M50 Brian Marlier ran 62.98 for indoor 400 in Arizona, not 52.98

Brian on Facebook.

Brian on Facebook.

What a difference a day makes. Less than 24 hours after I noted an M50 time of 52.98 seconds for the indoor 400, the mark on mastersrankings.com has been changed to 62.98. The mystery began when someone other than Brian Marlier, 53, posted a 52.98 from the Jan. 19 Northern Arizona University Invitational in Flagstaff. The results say it’s so. But eyes flew wide at the mark, which is close to the listed M50 world indoor record is 52.44 by Arizona’s Michael Sullivan in 2011. So I had to check this out. First I wrote John Seto, the USATF masters rankings coordinator (still looking for a successor in that role, BTW). John replied: “I do not know if it is valid, BUT it is listed in the official meet results. He submitted all of the results posted.” (Later I learned Brian hadn’t posted the mark.)

This is what mastersrankings.com has to say about Brian Marlier.

This is what mastersrankings.com originally said about Brian Marlier.

Then I wrote to NAU, and head track coach Eric Heins replied: “We know as much as you know about the results. The unattached athletes must register online and check in at the clerk’s table. So I assume Brian is Brian, and he did in fact run 52.98.”

Next step was trying to find our new superstar. I found a Brian Marlier on Facebook with a graduation date marking him as an M50. I later found a work email address.

He is a 50-second prep quarter-miler from his days 1977 graduate at Moline High School in Illinois. And Eastern Illinois University’s track roster from 1977-78 shows a freshman named Brian Marlier.

I had an exchange of email with Brian today, and will get more details later.

But the fact is: Results can be wrong. So kudos to whoever fixed the mistake online. The mark is respectable for M50, but he’s not one of the youngest men to beat their age in the 4.

The early comments on this story came before I updated the post (and took the post offline for several hours Monday).

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January 27, 2013

6 Responses

  1. peter taylor - January 27, 2013

    This appears to be one of the following:

    1. The result of greatly improved training. After all, he ran 77.60 on the 15th of last month in the Ted Haydon Classic (Chicago), but this time he ran 52.98. Converting these marks to 200-m segments makes the improvement even more impressive. In Chicago he averaged 38.80 per 200, but in Arizona he averaged 26.49.

    2. A huge error.

    I vote for the latter.

  2. Ken Stone - January 27, 2013

    It’s possible he fell down and got up to finish in that 77.60 race. (Stuff happens.) However, I’d be thrilled to run 77 at my age.

  3. dave ashford - January 27, 2013

    mr.stone brian has been a ironman triathlete,a former four hundred runner in high school,who is new to masters track.brian has been training for the past summer and fall to prepare for indoor and his first race .brian set goals to get the all american standard, but in chicago he did not understand the break indoors our to go out hard…he is not called ironman for reason .he was determined.

  4. dave ashford - January 27, 2013

    legitimate running fifty five seconds training on a regular basis.

  5. Matt McCubbins - January 28, 2013

    You gotta love a good mystery :). FWIW I competed at the Ted Haydon Classic last month (high jump only), but unfortunately I wasn’t able to follow the other events very closely. It gets very loud and frenzied in that old building during the races, so to Ken’s point I wouldn’t be surprised that a runner might have fallen….nevertheless, I’d still probably vote with Pete. But it would be cool if this turns out to be for real! I think it’s awesome when someone comes out of nowhere and posts an amazing performance.

  6. dave ashford - January 29, 2013

    brian, congrats on your time you recorded, the beauty of the sport is the clock doesn’t lie, congrats on your top ten usatf ranking,i will say its a grand intro to masters track,and im glad you are racing,,, you have inspired me to really break the world indoor mark and leave no mystery to that the clock will say it all good job..your fitness trainer….

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