Christian Cushing-Murray clocks 4:23 mile in rare track foray
Christian Cushing-Murray is called Chris in his old IAAF bio, “Cush” byÂ friends and “Coach” by his track and cross country athletes at Foothill High School, where his son Nathaniel, a junior, runs.Â “My daughter Jessica, currently a fairly successful youth runner, will be a freshman there next fall,” Cush says. What else can we call this 42-year-old Southern California runner? How about Stud? On Friday, Cush ran a 4:23.46 mile at the Run for the Dream indoor meet at Fresno State’s Save Mart Center. The track is tight — 11 laps to the mile. (See results here.) That’s the fastest M40 indoor time this season, according to mastersrankings.com. A longtime cross country and road race veteran, Cush rarely runs in track meets. So when I saw his Fresno time, I had to learn more. I wrote his friend (and former Fluffy Bunny TC teammate) Pete Magill, and Cush replied. The short answer: Track doesn’t fit his schedule.Â
Here’s a mash-up of several replies Cush gave to my questions:
I plan on doing the Ben Brown meet at Cal State Fullerton to see if the youngsters can pull me through to a fast time, though I haven’t decided whether I’ll try a 1500 there instead of the 5k.Â My main focus, however, will be Carlsbad (5000), where I WILL run against a bunch of old farts, but a very fast bunch.Â I’m hoping Sean Wade will come out so I can give him a more honest race than Syracuse last October.
I teach high school English in Santa Ana at Century High School.
(My son) is doing well.Â I rabbited him through a 9:32 3200 — only seven seconds slower than his best from last season — a few weeks ago to help qualify him for the Fresno Indoor meet last weekend.Â I only found out a week before about the open/collegiate meet there on Friday, so we drove up Friday afternoon so I could race.Â I won my race friday night, my daughter won the youth mile Saturday morning, and my son got fourth with a 9:39 Saturday night.Â We almost pulled off the hat trick.
Why (do I prefer cross country and roads to track)? Really, it’s all I can fit in.Â I’d do more track meets, but they tend to coincide with the high school meets, and coaching is my priority.Â The Ben Brown meet is a nice exception because my team has a meet that morning/afternoon, and Ben Brown is in the evening.Â Road races are generally on Sundays, and therefore don’t interfere with meets or practices, so they’re easier to fit in.
I asked Cush what his track goals are this year? He replied:
To be honest, I don’t have any, other than staying healthy.Â Parenting, teaching, and coaching keeps me pretty busy; I’m really happy to race when I can, but I don’t have a “plan.”Â Should I?
Here’s Christian’s race from Friday:
Men 1 Mile Run ================================================================ Name Year School Finals ================================================================ 1 Christian Cushing-Murray Unattached 4:23.46 2 Ryan Lucker CS Bakersfield 4:32.08 3 Joey Nunes Unattached 4:32.10 4 Jose Orozco CS Bakersfield 4:34.27 5 Jose Morales Unattached 4:35.52 6 Shane Brookshire Cal St. Stan 4:39.95 7 Palmer Thiele Cal St. Stan 4:41.07 8 Ed Giles Unattached 5:02.12
At least one other world-class masters athlete competed at the Fresno indoor meet — American record-holder Aaron Thigpen, tuning up for Kamloops, where he’s entered in the M45 sprints.
Men 55 Meter Dash (Prelims)
Name Year School Finals
1 Zachary Keene Azusa Pacifi 6.55
2 James Nunno Unattached 6.98
3 Edward Martin Cal St. Stan 7.10
4 Delante Nelson South Bay TC 7.72
5 Coke Evans Unattached 7.89
1 Michael Davis CS Bakersfield 6.39
2 Charles Williams Unat, fresno 6.41
3 Aaron Thigpen Unattached 6.53
4 Keith Randle Unattached 6.66
5 Adrian McCullum CS Bakersfield 6.97
1 Ryan Nichols CS Bakersfield 6.42
2 Lamar Taylor Unattached 6.57
3 Cameron Parker Unat, fresno 6.59
4 Leonidas Watson Unattached 6.74
5 Kuba Wasowski Unattached 6.83
1 Quinton O’Neil Unattached 6.76
2 Micah Judish Cal St. Stan 6.83
3 Addison Lyons Fresno Pacif 6.88
4 Steven Nichols Unattached 6.99
Men 55 Meter Dash
Name Year School Finals
1 Ryan Nichols CS Bakersfield 6.39
2 Michael Davis CS Bakersfield 6.39
3 Zachary Keene Azusa Pacifi 6.46
4 Aaron Thigpen Unattached 6.51
5 Charles Williams Unat, fresno 6.55
Aaron’s 6.51 for 55 meters is equivalent to 7.10 for 60 meters. The M45 world indoor record is 6.97 recently by Italy’s Mario Longo, and the American record remains 7.02 by Stan Whitley in 1991. So Aaron is a threat to both marks if he continues to improve.