Greater Philly TC claims WR for 4×800 relay at the Armory
Anchored by the 1:57.4 of M40 newbie Nick Berra, the Greater Philadelphia Track Club took a tenth of a second off the listed M40-49 world indoor record for the 4×800 relay Sunday. The club’s Chuck Shields reports that the GPTC foursome of Scott Landis, Bob McGinty, Kevin Forde and Berra — average age 43 — clocked 8:07.48 at the Armory track in New York City, bettering the WMA-recognized world record of 8:07.6 set in January 2000 by Tom Dalton, Rocco Serafini, Steve Nearman and Anselm Lebourne. On his running free blog, 46-year-old Kevin described the race in joyful detail and shared his appreciation for the “B” team that made the WR possible (and record-eligible): Phil Reilly, Delvin Dinkins, Chuck Shields and Tom Fitzpatrick.
Melanie Berra’s photo shows (from left): Landis, McGinty, Forde and Berra.
Here’s the report from Chuck Shields:
The Greater Philadelphia relay squad traveled to New York’s famed Armory track Sunday in hopes of capturing the American Club M40-49 4×800 record. Sunday’s meet was the Armory Holiday Classic and the mark to be (challeged) was 8:15.29 set by West Valley TC in 1988. The GPTC team were all relay veterans but had never been teamed up before.
The relay was comprised of Scott Landis, Bob McGinty, Kevin Forde and Nick Berra. The team competed against a B relay of unattached runners.
The squad surprised the Armory faithful, and themselves, by running an incredible 8:07.48. This time not only delivered a U.S. Club best, but surpassed the current World and American record of 8:07.6 set in 2000 by Tom Dalton, Rocco Serafini, Steve Nearman and Anselm Lebourne.
The leadoff leg, Landis, was a member of the 1982 Wissahickon 4×800 relay whose national high school record was broken earlier this year. Landis went out strong, following the B relay’s Phil Reilly, who set a 59 pace at the 400. Landis charged to the lead in the 2nd 400, powering to a 2:01.4 leadoff split with Reilly only a step behind.
McGinty, like Landis, is also a high school record holder as he was a member of the 1983 Southern Lehigh foursome that ran 7:46. The Coopersburg, PA, native, took the baton with B relay’s Delvin Dinkins right behind him. McGinty’s 400 split was 58.5. Dinkins closed the gap on McGinty as they approached the handoff zone, but McGinty maintained a half -step lead to finish in 2:02.8.
About his race, McGinty said: “I ran the split that I thought I could at this point in the season, so I was happy with that. The other three guys we had in the race were accomplished studs, so I ran a little bit in fear of not wanting to let them down, I think it worked out better than we expected. It was like nothing I have ever experienced in my years of racing. That victory lap is something I’ll remember forever!”
Forde, two-time age group winner of the Fifth Avenue Mile, ran third leg for GPTC as he quickly separated himself from the B relay with a blistering 26.2 200 opening lap. The GPTC squad was now running against the clock. The early pace took its toll, but the determined Forde pushed onward to a 2:05.8 clocking.
Of his race, Forde noted: “Clearly I couldn’t hold onto such a brutal pace. . . . I was gassed . . . tying up over the final 200m only hurts you, I could not let my teammates down, I dug deep to get the baton around.”
Forde handed off to Berra, a former coach and alum of Cumberland Valley HS (PA), 1987 and a USNA alum 1991. Berra ran lap splits of 29s for every lap except the last where he dipped under 29 to finish in 1:57.4. Berra began running masters track in early 2009. He went on to say “Masters (track) has made competitive track available and fun again, (I) hadn’t worn spikes in 18 years before turning 40.
Scott Landis, Bob McGinty, Kevin Forde and Nick Berra are proud GPTC’ers.