Canadians take M55 4x400m Indoor World Record

News Article / July 30, 2020

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By Major Serge Faucher

Getting ready for a new season

As the Indoor season training started in early November 2019, I had no idea that 2020 would unfold the way it has thus far! 

With the World Masters Athletics Championships slated to be held in Toronto in July 2020, with 8,000+ athletes congregating, I had committed to change a few things in my training program and nutrition in the pursuit of a medal in the 400m event. I added powerlifting exercises, more gut-wrenching “split-400s/500s/600s”, weekly sled push-and-pull sessions, and more fast-feet drills and plyometric exercises. The goal was to improve my leg turnover and strength in a major way.

Ontario Masters              

As the 2020 indoor season unfolded, I kept getting faster in training, which was quite encouraging.

I made my way to Toronto for the Ontario Masters Athletics Championship on March 8, ,where I hoped to run a new 200m Ontario record in my age group, M55.

First on the schedule was the 60m race. The fastest 55-59-year-old Ontarians were all there, which made it a very exciting race! I ran quite well in the Prelims, finishing 3rd with a time of 8.07 seconds. Just half an hour later, I was in the Finals, racing to second place in 8.00 seconds, right behind the second-fastest man in the world in that distance, Milton Hart (bib 894).

Interestingly, Milton is better known for having served in the military of his native Jamaica, where he thrived in the track and field sport of sprinting. It was this ability that paved his way onto the much-celebrated Jamaican Bobsled team in 1989. He would subsequently attend the 1992 Winter Olympic Games as a member of the Jamaican Bobsled squad.

Next on the schedule was the 200m, which was the original reason why my wife and I drove five hours to Toronto. I clearly underestimated how much the two 60m races had taken out of my legs. While I won the race, I was disappointed in my 26.06 sec time. The record stood at 25.84, and was well within my capability. As they say, you never know what will happen in track and field on any given day… which leads us to the focus of this article.

World Record

While I was warming up for the 60m that morning, Olympian Paul Osland had come over to me and asked if I was good to run a 4X400m relay later that afternoon. He casually let me know that the world record was quite achievable, which came as a surprise to me. I’m always up for a relay, so I said yes. 

At that point, we had only three runners (Paul Osland, Simon Rayner, and myself), so were asking other athletes if they’d be interested to run.

Most athletes shy away from the 400m because it’s a race that hurts like few others.  We were anxious to find someone, and when we saw Jose Fuentes win the M55 1500m with a very fast time (4:32.98), Paul approached him and asked if he’d join our team. He said yes, and the rest is history: we set a new world record of 4:05.85 minutes, beating the previous record of 4.24.39 by almost 20 seconds. This was my second world record in the last six years. The first was our M50 4 X 800m win in 2014.

Unbeknownst to us, however, my good friend and former world champion Roland Gröger, and his German team, informed me that they had lowered the record to 4:06 min a week earlier, but it had not yet been ratified. Our 4:05.85 was just under that mark, and will now stand until the next indoor season, when we plan to lower it under 3:55 with the help of Michael Sherar from Toronto, one of the fastest 400m runners in the world.


 

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