Fab Four made Penn Relays history in City of Brotherly Love

No, the Beatles didn’t reunite (and half-return from the dead). But four brothers in their 60s and 70s did come together in April 2008 for an amazing relay at Penn — which I learned of only recently. The youngest (and fastest) sent me a note and this news clip from May 2008. Hugh McCay wrote: “I want to draw your attention to an event that took place in the 2008 Penn Relays 4X100 Mens 60+ that you are probably not aware of. As you well know, Sprint Force America set a world record for the Mens 70+ that day. But the last-place team, in 1:09.38, (probably) also set a record. We were (and are) the McCay Brothers. Literally, four South Bronx-born brothers who have loved track and competition all of our lives. On that day we were ages 74, 68, 62 and 60, and hailed from Corona, California; Newark, Delaware; Garden City, New York; and Kansas.”

Click on image to read hometown paper’s report on McCay brothers.

Hugh continued:

Phil Fenton was kind enough to give us a chance to make history and although we ran well below our potential we still finished 20 seconds ahead of the prior year’s last-place finish. We made the news from California to New York but no one in the masters track and field world has noticed.

We are considering asking the Guinness Book to recognize our feat, but I’d much rather have the U.S. masters recognize what we accomplished — for masters running, baby boomer survival and family togetherness.

Hugh concluded: “In any event, we may just go at it again, probably in California. Maybe you can line up some challengers?”

You mean four brothers? I’ll let you readers answer that challenge.  

But I was so intrigued by Hugh’s story that I sent him a bunch of questions. I let his answers run together, but that’s OK. So does he and his siblings. Which is all that counts.

Hugh wrote me yesterday:

We’re all retired. Dan as an aeronautical engineer, Jim and I as bankers, and Ed as a government accountant.

It was my idea that the four of us should run together when we met at an annual family reunion in the late 1990s.However, I couldn’t find a site that could host what we wanted to accomplish.Then I became aware of the Penn Relays 4X100 60+ and told my brothers that we had to wait until the year 2008 when the youngest, Ed, would be 60.

From there I contacted Phil Fenton, told him of our story (and how competitive we were) and we waited and waited and waited until one day we were notified that he seeded us No.8 of nine starters. ( We are forever thankful for Phil’s decision). That notification made my day as well as that of the others. We were ecstatic.

We are the only siblings, no sisters and no other brothers.It was destined to be the four of us or not at all.

Our parents are deceased, but we like to believe that they both saw us run that day.

I don’t need a family consensus to answer the next question. Who’s the fastest? I am.My younger brother Ed beat me once at 50 yards after I had an appendix operation back in 1958, but that was the only time.

After I graduated from high school, I ran with the New York Pioneer Club from 1963-1965 (as a sprinter, of course).You might remember the name John Carlos. He was my teammate and we practiced every day together. On his better days, he beat me by 10 yards over 220. On his bad days, I would come closer, but never close enough.

I also ran head-to-head against Sam Perry, days after he tied the world record at 60 yards. ( I didn’t do so well, but I did finish, although it was some 3-4 yards behind Mr. Perry. Go Fordham!)

Among my other notable races was a 440 handicap against Tommy Farrell where I made the finals (3rd qualifier) and a 100-yard dash where I lined up next to Ollan Cassell (1964 Olympic gold in the 4X400). On the NY Pioneer Club, I was a 21s+ relay leg. Sometimes I anchored our B team against John, who was always on our A Team.

Our youngest brother Ed was a 2:01 half-miler at Fordham Prep.He still runs marathons today and is still hopeful of beating me at 100 meters some day. (He’ll have to wait for another appendix operation). (Actually, I think he ran a faster leadoff leg at our Penn event but that would be because I was nurturing a hamstring problem)

The Guinness Book does not generally recognize “age group” records.But then, we didn’t offer them their application fee for “expedited services” which might have led to a recognition.We may apply and include their 600 $ or lbs in which case they will likely “see” the light.

On April 5, 2008, I posted this report regarding the M70 4×1 world record by Sprint Force America at Penn (a record still not recognized by USATF or WMA, by the way. Jeeeesh!) I also listed the other relay results.

But I completely overlooked the reference to “McCay Brothers” in Event 111.

That oversight is now rectified.

There’s no statute of limitations on homicide. Neither does a deadline exist for celebrating remarkable masters feats. May the McCays live to race another day!

(And may Gary Sims, Wayne Bennett, Larry Colbert and Bob Lida get recognition for their 51.96.)

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September 10, 2009

3 Responses

  1. Jerry Smartt - September 10, 2009

    WOW ! Great story. Ollan Cassell was my roomy at Univ. of Houston in the mid/late 1950s. Ollan was so powerful that he was wrecking his legs in the 100/200 so he tried the 400 and the rest is history. Talk about a swell guy. He’s special.

  2. Weia Reinboud - September 11, 2009

    Nice! There has been a much younger and much faster 4-brothers team in The Netherlands: ‘Team Sedoc’. They ran 42.59 in 2009 and asked Guinness to include it as fasted brothers relay. No idea if they made the book. Or if there have been faster teams
    One of the brothers is semifinalist in 110 hurdles in Berlin, two were long and triple jumpers retiring form the jumps (and injuries), the fouth is a professional soccer player. The coach was their father, former Dutch record holder in triple jump.

  3. Weia Reinboud - September 11, 2009

    Sorry, it was in 2007 not 2009.

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