Brad Barton takes down Hal Higdon’s legendary M45 steeple record

Hal Higdon

In 1977, competing at the second world masters championships, Hal Higdon set an M45 world record in the 3000 steeplechase of 9:39.0. The WR fell eventually, and now is held by Norway’s Nils Undersåker at 9:16.1. But who would have predicted Hal’s mark lasting as an American record for almost 36 years? On Saturday, competing at the West Coast Invitational at Willamette University in Oregon, Brad Barton ran the 3K steeple in 9:22.0 — his first steeple since the 1992 New Orleans Olympic Trials (where he ran 8:34.31 in the heats and took 12th in the semis). See results here. “I’ve got the paperwork in order and will be submitting it for a new American record,” writes Brad, who earlier this season set an M45 world indoor record in the mile. “It was a beautiful night in Salem.” And it was a beaut of a mark, Brad. Congrats!

Brad says he felt rusty over hurdles, but this shot by Scott Bassett indicates he was pretty nifty.

Brad says he felt rusty over hurdles, but this shot by Scott Bassett indicates he was pretty nifty.

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May 12, 2013

8 Responses

  1. Nolan Shaheed - May 12, 2013

    Congratulations Brad

  2. Gary - May 13, 2013

    Any masters guy that can do steeple is unbelievable and at that pace…man

  3. Matt B. - May 13, 2013

    73.3 avg. for 7 & 2/3 laps(inside pit) would be awesome if it were just flat without barriers!

  4. Dale Campbell - May 13, 2013

    Congrats Brad! Any time you break a record by someone of Hal’s stature that is quite an achievement.

  5. Hal Higdon - May 13, 2013

    I part with the M45 3000 meter steeplechase record not in sorrow, but in joy. So many young runners, including Brad Barton, have run so much faster than my best as a post-college steeplechaser (9:13.6) that I don’t understand why it took so long for one of them to finally improve my time from 36 years past. Congratulations, Brad. Now some of those young ‘chasers need to set their sights on my M40 record, which should be the next to fall.

  6. Matt B. - May 14, 2013

    He may yet still break the 9:18.6 and set a Masters WR.
    It would suffice for M40-49

  7. Brad Barton - May 14, 2013

    What a thrill to hear from you Hal! I have great respect for you and the record you set so many years ago.
    Chick Hislop (my former collegiate coach) and I have painfully learned why your record stood for so many years. It’s tough to train for this brutal race at our age. I broke my foot attempting it last spring. So far, so good this season. I hope to try for your 9:18.6 Masters Mark on the 29th in Portland. Hope I can stay healthy.
    I sure appreciate your gracious comments. What a champion!

  8. Hal Higdon - May 15, 2013

    Brad: Congratulations again, Brad. I just wrote a brief essay for Ken about losing the record, which we’ll post either here or over in my blogspace. Several years ago when our grandson was at Notre Dame, I wrote a “white paper” about steeplechase technique to aid him in his racing. It might mess you up, but I would be happy to sent the aricle to you as a Word attachment. You can contact me through

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