Thursday, May 6, 2004

Bannister Mile May 6, 2004

These are the times for the first Bannister Mile based on personal logs, and the email below original records were lost. There were 20 runners total

Dennis McConnel  6:06
Craig Carver 6:23
Dave Caprera 6:23.1

Team Relay 8X200:  4:04

This is an email sent from Dave Caprera, May 6, 2004 after the first Bannister mile on the 50th anniversary.

It is a real shame we hadn't thought of it earlier. We have a group of normally eight to ten (actually probably less than two of us are normal and we know who you are), who meet at noon to run from the YMCA on the corner of 16th and Lincoln. For the last several weeks, we had been talking about Thursday, May 6, being the 50th anniversary of Bannister breaking the four minute mile. We had all read the running magazines, the article about Wes Santee in the Sunday Post, hell, Larry even has an autographed copy of Bannister's own retelling of the event and can name the pacers. But it wasn't until this Tuesday it occurred to us that we should run a timed mile on Thursday in celebration of what some have considered to be the most monumental sporting accomplishment of the 20th century. Thus was born the Bannister Memorial Invitational Mile.]

There were nine of us who ran on Tuesday, but word got out, and by 11:55 today there we were in front of the Y, 19 strong and brave. "Where's Charles?" several asked. "I am sure he's coming" was the certain reply. We waited another minute and then, Charlesless, ran the 1.5 miles from the Y to the East High Track. It was with pleasure but without surprise that when we came over the crest and the track was in view, we recognized the outrageous day-glo orange shorts and learned that the high school track shoes had already arrived. We had Charles and now we were 20.After the usual bullshit, coffee-housing and trash-talking, we seeded ourselves fast guys in the front, old guys (except Scott who is a fast, old guy) in the back. I took my position immediately behind Lardbutt. Being three days out from running a marathon, I had no right being there and had not decided whether I was going to run, run it all, run it hard, or just stay back and provide the color commentary. But as is my nature, when Steve said, "Runners mark, go", I could not resist and joined in the fray.By the 100, the pack had already broken into two groups. I remained glued to Lardbutt's shoulder. I decided at about the 200 that I would just hang with him. The leaders went through the 400 in about 75, Lardbutt and I were at 92. Then ol' Lardbutt put on the breaks. I think he was testing my strategy and commitment - could I stand to run a 100 second quarter or would my basic nature cause me to go ahead? I hung tough and behind. Our third lap continued at the same slow and plodding pace. I was running comfortably and Lardbutt was wheezing like the geezer he is. (To be fair, he has been having allergy problems all spring and is not in as good a shape as usual.)Meanwhile, the real race was unfurling behind us (Of course they were a half a lap ahead, but on a track when you are at the 300 mark of your third lap and they are at the 100 mark of their fourth lap, they appear to be behind.) As we came around with 500 to go, LB and I could look across at the leaders and saw Raffy make his move to ultimate victory. Those guys were flying but a quick calculation confirmed we were not going to be lapped... that was a small relief.
Finally and not too soon, I decided on my strategy - ride him until there was 200 left and then show him that I could outkick him to the finish. And that is what I did, or so I thought. Most of the group had finished and recovered by the time the two of us made our own heroic dash to the line. This made for good theatre and so the cheering (or was it jeering) could well be heard. I ran the last 200 in 42 seconds. Lardbutt beat me by a foot. For a senile, syphilitic, broken-down, card carrying member of the AARP, Lardbutt still has a kick. God, I love Lardbutt and I loved that mile.I propose that we make this an annual event, with the stipulation that each one of us bring someone new along. This was the First Annual. Next year, it will be tradition. The year after that, we'll schedule it for ESPN. Roger, "you da man."

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