Charles Bedford 5:02
Scott Hajicek 5:04
Craig Carver 6:11
Dave Caprera 6:18
Email from Dave Caprera May 9, 2006
The mile as a race is much more about strategy than it is about time, anyway. While we
revere the 4 minute mile, the reality is that mental discipline and commitment are more
important than pure speed. That is why, when 10 brave souls assembled at noon today at
the Manual High track to commemorate the 52nd anniversary of Bannister's four minute mile,
the focus wasn't on breaking Roger's time as much as it was on besting each other.
The best place to observe the mile race is from the back of the pack. In that way you can
visualize the competition and appreciate the little battles taking place. In that way,
all the battles finish before you do and you aren't yet bothered by dry-heaving off the
back of the bleachers. Of course, the leaders play for the crowd but that guy in 8th
place dreaming of 7th is every bit as much a racer. So while we congratulate Charles (the
ultimate winner, 5:02 on a sweltering day with swirling winds to 35 mph) and commiserate
with Scott (soon to be dubbed "Mr. Second Place", yet again by a couple of seconds), from
the back I was also able to enjoy Gray Pete holding off Chris in the last hundred,
and the final kicks of Craig, Jay and Tom.
I know each of us played our own mind game but mine was perhaps a representative case
study. I rode Lardbutt's shoulder for the first two and half laps, feeling good and
thinking he was dogging it. With about 500 to go, I passed him on the outside and
finished the third lap several yards in front. We held position around the corner until,
with about 300 to go, he passed me back and was heard to mutter "What were you thinking?"
Jay and Tom soon followed. It was little consolation that I had at least avoided being
lapped by Charles and Scott. The four of us had run the first three laps in splits of 92,
95 and 96; it was only that last 300 that distinguished the windshield from the bugs. For
the record, Lardbutt's 86 final quarter looked particularly more impressive than my 93.
We followed the "real mile" with a relay contest. Eight of us ran the 8x200, while Scott
and Charles took turns at a pair of 400's each. Jay staked us to the lead in the first
200, but by the 1200 hundred mark, Scott and Charles had built about a 40 yard lead. It
was then that Chris took the baton (figuratively, we didn't really have a baton - hell, we
couldn't even slap hands within the passing zone, batons would have been a joke). In the
next 200, Chris made up all of that 40 yards. That left Gray Pete and Charles at heads up
with 200 to go. Pete blew Charles doors off from the start and coasted to an easy win.
Proving once again just about absolutely nothing. While our 8x200 time didn't come close
to the 4:04 posted two years ago, it was a just a lot of real good fun.
Next year we shall do it again, and the year after, and the year after... At least until
we are too old and broken down to lace up the shoes.