World indoor records fall like flies—including W75 mile for Harada

Mary Harada

Indoor season is sizzling amid the snow back East, with a bunch of world records to report. M65 Matti Kilpelainen jumped 3.51 meters at the Eastern Michigan University Invitational, beating the listed WR of 3.50 set last year by Esko Oikkonen of Finland. W75 pals Flo Meiler and Barbara Jordan of Vermont used the Jan. 9 Dartmouth Relays in Hanover, N.H. to set records in the vault (6-4.75) and 60-meter dash (10.68), respectively. And at an all-comers meet Jan. 8 in Boston, writes a mole, “Mary Harada surpassed the W75 WR for the indoor mile yesterday at the Reggie Lewis Center. … Probably isn’t sanctioned so it can’t be recognized, but it’s a sign of great things to come for her! Old record 8:26.79 by Louise Adams. Mary ran 8:21.50.” I sent Mary a quickie Q&A.

Here’s a mashup of Mary’s responses to my usually shameless questions:

Did I have a certain time in mind? Heck no—my goal was to see if I could run 8 times around  the track without falling down or needing to stop.   I did not start the race thinking about the record.  But I knew by lap 5 that it was possible to break my good friend Louise Adams record of 8:26 and by lap 5 I was running pretty well and feeling good.  I was able to push the pace more the second half of the race.  It was a lovely surprise.

Re my splits: I  cannot recall. First one was maybe 1:04 — and my goal after that was not to be slower — and to try to pick it up.   I was well behind everyone else in the race so as usual for me. It was a case of watching my splits and trying to pick up each lap.  On the 200m track and with the clock running, that is pretty easy to do.
The result was announced after I told Steve Vaitones that it was a WR time.  I had not gone to the meet expecting to break the record, did not take paperwork with me, and as I mentioned above—it was not my goal.

(Later she added: I did not recall—and probably really did not hear what the meet announcer said. Not sure who said it. Steve? But from the Mass Velocity News: “As the meet announcer put it: ‘I’m sure many of you are posting PRs tonight. But please take a moment to congratulate Mary Harada who has just set the World Record for W75 in the mile!’ She ran hard at 8:21 — 6 seconds or so under the WR. Her last two laps were an impressive demonstration of elite athlete grit.” Wow — nice words. Nice to be appreciated by the hometown track fans.)

It was my first track race of the indoor season and I had run only 2 halfway decent track workouts the last two weeks — and none with any kind of time goal. Just trying to get comfortable again on the indoor track.  Steve was kind enough to announce my WR to the crowd.  The response was great and many came up to me to offer congratulations.  I got a lot of “wows” from the youngsters at the meet.  

As for injuries and illnesses—I had some problems with the side effects from an allergy medication that affected my balance.  Once the cause was discovered, it took a few weeks to recover from that.  On top of that, my occasional double vision become more frequent and added to my balance problems.  New glasses with prisms have been a great help.  Now I have no more excuses for stumbling around on the road and the track.

My “major” competition plans for indoor track include the Greater Boston Track Club masters mile on Jan. 23, and a 3K at the Eastern Masters Track Meet in Providence on Jan. 30.  I am still debating about the National Masters in early March.  

I will start thinking about training for the WMA in Sacramento and the National Masters Outdoors meet after some time off in March and early April.

As for how much faster I will go this year—at age 75 and moving towards 76, the statistics show that I will slow down. So the name of the game is to slow down the slowing down.  After the events of this past fall, I am happy to be able to put one foot in front of another, run around the curve on the track, run up and down hill without fear of falling.   But I will continue to push the pace so that a stopwatch is needed to time me and not a sun dial.

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January 11, 2011

8 Responses

  1. Jerry Smartt - January 11, 2011

    Way to fly, Mary. Congratulations on a beauty. Clicking those 400s in 2:05s is super. Smartty

  2. peter taylor - January 11, 2011

    So…”…congratulate Mary Harada who has just set the World Record for W75 in the mile!” Sounds pretty definitive to me. Where did she set it, at some obscure venue?

    No, it was set at the Reggie Lewis Center, where we held our indoor nationals in 1997 through 2004, 2006 through 2008, and then again in 2010. What’s not to like? I say it’s a record.

    If a sanction meant that USATF sent someone to meet with the event organizers, went over the plans for running the meet in detail, and specified the number and kind of officials to be used, that would be one thing. But it doesn’t.

    Good officials, bad officials, no officials, you can still get your meet sanctioned. I say that this is a record unless there is some countervailing evidence.

  3. Dave Neumann - January 11, 2011

    Agree with Peter. WR!

  4. Roger Pierce - January 11, 2011

    Congratulations Mary. You did it again. I was at this meet and Mary was in a mixed group of younger individuals and as a result wound up running all alone the entire race…this makes the record even more impressive..she had no help.
    The meet had auto time for all running events and there is no reason this should not be ratified aside from a non sanctioned meet rule ( and I don’t know if the meet was or was not sanctioned ) I agree with Peter completely…Mary set the record and she should receive that recognition. Way to go Mary.

  5. Liz Palmer - January 11, 2011

    Congratulations to all! Great start to the season!

  6. Steve Vaitones - January 11, 2011

    A mole writes “Probably isn’t sanctioned so it can’t be recognized”. Moles should probably ask questions.
    It is sanctioned.
    Ken, why don’t you just state who reports a story; your continual use of “a “mole” is cheezy at best.
    Steve Vaitones

  7. Terry Parks - January 11, 2011

    I am really impressed with everyone’s performing so well this early in the season. I am still new to this Masters game, but I see that people are definitely taking it up a level in this Championship year.
    I second Liz’s congratulations to all and I look forward to continued inspiration by more excellent performances throughout the year.

  8. Lisa Daley - January 11, 2011

    Congrats Mary. Very impressive and inspiring run !

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