Friday, 31 October 2008

How we set a new Australian record last night.

Posted by speedygeoff on Friday, October 31, 2008 with 4 comments
Last night there were four of us in the M60 age group who set out to break the ACT record for 4x800m.

The ACT M60 record was 11:26.1. And I also thought we had a chance of breaking the Australian M60 record of 10:48.6, held by Victoria.

Right from the outset the monkey was in my court; I led off and it was up to me not to spoil the party by breaking down! My very few attempts at 8oom in the last 15 years had generally resulted in injury, as often as not in the course of the race. But I figured a 1500m pace 2:50 would still be good enough for the team to have a chance to get the Australian record. But as well as never having trained for the 800m in recent decades, I had hardly trained at all in the previous ten days owing to the 27.2k Bulls Head run destroying my quads more than I initially thought it had. And I had a cold, which I don't treat when I have to run, because I don't want health problems which might arise as a result of disguising any health issues.

So I ran "conservatively". But somehow managed about 80 seconds for each lap. Way faster than any training sessions. And for the first time I can remember in the hundreds of 800m races I have run in the last 47 years, there was no lactate in the legs down the finishing straight.

Geoff Sims ran second; he did brilliantly considering he too was badly affected by the flu; I think he ran about 2:34. Geoff is the ACT's M60 400m record holder and is tending to specialise these days in 200, 400 and 800.

Garry Maher ran third; he looked great and kicked around the two laps at a fast tempo, maintaining the pace very well for a sprinter. Actually Garry specialises in the 100m and 200m but often competes in the 400m, 300m hurdles, and 800m, and even the occasional 1500m. He ended up with a time of about 2:40.

Kevin Chamberlain ran the last leg; he specialises in 800m and 1500m and is finding some very good form this season after having a couple of easier seasons. Kevin set some amazing ACT records in the years he turned 50 and 55 and seems to have regained his youthful motivation this year. He looked so smooth running in the relay, and finished fast. I imagine he ran about 2:34. Given the breeze, the warmth, and the difficulty runners 2, 3 and 4 have in judging pace in a relay, that was an outstanding run. Kevin ran 2:30 in a scratch race a week ago and was delighted with that time then.

So we ran 10:29.19: A whole 57 seconds faster than the old ACT record, and 19.2 seconds faster than the Australian record. And the good thing is, if we all have very good days next time, I think we can go 20 or 25 seconds faster.

As for me, it's the breakthrough I was waiting for: a respectable time for an 800m, with no pain. Now I have the confidence to train for the 800m like the old days, and to run a few more of them. It also means that next year at Geelong in February and at Adelaide in April, I will have the confidence to race the 1500m at the national level, as well as the 5000m which is still my main race. For now.

There's no doubt about it: the best 60 year old middle distance runners in Australia live in Canberra!

Obviously I am excited by the relay, but wait there's more. Before I close off, there were other great runs on the track last night, and I will publish the times for them when they appear on the ACT Masters website. But I wanted to highlight the fantastic 3000m run by our Katie. It was her day for a big breakthrough: a pb of 11:40. The 3000m had the biggest field we have had for years; and it was of high quality too. The winner Scott McTaggart broke the ACT M30 record; and the Katie says she benefited by chasing some of the good runners in the field.


Katie Forestier looking fit and well at October's ACT Masters Monthly handicap. Photo also starring Roger Pilkington and Gary Bowen.


  1. Congratulations on a fantastic win and a new M60 record - woo hoo!!

  2. Oh and that's a cool photo! They're a so happy. :)

  3. Aussie record! Wu Hu!

    Glad you've finally got the goose off your 800m back.

  4. Mi Tu.

    Thank you for your comments!