4x800 World Record attempt on Sunday, January 27, 2013 at the USATF Master's New England Indoor Championships. I met up with teammates Chris Simpson, Mark Gomes, and David Cahill at the Providence Career and Tech Center to try and beat the 35+ W.R. for the 4x800. The record we were gunning for was 8:11 which at first glance, looks soft. Back in July, when Mike Galoob approached me about the idea of going for this, we both thought it would be easy. When I posted on Level Renner in November to get people in New England excited about this, I was thinking we'd probably get a lot of 35-39 year olds and I envisioned having two teams chasing the record on a fast track like BU's, with college teams in the mix pushing us to our best. Now I realize how naive I was. There is a reason that 8:11 is the record. I couldn't find any guys my age in New England that were actively racing 800's and were capable of the time needed to break the record. I gave up on the idea, but then last week I was lucky enough to get in contact with Chris Blondin of GBTC and he hooked me up with David Cahill, Chris Simpson and Mark Gomes. Chris and Mark are both in their 40's and were in the hunt for the 40+ World Record. They were gonna use this as their back up plan if they didn't beat the record Friday night at the Armory in NY. Well they smashed the record. I was a little worried that after racing at 10:30 at night, they would be less than excited about racing another 800 on Sunday, but they're gamers and were still in. We had a fast team assembled, with everyone capable of running 2 flat or faster. On paper, this was going to be a piece of cake.
We wouldn't be racing on a fast banked track against strong competition with two 35+ teams pushing each other like I had envisioned. Turns out, not very many meets in New England have 4x800's for post-collegiate old guys. We picked the USATF New England Master's Indoor Championships to go for our record attempt because it was a USATF sanctioned meet and they actually had a 4x800 on the event schedule. Upon arriving at the Providence Career and Tech Center, I couldn't believe how low-key the meet seemed. Only a few dozen older athletes warming up and racing on the track. I could probably count the number of spectators there on both hands. My twin brother Glenn was there with me and would be filming the race and cheering. The track was flat and the turns felt tight. There were no other teams entered in the 4x800, so we would be time trialing. So this is why the record is 8:11. This was not going to be easy.
Chris Simpson ran our lead off leg. He ran 2:03 and handed off to Mark Gomes. Mark ran smooth and handed off to David with another 2:03 leg. These guys are my heroes for showing up and sticking to their word that they would help David and me go for the 35+ record. The turns really seemed to be bothering them as Mark almost came out into lane 2 on every turn. I think they both looked a little dejected after their legs. They both know they can run faster and maybe felt like they were letting David and me down. Wrong! No one else in New England would step to the plate to go for this. It took two 40+ guys with one days rest to get it done. They ran like the champions they are. It was now up to David and myself to bring this record home. We were the two 35-39 year old guys on the team, and we were the ones without a record yet. David took the baton and looked really good. His form looked smooth and I knew he was capable of a fast time. He had just run a 1:26 600m and 52 second 400m. Again, the slow track and time trial format was making this tough. He handed off to me after another 2:03 leg and I got the baton with 6:09 showing on the clock. Time to dig down and bring this home. All week I had pictured myself as the anchor, crossing the line in a new world record. I tried to stay smooth and fast and before I knew it, I was hearing the bell. Final lap. It was gonna be close. Everyone that was still there at the meet was screaming and cheering for me and our team. In the final turn, I thought of getting this thing done for all my friends and family and teammates and I got a surge of adrenaline. I kicked with everything I had. The announcer said, "It's gonna be close!" I screamed as I hit the line, knowing we had just done it! I ran a 2:00, to bring us the new record in 8:09.65. It was an awesome feeling. Thanks to Chris Simpson, Mark Gomes, and David Cahill. I'll see you guys down the road!