Ben James won the 400m in 56.79 in the Men’s 60+ category.
Here’s Ben’s story in his own words:
I have been to dozens of National Masters Championships, and I was nervous and scared (as usual) at the start, but that’s when I’m at my best. One of the other competitors Paul Fragua of New Mexico by was known to me as being very fast and a good 800-meter guy, so I knew I had to run my own race well. I decided to run the first 200 meters hard to build up a lead. As a result, I ran it in 26 seconds. I actually had to slow myself down a bit because I saw the clock reading 22 seconds from a few meters out from the 200 mark.
The announcer, Peter Taylor, called out my name and time at the 200-meter mark stating that it was on an American record pace. The crowd went crazy and was cheering me on. It spurred me on and I gave it all I had. Fortunately, I maintained a sizable lead and finished 1.52 seconds ahead of second place finisher Paul Fragua. The crowd had pushed me and I was just 1.11 seconds off the American record with a time of 56.79.
My next goal is to run in the Masters World Track and Field Championship in South Korea next month (March) and make a serious attempt at the American record in the 400 and a win. My coach, Mike Reif and I have worked out a plan to help make that happen. I’m excited to be running well and have the good fortune of good health and being able to maintain both my speed and endurance. I’d also like to thank the Genesee Valley Harriers Running Club and USATF- Niagara for all their support to me over the years.
Gary Radford won the Indoor Mile in the Men’s 60+ category.
Here’s Gary’s story in his own words:
My mile race was pretty exciting. I knew that one of my competitors, Timothy Conheady, was a very good runner who had run 4:48 as a M55 runner and was known for being a good kicker. My race plan was to go out hard and try to gap the field in hopes of either having everyone race for second or if they sat back and kicked that the altitude would be a factor. I wanted a guts race and if someone beat me they would have to bleed a bit! The splits show that the first lap I was up by 4 seconds and by 1000 meters I had 19 seconds on the field. At this point I tried to just settle down and hope that I had enough the last lap to go and finish strong . Well the last lap came and there wasn’t much in the tank! I knew by the sound of the crowd that someone was coming and on the last straight I was able to hold Conheady off, by less than a second. The altitude really made me suffer going out hard, but I thought that was my only hope to win the race. I got lucky I guess…
Ben looked like a million dollars, I wish that I had those wheels!!!!