Allah record came with a little help from his friends

Madeline Bost is a writer with better insights than most into running and the championship work ethic. She’s a running champion herself, now in the W65 age group, who also has been active in USATF Masters leadership for years. She’s a sweetie, too, who just sent me the following account of fellow New Jerseyan Sal Allah’s recent M45 world record over 800 meters.

Besides the accompanying article, Madeline writes: “Official results of the race are at and all paperwork for the record is being sent. Masters T&F Chair Ken Brinker is handling that.”
Here’s her story:
By Madeline Bost
Sal Allah knew there was more speed in the body after finishing second to Anselm LeBourne on June 26th at the Metropolitan Association of USA Track & Field Championship at Icahn Stadium on Randalls Island. LeBourne finished in 1:55.13 to Allah’s 1:55.18. It was only the second time out this year for Allah who lost his wife, Lynn to breast cancer earlier this year.
Conditions at the Ican stadium were brutal as the Northeast was sweltering through an early summer heat wave. Temperatures were well over 90 degrees and the 800 was run late in the meet. Given better conditions Allah was sure that he could drop his time.
Conditions at Stockton State College in Pomona New Jersey on Saturday, July 2, were perfect with clear skies and relatively low humidity. At the track the New Jersey Association of USATF was hosting the East Region Open Men and Women’s Track & Field Championship. Allah had found his race and he wasn’t waiting to go after his record.
“I went to that that race at that location specifically to get the 800-meter record,” said Allah. “I knew that time was in me.”
“In light of the Icahn race, when you have a race that fast and you really do something special, you never know when you’ll have it again,” he said.
Many of the Masters athletes knew of the previous week’s race between LeBourne and Allah, who have been racing against each other since their submasters days. Excitement was in the air. Prior to the start, meet announcer Andrew Boyajian let the fans and athletes at the stadium know that this race was going to be special. Pointing out Allah, who was wearing a solid red track suit, he told them what the athlete was going to attempt.
The open athletes in the race were also supportive, according to Allah. One of the young athletes, Jeff Williams, who runs for Central Park TC, congratulated Allah and asked him if there was anything he could do to help him through the race.
“I said him, ‘You can take me around that second circuit. Mind you, you don’t have to do anything for me. You’re going to be right in front of me,’ because I knew he was a 1:51 guy,” said Allah. “I was just ecstatic that he was going to be in the race.”
Williams told him, “I know you’re going to do your race and I’m going to do mine.”
When the starter fired his pistol, Allah was off, tucked in with the leaders. Throughout the race he stayed completely focused on maintaining his position. There was no concern about where he was going to place, only his pace and his will to go through the second lap fast enough to hit the tape in record time.
“I stayed tucked in there,” said Allah. “My inspiration was going to come off my first lap. I knew that if I got a 55 or lower, or 54 and a half I was going to be able to do it.”
Several athletes were hand timing Allah and one clocked him at 54.2 and another had him at 54.5. Allah now had to make the second circuit.
Another athlete in the race, Ezra Richards, a graduate of Georgetown University had been introduced to Allah the week before and had been excited to learn of masters runners being so fast. He had little to say at the start of the race but Allah marvels at what Richards did for him.
“He didn’t say anything about pacing me that day,” said Allah. “But this guy – coming down the last straight. This guy was screaming at me and he was in the race!”
“He ended nipping me at the tape, but this guy was on my right side and about a meter behind me screaming at me, ‘Finish it off! You’ve got it! Don’t falter!’”
“That was unbelievable,” said Allah. “He was right there. I couldn’t believe the volume!”
The entire facility had been focused on the race and they made up in noise what they may have lacked in quantity. All were cheering as Allah sailed across the line.
The phototimer shows Allah in fourth place with his time of 1:54.18. Richards was only fractions ahead of him with 1:54.13 and Williams, who gave him a perfect trip, finished first in 1:52.06. Damion Drummond of New York Elite, as is Richards, was second in 1:52.20.
Allah’s plans are now to compete in the New Jersey Masters Championship that is next Sunday, July 10, at Shore Regional High School in West Long Branch, New Jersey. First on the schedule is the 400 meters and Allah is planning to cap his two weeks with another record.
“I’m after the 400,” he said. “I’m in 400 mode.”
(Editor’s note: The M45 world record for 400 is 50.20 by American Fred Sowerby in 1994.)
Allah has only run the 400 once this season, at a meet in New Jersey on June 11th. He did 51.8 and is ready to take that down a notch. Once the 400 is out of the way, he will probably start in the 800 as he has registered for both.
After that Allah will run at the New England Masters Championship in Springfield, Mass., at the East Region Masters Championship in Denver Pennsylvania. He has made no plans to compete nationally or internationally this year.
“I really couldn’t get into it, “ he said. “In light of losing my wife, it really took me awhile to get hungry again.”
In the world of masters track there are plenty of people hungry for more Sal Allah performances and another matchup with Anselm LeBourne.

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July 5, 2005

2 Responses

  1. francisaschiro - July 6, 2005

    Madeline..Thank you for your wonderful account of my friend Sal Allahs 800 record last week. You did a great job…Sal is the kind of man who attracts a lot of “friends” with his humble and “always respectful of others” attitude. We who know him love and respect him greatly. Thanks for doing a great job on this story.

  2. Candy - February 12, 2014

    I grew up with Sal. He has always been a great guy, caring and respectful. I am so proud of him. Great write up. Sal, great job!

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