Brad Barton blows away M45 steeplechase WR from 1984

Running against folks less than half his age, Brad Barton on Sunday blasted away the 30-year-old M45 world record in the 3K steeplechase, clocking 9:06.68 at the Music City Distance Carnival in Nashville, Tennessee. It was the same venue where Britain’s Anthony Whiteman, in 2012, became the first M40 to break the 4-minute mile barrier outdoors. (WMA still lists 4:01.62 as the record, though, for unknown reasons.) Brad, 48, took down the 9:16.1 listed WR by Norway’s Nils Undersåker in 1984. A year ago, Brad broke Hal Higdon’s 36-year-old American record with a 9:22. He’d later improve it to 9:17.59. And just for giggles, he set the M45 indoor mile record of 4:16.83. Brad’s 9:06 is worth 7:45.5 on the Age-Graded Tables. The real WR is 7:53.63. Nice run, Brad. He later replied to queries:

Brad finishes 3K steeple WR with a smile Sunday morning in Nashville.

Brad finishes 3K steeple WR with a smile Sunday morning in Nashville.

Brad wrote me from the Atlanta airport on the way to a speech in Boston:

Some real drama going in. The Music City Distance Carnival was just under way Saturday evening when university officials suspended it on account of a tornado/severe weather warning.

The race director wanted to restart the meet at midnight as the weather cleared but Vanderbilt officials pulled the plug. The action resumed at 8:15 AM instead.

Eating right was dicey with no decision made, but we finally got word at 11 PM and everyone got at least a short attempt at sleep.
Weather was fine this morning. Very humid but not excessively hot. A stiff breeze was just strong enough to help rather than hurt performance.

I lined up with a talented field of youngsters. The meet qualifying standard was set at 9:07. With no 2014 steeple mark [to my name], the meet director, Dave Milner, said he would “grandfather” me in. (I think his playful pun was very much intended.)

At the gun, I settled to the back where I could stay out of traffic, assess the hurdling skills of fellow contestants and ease into an agreed on 74 first lap.

I wanted 73s, but my coach, ’96 Olympic coach, USATF Hall of Fame, steeple guru Chick Hislop, wanted it 74s. The plan was to come through 1600 at 4:56 and then negative if I felt I could. That was the race plan.

My actual 73 felt pedestrian. Laps 2 and 3 were also very easy 73s as I tried in vain to find a 74. I was hurdling fairly well. I eased into the 1600 mark with my first 74 split at 4:53 and felt phenomenal!

Lap 5 was different. I got excited and leaned in a bit. My hurdling felt a bit forced and I came through 2K at an uncomfortable 73.
That’s when fatigue started seeping in.

The meet announcer was wonderful, keeping the crowd amped up and appraised of my situation. Page 19 of the meet program had a terrific paragraph announcing my credentials and lofty Master WR attempt goal. The Nashville fans really came alive for me!

The plan called for a 72 sixth lap and I tried for it, but my heart sank when my wonderful HS volunteer lap spotter yelled 74.

Not sure from there on splits. Brain went foggy and legs and arms a searing numb!

At the bell, I recall the announcer excitedly exclaiming I needed only a 78 split to get it done. I made a hard move then and focused on exaggerating my hurdle clearance (to prevent disaster) and ran hard between barriers. My final water jump was textbook perfect, my final barrier was a mess and then it was on to the finish in grim extremity.

Such a rush! The four or five youngsters I beat approached with humble congratulations and the others, including the race winner, each approached to acknowledge the accomplishment. Tons of postrace excitement from the crowd. It was a fun morning.

I’m celebrating with a late night flight to Boston where I’ll give a corporate keynote speech on leadership, “mastering” adversity and testing the limits of the possible.

I’ll be back home in Utah late Tuesday to celebrate properly with my wife and our six children.

Not sure what comes next. If I can stay healthy, I’d like to find a suitable mile to jump in somewhere (suggestions are welcome). Tony Young’s 2008 impressive 4:16.09 outdoor WR mark looks approachable given the right conditions.

I should have seen this coming. Counseling with a very pleased Chick Hislop this afternoon, he is talking about breaking nine mins in a follow-up steeplechase with two or three weeks more training. This guy’s got the steeple in his veins! Too good!

I’d like to support the national meet in July if I can work it into my busy family and speaking schedule. Hope to see you all there.

Love to lace ’em up with Troutman, Cush and Gore. Are they coming?
I was in the stands in NY in March to see John Troutman make a huge run at my indoor mile WR. He missed it by a whisper and the announcer never even mentioned him. How about it, John?

Here are results from Music City:

C.F.P.I. Timing & Data – Contractor License
Music City Distance Carnival – 6/8/2014
Results at
Vanderbilt University

Event 8 Men 3000 Meter Steeplechase Invitational
Meet: M 8:31.84 2005 Brian Olinger (Reebok)
Name Year Team Finals
1 Saloom, Adam Adidas Team Green 8:55.48
2 Jordan, Michael unattached 8:58.03
3 Given, Wilkerson Furman Elite 9:00.73
4 Betz, Dustin unattached 9:03.80
5 McDonald, Josh unattached 9:04.83
6 Barton, Brad unattached 9:06.68
7 Over, Bobby Team Ohio 9:20.14
8 Findlay, Noah unattached 9:26.03
9 Duffy, Sean East Tennessee SU 9:31.29
10 Moen, Chris Zap Fitness 9:33.00
— Walker, Mike Lee Univ DNF

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June 8, 2014

7 Responses

  1. Dale Campbell - June 8, 2014

    Congrats Brad on an outstanding run! You are an inspiration to both the so called “kiddies” and masters alike! From any angle you look at it, 9:06 is running at a very high level.

  2. Mike - June 8, 2014

    Incredible! Congrats Brad:)

  3. John Gardiner - June 9, 2014

    Phenomenal run, Brad! We were all disappointed you couldn’t join us in San Diego last week… but certainly understandable. Congrats!!

  4. Mike Q - June 10, 2014

    Any chance of you going up to the 5000?

  5. Brad Barton - June 15, 2014

    Thanks fellas. I appreciate your acknowledgment.
    John, it was tough missing The Festival of Miles. Dearly would loved to have been there.
    Paul Greer and I are trying to put together a quality field for an age group outdoor mile world record attempt at his USATF sanctioned, Summer Nights Track and Field Series event on July 9 in San Diego. The mile is not listed on the events schedule but Paul is interested in creating a special exhibition race built around my attempt. Tony Young’s 4:16.09 will be tough to beat all by myself. Is there anyone interested in having some fun?
    Mike, I don’t think the 5000 m is in the cards this year. With the injuries I’ve worked through this spring my whole outdoor campaign comes down to a couple of record attempts. I think the mile is a better direction for me. Thanks for asking.

  6. Guido Mueller - June 16, 2014

    Dear Earl,

    Just now I red about your world record in 400m in M85 with 79.04 like the first human beeing who run the 400m in less than 80 seconds.

    I wish you, that your Fitness will help you to can continue your master carreer still for a coule of years…. over 90 years an more.

    Best greetings from Munich, Guido

  7. Guido Mueller - June 16, 2014

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! für World record 400m M 85


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