Morioka anchors M60 world indoor record in 4×4 relay
Harold Morioka of British Columbia, a masters sprint legend with records and world titles galore, has had a rough few years. But he’s overcome injuries in sensational fashion, teaming with three other gents to lower the M60 world indoor record (although he recently turned 65). They did it a schoolkids meet in Kamloops a couple weekends ago. Their time of 4:13.30 beat a listed American mark of 4:14.76 set by Frank Condon, John Darlington, George (a correction) Cohen and Larry Barnum at Idaho nationals in 2005. Harold writes: “After almost five years of very little running, I started running again last October, with a few of the guys that I coach. At first it was very difficult for me. I could only jog one lap before I had to walk.”
I was in excellent condition prior to the 2003 WMA championships in Puerto Rico. However, I was injured before the competition and almost dropped out of the meet.
Since I had trained so hard, I decided to keep running day by day. When I got home, I could walk only with a lot of pain. I had treatment and didn’t run for 18 months. I tried to run in the summer of 2005 and competed in Edmonton in the World Masters Games.
After that I didn’t train nor compete until I started to coach my friends for the first-ever indoor track and field meet in British Columbia. The meet was in Kamloops in February. We were going to try to break the record at this meet, but it didn’t happen.
In the summer of 2006, I had my fourth knee operation, the third one on my left knee. My surgeon suggested I quit competing if I wanted to walk properly when I was 70 and 80. I won’t train like I used to but I hope to train enough to be competitive. My left knee still gives me some problem but I’m doing OK.
Yes, I asked three 60+ men that I coach if they would like to attempt to break the M60 4x400m World Indoor record. I told them that it would be difficult, but we could do it.
Actually I told them that we could do 4:12. We did 4:13. . . . The lead-off runner ran a manual time of 1:04.31. I was told I ran about 60 seconds, but I was fading badly at the end. I plan to compete a little this summer but I probably won’t go to Spokane. I doubt that I can ever regain my speed because I’m not able to do enough speed training.”
Here’s a report Harold submitted to his local papers:
MASTERS WORLD RELAY RECORD
On March 11, four BC Athletics and Tri City Greyhounds track and field club members, broke the Masters indoor world record for the 4×400 metre relay in the men’s 60-year-old age group. Tony Badowski, age 65 of Port Coquitlam; John Winfield, age 61 of Tsawwassan; Sewa Birring, age 62 of Surrey; and Harold Morioka, age 65 of Surrey, set a new indoor world record for the 1600-metre relay race in 4:13.30.
The previous record was 4:14.76 set by the USA in 2005.
None of the team members had ever run in an indoor relay race before. For John and Sewa, it was their first ever race indoors. Tony had his first indoor race only a month earlier, also in Kamloops. Harold has raced indoors many times but never on a relay team. In 2003, at the World Masters Championships, Tony and Harold ran on the Canadian M60 4×400 metre relay team that won the gold medal in the outdoor championships in Carolina, Puerto Rico.
Their time of 4:07.74 stands as the Canadian M60 4×400 metre outdoor relay record.
The team raced in the Tournament Capital Centre, the new sports complex on the Thompson Rivers University campus in Kamloops, BC.
Kamloops recently won the bid to host the next World Masters indoor track and field championships in 2010. They ran in a special invitational race which was a preview for the Kamloops Elementary Schools relay meet. With the help of 600 screaming students cheering them on, the team was able to break the indoor world record by 1.46 seconds.
Originally they were going to attempt to break this record a month earlier in Kamloops, in the first ever indoor track and field meet to be held in British Columbia. However, due to an injury and sickness to team members, this attempt was cancelled. Kamloops then
invited the team to race just prior to the elementary students’ relays.
Several Kamloops newspapers and the local television station covered the race.
Given a second chance to break the world record, the team didn’t disappoint the race organizers nor the very loud and supporting students. However it wasn’t easy for the team. Tony had strained a calf muscle preparing for this race and told his teammates he wasn’t sure if he could finish his leg of the relay. Despite the pain, he ran a great opening leg. John ran the second leg and put the team in position for the record.
John was in Mexico a few weeks earlier and had scraped his legs when he fell on slippery rocks at the beach. Sewa, who had no sleep all night because of hiccups, wasn’t sure if he had the strength to run a strong race. He did. His hiccups stopped on the ride up to Kamloops, only three hours before the race.
Finally Harold, who had pulled a hamstring muscle six weeks earlier, took the baton for the final leg. With the support of the cheering students, Harold crossed the finish line and the clock stopped with a new Masters Indoor World Record for the M60 4×400 metres relay.