Christian Cushing-Murray joins 1500 fun: M45 AR of 3:55.09 at Oxy

Cush during his Fluffy Bunny days.

Christian Cushing-Murray is a SoCal distance legend but lacks name recognition on a national scale. No more. Friday night at the Occidental Distance Carnival in Los Angeles, CCM burned a 1500 in 3:55.09, taking down John Hinton’s listed M45 outdoor record of 3:56.39. (See results here.) Several people shared the hot news, including 5K deity Pete Magill, who wrote: “With all the hoopla over Brad Barton, people seem to have forgotten about the other American M45-49 middle distance great — Christian Cushing-Murray.” The listed WR is 3:52.43 by Spain’s Jesus Borrego in 2008. But the bigger question: When will Brad and Cush meet? It’s comparing apples and aardvarks, but Brad’s indoor mile record of 4:16.84 earlier this month is worth a 4:01 1500. But take off a second a lap, and Brad=Cush pretty much. Bring it on, guys! Olathe 2013?

From left: Ray Knerr, Christian and Pete Magill visit after Oxy race and AR 1500.

From left: Ray Knerr, Christian and Pete Magill visit after Oxy race and AR 1500. (Diana Hernandez photo)

Pete continued:

As I wrote on in a Facebook post:

“CONGRATS to Cal Coast clubmate Christian Cushing-murray for his 3:55.09 for 1500 meters tonight at the Oxy Invitational! New American record for Men aged 45-49! A year ago, after running 3:56.07 at the same meet, I mentioned to Christian, then 44, that if he hung on for a year, he’d have a shot at the American record (3:56.39 by John Hinton) for his next age group. By golly, he went and did just that!”

I was hoping to get you some quotes from Christian on the race, but I lost track with him right after he went off to start getting signatures for his paperwork. He came back at one point to ask how on earth he was supposed to get the signature of the track’s original surveyor. LOL! Welcome to the nightmare that is masters record setting, Christian!

This I was able to get from Christian before he vanished into the paperwork rabbit-hole … He ran in the fastest heat of the night, hoping to work off the younger runners. As planned, he started slowly, not wanting to waste energy battling for position during the first 300 meters, knowing that the pace would be fast simply because of the level of competition. In fact, he ran the first lap-plus in dead last.

Then held onto the pack (and even passed a couple runners), reaching the bell lap at 2:52 and change. Being a miler from back in the day (3:55 PR), he figured he could finish with a 60 second last lap, then ran smack into reality 200 meters later. He felt his legs start to get heavy, his energy to drain. The final 100 meter straight kept extending before his eyes. He started to fear that his legs would go into an actual wobble … But then made it to the finish line just as 3:54 gave way to 3:55. Not a bad run for the lad!

Unfortunately, Diana Hernandez and I got there just as Cush’s race was ending, so Diana didn’t get any photos during the race. But she did snap a couple quick photos post race. I’ve attached one of just Cush. And one of Ray Knerr (who ran a fantastic 800 earlier in the meet – not sure of the time, but around 2:00-2:01), Cush, and myself.

Pete later added:

FYI – Ray Knerr (age 52) ran 2:01.14 in the 800.  And Rich Burns (age 58) ran 4:26.16 for 1500. All three (Cush, Ray and Rich) are part of the Cal Coast Track Club – my current club (I’m the coach for the club’s elite masters program, but Bill Sumner is “The” coach and president for the club).

One thing Cush mentioned that he really enjoyed: His old coach from his open, international competition days with the Santa Monica Track Club, Joe Douglas, was on hand (with his own runners) to see Cush set the record.

Awesome, all.

Here is Cush’s race:

Men 1500 M Run
Name Year School Finals
Section 1
1 Jones, Richard Unattached 3:43.88
2 Gilbertson, John The Masters 3:46.30
3 Martin, Riley UC Irvine 3:46.93
4 Jabaz, Jorge Unattached 3:47.38
5 Hyams, Sam UC Irvine 3:49.34
6 Davila, Mikey Unattached 3:50.72
7 Naden, Bennett Claremont-Mu 3:50.92
8 Cline, Chris Cal Baptist 3:51.49
9 Kangogo, Isaac Alaska Ancho 3:51.85
10 DiGiallonardo, Falco Saugus Track 3:52.26
11 Graham, Lucas Cal Baptist 3:52.41
12 Yokota, Masato Santa Monica 3:52.59
13 cushing-murray, christia compex cal c 3:55.09
14 Acuna, John Adams State 3:55.16
15 Newton-Neal, Tommy UC Irvine 3:55.60
16 Snyder, Andrew UC Irvine 3:57.26
17 Finnigan, Thomas Santa Monica 4:03.58
18 Molina, Jesus UC Irvine 4:14.74

Here is Rich’s race:

Section 7
1 Purcell, John Concordia (C 4:16.72
2 Lenart, Ryan Unattached 4:17.64
3 Diaz, David Concordia (C 4:20.00
4 Brasfield, Jonathan Santa Monica 4:20.14
5 Sheidenberger, Ian Concordia (C 4:21.08
6 Jasso, Oscar East LA 4:21.36
7 Ramirez, Sebastian Santiago Communi 4:22.10
8 Mast, Jack Cal Poly Dis 4:22.40
9 Vega, Jordan Whittier 4:23.40
10 Breuer, Reed Cal Poly Dis 4:24.31
11 Diaz, Fernando Glendale 4:24.62
12 Rista, Brandon Whittier 4:25.34
13 burns, richard Unattached 4:26.16
14 McCaslin, David Claremont-Mu 4:26.25
15 Davis-Hall, Duncan Cal Poly Dis 4:26.35
16 Carmona, Alec Unattached 4:26.48
17 Valeriani, Michael Cuesta 4:27.78
18 Blas, Hernan LA Trade Tec 4:29.57
19 Stokes, Tyler Cuyamaca 4:36.22

And here is Ray’s race:

Section 5
1 Guzman, David High Sierra 1:58.28
2 Grieves, Chase Augsburg 1:59.68
3 Rivera, Gustavo Sequoias 2:00.24
4 Knerr, Ray Cal Coast 2:01.14
5 Stokes, Tyler Cuyamaca 2:01.75
5 Armendarez, Avanti East LA 2:01.75
7 Perriseau, Dylan Cal Lutheran 2:02.87
8 Henderson, Cortland Claremont-Mu 2:03.39
9 Figueroa, Ryan Santiago Communi 2:03.89

Cush after 1500 record at Occidental in L.A. (Diana Hernandez photo)

Cush after 1500 record at Occidental in L.A. (Diana Hernandez photo)

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March 16, 2013

21 Responses

  1. Peter Taylor - March 16, 2013

    Ken, I must be totally out of it, as I always thought that Christian Cushing-Murray, out of UCLA, was and is a big star (“lacks name recognition …”).

    This from an old article:

    Cushing-Murray had a very good 1995 season, clocking a 3:55.42 personal best in the mile…. Yikes.

    Hope that “Cush” will appear in some of our meets later this year. Let’s see, the 1500 at Olathe will be on July 14, only 3 months and 28 days from today. Would be nice to see Cush there going against Brad Barton.

    Only concern would be heat. Last year, the high on July 14 in Olathe was just 99 degrees, but on 39% of the days that month the temperature reached 101 or higher (high for the month was 108). I bring that up because I have yet to see any discussion of a split schedule for Olathe (to avoid the midday heat). Has that idea even been considered?

    Seems odd that with the Olathe meet so close I have not seen any discussion at all on how meet management will deal with the weather. Ken, have you heard anything?

  2. Liz Palmer - March 16, 2013

    Congratulations Cush! Ray Knerr and Rich Burns, amazing running. Perhaps Pete Magill knows what he’s doing as a coach? 😉

  3. Peter Taylor - March 16, 2013

    Agree with Liz. Ray Knerr and Rich Burns can really light it up, and having Pete Magill offering guidance can only make things better.

  4. Pete Magill - March 16, 2013

    As a follow-up to Peter Taylor’s post, just a little more on Cush’s masters resume: He won the Carlsbad 5000 three times in a row (clocking 14:40 for one of the wins), a feat no other masters runner has accomplished; he was the 2012 USA Master XC Champion; he ran 14:29 for 5000 on the track while a youngster in the M40-44 division; ran his first half marathon ever a year ago, debuting with a 1:10:06; he was 2nd place overall in the 2010 USATF Masters Club XC Championships; and has run a host of other stellar times since joining the masters ranks.

    As an open runner, he’s run that 3:55 mile that Peter Taylor referenced, as well as clocking a couple 3:37s for 1500. He teamed up on relays with Santa Monica clubmates Carl Lewis, Leroy Burrell, Johnny Gray, etc.

    Christian has had a full running life, both as a collegiate runner for UCLA, an open, national class (and international) competitor for the Santa Monica track club, and a masters runner for the Fluffy Bunny and now Cal Coast/Compex running clubs.

    But … this is his first American record! If he likes the taste and wants more, I’m sure my own M45-49 records at 3000 and 5000 are well within his reach.

  5. Pete Magill - March 16, 2013

    For the record, being the elite masters coach for the Cal Coast track club doesn’t mean I actually guide the coaching of all the runners in the club. I’m there if needed, but runners at this age can train with whomever they like.

    For the record, Cush trained solely under the guidance of Bill Sumner in preparation for this race, and Ray Knerr handles his own training. I’ve helped Rich over the years, but mostly just with counseling on training approaches. With these three, I’ll take credit for getting them in the Cal Coast singlet, but I can’t take credit for their results yesterday. Not even a little.

    … Although I did help Cush enormously in his first Carlsbad 5000 victory. I took him aside before the race, and I told him, “Just sit on the leaders and then outkick them in the final 400.” Cush did. Am I a genius or what? 🙂

  6. Peter Taylor - March 16, 2013

    Thanks, Pete. Yes, I certainly remember Cush huddled in the Penn Relays paddock with Carl Lewis and other luminaries (as I recall he was going to run the 800 leg in the sprint medley). He was a big star then and is a big star now.

  7. Gary - March 16, 2013

    I don’t know what you guys are doing exactly in training…..but you are Gods!! We’ll, natural talent doesn’t hurt either! He has been good for a long time….!!

  8. christian cushing-murray - March 16, 2013

    @peter taylor, thanks for remembering my glory days. as for the meet in july, you must remember that 4 months is like 28 months in masters years. keeping my race fitness post-carlsbad is a challenge with being a high school teacher and track coach as my h.s. team’s season just gets into full swing. and, even though i was a miler back in the day, they just hurt too much. i told magill i’d be happy if i didn’t have to run another one until i’m 50…

  9. Kevin Paulk - March 17, 2013

    Nice work lighting up the early season rankings Cush, Ray & Rich! Inspiring to say the least. May you keep healthy and fit to race more this year.


  10. Matt B. - March 17, 2013

    Nice piece of running.
    Have to think Sorenson can run a couple seconds faster if he is healthy. I’d love to see all three of them in a 1500.
    Barton: 4:16.84 mile indoors is worth 4:01 1500? More like 3:58 outdoors.
    M45 WR 1500 3:48.13- What ever happened with that? Jesus Borrego.
    Any video or photos of that performance?

  11. Mark Cleary - March 17, 2013

    Pete, there has been talk of a split scedule for Olathe and I would count on it- pretty much a given.

  12. Peter Taylor - March 18, 2013

    Thanks very much for that info, Mark. As I recall, this will be our third split. In Baton Rouge 2001 we went all four days with a split schedule (middle of the day is open), and we were forced by the local authorities to do it for two days in Charlotte 2006.

    Re no. 10 (Matt B.). I have to think that anyone who can run 4:16.84 indoors in the mile can run 3:57.50 in the 1500 outdoors. I know nothing about the 3:48.13 you mention for Borrego.

  13. Ken Stone - March 18, 2013

    A miler correspondent writes to correct my conversions:

    I’m sure people have already let you know…. I tend to always be a little late to the game.

    3:55.09 for 1500m converts to 4:12.37 for 1600m and 4:13.83 for 1 mile.

    4:16.84 for 1 mile converts to 3:57.89 for 1500m and 4:15.35 for 1600m.

    Of course there’s also the indoor/outdoor factor, but the Armory with it’s controlled “weather” and lighting fast track: Very close.

  14. Holdeen Cushing-murray - March 19, 2013

    Hey brother. If you run in Olathe on the 14th, I’ll go over as the next day is my birthday. Never spent one in Kansas, hahaha. Would love to catch up again. To few and to far between drinks with you. Great skills and inspirational to be fair.

  15. Matt B. - March 19, 2013

    3:48.53 6-20-2008

  16. Brad Barton - March 20, 2013

    I offer my own congratulations to Ray, Rich and Cush! That fit, this early? Incredible!!! I look forward to meeting you all soon.
    Christian, 3:55.09? Wow!
    Hope we can all stay healty…

  17. christian cushing-murray - March 20, 2013

    thanks, brad–congrats on your indoor record. and, good luck on any outdoor attempts–maybe you can go after tony’s mile record first and let mine hold for at least a little while. and, for the record (pun intended), it’s not early in my season–march/april is usually my peak fitness before a downward slide until summer…

  18. Brad Barton - March 25, 2013

    Christian, I’d love to know your outdoor racing plans. Perhaps we can work together at some point and try to run another fast mile or 1500. Sure had fun getting to know fellow Masters middle-distance guys in Landover last weekend.

  19. christian cushing-murray - March 26, 2013

    brad, congrats on your indoor titles. not sure i have any more outdoor plans–strange to think my track season is basically one race! high school coaching gets in the way of most racing and training during late march/april (oxy was conveniently on a friday night). i’m scheduled for the carlsbad 5k on the roads, then if i can hold fitness and health, i may try for a track 5k in may. every year i toy with the idea of going up to portland in june, but health and fitness keeps interfering. i’ve only heard good things about portland, so you may want to consider that one…

  20. Brad Barton - March 27, 2013

    Thanks for the heads up Christian. My wife Alydia is a HS distance coach as well so I understand a bit about the time commitment involved. One of her boys, Jordan Cross is currently 3rd on the US 1600m list at 4:10.97. One of her girls, Sarah Feeney is 43rd on the US indoor 3200m list. Alydia’s fitness suffers through the outdoor season as well.
    I’ll look into the Portland mile. Lance Elliott speaks highly of it. It would sure be fun to stand on a starting line with you at some point.
    Best wishes for a successful HS season.

  21. David Guzman - June 9, 2013

    I happened to be in the race with Knerr and he tore it up. He didn’t let us youngsters slack well past halfway through the race. Afterwards I was thinking that that 40 year old man can run. A while later I found out he was 50+. It’s nice to know that it’s possible to still have quite a bit of speed left over after that long. Every person who I’ve shown my race video to has been extremely surprised when I pointed out that the guy in blue is over 50.

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