Pete Magill credits Cal Coast teammates on, off track for 5K AR

Pete’s FAT timer photo in 5K.

Pete Magill is the Bill Collins of distance comebacks. Let me explain. With his M55 American record Friday in the track 5K, Pete pulled off a 15:42.13 in the wake of fighting injuries from age 53 1/2 to 54 1/2, when “I wasn’t sure I’d ever come back strong,” he says. In Bill’s case, his 2011 battle with Guillain-Barre syndrome led him to lose 41 pounds and an estimated 85 percent of his muscle mass. Then somehow Bill recovered and set sprint records several years later. All masters ride the roller coaster of rehab years and fit years. But Pete is a poster child for hurdling adversity. (Oughta try steeple, Pete!) I learned about the 5K AR on Facebook. (“Legs were still tired from Brea 8K 12 days ago. Will try to better that time later this spring. But a FUN race!” he wrote.) So after lowering Brian Pilcher’s listed record of 16:05.12 by 23 seconds, Pete got my usual shameless questions. He graciously replied with wonderful details, especially one worth cheering — that the Ben Brown meet at Cal State Fullerton had a designated official — the sainted Susan Harris — to handle record paperwork. Remember that Pete in 2011 famously swore off the paper chase. So how does he celebrate his latest 5K record? Pete praises his teammates.

Pete pushes to oldest sub-16 5K by an American. Photo by Diana Hernandez


My email chat with Pete:

Masterstrack.com: Could you please provide details and color commentary?

Pete Magill: This particular race was all about elbows and shoving and falling. Luckily, I only suffered from the first two, although other runners in the race were not so lucky. My heat seemed to be populated by a bunch of young, inexperienced college runners just finding their legs. A runner would surge to the front, then get scared of the pace and suddenly slow down, causing the entire pack to quickly bunch up — leading to those thrown elbows, pushing, tangled feet, spiked shins, etc.

When a few runners went down early on, my clubmate Christian Cushing-murray went to the front and picked up the pace for a couple laps. He did this to spread the runners and give me a chance to settle into a consistent pace without having to worry so much about fighting for position. What a clubmate, right?

Unfortunately, Cush is out of shape, so after he fell off the pace, the race got bumpy again. As for how I felt, well, pretty much like you usually feel in the opening race of a season. Rusty. Strong at first, not as strong later into the race.

Honestly, it was a good effort, not a great one. But I have to say that I’m happy with the outcome. When I took most of a year completely off (from running, while rehabbing an Achilles’ insertion injury) from age 53 1/2 to 54 1/2, I wasn’t sure I’d ever come back strong. I certainly didn’t think I’d come back ready to set records, but lucky me!

Are you going back on vow not to do paperwork chase? Who will submit for record?

Within seconds of finishing the race, the meet referee, Susan Harris, was at my side, holding the paperwork in her hand and telling me she’d need some information. Can you believe it?

Seriously, in the past, I’ve generally spent about 30 minutes just trying to figure out who’ll look at my paperwork, waving it frantically in the air while begging for directions to a meet director or referee or anyone. But Susan made it so easy that I pretty much would have been a jerk to refuse to do my part.

That said, by the time she’d gathered all the signatures and the FAT Zero Control Test and whatnot, I was the last athlete left at the meet, with my clubmates already eating dinner and drinking beer at nearby Joe’s Tavern. So I think I’ll pass on doing paperwork if I lower the record again this season … unless, I lower to a new world mark.

Is Keith Bateman’s M55 WR 15:29.7 possible?

In a word, “Yes.” This was my first track race of the season. Not only was I a little rusty, but there were all those elbows to contend with. With a few more workouts with my Cal Coast teammates and a couple more races, I think sub-15:29.7 is definitely possible.

That said, I’m 55, meaning I could roll over in bed tomorrow morning and pull my hamstring or dislocate my spine or something.

Share how your teammates helped.

A great incentive for running hard during the 5000 was the support of my Cal Coast M50-59 clubmates. Even though they weren’t racing, Rob Arsenault, Jeff Ambos and Ken Ernst (the latter two have missed the last year of competition with injuries) camped out on the first turn — they literally brought chairs and set up camp! — in order to cheer me on during my record attempt.

There was no clock at the start line (in the 5000, we start at the 200-meter start line for the 12 1/2 lap race), so Rob and Ken both yelled splits to me for each lap. This proved to be most fortuitous, as for some reason I just couldn’t keep track of what lap I was on after the first four laps.

So I’d listen for my split, then think, “OK, 10:02, that means I’ve finished 8 laps!” And then I’d promptly forget what lap I was on and have to wait for the next split. LOL! Seriously, it would have been a disaster if not for my clubmates!  

Here’s how Pete did against the kiddies:

Event 31 Men 5000 Meter Run B

1 Aries, Jacob Unattached 15:30.21
2 Malloy, Christian Riverside 15:35.38
3 Jimeneznava, Eric Santa Ana 15:35.69
4 Polk, Patrick Unattached 15:37.84
5 Magill, Peter Cal Coast Tr 15:42.13
6 Garcia, Ricardo Cal St. Northridge 15:45.05
7 Sharma, Ravi Unattached x15:45.58
8 Gonzalez Vera, Jose Unattached x15:46.55
9 Nunez, Joshua The Masters 15:48.30
10 Harper, Daniel Riverside 15:49.64
11 Robinson, Michael Riverside x15:53.02
12 Eisler, Jake Moorpark 15:56.57
13 Guapilla, Eduardo Santa Ana 15:57.49
14 Tressler, Brian Hope Int’l 15:58.65
15 Pacheco, Stephen The Masters 15:59.00
16 Phalen, Rolando Riverside x16:00.43
17 Vickers, Luke Riverside x16:02.15
18 Gutierrez, Tim The Masters x16:04.92
19 Flores, Joel Moorpark 16:06.62
20 Quiambao, Isaiah Riverside x16:08.03
21 Gutzmann, Brandon Cal Coast 16:10.56
22 Merchan, Michael Cal St. Northridge 16:15.04
23 Davenport, Thomas Unattached x16:19.39
24 Gutzmann, Parker Cal Coast Tr 16:21.60
25 Ramirez, Juan Snail’s Pace 16:22.05
26 Guapilla, Eduardo Unattached x16:27.19
27 cushing-murray, christia calcoast 16:39.65
28 Seckinger, Dalton Cal Coast Tr x16:54.54
29 Hernandez, Jorge Unattached x17:17.41

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March 14, 2017

5 Responses

  1. rich Burns - March 16, 2017

    Nice running, Pete! While it’s helpful to run against the youngins, they try extra hard to not let some
    older looking guys get by them.

  2. Matt B. - March 16, 2017

    5000 Steve Scott invite or Oxy.
    New record for sure

  3. Dave Clingan - March 20, 2017

    Way to go Pete!!

  4. Todd Straka - March 20, 2017

    Always inspiring Pete, thanks for continuing to push the pace!

  5. stacy Kneeshaw - April 1, 2017

    Very inspiring Pete!

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