by Jim Schlentz, Director Sportif, Asics Club East
It's the February 8th session of the Thursday Night at The Races open track meet series in the NYC Armory, the 200 meter banked mondo track, billed as the world's fastest indoor track. In the midst of the songs playing over the sound system, the meet director and master of ceremonies, Ian Brooks takes to the microphone to make first call for the women's mile and to go over the night's music selections. As Ian explained to Newsday, "The runners/kids love the music. Some of the officials complain about it, but we tell them that they have to understand, we're in the entertainment business."
As the women's open mile finishes the first lap of eight, Ian announces that, "Gladees Prieur [a local 35 year old] has taken the lead with Madelyn Noe, who is going for the American masters record tonight, in 2nd." As they pass the quarter mile mark, he announces, "They have passed the quarter in 75! Madelyn is on pace for the record which is 5:02.5." The 2nd quarter slows to 77 and they pass the 880 in 2:32, just slightly behind record pace. The pace quickens in the next lap and Ian lets the crowd know that they are watching something special. As a buzz starts to emit from the crowd, Gladees tows Madelyn through the ¾ mark in 3:46, the last 440 in 74. Ian tells the crowd, "They are ahead of pace with just two laps to go." The crowd watching the race moves to the edge of the track and starts to yell at the two women, now way ahead of the rest of the field. With a lap to go, Madelyn needs a 39 for the record and a 37 to become the 1st masters women under 5:00 indoors. As they go down the backstretch, Gladees pulls ahead and it's now Madelyn on her own. On the final turn, Ian is now shouting, "It's 4:50, 51, 52, can she break the record?" As the crowd starts to swell in volume, Ian continues, "4:56, 57, 58, 59, 5:00! She breaks the record! The official time is, hold on - 4:59.9! Iit's a new American masters record!"
Madelyn, who had run 5:10.1 in her first attempt at the record four weeks before, throws up her hands and then bends over, holding her knees in exhaustion. It's a combination of race effort and the weight of the pressure off her back. She had been focusing on this since she turned 40 in November. She will still have a chance at some additional records in different events but it's the first one that she'll remember - The day she ran under 5:00 for the first time and kept the armory in the entertainment business.
Official results of the race:
NEW YORK, NY, USA (08-Feb). NYRRC Thursday Night at the Races at the
Armory. Hand times. WOMEN - 800m: 1. Danielle Thornal, GBR, 2:08.5h; 2.
Christine Gentile, NYAC, 2:09.5h; 3. Shawn Feeney, Colorado, 2:11.1. Mile:
1. Gladees Prieur, Moving Comfort New York, 4:56.5h; 2. Madelyn Noe (40
years-old), Asics Club East, 4:59.9h [U.S. indoor 40-44 record; previous
5:02.56, Christine Gregorek, 2000]; 3. Gordon Bakoulis, Moving Comfort,