is not running a "time trial" by ourselves.

Jim Graupner: Being fairly new to the indoor track experience, I admit to being anxious about what we'd be able to produce for times. The facilities were amazing. The participants in the women's track and field meet--running concurrent with our race-- the announcer, and the audience were welcoming and very supportive of our effort; our nascent experience as a team ran into some pacing snags which could be worked out. I think we're anxious to try again, either indoors or on an outdoor track in the near future. Our team was excellent and has the capacity to finish the goal we set out to accomplish. The experience was so much more compelling than expected. It wasn't overwhelming; speaking for myself. The race went well--my best effort out of maybe ten in my short running career.

Paul LeMere: As far as I know no one got our splits or at least they didn’t share them with us. I believe that Dan Morse first put a bug in our ears about attempting to eclipse the present relay record. Thom followed-up to find out what the actual record is. This was our first attempt, and it is my understanding that we won’t be giving the indoor record another try this season. We don’t run together, but know each other because of the racing circuit connection. Three of us are presently in the 60-64 age group, and Thom is in the 65-69 bracket. We know that the outdoor relay record is a faster time and really haven’t talked about attempting that. I thought the race went well, and I imagine if we had our splits it would better help us to analyze our performances and strategize on any additional attempts. I think that all of us agreed that the facilities were excellent and that the announcer and crowd were extremely accommodating and supportive of our effort.

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